Local garden centres are preparing for another bumper crop of gardeners this spring.
Last year during the opening stages of the pandemic, gardening exploded in popularity as people in lockdown looked for a socially distant outdoor activity. This year gardening centres are expecting a similar surge of interest and have begun planting their wares this month.
At the Horse Lake Garden Centre Roger Stratton and his staff are getting ready to officially open to the public on March 15. From March to September, he said they sell everything from seeds to fertilizer, flowers to vegetable plants and everything else related to gardening
“We’ve made an assumption that interest is going to be the same or similar (to last year). So we’ve ramped up the number of plants that we’re planting and vegetables that we’re doing,” Stratton said, adding that overall they’ve ordered more supplies than usual.
Most of the vendors Stratton buys seeds, fertilizer and cuttings from are all short on supply right now, only further reinforcing his hunch demand will be high this spring. Some of the shortages of cuttings, however, were caused by the recent cold snap Texas experienced which caused some growers to lose 25 percent of their starting plants. As he tends to order his supplies early in October, Stratton said he should be ok.
Stratton said 2020 worked out fine for them, as despite COVID-19 concerns, the centre ended up getting bought out early. Typically he said their stock lasts until at least June but that last year they were largely cleaned out by May.
Stratton said the greenhouses will be closed to the public until at least the second week of April while his staff continue to plant and cultivate their product. The main store will be open for those looking to purchase seeds and other gardening supplies.
However, Stratton advises that those looking to try their hand at gardening this year exercise a bit of patience. When it comes to gardening, you have to plan for mother nature.
“Don’t start too early. You’ve got to remember if you’re planting anything outside you need the ground to be about 10C, you need warmth. If you’re starting in the house that’s fine but you don’t have to start too early,” Stratton said. “Look at the time it takes for the plant to either fruit and flower then back it up from there.”
He also advises prospective gardeners to not overplant and instead carefully manage the space available to plant. Starting small and getting used to the climate before ramping up is the best thing to do, Stratton said.