LETHBRIDGE, AB – The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly resulted in a boom in new hobbyists while we’re all stuck at home.

If you’re planning to take your interests outdoors this spring and try your hand at gardening, owner of Broxburn Vegetables and Cafe, Paul de Jonge, has some tips for a successful growing season.

He says the soil in this region is suitable for a wide variety of veggies, but controlling your watering technique is key. “Start off by incorporating potting soil or compost, so it’s not so heavy [in] clay,” de Jonge tells our newsroom. “You can squeeze some dirt, and if it forms a bit of a ball then it’s got some moisture. If doesn’t, then it’s too dry. When it’s muddy, then it’s too wet.”

He also notes that you shouldn’t be too anxious to get planting outside quite yet.

“We have already planted strawberries, onions, and they can easily handle a couple degrees of frost. But, the crops that are super sensitive, so that’s pumpkins and squash, they cannot handle any frost. You just have to wait until you feel that it’s frost-free, and they often talk about the May long weekend.”

Healthy plants should have lush, green leaves, but pale leaves, according to de Jonge, can signal a lack of soil nutrients or water.

In regard to weeds, he suggests plucking them by hand when they’re small, and to avoid using chemicals in your home garden for the best results.