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Gardening tips for spring and summer
Spring weather and spending more time at home may have you thinking about gardening. Whether it’s a small container garden on your condo balcony, a produce aisle of your very own in your backyard or a tropical paradise around the pool, there is truly a garden for everyone—including pet owners!
Yes, you can have a beautiful garden to relax in and a place where your pet can run and chase squirrels. When planning a garden that both you and your furry friend can enjoy, keep these tips in mind.
Remember that dirt equals mud
You know where your pet likes to travel in the yard, and a beaten-down path through the lawn and garden is your cue to put down a hard surface like patio slabs or interlocking brick. Dirt, after all, becomes mud—especially in the fall and spring.
Plant trees or large-growing shrubs on the south and west sides of your yard to provide shade for your pet during the hottest parts of the day.
Deal with the “unmentionable.”
Dogs are famous for burning the grass where they squat to urinate. The solution is to dilute the urea, which is what causes the lawn to die in patches, by hosing down your lawn when you see the culprit do its business. When brown patches occur, have a bucket of pre-moistened sand-and-grass-seed mix standing by.
Keep in mind that cats are attracted to dry soil. Discourage them from using your garden as a latrine by keeping the soil under your soffit and fascia moist. Orange peel and scented plants, like lemon geraniums, lavender, basil and verbena, can also discourage cats. Never use moth balls, which are poisonous to humans and could be picked up by young children.
Choose plants wisely
Avoid plants that are poisonous or harmful to animals, including common ones such as boxwood, clematis, daffodil, foxglove, hosta, hydrangea, lily of the valley, periwinkle, tomato (leaves) and many more. Research before you plant to be safe.
This year, Canadian grower Arnold Devrij wants you to think local when planting your plot. Along with his brother Pete, Arnold is a third-generation grower who operates more than 50 acres of greenhouses for the family business, DeVry Greenhouses, in Chilliwack, B.C.
Keep things simple by choosing items you and your family will enjoy eating, like tomatoes, eggplants, zucchini, carrots, peppers, leafy greens, and herbs. These foods grow in abundance and come in many different varieties, making them the perfect vegetables to throw on top of the grill and enjoy with family all season long.
Regardless of whether you’re looking to grow your own food or create a tropical oasis in your backyard without having to travel to a warm destination, don’t be afraid to try something new and let your garden grow.
You can find locally grown hanging baskets and planters, as well as a great selection of annuals, herbs, and vegetables grown by small producers at your local Independent Grocer’s garden centre.