There’s something to be said for the shoulder season between winter and spring in Calgary. Yes, it can be frustrating to have bitter cold winds one day and then glorious summer-like weather the next, but the overall trend is towards warmth and growth in your garden. This inbetween season is when you need to be heading out and preparing your garden beds for a great growing season. The garden bed maintenance that you need to do will depend on what’s growing in the bed, and whether it’s a new garden bed or an established favorite.
Starting A New Bed
It’s always an exciting time when you plan and map out a brand new garden bed. There’s that feeling of potential, especially when you’re growing something new, along with that overall feeling of power and control over the natural environment around you. Some simple tips for starting a new garden bed include:
- Consider going raised – if you’re working on a budget or just prefer a more natural aesthetic, then you can just dig up an area of your lawn and turn it into a quick garden bed with a bit of edging for definition. However, if you struggle to bend down or want a more defined space, then raised beds are a great option. Not only do they bring the plants up to make it easier to pick and weed, but a raised bed also allows you to control external weeds and pests without the need for chemicals. Raised beds are also a more efficient use of your garden space as they can tessellate well with each other.
- Dig deep – if you’re digging your own garden beds directly into the ground, you need to dig as deep as you possibly dare. 30 centimetres is a good place to start as it will clear out even the deepest roots of any unwanted weeds, as well as clearing out any big stones that could hamper the growth of your plants. If you can’t get that deep for any reason, you should consider adding enough topsoil and compost so that you end up with a 30 centimetre gap between the surface and the bottom of where you could dig to.
- Layered compost – as you started to fill your garden bed (either dug out or raised), you should be thoughtful about what you’re adding. Rather than just shaking a bag of topsoil and hoping for the best, you should consider layered, or lasagna, compost. Start with wet cardboard at the bottom that will act as a biodegradable weed barrier, then add layers of brown compost (soil and worms), green compost (manure and decomposed fruits and vegetables) and fertilizer (preferably from natural sources like chicken poop!). This will speed up the production of bacteria that will break down your soil as well as giving your plants a nutritious feast as they start to spread their beds.
Existing Garden Bed Maintenance
As your garden grows, you’re going to spend less time working on starting new beds and more time on your garden bed upkeep. Some easy spring cleanup and maintenance tips for your existing garden beds includes:
- Pruning, trimming and shaping – if you have garden beds with shrubs and hedges, the shoulder season is a great time to get them into shape for spring. Hedge trimming should be done with thoughts on both creating space for new growth and keeping the hedge out of the way of other growth to avoid cross contamination. Shrub shaping should be done mainly for aesthetics, but also use this time to trim back or completely remove dead branches to promote healthy growth for the rest of the plant.
- Set a weeding schedule – weeding is universally recognized as both the most boring part of all the garden bed maintenance jobs, but also the most essential. Keeping unwanted plants out of your garden bed means that the plants you want to grow have more space and access to all the nutrients they need to thrive. Consider setting a weeding schedule where you attack a couple of beds each day when you get home from work so you don’t feel like you spend your whole weekend pulling out weeds.
- Feed from the top – there has been a big shift in recent years to move away from annual tilling and aerating towards top feeding your garden beds. Tilling the soil is a good plan if you’re starting from scratch, but with well established beds, you risk upsetting the existing microbial systems by moving the soil too much. If you feel like you need to add fertilizer or compost, add it to the top of the soil and allow the rain and microbes to do their job to bring the new minerals further down.
Getting Professional Help
The amount of time that you’ll need to spend in your garden each week will depend on the size of your garden beds. Even the smallest gardens can suck up a lot of time, which is why it can make sense to get professional help. This is where Scoop Cut N Shovel comes into place. Our team of gardening experts have decades of experience working with all sorts of gardens across Calgary, and we’ll be able to work with with you to provide a bespoke spring clean up package.
Save Time And Money With Scoop
When you work with Scoop, you’ll have a choice of a one off spring clean up purchase that will give you a blow out of all your garden beds, an initial cut and trim of your garden and optional raking and aeration options to kick start your garden. We can then talk about weekly or monthly garden bed maintenance where our experts come to your home while you’re away and perform their gardening magic, leaving you to enjoy a beautifully maintained garden. Finally, we can also talk about the massive savings you can find by signing up for our year round property management packages, which will give you everything from sideway ice shovelling to dog waste removal for one set monthly fee. Start saving time and money by calling today.