If you have found yourself stuck at home during the global crisis, it is the perfect time to get your hands dirty!

Garden in Sunroom

The world may be in chaos but at home, a garden can offer promises of peace and a way to pass the time. With the COVID-19 global pandemic, most of the world is at home. What better way to spend your time than turning that dirt patch into a garden or growing a windowsill full of herbs. We thought it would be fun to help people start a garden and try something new during this time of uncertainty.

There are so many options for creating a garden space. From DIY with pallets and tires to wall gardens and container planting, there is a solution for you. Check out YouTube or a try a simple Google search to bring up a variety of ideas to inspire you. The best part about gardening is that it can be done on virtually any budget. Seeds are cheap and can produce a lot of fresh food for you. Here is a local company that will deliver seeds, containers and other supplies, right to your door! Check out https://nicholasalexander.com/!

There are a ton of health benefits to being outdoors, and even more from gardening. We have a whole blog on how being outside can improve your health, lower stress and provide Vitamin D. Read more about the benefits of being outdoors here – How Covertec Products Encourage A Healthier Okanagan Lifestyle

 If you live in a small space like an apartment, there are many solutions out there for you, from glass walls and screens to bamboo blinds.

Step 1 – Determine where and how you will be gardening

Will it be in your yard, on your patio or in your home? Are you able to create a space for a garden? Do you have physical barriers or limited space?

These questions are important and making a plan for your garden will help reduce stress and give you a higher chance of success. You can always grow plants indoors if you do not have a suitable outdoor space.

Raised beds are perfect for people with physical barriers and so are indoor gardens, if they cannot go outside easily. Here is a guide to container planting, Everything you need to know about container planting!

Here are some more ideas to incorporate in your garden:

  • Old tires
  • Pallets
  • Raised beds
  • Wall planters (PVC pipe or mason jars)
  • Containers like planter pots or jars
  • Companion planting methods

Step 2 – Choose your plants

Is your garden in full sun, partial sun or shade? Are you a beginner or more advanced? Are you going to try companion planting or natural pest control?

Find easy care plants if you are new to gardening or doing it with your children. If you are an advanced gardener, try growing something new.

After you have determined how you want to garden, the seed hunt begins! Look at the back of the seed packets and all the information you need to know. This blog can help you read seed packets if you are new to gardening: How to read seed packets for gardening success.

Look for the growth, light and spacing requirements to determine if this variety would work in your space. Look at how long it takes for the plant to mature and make sure it is within your local growing season. If you have a specific type of garden inmind, do a quick search online and there will be tons of ideas for you.

  1. If you love pizza, try planting a pizza garden with tomatoes, basil, onions, bell peppers and oregano!
  2. If you love italian food, plant an herb garden with oregano, rosemary, basil, thyme, fennel, and parsley
  3. If you love your salads, plant lettuce, cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes and radishes
  4. If you love colorful veggies, plant carrots, a variety of peppers, cauliflower, red cabbage, or other colorful varieties.

Step 3 – Planting

 Use the seed packet to determine how far apart and how deep to plant the seeds. The farmers almanac mentioned above, can help you determine whether to plant outdoors or seed indoors and transplant later.

Some plants, such as tomatoes, do better if they are planted indoors and moved outside once the plant is strong and the weather is warmer. Use the Farmer’s Almanac to determine when to plant indoors and when to directly seed outdoors by entering your city in their planting calendar. This link will take you to the Farmer’s Almanac website and the Planting calendar for Vernon, BC.

Garden Planting Calendar

The image is a sample of the calendar for Vernon, BC. Note how it mentions the spring frost date. Many plants and seeds cannot survive in frost, so it is important to pay attention to these dates to provide a higher success rate. It is important to always purchase seeds or plants that mature within the right time frame.

Step 4 – Protection and Pest Control

So you have your garden planted but then nature starts to wreak havoc on your well-laid out plans. Everything from pests to weather can destroy your hard work quickly, but there are solutions from DIY covers and greenhouses to more permanent professional installations.

To protect your garden from voracious pests and harmful insects…or attract pollinators…

Many insects and animals are deterred by certain plants; cats, for example, despise marigolds! They are beautiful but to a feline’s strong sense of smell, they overpower their senses.

Aphids, tomato worms and other small pests can be deterred by planting herbs and flowers. If you want to attract butterflies and pollinators, plant Lavender, Rosemary or Sage.

Plants like tomatoes, tansy, and catnip deter a large variety of pests including ants and beetles, so they are good general plants if you are unsure what pests you may have. Beware of catnip though; as it attracts cats!

To read more on plants that deter pests, you can read this great blog, Natural Pest Control – How To Plant Mixed Herbs and Vegetables To Deter Pests

Another option is to use screens, mesh or netting to make it harder for pests to get near your plants. If you are gardening on your patio and have a cover already, look into habitat screens or glass walls. Both of these options will give you more control over your garden environment.

Another option is to use screens, mesh or netting to make it harder for pests to get near your plants. If you are gardening on your patio and have a cover already, look into habitat screens or glass walls. Both of these options will give you more control over your garden environment.

To protect your garden from weather…

Sun, rain and wind are good for plants and there isn’t really much you can do about weather, it happens! However, in places that can have harsher weather, growing seasons may be shorter or the weather may wreak havoc on your plants.

In the Okanagan, the blazing sun can burn tender leaves and the lack of rain during a heat wave/drought can cause your garden to wither up. Water regularly to prevent your plants from drying up. Consider making a garden cover or investing in a more permanent solution, like a patio cover or sunroom.

In colder climates or during the winter months, indoor gardening can be just as satisfying. Window planters, wall stations, stove side herb gardens and more. There are ways to garden without requiring a huge amount Gardening Sunroomof space. If you have the money to invest in a sunroom or patio cover, these are great options that will allow you to give new life to your yard, enjoy the outdoors and be a bit more protected from harsh elements.

Want to know how our patio covers and sunrooms stand up to weather? Check out our blogs,  Mother Nature vs. Lumon: How our products are engineered for snow, hail and wind resistance and Beat The Okanagan Heat: Stay Protected with Okanagan Covertec!

There are many blogs and videos on how to create your own DIY PVC hoop cover or a cover using recycled materials. These can usually be made for less than $20, if you are on a budget.

 Gardening under a cover, in a sunroom, or inside your home allows you to have a bit more control over your garden. Being indoors or using a cover will reduce pests but can bring other challenges, such as not having enough light.

That is why it is important to know the conditions of the area you want to grow your plants. You will have a higher success by carefully choosing plants that fit the environment. Your garden shouldn’t be a burden, it should be a place of relaxation and calm.

If you are interested in having a professional cover installed, we can help with that, just give us a call or visit our website. covertec.ca

Stay healthy everyone!