Your garden is absolutely radishing! It's thyme to celery-brate your home-grown veggies – terra20
Your garden is absolutely radishing! It's thyme to celery-brate your home-grown veggies

0 comments / Posted by Erin Forget

This season's gardening tips and tricks from the terra20 family

By Erin Forget

Tomatoes are plumping, lettuce is uncurling, and strawberries are ripe for the picking. Summer’s always been my favourite season, and one of the reasons why I adore this time of year is I LOVE fresh Ontario produce. You can’t beat the taste of a perfectly ripe, juicy Ontario peach on a warm August day – am I right? But before we start smacking our lips together thinking about that perfect peach, I want to rewind a few months. I know, no one wants to be reminded of the cold, wet, self-isolating days of spring, but I want to talk about the trend that brought us closer together – gardening! My husband and I have been growing our own fruits and veggies for close to a decade and it was nice having friends and family reach out to talk about our trials and tribulations with gardening in an effort to help them grow and enjoy their own bounty this summer. 

So why this sudden interest in gardening during a pandemic? Planning, digging and planting seeds in our own yard provides a space for us to connect with nature. Especially during a time where there wasn’t many green spaces or parks open. Spending time in nature is essential for our wellbeing and mental health, and gardening has shown to reduce stress, anxiety and depression.  

Through our terra20 daily zoom calls, it was soon obvious that many terra20 staff members were also planning their garden or trying it for the first time. There were lots of sidebar conversations on what grows well, combating pests, and in ground verses raised bed gardens. So, I thought it would be fun to follow up with my terra20 family to see how their gardens are doing and share their tips and tricks with you! 

I first chatted with Laura, a member of our warehouse team. She’s been gardening for a few years now, and is growing beets, carrots, peas, kale, cucumber, green onion, tomato, rosemary, thyme, oregano and basil, but this year, new to the bunch, is nasturtiums. She enthusiastically noted, “both the flowers and leaves are edible and it’s pollinator friendly!” That’s a win win in our books. And advice for our guests, Laura adds, “No matter how long you’ve been gardening, I think there is a lot to learn. Every year seems to bring new surprises and challenges.”

New to the gardening scene is Jessica, from our merchandising team, she’s wanted to grow a garden for a while, but could never find the time with school. In her cedar box garden, she has tomatoes, cucumbers, three types of basil, oregano, bay leaf, onions, peppers and cilantro. When I asked her what she’s most excited to try, she said, “My three types of peppers! Italian pepperoncini, Greek pepperoncini and Romanian sweet peppers.” And she added this fun fact, “Apparently when you plant basil next to pepper and tomato plants it’s supposed to improve the flavour of the fruits.” She’ll have to keep us updated on this one. 

Next up, is Jewelle, terra20 Pinecrest’s assistant store manager and longtime gardener. For the past six years Jewelle and her family have always had a little herb and veggie garden. She notes the herbs are nice to freeze or let dry. “It’s always lovely to have a little dash of summertime in your meals, especially through the winter.” The one thing she misses this year is being part of the community garden. Last year the community garden was very successful, they harvested enough tomatoes, peppers, chives, green onion, leeks, kale and lettuce to last the entire summer. “Gardening with members of your community you really got to experiment with foods and learn what they need to grow.” Definitely something we can look forward to next summer. 

One of the newest members to our terra20 family is Carolyn, who is part of the marketing team, she’s also testing her green thumb for the first time with a veggie garden this summer. So far, she’s had good luck with red lettuce. “The leaves are delicious, and the plant keeps reproducing more leaves as you cut them off.” But what was most interesting, was learning how she decided to build her garden. “We chose to use raised garden beds made locally by a deck company that shifted focus due to Covid from decks to vegetable beds.” Such a genius idea to help a fellow local business! And Carolyn’s parting recommendations for a newbie, join the Edible Ottawa Facebook group to ask questions, and to enjoy and have fun with your garden this year.   

Potatoes, garlic, kohlrabi, cabbage, cucumber, tomatoes, radishes, carrots, beets, leeks, onions, cantaloupe, beans, squash, strawberries, kale, chards, lettuce, peppers, and a variety of herbs, round out our inventory manager, Bojana’s, garden. She’s had great success with leafy greens, tomatoes, radishes and cucumber, but says she enjoys potatoes the most. “I look forward to potatoes simply because they are fun to dig up, and the kids love it.” What a fun way to get kids involved in gardening. Bojana also adds, “Watch out for those pesky squirrels and chipmunks, they like to burry seeds causing mystery plants to pop up all over the garden. This year I had seven extra tomato plants.”  

I first chatted with Laura, a member of our warehouse team. She’s been gardening for a few years now, and is growing beets, carrots, peas, kale, cucumber, green onion, tomato, rosemary, thyme, oregano and basil, but this year, new to the bunch, is nasturtiums. She enthusiastically noted, “both the flowers and leaves are edible and it’s pollinator friendly!” That’s a win win in our books. And advice for our guests, Laura adds, “No matter how long you’ve been gardening, I think there is a lot to learn. Every year seems to bring new surprises and challenges.”  

New to the gardening scene is Jessica, from our merchandising team, she’s wanted to grow a garden for a while, but could never find the time with school. In her cedar box garden, she has tomatoes, cucumbers, three types of basil, oregano, bay leaf, onions, peppers and cilantro. When I asked her what she’s most excited to try, she said, “My three types of peppers! Italian pepperoncini, Greek pepperoncini and Romanian sweet peppers.” And she added this fun fact, “Apparently when you plant basil next to pepper and tomato plants it’s supposed to improve the flavour of the fruits.” She’ll have to keep us updated on this one. 

Next up, is Jewelle, terra20 Pinecrest’s assistant store manager and longtime gardener. For the past six years Jewelle and her family have always had a little herb and veggie garden. She notes the herbs are nice to freeze or let dry. “It’s always lovely to have a little dash of summertime in your meals, especially through the winter.” The one thing she misses this year is being part of the community garden. Last year the community garden was very successful, they harvested enough tomatoes, peppers, chives, green onion, leeks, kale and lettuce to last the entire summer. “Gardening with members of your community you really got to experiment with foods and learn what they need to grow.” Definitely something we can look forward to next summer. 

One of the newest members to our terra20 family is Carolyn, who is part of the marketing team, she’s also testing her green thumb for the first time with a veggie garden this summer. So far, she’s had good luck with red lettuce. “The leaves are delicious, and the plant keeps reproducing more leaves as you cut them off.” But what was most interesting, was learning how she decided to build her garden. “We chose to use raised garden beds made locally by a deck company that shifted focus due to Covid from decks to vegetable beds.” Such a genius idea to help a fellow local business! And Carolyn’s parting recommendations for a newbie, join the Edible Ottawa Facebook group to ask questions, and to enjoy and have fun with your garden this year.  

Potatoes, garlic, kohlrabi, cabbage, cucumber, tomatoes, radishes, carrots, beets, leeks, onions, cantaloupe, beans, squash, strawberries, kale, chards, lettuce, peppers, and a variety of herbs, round out our inventory manager, Bojana’s, garden. She’s had great success with leafy greens, tomatoes, radishes and cucumber, but says she enjoys potatoes the most. “I look forward to potatoes simply because they are fun to dig up, and the kids love it.” What a fun way to get kids involved in gardening. Bojana also adds, “Watch out for those pesky squirrels and chipmunks, they like to burry seeds causing mystery plants to pop up all over the garden. This year I had seven extra tomato plants.”  

There were so many great tips and recommendations from the team on gardening. Here are a few more worthy of sharing:  

  • Don’t be afraid to try backyard composting. It’s a great way to return food scraps back to the earth, plus it makes amazing fertilizer for the next gardening season! 
  • Look at investing in a rain barrel to cut down on water consumption. 
  • Basil is a summer essential – pesto pasta or a garnish on homemade pizza. YUM! 
  • Strawberries are also tasty and easy to grow, you just need to beat the squirrels to ‘em.  
  • Growing kale or lettuce? It’s easy to grab a few fresh leaves to add to your morning smoothie. 
  • Got aphids? They chew tiny holes in your plants. Not to fret, simply wash off with a gentle soap. No need to remove your plant.  

Did you grow your first garden this year? Or are you an avid vegetable farmer? Either way we would love to hear about your gardening adventures. Share your experience with us in the comments below and enjoy the fruits of your bounty this summer! #nomnomnom 

About the Author

Erin Forget

Erin is terra20's Marketing Coordinator. When she's not navigating the healthy living retail landscape she enjoys spending time in nature with her two dachshunds, archery, cultivating her vegetable garden and creative writing.

Comments

Leave a comment

All blog comments are checked prior to publishing