Year of the Garden Resources

Year-of-the-Garden---father-with-son-in-wheelbarrow

Below you will find links to many fantastic Year of the Garden resources. We have grouped them by season and then, within each season they are grouped by theme. We encourage you to visit the web pages and get involved in gardening!

Be sure to visit Red Deer Public Library's Year of the Garden website for more information.

Summer

Planning your yard

Naturescaping is using smart design and specific plants to reduce the environmental impact of your yard while still creating a beautiful, usable space. Use these real examples from Red Deer residences:

Consider using plants that are native to the area. They will be suited to the climate and therefore more likely to thrive. See resources from the Alberta Native Plant Council.

Learn about biodiversity and why it is important in this Primer on Urban Biodiversity (pdf).

Learn how to start and maintain a community garden.

 

Food
  • Centre for Urban Agriculture teaches people how to grow healthy and delicious food in their own yards, demonstrating that high yields and low maintenance can go hand in hand.
  • Food Garage is a demonstration project located in Red Deer that shows how to turn everyday detached garages into food growing, rainwater harvesting, and renewable energy-generating systems.
  • Alberta Farm Fresh’s query tool can connect you to local farms that sell vegetables, berries and fruit, bedding plants, perennials, herbs, flowers, meats, poultry, eggs, wines, meads, and other specialty items.
  • Tips on how to manage common vegetable pests and ideas for keeping animals out of your garden. Also see The City's Living with Wildlife page.
Red Deer Public Library

See everything RDPL has to offer for Year of the Garden: www.rdpl.org/garden

Community Seed Library: Red Deer Public Library is partnering with ReThink Red Deer to start a Community Seed Library.  We need twenty members to start growing the seed library.  You will commit to attending two workshops (first one is May 28) where ReThink Red Deer will share how to grow and save seeds, then you will receive vegetable and flower seeds to sow this spring.  If you would like to share your gardening skills, newly acquired or through seasons of experience, with your community please register by contacting programs@rdpl.org.

Lit Line: Call the Lit line at 403-342-9100 throughout May for the gardening tip of the day.

Kit to Go: Yellow Zucchini Seedling. This kit will get you growing with a zucchini seedling contained in a peat pot which will go straight into the ground or into a container without disturbing tender young roots. Register online for this kit. Available starting Monday, June 6

Kit to Go: Celebrate Garden Day! Celebrate the Year of the Garden by planting red in your garden. We will get you started with a packet of red flower seeds, a list of gardening books to borrow from the library and a craft for making a twiggy garden gnome. Available starting Saturday, June 18.

Community Resources

Spring

Winter

How to Safely Use Salt for Traction Control

Use salt sparingly. Salt can be a powerful de-icer on walkways. But it can also have negative consequences when used improperly. Salt affects:

  • Vegetation: plants, trees and shrubs of all kinds can be affected by salt. It affects soil health too.
  • Animals: salt can irritate pets’ paws. It can attract wildlife, increasing the threat of collisions with vehicles. It also changes water density, which can affect aquatic animals such as birds, fish and frogs.
  • Water bodies: salt in meltwater makes its way into our rivers, creeks and other water bodies that we use for drinking water and recreation.
  • Infrastructure: salt can damage bricks, concrete, sidewalks, flooring, vehicles, etc.

Salt includes all products with "chloride", such as calcium chloride, magnesium chloride or sodium chloride. It can be marketed as ice melt, pet friendly, environmentally friendly or natural but if it melts ice it most likely contains chloride and has negative effects if overused.

How to safely use salt

  1. Prevent ice. Direct downspouts away from walkways, ensure eaves don’t drip on walkways and keep storm drains clear. Shovel snow to places where meltwater is more likely to soak into the ground than melt onto walkways.
  2. Shovel soon and shovel well. Snow left on the sidewalk will be packed down and become icy.
  3. Treat ice patches. Remove ice with a steel ice chopper and create traction with sand or non-clumping kitty litter. Between 0 oC and -10 oC use salt to melt ice by applying it according to package instructions. Use salt only on icy areas; in most cases about one tablespoon of salt for a one-metre square area is all you need. Give salt time to do its work, then scrape away the ice.

Manage expectations. Salt will not make snow and ice disappear. It makes ice easier to remove but will not magically expose bare walkways. More is not better.

Use free sand. Residents and business owners can pick up free sand to help with ice control on their walkways. The sandbox is located outside of The City’s Civic Yards at the approach about 50 metres north of the main gate (at the intersection of 77 Street and 40 Avenue). Bring your own pail and shovel.

Scoop up salt and throw it away once the ice melts. What’s leftover can still harm plants, animals, water bodies and infrastructure. Scoop up what’s left and put it in the garbage.

Be skeptical of environmentally friendly claims. Some manufacturers use calcium magnesium acetate to coat salt and claim it’s less damaging. But when the coating melts off what's left is salt. Also, salt is a natural product but still can be harmful when not used properly so claims of “100% natural” are not meaningful.

Be skeptical of pet friendly claims. Consumer Reports couldn’t confirm that “pet-safe” ice melts are safer for pets. They suggest leading pets through a water-filled pan at the entry to your home to wash away irritants.

Use a fertilizer dispenser to help lightly and evenly distribute salt around needed areas.

Use non-clumping kitty litter for traction control. Clumping kitty litter containing bentonite clay can get mushy and messy once saturated.

Print and post this Snow and Ice Clearing Guide (pdf):

 

Rain/freezing rain

Snowing

Drifting Snow

0 oC to -10 oC

Treat slippery surfaces. Lightly sprinkle salt. Wait for product to melt through then scrape away ice.

Shovel accumulated snow. Apply sand for traction or treat slippery sections with salt and remove ice.

Shovel accumulated snow. Salt may cause blowing snow to stick. Avoid salt if possible.

Colder than -10 oC

Not applicable.

Shovel. Use sand for traction. Salt is not effective at these temperatures.

Adapted from www.smartaboutsalt.com and www.consumerreports.org.

Winter Yard Care

These tips will help ensure your plants are in their best possible condition for spring.

Protect from hungry critters. Mice, rabbits, voles, deer, and porcupines can all cause life-threatening damage to plants in the winter when they feed on twigs, bark, and stems. First reduce areas of habitat, for example by tramping down snow around fruit tree trunks. Use physical barriers to prevent them from getting to the plants, such as wire mesh or plastic trunk guards. Make sure there are no gaps that animals could crawl under, and that lower branches are protected 45-60 cm (18-24 inches) above the snow line. Repellents that make the plant taste bad can also help.

Avoid walking on grass. Consistent foot traffic across the lawn during winter will damage it.

Use snow as an insulator. Cover plants with snow to protect them from sun, wind, and cold. Do not use heavy spring snow to do this.

Protect trees from winter wind and sun. Prop pine boughs or Christmas tree greens against or over evergreens to protect them. See tips from the University of Minnesota for tips on your specific trees.

Protect from heavy snow loads and ice storms. If branches are bending under the weight of a heavy snowfall gently brush it away rather than shaking limbs, which may cause them to break. Don't try to remove ice after an ice storm.

Maintain yard equipment. Take the opportunity to sharpen mower blades, pruning tools and other lawn tools.

Benefits of Year of the Garden

There is evidence that gardening, urban forests and being outside have a myriad of health and social benefits.

Consider gardening as a tool in your mental health toolbox.

Grants

Grants are available to help achieve community gardening goals.

Gro for Good - deadline February 28, 2022 but only first 300 applications will be accepted

Winter Pruning

Late winter is a great time to prune most trees, when they are still fully dormant but the worst of winter has passed. Avoid pruning in the spring when your tree is budding and developing leaves, as this can be stressful for it. The exceptions are birch and maple, which should be pruned in July and August when they are in full leaf. Always use proper pruning practices, such as those recommended by Trees Are Good.