As a very curious outdoor enthusiast who has yet to have a backyard and garden of my own, I recently went to the Greenhouse Technicians curious to hear their best gardening tips. These are the folks at Green Iglu who help you set up your greenhouse and start growing.
It turns out our team is full of passionate gardeners… who would have thought?! I ended up knocking on the doors of my team members’ virtual offices and this is what I discovered.
Tips from Korina, Project Manager at Green Iglu:
There is no wrong wayto plan your garden. Some people like neat rows, some people prefer the 1sq foot method. It's up to you on how you would like your garden to look.
Expect failure. Not everything you plant will survive. Start with easy to grow items like zucchini and cucumbers.
Read the seed packet and plant companion plants. It really does help!
Plant a variety of seeds. Try new things!
Talk to neighbours, set up a trade system for produce and share the abundance.
REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE. You don't need to spend a fortune to grow a garden. Plant potatoes in old tires… Use untreated pallets for raised beds, compost bins or even trellis.
Tips from Tara, Operations Manager at Green Iglu:
Start small. One or two plants in a window sill or in your yard count, and are easier to start with than a 20x20 plot.
Use timers and calendars to help you remember. You don’t have to just “know” when your plant is ready for the next step.
Try, try again. It takes time to develop the muscle memory and habit of taking care of plants, but the end result is worth it.
You can forage for a lot of things as well. Many cities have clover, borage and sorrel growing in green spaces, and these are all edible.
Tips from Rosie, Research Assistant and Enterprise Community Technician at Green Iglu:
Plant extra. If you have too much, you can share!
ADD MORE FLOWERS. They bring pollinators and they feed your soul, which is just as important! If your garden is beautiful, you will want to spend more time in it and it will get weeded and cared for more!
Every year will have failures and you are totally not alone in that. Just keep trying!
Aphids happen. Especially in greenhouses. They aren't great for the plant if they get out of control but you don't need to panic. Hose the plants off frequently and take other measures only if they get out of control.
You and your growing ecosystem and even each season are unique. Everyone will have opinions but you are allowed to do it your own way and learn as you go.
Tips from Kateri, Greenhouse Technician at Green Iglu:
Not all plants love sunlight, there are some that prefer being in the shade. Try planting tall, sun-loving plants next to short, shade loving plants.
It's best to prune your bushes and fruit trees on warm, dry days to prevent fungal infections and disease.
Sterilize your pruning equipment before and after pruning. Rubbing alcohol will do the trick.
Pepper plants are perennials in the right conditions! Keep them from freezing over the winter and you can use the same plant each year.
Tips from Raygan, Executive Director at Green Iglu:
Save seeds. A friend of mine used to save seeds everywhere she lived and then each new seed had a piece of each place she had lived. She died very young, but all her friends got some of her seeds and got to take a piece of her with them
Seed bomb. Use local flower seeds (ones you've saved) and keep them in your pocket or bag to beautify the lonely looking parts of your town.
Don't be afraid to thin your plants. A friend of mine in the Arctic said thinning plants made her "ticklish", which I think sums it up pretty nicely.
Grow what you need + minimum 20% extra to share with your friends and community
Learn to dehydrate, freeze and can your garden delights properly. Tasting those fruits and veggies in the middle of a cold, harsh winter makes all the work worthwhile!
I was surprised by how unique all of the responses were. This goes to show how experimentative gardening is. So when things go wrong, take it as an opportunity to learn and add to your own library of fun gardening hacks! Looks like I’ve started my library before even having a garden…
I’m proud to be a part of a team that practices what they preach, and so generously shares their knowledge. Because when one person’s garden is flourishing, it benefits all of us.
Greenhouse Gardening Education & Food Security
The education we offer at Green Iglu is at the very heart of what we do and why we do it. By providing support and knowledge to communities, we can tackle the issues of food insecurity head-on. A greenhouse build simply would not be complete without the ones running it having all the resources needed to grow everything their heart desires!
This year, we had the opportunity to partner with an industry leader, Relay Education, to level up the way we share knowledge. With their Green Skills Academy, together we developed a full textbook complete with quizzes, workshops, and video lessons that covers each aspect of greenhouse gardening – growing basics, plant care, greenhouse planning and layout, hydroponics, garvesting, end of season practices, community engagement, and more.
We also have our Community Portal, where you can access a community forum, education lessons, video resources, and so much more. Our education material is designed to be informative, fun, and encourages you to add more locally grown food to your life. To inquire about all the education packages available, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for taking the time to learn with us today and for giving our team the opportunity to support you in your growing journey. Let us know if you make use of any of the tips above. We would love to hear from you about your experience!
Green Iglu is a not-for-profit organization that launched in 2013 and became a registered charity in 2019. We build greenhouse infrastructure and offer remote communities tailored training that embraces culture, working towards food sovereignty in Canada. Be sure to check out our FAQ page to see if we have answered any of your questions.
LAND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT Green Iglu recognizes that our Red Deer office is situated on Treaty 7 land, the traditional territory of the Blackfoot, Tsuu T’ina and Stoney Nakoda peoples. The region also falls under Treaty 6, traditional Métis, Cree and Saulteaux territory. We are also grateful to be invited to other territories with their own jurisdictions.