Ready…Set…Grow

Time to start planning the garden season says local expert

Berta Briggs

No matter what Alberta’s spring weather sends your way, it is never too early to start planning for gardening season.

Organization and preparation were just two of the tips Berta Briggs, founder of Arber Greenhouses Ltd., talked about during a gardening presentation she gave at the Wetaskiwin Public Library on April 25.

Being in the library, with limited space available, Briggs first talked about container gardening before moving to topics such as composting and outdoor beds.

Not limited just to small pots, container gardening has grown to include living walls and rooftop gardening and other innovative ways to flex that green thumb.

As with any gardening, soil quality is important with container gardening. “You want quite a light soil if you’re in a container,” said Briggs.

Gardening soil should not be overly sandy or compacted, as plants need water, oxygen, and organic matter to thrive.

“When it comes to organic matter compost is gold,” said Briggs. Compost can contain a mixture of dirt, yard waste, kitchen waste and animal waste.

Briggs says more successful composters keeps a balance between green and brown matter, as well as churn the compost often.

With the region’s lower temperatures, Briggs says sometimes garden dirt is needed when starting a compost to get the micro-organism bacteria growing. “You need the green and the brown.”

When asked about chicken waste, Briggs told the audience it is a good option for gardens; however, chicken waste needs to age two to three years in compost before being applied to a garden due to how hot it is.

With container gardening, potting soil can be combined with top soil to add nutrients and organic matter. But adding too much will make the soil hard and compact, and insufficient to use for hanging baskets.

Container gardening plants only need about eight to 10 inches of soil for their root systems. If using a larger pot the bottom can be filled with styrofoam or another light packing material. Briggs says this helps keep the container light for mobility and increases drainage for the plant.

To avoid overcrowding in container gardening a gardener’s best course of action is to read the tag stating how much room each plant needs. Briggs says plants are being bred more aggressively than in the past, and therefore need more room to grow without competing with other plants nearby.

“Also, cutting back is so important with container gardens,” said Briggs. Whenever the plants are fertilized a few stems should be trimmed to promote new growth.

When deciding what to plant, whether inside or outdoors, Briggs says there are many options and choices should be considered ahead of time. “Wintertime is the time to do armchair gardening.”

“There’s loads of catalogs, loads of magazines,” she added.

While they can be grown indoors, Briggs says herbs love the sunshine that comes with being grown outside.

Like container gardens, herbs also need regular trims. The trimmings can be dried or frozen in ice cubes or oil cubes for cooking.

Briggs explained root crops such as carrots, turnips, radish and spinach can be planted in the fall for a head start on spring gardening.

Arber Greenhouses annual Ladybug Release Party is scheduled for May 7 at 11 a.m.

 

Just Posted

Is it time for your mammogram?

Screen Test is coming to Maskwacis on October 15 and 16, and… Continue reading

Man pointed firearm around Wetaskiwin Circle K store Sept. 14

Wetaskiwin RCMP investigate firearms offences

Mulhurst Bay revitalization project discussed Aug. 13

Three phase project includes price tag over $900,000

Cow feeding economics for the 2019-20 winter season

Keep in mind prrice and availability of feed

Boat and trailer purchase necessary, hears county council

Several departments needed a better boat says CAO

VIDEO: Liberals make child care pledge, Greens unveil platform on Day 6 of campaign

Green party leader Elizabeth May unveils her party’s platform in Toronto

Alberta spends $3M to hire 30 nurse practitioners for remote areas

Province has 600 nurse practitioners, but minister says most work in hospitals or outpatient clinics

Rick Mercer calls out Conservative candidate in B.C. for fake meme

‘Not true. All fake. Please Stop,’ tweeted Rick Mercer in response

Sylvan Lake man charged with wife’s murder

Satnam Singh Sandhu, 41, will appear in Red Deer Provincial Court on Sept. 18

National weather forecasters predict average fall, cold winter

The Weather Network says precipitation will about average in most parts of Canada

Conservatives promise tax cut that they say will address Liberal increases

Scheer says the cut would apply to the lowest income bracket

Fewer trees, higher costs blamed for devastating downturn in B.C. forestry

Some say the high cost of logs is the major cause of the industry’s decline in B.C.

Most Read