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5 fun things to do this long weekend

Victoria Day weekend – Canada’s unofficial start of summer – is almost here. The weather is warming up, gardens are coming into their own and, sure, it might not be swimming weather quite yet, but there’s nothing stopping you from heading out to enjoy some surf and sand at your favourite beach. If you’re looking for some ways to add a bit of fun to your May long weekend, here are our top picks.

Get growing
This is prime time to get outside and make a start in the garden. You don’t need to do a full clean-up just yet (some people advise waiting till June) but definitely make the space to plant a few hardy vegetables for an early summer harvest. You don’t need much real estate to plant radishes, peas and greens – those plants are happy to go into cool soil and will deliver tasty treats right through June.

If you don’t have a backyard but you do have a balcony or deck, this is also a good time to plant up a container garden or two – consider some easy veggies, or choose plants that will support your local pollinators. Checking out local plant sales – hosted by neighbourhood associations, church groups or horticultural hobbyists – is a great way to find good deals on plants and build your own community connections, too. Look for notices on social media or local bulletin boards.

Open a (bug) hotel
One of the reasons gardening experts recommend against doing a full garden clean-up until the weather warms up is that all that detritus make a cozy home for all sorts of wildlife. If you’d like to continue to offer garden-based hospitality to nature’s creepy-crawlies, consider building a bug hotel. Perfection is not the goal, here; instead, think about creative new uses for your garden cast-offs. Bits of bamboo, bunches of sticks, piles of rocks, a terracotta pot that didn’t survive the frost…put them together in an out-of-the-way place and you’ve got yourself a bug hotel. This is a great activity to get kids involved in – especially if you pony up for a magnifying glass and an insect identification guide, too.

Try something fresh
A long weekend is the perfect time of year to rekindle your love affair with your local farmer’s market. Yes, it’s been a long winter of potatoes, cabbage and turnips, but now is the time to get back to visiting weekly to pick up local greens, fresh rhubarb, the first asparagus and other long-awaited produce. This year’s strawberries are just around the corner! And if you’re a farmer’s market die-hard who has kept up your trips all winter, maybe now is the time to try a new-to-you food – baby turnips or kohlrabi, anyone?

Cook your books
Why not do a deep dive into your cookbook collection – or choose one from the local library, a thrift shop or a yard sale – and pick a few new recipes to cook? You could plan a whole meal or just choose one recipe to try. In keeping with what’s available at the farmer’s market right now, here are a few ideas: rhubarb custard squares, “snacky” asparagus and spring greens salads.

Go exploring
There’s nothing like the May long weekend for getting outside and stretching your legs. If you’re not one of the thousands of people participating in the Blue Nose Marathon in Halifax, you’re sure to find something interesting to do elsewhere. Check out what’s going on at a Nova Scotia Museum property near you, visit a local (or not-so-local) provincial park or stay close to home and enjoy a neighbourhood scavenger hunt or a backyard campout. Wherever you end up, don’t forget to take the sunscreen and bug repellant, and keep an eye on local fire restrictions.

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