Garden season is just around the corner in the Cariboo

A local expert, the owner of Cariboo Plant Ranch, shares her gardening advice.

Tammy Briggs, owner of Cariboo Plant Ranch. (Photo submitted)

March is always exciting as the days grow longer and the weather ever-so-slowly begins to warm up. Then, finally, the first day of spring arrives and thoughts of flowers are just around the corner. While it’s too early to start planting, it’s not too early to start thinking about upcoming garden ventures.

You don’t need a green thumb to have a successful garden, nor do you need a lot of space. Many vegetables, including tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and even potatoes, do perfectly well in a container.

Tammy Briggs, the owner of Cariboo Plant Ranch, said you could even plant squash on your deck, which keeps them a bit warmer and away from the deer.

Briggs shared a few more tips for those wanting to get their gardens going this year.

Choose high-quality seeds. High-quality seeds will be dated from the previous year and sometimes their packages will show the germination rates. For example, of these 100 seeds, 70 per cent will grow (which may or may not be a great rate, depending on the type of vegetable or plant). High-quality seeds give your transplants a jumpstart, have more energy and stronger germinants, making them more likely to thrive

Fertilize your garden. Whether using organic fertilizers, compost or fertilizer out of a bag, fertilized gardens produce better and more products. They’ll look better, too.

Prune your flower

baskets and shrubs. Pruning helps enhance the growth of plants and flowers and also makes them look nicer. Some plants and flowers like to be pruned in the spring, some in the fall and others do not care. Check in with green-thumbed neighbours or your local plant shop for advice on when to prune.

Plant for the beauty. Fill your senses with the scents and visual beauty.

Briggs said she is passionate about Cariboo Plant Ranch, which she has been running in 100 Mile House for several years. “I love it all. I like the feel of the earth. I like looking at what I do. I like cooking with the herbs and the vegetables we grow.”

Even after hours, Briggs is busy gardening, testing out what works and what doesn’t work.

“I grow it, I sell it, and I grow it again because then I know that it’s a good choice for here or not and what kind of gardens work [in the Cariboo].”

As for when and where to plant, it varies depending on the elevation of where you live, how much sun or shade your yard gets and whether it’s been a wet or dry spring.

“Somewhere like here is a lower elevation and is ready to plant earlier than somewhere like Bridge Lake. So it will depend on where someone is gardening and there are usually a few neighbours around that can always guide you,” Briggs said.

“But things like potatoes can go in the ground much earlier, like the last week of April or early May. A lot of the more sensitive crops like tomatoes and cucumbers, people usually wait till the long weekend in May. That’s kind of the old rule of thumb.”

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