Hello and welcome here to my little Corner of the Garden.
I am Charlene Zarrillo, an excited new team member of Flourish, Plant Vitamins’ sister store and I’m thrilled to be part of a business passionate about my favourite subject….PLANTS!
It’s so hard to believe it's mid June! As I am writing this blog I am watching it rain yet again out my dining-room window. Are you finished planting yet? Me neither. I have been consulting for almost 2 decades now and helping customers create a newer version of their yard and ultimately a newer version of themselves through learning from the year before. I still have a couple of very patient clients waiting for me to finish planting their yards this week alongside numerous stray seedlings waiting in my greenhouse for their perfect planting destination in my own yard. To say this spring was long awaited is the understatement of the year. Now that the summer warmth is officially here, we all deserve some much needed sun and plant therapy.
A little bit about my daily routine; my favourite thing to do after the seedlings are planted is rise early and head outside with my cup of coffee in hand, joined by my senior briard dog named Louis, my lab puppy Henry and my favourite garden cat Charlie, to see what has grown overnight. If it hasn’t rained overnight I will water first thing in the morning to give the plants a good soak before the day heats up. This routine is hard for some to commit to, but by doing so allows the roots to continue to grow down into the ground or planter and ultimately make your plant stronger.
If the roots are searching for water they will be growing towards the surface that makes for a weaker plant producing less flowers or veggies. We certainly do not want that after this long winter anticipating our first buds. It is so important to check our planters daily to see if watering is needed. Sometimes (not often) it is not needed and you end up providing too much water. Of course we all know too much of anything leads to unhealthy plants. If you feel the soil is dry when placing your finger up to your knuckle, then watering is essential. Sometimes watering planters such as smaller hanging baskets can be needed morning and night! I know growing babies of any species is a commitment.
Now let's chat about fertilizer. How about we just commit to feeding our outdoor plants weekly! Just pick a day of the week and add an alert to our weekly reminders on our phones until it becomes second nature. Also I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to feed our plants organically! By using an organic fertilizer such as Plant Vitamins you can rest easy knowing you are not adding harsh chemicals into our soils and ultimately our bodies. It has become a mission of mine since covid to grow as much of my own produce in our short growing season as possible and to help others grow their own healthy gardens too.
Last summer I added 5 additional raised kitchen gardens and could not read enough on the importance of growing our own food. For literal decades, I have always grown a few tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce etc. but was never happy with the harvest. Then I read about companion planting, square foot gardening, intensive planting and the most important of them all is, the health of your soil. By topping off your planters and gardens with organic compost soil you are allowing millions or microorganisms to do their work underground so you can grow optimum plants.
I know most of us do not have access to the space needed for a compost pile but nowadays there are countertop machines that you add your kitchen scraps to and it grinds them down to compost right away. The power of technology!
By adding compost regularly to our gardens it maintains moisture and keeps the garden healthy. It also means less watering for you and here’s the big one…LESS WEEDING! Who doesn’t love that, am I right? I will try anything to help with less weeding. For sure you can add mulch, just make sure it's natural and not one that has been processed with chemicals that will leach into the ground and plants.
So for today I will end it here. Planting a garden is full of promises each year. For me it’s an annual competition with mother nature and myself to plant the best garden that somehow always reflects a newer version of myself from the year before. You know why? Because you learned from your lessons last year of what worked and what didn’t. I call this plant therapy as gardening is all about connecting to your mind, body and soul.
“You will never know it all” is what I have learnt through the many years of having this passion for plants and honestly I don’t want to…because it is through this journey that we all flourish.