To celebrate the beginning of spring, we ran a social media contest asking the public to submit their best gardening tips.

The top 3 tips were selected to win a gift card to a garden centre of their choice and have their tip featured in an Atlas Canada Blog. The entries poured in from all across Canada and we were truly amazed by the knowledge, expertise and even humour added to these tips. Keep reading to see what our winners had to say and check out the Atlas Canada Facebook page Atlas Canada Facebook page for more monthly contests!

Tip 1: Use Organic Waste

“I use banana peels, coffee grounds, and egg shells to grow my garden. I chop my banana peels and add them to my soil around the garden. Bananas add potassium and nitrogen to the soil and it works similar to a slow-release fertilizer. The coffee grounds I also use for blueberries and azalea flowers mostly as they love acid. The eggshells I never throw out; I let them dry, crush them and then add them to the soil for extra calcium and to prevent vegetables from Blossom rot.”
- Barb M.

Who knew kitchen waste can be such a great organic fertilizer for your garden! Aside from using banana peels, coffee grounds and egg shells, citrus fruits can also be used to keep pests away from plants. However, it is important to note not all waste is good waste. Leave out any grease, oils, meats and dairy products as it will lead to a sloppy mess.

Tip 2: Use Wildlife to Your Advantage

“When you plant carrots, wait until rabbits come around your garden. If they sniff your carrots then don’t try any, you know they’re not ready yet. If they take one out of the ground, they’re ready! Rabbits know best!”
- Olivia A.

Attracting animals to your garden isn’t always a bad thing. Animals can sense when produce is ready for picking and if plants are poisonous. Toads, bats, and lizards help decrease the population of unwanted insects. Their arrival indicates that you have a healthy ecosystem to sustain them.

Tip 3: Fish as Fertilizer

“Use fish heads to grow the biggest and best tomatoes as it provides nitrogen and calcium during decomposition. Most gardeners will use the head, but any part will work. These nutrients encourage healthy leaf and branch growth.”
-Jo-Anne P.

Other than growing the biggest and best tomatoes, fish fertilizers provide natural nutrients to soil to help grow many different kinds of crops. The best way to use the left over pieces of fish is to blend or grind the scraps, then work it into the soil. Make sure to bury it deep to avoid attracting unwanted animals. The only disadvantage about using fish fertilizer is that it can sometimes be a bit smelly!