Backyard garden: Spring 2024 update

This year my backyard garden is going to look a little different. In past years I’ve focused on growing vegetables, with various levels of success.

But last year I so enjoyed going to properties with cut flower gardens and decided I wanted to try it for myself! There’s something so calming and uplifting about a bright bunch of flowers and I’m hoping to be successful enough to have lots of flowers to share.

Source: Monika from Pixabay

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I had already been rolling this idea around in my mind, and then saw a post not long ago about how store-bought flowers can be less than optimal for the environment. I had never thought about it before, but, as with everything, there are practices employed in flower production that can be good or bad for the environment around us.

Whether flowers from a shop are eco-friendly can depend on various factors including how they are grown, harvested, transported, and sold. Here are some considerations if you’re going to purchase flowers:

Source: Ralph from Pixabay
  1. Origin: Flowers that are locally grown and sourced tend to be more eco-friendly as they require less transportation, reducing carbon emissions associated with long-distance transportation.
  2. Organic or Sustainable Growing Practices: Some flower suppliers prioritize sourcing flowers that are grown using organic or sustainable methods, which minimize the use of pesticides and chemicals harmful to the environment.
  3. Packaging: The packaging used by flower suppliers can impact their eco-friendliness. Minimal, recyclable, or biodegradable packaging is more environmentally friendly compared to excessive plastic or non-recyclable materials.
  4. Cutting Practices: Some growers may follow sustainable cutting practices, such as leaving enough flowers for the plant to regenerate or using alternative materials in arrangements.
  5. Waste Management: Proper waste management practices, such as composting or recycling, can further enhance the eco-friendliness of flower suppliers.

Hopefully I can manage to fall into the local grower category in my backyard garden this year!

I’ve decided to try several varieties of flowers based on a few factors. The most important for me is choosing varieties that are easy to grow as I don’t have a lot of time to babysit finicky flowers! I also looked at timing to allow for flowers throughout the season, colour so that the flower bunches will at least sort of work with each other, and soil and light needs. And, of course, I’ve chosen some varieties that will support pollinators!

Source: Monika from Pixabay

Here is what I’ve decided to go with for this year:

  1. Sweet peas
  2. Marigolds
  3. Snapdragons
  4. Cornflowers
  5. Status
  6. Cosmos
  7. Amaranth
  8. Zinnias
  9. Echinacea
  10. Sunflowers
  11. Poppies
  12. Delphiniums
  13. Cloud grass
  14. And my favourite of all – dahlias!

The first step has been to do some garden bed preparation: a new garden bed in the front yard and lots of compost in the existing ones.

Next I’ve started preparing my seed trays and grow lights to get the seeds going and have decided to try a heat mat this year to help with germination!

The last frost date is the end of March here in Southwestern BC, so I’m trying to have some seedlings ready to go out at that time, and will directly plant some items outdoors to stagger start times and hopefully extend the growing season.

Source: Rohit Singh from Pixabay

However, I’m not totally giving up on backyard garden vegetables this year – we’ll still grow peas, beans, garlic, asparagus, arugula, and cucumbers – things we eat and generally have success with.

My yard is definitely going to look different this year!

What are your plans for a window, balcony, or yard garden in 2024?

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One Comment

  • Michelle (Boomer Eco Crusader)

    Thanks for this. We redid our deck last year so I have to give some thought to garden plans for this year. I’ve had limited success with vegetable gardening in our tree-covered, north facing garden. I would like to plant some more flowers to attract pollinators.

    Lots to think about! Our last frost date is end of May so I have time!

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