May 10, 2021

Outdoor Living

Grow Big or Grow Home

Growing season is here, which means it's time to plan, plant and reap the rewards of your home garden!

Spring has sprung? Great! It’s time to get green. Healthy trees and shrubs bring your home to life. A herb garden on the patio or a backyard full of veggies will yield delicious results. Here are some tips for how to get the most out of what grows in your own backyard:

What you plant outside can make a difference inside

Let’s think long-term. Did you know that planting leafy green trees on the sunny side of your home may lower your energy consumption? True story. In summer, the leaves will provide shade to cool your home, and in winter the bare branches will let warm sunlight through.  

Not sure what to plant? Given that Alberta’s weather can vary dramatically from season to season, it’s best to select a species that can thrive rain or shine (or snow… or wind)! And don’t forget to consider the size – when cared for properly, trees can live a long and prosperous life, so plan for the future by understanding each species’ potential growth. If you need a little inspiration, consider studying up on the top tree species for Calgary.

Out with the old

Before you can sprout new growth, you may have to get rid of dead or dangerous trees. This is when you want to make friends with an I.S.A certified arborist – they’ll help you assess your trees from root to leaves and come up with a solution for their safe recovery or removal. Preventing and detecting diseases can lower the risk of safety threats: like an unhealthy tree collapsing on your home.

It can be hard to remove a magnificent tree, but sometimes it’s just necessary. Damaged or diseased trees will continue to decay over time, leaving them structurally unsound and more prone to falling over in stormy weather. If they’re overgrown, their roots may crack and lift up concrete paths, get into your home’s foundation, and even wreak havoc on the sewage system. And, occasionally, if an overgrown tree is obstructing your million-dollar view, the view sometimes wins. No judgement here.

These are not tasks to try yourself, or without proper tools. The good news? You don’t have to do it alone! A Rümi arborist can help you protect your property and punch up your curb appeal, offering services from pruning and disease diagnosis, to big tree removal. They can even help you get rid of an out-of-place stump.  

Plan this year. Plant next year.

If you’ve just moved into a new home, don’t go full steam ahead with your garden right away. If you can, take the first year to pay close attention to your yard, noting where the shady spots are, where the sun shines, and where water pools. Understanding the growth conditions of your property can aid in your selection of plants, keeping them healthier and happier. Our advice: Plan this year, plant next year.  

If you can’t resist the urge to flex your green thumb, start by growing or picking up some flowers from your local nursery. Hanging baskets or planters are a great low-risk way to brighten up your yard or patio. Another option is planting a herb garden, which comes with its own delicious rewards.

It doesn't get any fresher than growing your own herbs

Whether you’re growing them indoors or outdoors, herbs are low-maintenance and easy to sprout. Best of all, they don’t have to take up that much space. If you love the idea of having a garden, but don’t exactly have square footage or a full season to spare, this handy guide is where you want to start.

Home grown herbs are a great way to experiment and freshen’ up home cooked meals. We asked our friends and experts at Blue Flame Kitchen, and they recommend starting with herbs you already use regularly, like rosemary, thyme, parsley, cilantro, oregano, mint and basil. If you aren’t sure where to start, Chef Darcy’s video on selecting and caring for herbs is just what you need for that burst of summer freshness in your recipes.

Their first tip: pay close attention to the instructions on each of your seed packets – they’ll tell you if seeds should be started inside or outside, how to care for them as they grow, and how much room they’ll need. When you read that mint and oregano need their own containers, trust it! Those two tend to take over and grow like weeds – trust the packets! Then, research how to harvest, so you keep the growth going.  

Getting the most out of your edible garden

If you’ve already got a garden going, the fun will be in harvesting and eating the fruits (or vegetables) of your labour! Whip out your urban farmer tools to harvest your bounty, then give them a good clean and spin. If you can’t enjoy them right away, note how each of your vegetables should be stored.  

Then, download Blue Flame Kitchen’s free Grow Gather Graze cookbook – it covers everything from planning and planting to harvesting and cooking, and even includes storing. The cookbook is equipped with step-by-step gardening guides that are truly fool proof. Or, for a winner right of the bat, try Blue Flame Kitchen’s lemon and herb marinated chicken recipe, and use up some of your thyme and mint. Yum!

Illuminate your hard work

Living in Alberta, we spend enough of our time inside - your yard deserves to be seen and enjoyed all day and night!  

You can enjoy your garden, yard or patio even as the sun sets with the help of LED lighting. Café lights are a great way to showcase mature trees and shrubs. Or, you can opt for landscape lights which mount in flowerbeds, gardens, decks, paths and other outdoor areas. Set the mood and extend your outdoor hours, all at once.  

Your outdoor space, whether it’s a full yard or a perfect little patio, should feel like an extension of your living space. Even better, with a little planning it can work to save you energy or save you money at the grocery store. So, what are you waiting for? Get outside! Spring is calling!