Gardening in Calgary

Gardening in Calgary is not for the faint of heart!

Calgary experiences all four seasons in full force. Our Springs are wet, our summers scorching, our falls blistery, and our winters freezing. In the regular gardening season that spans from Spring-early Fall, we often experience every single type of weather: heat waves, snowstorms, hail and more. Frankly, we can experience all those types of weather in just one day! These conditions make gardening challenging; but not impossible. 

So, how can you successfully garden in Calgary? Here are the steps:

  1. Invest in good soil. Kath Smyth, a horticulturist with the Calgary Horticultural Society, tells Avenue Calgary, "Soil is the foundation of any good garden. Compost to create soil that is healthy. Once you have healthy soil you get better disease resistance, stronger roots on your plants and stronger growth patterns on the top where the leaves are.”
  2. Do your research on what types of flowers, vegetables and fruits will have the best chance in our city's climate; and in your particular garden. Just because a plant looks pretty, doesn't mean it will thrive in your space. Pay attention to a plant's durability in cold snaps, how much sunlight it needs, and how much space it needs from other plants. 
  3. Brace yourself for trial and error. There is no perfect formula for gardening, no matter where you are located. Take notes on your process: when you planted what, where it was located, how quickly it bloomed, how long it lived, etc. This way you can adjust as needed for future years, until you have the perfect game plan for your garden. 

Still unsure where to start? For flowers, we recommend lilacs.The city is full of lilac bushes that come into full bloom in June. These plants are durable and grow quickly! For fruit, start with a raspberry brush. Like lilacs, these grow quickly and are durable. Plus, as you pick raspberries, more will grow in their place. For vegetables, you can't go wrong with peas!

Have fun with it, and remember to go easy on yourself (and your garden)!

(Photo created via Canva)

Posted by Ken Richter on


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