A Primer On How Your Garden Grows

There is no greater satisfaction than growing your own food. To see those first little sprouts emerge, or the fruit of a tomato begin to form, is deeply rewarding. Even more gratifying is to reap the benefits at harvest time.

There are numerous advantages to having your own garden. Not only will you produce tasty, fresh, and nutritious food, gardening can save you money; for every vegetable you grow, that’s one less you will have to buy. Organic gardening can improve your mental and physical health too. When we garden, we are spending time in nature, getting fresh air and exercise, which can relive stress, lower blood pressure, and ease muscle tension. Gardening is healthier for the environment, too (the average meal travels 1200 km from farm to plate). Food that is grown closer to home reduces greenhouse gas emissions by decreasing the transportation distances. Simply put, gardening is good for us.

Planting peas

Learning how to plant a garden is not as hard as you’d think either. You don’t need to have a green thumb, or a huge amount of space. In fact, patio and container gardens are becoming increasingly popular in urban areas. A little bit of planning and research, an area that receives at least 6-8 hours of sun, some well-drained soil rich in organic matter (compost or peat), a few pots and planters and you’re set to grow your garden.  Note: if you don’t have access to full sun, you can still grow plenty of leafy greens such as spinach, lettuce, and peas plus many shade-tolerant herbs and flowers.

A great place to buy seeds and garden starts is at local plant sales and markets. You’ll have a chance to meet local gardeners and farmers with excellent advice and tips to help you get started. You’ll find a selection of locally produced organic seeds and starter plants, plus many heritage and heirloom varieties.  Check out the annual plant sale at the Compost Education Centre

Where: 1216 North Park Street

August 16, 10:00am – 2:00pm

Here is an easy-to-grow list of compact, container friendly plants that are sure to be a success:

Herbs: Basil (Genovese and Dolly)



Calendula (Pacific Beauty)


English Thyme

Vegetables: Broccoli (Gypsy, Greenbelt)

Bush Beans (Mascotte, Lynx)

Cabbage (Pixie)

Cucumber (Patio Snacker)

Lettuce (Spretnik, Manoa, Gourmet Salad Blends)

Tomato (Red Robin, Micro Tom)

Scallions (Apache)

Swiss Chard (Bright Lights)

Fruit: Strawberry (Mignonette)

Blueberry (Duke)

Potted strawberries
Flowering Strawberries
Tips for planting seeds:

Water well before you plant. Seeds planted close to the surface can dry out fast.

Pat the soil to firm it below where you plant. This helps the seed to establish a good root system

Lay down the seeds according to package depth and spacing recommendations.

Cover lightly with soil and pat again

Label your row(s) clearly so you know what and when you planted.

Where to buy plants, seeds and other garden supplies:

Garden Works


4290 Blenkinsop Road

Ph: (250) 727-2140


Oak Bay

1916 Oak Bay Avenue

Ph: (250) 595-4200



1859 Old Island Highway

Ph: (250) 478-2078


Check out Garden Works May Calendar for events!


Dig This

Oak Bay

1990 Oak Bay Avenue

Ph: (250) 598-0802



480-777 Royal Oak Drive

Ph: (250) 727-9922


9813 Third Avenue

Ph: (778) 426-1998



5283 Rutherford Road

Ph: (250) 585-0149



Further tips:

View this Almanac Planting Calendar for best dates to start your garden veggies and when to harvest.

Follow this link for a list of Farmers Markets on southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands.

Pick up a free West Coast Seeds gardening guide from any gardening store for excellent seed and gardening information.

During your planting season, apply a well-balanced fertilizer such as Gaia Green to give your plants an extra boost.


Happy gardening!

Written By:

Holly Brooke is a true B.C. gal. Having lived on the west coast most of her life, except for several years in the Kootenay's where she canoed and fished and lived in a tipi, she's very much at home outdoors and in the kitchen. ...

Comments are closed.