Backyard Gardening

'Living off the land' is part of our heritage. Growing our own food is something Canadians have been doing for centuries. Gardening isn't just a pastime of homeowners with large yards: no matter where you live, almost anything can be grown in a container. Whether you keep it simple and just grow herbs or you try something more adventurous like tomatoes, growing your own food is incredibly rewarding. We'd like to share these three keys to successful container gardening.

1. Choose your right containers.
For beginners, some materials are easier to work with than others. Cheap plastic containers will deteriorate and break apart when exposed to the sun. They are not meant for longevity. Terracotta pots will require more watering because they dry out easier, but they are more durable. You might choose glazed ceramic pots or a salvaged container, like an old bucket - just make sure to drill drainage holes in the bottom. Finding the right containers for your needs can be tricky and you have to consider where you will put the containers. Have fun experimenting!

2. Plan your planting.
Placement of your containers depends on the vegetables you are growing. Some plants need full sun, and others prefer a mix of sun and shade. You should always check the planting information that accompanies the seeds or seedling. The wonderful thing about container gardening is that you can move pots to the optimal positing for the sun. If you planting a variety of vegetables like green and tomatoes, be sure to put the taller plants in the back.

3. Water regularly, and then water again.
Growing food in containers means that you'll need to water more often than the rest of your garden. Likely, you will water daily - especially during heat waves. Each time you water, keep going until you see water coming out the drainage holes at the bottom of your pot. Stop at this point so the soil isn't left in standing water. This will ensure a generous drink. If watering daily is not possible then you must get self-watering containers. They have a reservoir at the bottom to keep your plants moist for a few days at a time.

Bacon Broccoli Pasta Salad

This is a great pasta salad to make for the weekend, camping or to bring to a neighbourhood potluck. You can use any of your favourite pastas. In this recipe we recommend cheese tortellini. Trust us, you won't have any leftovers of this!
Special Ingredients:

  • 2 (9 ounce) packages refrigerated
    three-cheese tortellini
  • 1 pound bacon
  • 4 cups chopped broccoli
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 cup bottled coleslaw dressing
Makes 10 servings.

Preparation:

  1. Cook the tortellini according to directions. Once drained, refrigerate until cool (about 30 minutes).

  2. Cook the bacon in a large deep skillet until evenly browned (about 10 minutes). Drain excess fat and place bacon on a paper towel-lined plate. Chop the bacon into 1/2-inch pieces while still a little warm.

  3. Place the pasta, bacon, broccoli, tomatoes, and green onions into a salad bowl. Toss lightly with the dressing so that all ingredients are evenly coated. Chill in refrigerator before serving. edges.

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