row of potted starter plants

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When to Start Planting Your Garden in Calgary

With spring finally on the horizon, many residents of Calgary have been gearing up for their favourite outdoor activity – gardening! If you’ve been looking to get the most out of your new backyard in Wolf Willow, growing a garden could be your next hobby.

There are many benefits to growing your own garden. Gardening is an amazing activity everyone can enjoy, no matter your age. It can be a really fun project to engage the whole family in and learn about sustainability along the way. Not only do you get the mental and physical benefits from spending time outside, but you’ll also take pride in eating your freshly grown produce. Plus, for those looking for a way to reduce the grocery bill these days, planting a vegetable garden can be a very effective way to cut down on food costs.

a grid of sprouting starter plants

Starting a garden in Calgary

Before you grab your trowels or head to the nearest garden centre, we have a few friendly tips to keep in mind if you’re just starting out. First, you need to find out your grow zone. Second, you need to know when it’s the proper time to start planting. Then it’s time to make your shopping list!

Know your grow zone

A big part of having a successful garden is knowing your grow zone. Also known as a plant hardiness zone, this helpful map can help you determine what kind of plants will survive and thrive in your area.

If you’ve been gardening for a while now, you’ll know that in 2016, Calgary changed from zone 3b to 4a. Zone 4a can be quite challenging, as we have long, hot summer days, a shorter growing season, and a cold winter. This also means when choosing your perennial plants, make sure they can safely survive through winter when the minimum temperature range is -34.4° C to -31.7° C. But with enough determination, you can have a bountiful garden year after year.

map of the grow zones for canada

Know your sow times

There are two important date ranges to keep in mind for planting in Calgary. The first date range is when to start your seedlings indoors. Depending on the vegetable, most experts recommend doing this between March 14 and March 28, though some can be started later.

As your seedlings begin to sprout and grow inside, you might be tempted to transfer them outside, but don’t be too hasty! The best time to plant outdoors is when the ground has thawed and frost doesn’t appear overnight, which typically happens around May long weekend (May 23).

Some hardier plants can be sown directly outside in April, as long as the ground is no longer frozen.

How to plan your garden

There are many mobile apps, online resources, and local groups on social media available to help you plan and maintain your garden. Not only will you find information on how to properly grow your vegetables, some will also help plan your garden layout! You can also visit your local greenhouse and chat with the experts that work there to ensure you’re set up for success.

For some inspiration, check out these tips from the Calgary Horticultural Society and the City of Calgary on how to get your garden started.

front yard landscaping in wolf willow

Best produce to grow in Calgary

Deciding which fruits and vegetables to grow is entirely up to what you and your family like to eat, or what you feel comfortable with. While not an exhaustive list, some produce that grows well in Calgary are:

  • Beans
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Herbs
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Onions
  • Peas
  • Potatoes
  • Radishes
  • Raspberries
  • Saskatoon Berries
  • Squash
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Zucchini
freshly grown radishes from the garden

Garden supplies near Wolf Willow

We’re lucky to have a few garden supply stores close to Wolf Willow. Spruce It Up Garden Centre is the closest to our community, and it’s open year-round. It’s located on Macleod near Walden and Legacy, and it’s only a short 8 minute drive away.

Or if you’re in the Shawnessy area, Home Depot and Walmart will have their garden centres open once the weather warms up, which are a 10 and 15 minute drive away, respectively.

We hope you enjoy planting your garden this spring and look forward to seeing your bountiful work!

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