Anytime is a great time to restock your gardening supplies. Here is a list of items you should have on hand before you run out.
Is your garden shed/greenhouse/garage filled with empty containers of fertilizer, dried up bottles of some unknown liquid, broken pots and missing supplies?
Do you start every spring realizing that you’re missing some important supplies and have to run out to the nursery or garden centre?
Do you make do and wonder why your plants are not thriving because you ran out of fertilizer early in the growing season and keep forgetting to buy more?
Even if you think you have a good handle on what is on hand, do you really want to find out just as you’re eagerly seeding that you’ve run out of potting soil?
The list below is a selection of important gardening supplies you’ll want to stock up on so that you’re ready to tackle next year’s growing season well prepared. You may not need everything depending on what you grow.
Pest and Weed Control
- Dormant Spray: This is the only thing I spray onto my fruit trees when they are dormant as it is considered to be an organic control (it simply smothers the pests instead of using a toxic chemical). Dilute according to the directions on the bottle.
- Soapy Water: While you can make this up anytime you need it, it is handy to have a spray bottle ready to go at the first sign of aphids. Recipe: 2 tablespoons liquid soap (preferably environmentally friendly) into 1-gallon water.
- Eggshells: Rinse out empty eggshells well, let them dry and then crush them up. Sprinkle around young plants to deter slugs and snails (they don’t like to crawl over the sharp shards)
- Vinegar: excellent weed killer. Mix with very hot water and pour on weeds (Avoid getting it on the plants you want to keep!)
- Copper tape, pennies or mesh: Use as a slug and snail deterrent. They don’t like crawling over it as it induces an electrical charge.
- Mulch: Suppresses weeds and also helps to retain moisture. You can buy it in bags for convenience but if you need a lot, order it by the truck-full.
- Cloches: These are season extenders and can allow you to plant earlier than your last frost date. Many kinds available.
- Row cover: These also can be used as season extenders. Or used to keep aphids and cabbage loopers away from your brassicas (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, etc.). Also you may need some shade cloth to drape over plants in the heat of the summer.
More info is available in this post on why you need plant protection.
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- Rhodo fertilizer: If you have rhododendrons, azaleas or camelias you may need this to give your bushes a boost. Usually a liquid fertilizer that you mix with water.
- Fish fertilizer: Made from waste fish. Some brands say they are odour-free but they all smell like rotten fish. Dilute with water. Great for tomatoes (and no, your tomatoes won’t taste like fish if you apply as instructed!)
- Seaweed fertilizer: Made from seaweed. A nicer smell than fish fertilizer. Dilute with water. Great for leafy vegetables.
- Granular fertilizer: Preferably get an organic mix. Slower acting than the liquid fertlizers but great to add to a planting hole before you plant seeds or transplants. You can also side-dress your plants as they grow. Organic usually won’t burn plants but good to mix it in with the soil a bit and water it in.
Plant Supports and ID
- Plant tags or labels: There are many styles of tags/labels available. I use cut up sections of old venetian blinds. Some people use popsicle sticks. Or if you have children you can make these cute plant labels. You can also buy plastic plant tags.
- Twine: To tie up plants to stakes, trellises, etc.
- Stakes: You need good sturdy stakes that won’t break under the weight of a plant. This can also include simple stakes, tomato cages and other specific supports such as for peonies.
- Lime: If your soil is naturally acidic, you may have to sweeten it up for certain plants to thrive. Brassicas especially need alkaline soil. Dolomite lime is preferred.
- Mushroom compost: This you can also purchase in bags or in bulk. Great to mix into the soil of container plants.
- Worm castings: Yes, this is worm poop! Again great for containers or if you’re transplanting vegetables into your garden.
- Potting soil: A good quality, moisture-retentive sterilized potting soil for starting seeds and for container plants. I would buy the one without added fertilizer.
- Pots: Square pots are most space efficient but circular ones will work too. For starting seeds and repotting transplants.
- Trays: To avoid getting water everywhere when you water your pots. You can get trays designed to hold a certain number of pots or just use whatever you can find such as well-washed styrofoam meat trays or take out containers.
- Seeds: Store them where where they are protected from critters that might eat them and can stay cool; I store mine in the fridge.
Now it’s time for you to go out to your garden shed, greenhouse or garage and check what gardening supplies you have and what you need to buy. Don’t procrastinate on this as you want to be ready for spring!
If you enjoyed this article, have something to add or have any questions, please leave a comment below.
Wishing you all the best!
Tranquil Garden Urban Homestead, Victoria, BC