We have finally reached 20°C (that’s about 68°F) in Toronto and many of us Torontonians couldn’t be more thrilled. On my way to the grocery store, I counted five women wearing shorts today…and I don’t blame them. We have had a long winter with crippling snowstorms and bleak weather throughout March and April with Mother Nature teasing spring one day here and there. Now it appears that legitimate spring weather is here to stay and if you’re like me, you have already been out in your garden pulling off dead leaves, pruning bushes and weeding the garden to get ready for planting.
I love spending time on our garden patio reading or simply listening to the birds. It’s so restorative. Gardening can be a big investment of your time and money so you want to make sure you take steps to protect your garden. Here are six things you want in your garden to make your gardening experience easy and stress-free.
Garden Stakes for Herbs from Etsy
If you are planting herbs, these copper garden stakes from Etsy will really help you identify your herbs once they start growing and you forget which herb you planted where. I am pretty good at identifying my herbs, and usually the smell will tip me off, but there are some herbs that I mistake for others. These handmade copper stakes are $10.01 CDN and will contrast beautifully with the green foliage of your herbs. Even if you are an expert at identifying your herbs, aren’t these stakes just too cute not to put in your herb garden? Purchase these garden stakes on Etsy. Check out these easy herbs to grow in your garden.
Do your neighbourhood cats visit your garden and love to dig up your flowerpots or newly-planted garden beds? Cats do not like the smell of citrus so a very easy remedy is to save your used lemon or orange peels and cut them into 1″ pieces. Scatter them on top of the soil near targeted plants or flowers and cover with mulch. An added bonus is citrus peels improve the acidity in your soil so acid loving plants such as azaleas, rhododendrons, daffodils, hydrangeas, nasturtium, heathers, marigolds, iris, begonias, blueberries, and strawberries will love the addition of citrus peel to their beds.
Don’t throw away your grass clippings and leaves. Mulch will do wonders for your garden. Water your garden thoroughly and then cover it with mulch. The mulch will preserve the moisture in the soil and prevent it from drying, particular on hot days or if you are going out of town for a few days. An added bonus is it prevents weeds and encourages earth worms. You can buy bark mulch, but your leaves and grass clippings will work just as well. You should aim to cover your garden soil with at least 2″ of mulch to achieve these benefits. Once the mulch decomposes, it also improves soil quality.
Spending a day outside gardening rejuvenates the body and soul, but you don’t want to be the daily lunch special for mosquitos. Planting peppermint in your garden will help keep mosquitoes away. You can also try rubbing fresh peppermint leaves on your arms and legs to prevent mosquitos from biting you. For a more intense remedy, boil dried mint leaves in a half cup of water, strain mint leaves and add mint water to a spray bottle and spray on arms and legs.
Organic Top Soil
Some of the soil, especially in our front garden, is nutrient-poor and has not been worked over. That’s why we always buy a good organic top soil every year to mix in with the existing soil. The nutrient-rich organic soil ensures that the plants and flowers we purchase are receiving optimum nutrition.
Vinyl Patio Mat
I picked up a vinyl patio mat for about $10 from Lowe’s a few years ago and I love it. Why? Because not only is it vibrant, but the mat withstands dirt and leaf stains. When you’re watering your plants with the garden hose, simply hose down the mat and it will look like new. There is no sense spending more than $100 on an outdoor carpet that you’re going to have to clean.
I hope you enjoyed reading about these things to make gardening easy. Happy Gardening everyone!