Gardening season about to bloom

·3 min read

They say April showers bring May flowers and although the city did not get a significant amount of rain last month, Lethbridge is still ready to blossom.

Traditionally, the May long weekend marks the start of the gardening season in Canada and this year should be no different.

While the nights are still cool, some flora can be planted in pots or raised flower beds already, with in-ground gardening right around the corner.

Karen Barby, the manager of Green Haven Garden Centre, says her store has begun to see an influx of shoppers preparing for the season, primarily in their greenhouses.

“The first ones they start to look at in the greenhouses to get motivated are the bedding out plants. Those are the plants that are the flowers and the vegetables that you actually put into your pots or gardens and flowerbeds,” said Barby.

However, she warns people to be cautious when growing certain plants in the current weather.

“You really have to watch your nighttime temperatures, sensitive plants would be like peppers, tomatoes, eggplants, those types of plants,” said Barby.

She says it is important to look for warmer nights before leaving your plants outside.

“Minimum six above at night, eight to 10 is even better,” said Barby.

However, for people itching to start their garden early, Barby says you can still work around the chilly temperatures.

“They can either cover them at night, because in a raised bed or raised pot it stays warmer for longer, or they can also bring them into a garage or something like that,” said Barby.

She says you can begin preparing your outside garden now, but waiting to fully commit until May-long weekend is probably the safest bet.

“Anything that’s not above ground, the seed can get planted,” said Barby.

She says May-long weekend is not just the regular starting point in Lethbridge, but all of Canada.

“Traditionally, across Canada, the chance of it freezing at nighttime is usually very much diminished. So, then they consider it safe to plant those plants that would be susceptible to frost,” said Barby.

The specific date which she says is known to commonly be considered safe is May 24.

She says the biggest question her staff receive regularly is always related to soil and what to do with it.

“Lethbridge soil is a heavy clay soil, so you’ve got to start with good soil. Containers need a different kind of soil than ground soil and just getting those garden beds ready with the right soil makes all the difference in the world,” said Barby.

Furthermore, she says people who do not plant on May-long are still able to get on board, without missing out.

“You still are not too late if you’re doing a lot of things at the end of May, first week in June. You haven’t missed the boat if you haven’t been able to get all of your gardening in. It can all be done in a week or two,” said Barby.

For those seeking an assortment of plants, flowers, vegetables, trees and shrubs, gardening centres will have your back.

However, those wishing to plant cannabis will need to visit a registered cannabis facility, as licensing laws do not allow garden centres to sell those products.

“That is something that is regulated, so you have to get the plants, the seeds, all of that through the cannabis retailers,” said Barby.

The recent rainfall could bode well for green thumbs in the city, with May-long approaching rapidly.

Justin Sibbet, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Lethbridge Herald