COVID-19 is forcing many of us to be realistic about how readily available our foods might be, and how we can all become a little more self-sufficient. Starting your own vegetable garden is a great way to cut down on your grocery bill.
Like any recipe, you have the licence to freestyle as long as you know the key ingredients and the fundamental proportions, the same is true with nurturing your home garden. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when starting your own vegetable garden at home.
Sunlight: Making sure your vegetables have adequate sunlight is crucial. Plant your garden in a place that ensures your plants get at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. If you are planting a few different kinds of vegetables this may require a bit of planning and research to make sure the taller plants don’t block the smaller ones from getting the sun they need.
Soil: Once you have decided where to place your garden, now you have to think about what makes the perfect bed for your vegetables to grow. Soil with a lot of organic matter (compost) is key. Compost has lots of nutrients and microorganisms that promote the health of your garden, making it prime for a full and robust harvest. The consistency of your soil/compost combo is important too. It should clump together when you squeeze it in your hands but crumble easily when you disperse it. If you're new at this, you can buy the compost, but if you get a compost bin, you can start making your own for your garden next year.
Water: Here is the rule, one inch of water per week (this includes rainwater). Measuring one inch of water just by looking at it is next to impossible so a few things to keep in mind to make sure you are not over or under watering is to water for 20-30 mins at night. The purpose is to get the water to the roots. If you water at night you are not competing with the sun drying up the water before the roots get hydrated. Also use a dry wooden garden stake to stick a few inches down and check for moisture, just like you would a cake!
Mulch: My mother put me on to this one. Mulch isn’t just to make your garden pretty, but it has a practical purpose too. Again, watering can be tricky and could be the thing that kills your garden. Over watering can cause diseases that won’t only hurt your vegetables but also poison the soil. Mulch is a fantastic irrigator that disperses water slowly. It keeps the plants cool when temperatures rise and warm when it falls which also helps to extend the planting season. Mulch also suppresses the growth of weeds. Place about three inches of mulch around your plants and they will flourish.
Pesticides & Fertilizer: My grandfather, a farmer, would say, “if the bugs don’t want to eat it neither should you.” Most insects in our garden are good and we shouldn’t be too quick to spray pesticides because pesticides kill indiscriminately (good and “bad” pests alike). If you must intervene, first try a natural remedy like vegetable oil and mild soap in a spray bottle. If you do use commercial pesticides it is better to apply it at night when the friendlier bugs aren’t around. Go easy on fertilizers, bigger is not always better. If you over feed your plants they will be bigger but your harvest will be less. If you keep the soil rich with the right compost ratio your vegetables will thrive.
*Consider building raised garden beds, this will help when grouping compatible plants together and save your back when tending to your garden as it grows.
Angelina Williams is an accomplished Hotelier and Marketing Professional. She has managed some of Toronto’s top boutique and luxury hotels and is the Principal Director of Skylar Projects, a hospitality consulting firm. Angelina is a Canadian of Caribbean heritage, from a proud family of Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee producers and agriculturalists. As a food and beverage enthusiast with a distinguished eye and palate; one, which has granted her the opportunity to review LCBO products before they hit the store shelves. Angelina offers a fresh and unconventional perspective on everything from classic wines, contemporary cocktails, food innovation to tips on entertaining at home for an adventurous and hungry audience. Angelina has hosted African Fashion Week Toronto, Chaired the BBPA Harry Jerome Awards and named one of “Canada’s Top Black Women To Watch in 2015” by CIBWE. Angelina has been captured in the fashion and lifestyle pages of The Globe and Mail, National Post, Yahoo.ca to name a few. She has also contributed to YYZ Living Magazine and View The Vibe Magazine as a Food & Beverage Writer along with her personal blog TasteMyLife.ca
Read 975 times Last modified on Friday, 24 April 2020 15:56
Angelina Williams is a former Toronto Hotelier who was recently named one of Canada '100 Black Women to Watch' in 2015. She is the CEO of Skylar Projects, a boutique Business Development firm.
Angelina Williams served as the Chair of the Black Business Professional Association’s Harry Jerome Awards for three consecutive years. She is also a member and the host of African Fashion Week.
With a successful career in building relationships between brands and achieving many professional and personal milestones, Angelina was presented with an opportunity to follow her own passion. After years in the hospitality industry, she realized at the centre of her love for food, beverage and fashion was the opportunity to tell stories. Putting that desire and her skills together, she created Skylar Projects.
With the firm’s latest project, the web series #TasteMyLife Angelina explores the world of wines, spirits and food.
ByBlacks.com is the top-ranked award-winning online magazine focused exclusively on telling Black Canadian stories. With over one hundred writers to date covering a range of editorial content, we also provide a free business directory for Black Canadian owned businesses, free events listing and promotional services for our clients.