May has arrived, and, according to seed sales, a lot of people will be growing a garden this year. Looking at my own garden and the weather we have been having, now is the time to get the ball rolling. Yesterday I met with Danielle VanDalen to see what she will have available for customers when she opens for business on May 8th.

You might have met Danielle at the Pugwash Farmers Market, used her flowers in your wedding bouquets, or bought shrubs, trees, and bedding plants from her Coastal Gardens greenhouses.
Visiting her yesterday I appreciated once again how lovely it is to shop at a small business. One thing being, you are standing in one person’s dream. After ten years in business and a horticulture degree to back her up, Danielle has created a place to treat yourself to beauty and peace. Because really, how nice is it to plant a flower, or transplant a little tomato, and admire its growth. When the news is not so good, tending a garden, as small as it may be, is the best thing for the mind.

For the gardeners out there Danielle tells me she will have : tomatoes, peppers (habaneros too!), cucumbers, zucchini, pumpkin, squash, broccoli, cauliflower, swish chard, kale, lettuces, and more. In the herbs department she carries: rosemary, lavender, curry, thyme, oregano, mint, basil, sage, and chives. For first time gardeners Danielle says to pay attention to the prepping of your soil. Make sure your garden is in a well drained area. Till your soil if you have a tiller or loosen it with a pitch fork. Take all the weeds out. Add compost or broken down manure. For the ones with not much room to spare, container gardens may be an option. For that, Danielle recommends using organic potting soil.

Even if it is too early to think about tomatoes you can plant several cold loving veggies right now. Onions, peas, spinach, radishes, carrots, beets, cabbage, kale and lettuce will be able to take the cool weather. I have been cautious these past few years when transplanting my tomatoes. We’ve seen frost in June, so I try not to be too much in a hurry and I usually protect tender transplants for the first couple weeks.

Danielle stresses how important it is not to walk away once your garden is planted but rather visit for a few minutes everyday. See if that little one needs water, if those weeds are taking over, if a bug has been making those tender squash leaves supper. A garden is a wonderful place to meditate, to focus on growth and well being. As Danielle tells me : “Food is medicine. To grow food is being proactive, is taking control of your life.”

As for me I was happy to walk away with lavender, oregano, and a special gift from Danielle: Holy Basil.

Coastal Gardens is located just outside of Pugwash on route 6: find the map HERE

Starting May 8th the greenhouses will be open 7 days a week from 8am to 6pm.
Special measures will be taken for customers to shop safely. For more info or pre orders you can contact Danielle through her Coastal Gardens Facebook page HERE

Happy gardening!

Danielle with her daughter Allayna