Local gardeners got a late start to planting this year, due to rising demand for seeds across B.C. and fewer resources about to work in local warehouses because of COVID-19.
Rob Diether, a member of the Community Enhancement and Economic Development Society (CEEDS), said seeds were late arriving this year, while he had problems with his own seeding mix because he used an ingredient “that didn’t work well for me.” However, he said it looks like they are on track now for a strong planting season.
“There have been some setbacks but by and large things are on course,” Diether said as he took a break from selling his bedding plants at the South Cariboo Farmers’ Market Friday. ‘The greenhouse is full of bedding plants. Everything is organic as well.”
Diether already has lettuce plants as well as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and various squashes, much of it started at the CEEDS greenhouse at the Horse Lake Community Farm Co-op. CEEDS, incorporated in 1983, involves a small group of farmers who promoted small scale labour intensive organic agriculture in the Cariboo.
A lot of it is leading by example, Diether said, being able to demonstrate that it is possible to do this kind of agriculture in the province.
He noted most gardeners in the South Cariboo will likely have to start their seeds indoors, especially the likes of tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers. Despite the warmer temperatures outside, he added, frost can remain in the South Cariboo well into early June, depending on the elevation.
He started some of his seedlings in February, he added, particularly flower varieties that take a long time to grow but the main seeding usually starts in March.
“It’s really a good idea for gardeners not to get going too early,” Diether said. “It’s really tempting to go out and buy a bunch of bedding plants from a nursery and put them in the garden and then we have these frosts. My advice to gardeners is to hold off and wait until the soil is warm enough and the danger of frost has passed. A light frost won’t bother some things, but any crops sensitive to frost you wouldn’t want to put it out until June.”
“It’s just so hard to say but hopefully we will be fine. Hopefully, it’s not too wet and it’s not too cold and it’s not too dry.”