Monday July 28, 2014





It’s almost spring time — so let’s get growing

Keith Anderson

Art Knapp Garden Centre employee Shawn Ulmer shows seeds that can be started early in your home for a vegetable garden.

Days are starting to warm, the ground is beginning to thaw and, depending on where you live in the Kamloops area, the snow has melted off the lawn.

Spring is almost here, and that means it’s time to start thinking about getting that lawn and garden in order.

“This should be the last of the cold weather,” said Shawn Palmer, nursery supervisor for Art Knapp Garden Centre.

The cold weather yes, but the nights are still a bit too frosty to start planting. When it comes to putting seeds in the ground, Mother Nature is totally in charge, she said.

But Palmer said it’s not too early to start growing some vegetables and herbs indoors in anticipation of the pending planting season.

“It doesn’t help to put a lot of vegetables in the cold ground,” she said, adding there are many seeds that should be planted indoors now. “You need to get started on some of them now.”

Broccoli, cabbage, celery, tomatoes and peppers can all be planted inside, preferably under grow lights. She said people tend to put the pots by a window but that’s not suitable until the region gets about 16 to 18 hours of light a day. Otherwise, there’s just not enough light for the seeds to grow.

“You don’t usually get that (amount of light) until late in the season,” said Palmer.

If gardeners want to get a head start on planting, now is the time to buy seeds. Palmer said Art Knapp has a good selection of seeds that are perfect for early planting, but supplies don’t tend to last very long.

Colin Lyons, owner of Lyons Landscaping, agrees. He said now is the time to get a head start on buying seeds and whatever other supplies homeowners need to garden, prune and plant.

“We’ve got that two-month crunch time coming up,” he said, adding April and May are among the busiest months for garden centres.

“A lot of people hit the garden centre too late. If you can get your soil and seeds now, you avoid the rush. It’s a good time to get things going.”

The ground is still too frozen to aerate the lawn, but people can mulch the grass and top dress any bare patches before grass starts to grow, he said. It’s also a good time to start clearing weeds, leaves and dead heads from the garden and flowerbeds.

“Getting all the do-dads out of the way now is a good idea,” he said.

Speaking of leaves, many people clean their gutters in fall before the trees are bare. Lyons said it’s a good idea to give them a once over now in case any have collected. If the gutters aren’t cleaned, the leaves can rot and damage the metal.

“A lot of people do them in the fall and miss the leaves,” he said.

Lyons said it’s not too early to buy soil for the garden either. It might be too cold to plant, but now is a good time to get ready for planting.

He recommends a product called Sea Soil, which is rich in nutrients and perfect for growing, he said.

Last but not least, Lyons recommends green thumbs get a head start on pruning. He said below freezing temperatures won’t hurt the tree at all and getting the job done now allows more time for play when the weather gets really nice.

“When we do get those nice, sunny days you can be out enjoying it instead of working in it,” he said.


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