Helpful tips for anxious Saskatchewan gardeners
Garlic and peas are OK to plant now. Tomatoes and cucumbers will have to wait
Rick vanDuyvendyk can see it in the eyes of his customers. They are ready to play in the dirt.
VanDuyvendyk is the owner of Dutch Growers Garden Centre in Saskatoon. He said with all the recent sunshine and warm temperatures in the province, now is a great time to prepare your garden.
"People are anxious to get into the ground and start going. And you know, you can. You can start planting garlic into the ground and some of the more hardy seeds like peas."
That's not to say everything in a gardener's repertoire should be planted this early. VanDuyvendyk warns it's still too early to plant tomatoes and cucumbers.
However, there are steps people can take now to prepare those plants for the season.
"You can go and purchase tomatoes and cucumbers from the garden centre and then you have to start hardening them off. That means putting them out during the day and then bringing them in if it gets below plus three degrees."
VanDuyvendyk said if you do that for a week, your plants will be ready for the garden.
Cantaloupes and watermelons
There is also plenty of work to do when it comes to lawn care. Raking, fertilizing and getting your water set up are three things vanDuyvendyk says can be done as soon as this weekend.
He also offered some advice when it comes to getting soil ready for the season.
"You can definitely start rototilling in most gardens," he said. "And, especially for the hard soils in both Saskatoon and Regina, you can put some gypsum in your soil or even some bark mulch. This will help break up that hard soil."
What you end up planting in your garden is, of course, up to you.
But vanDuyvendyk smiled when asked what he's recommending to gardeners this year.
"Try a cantaloupe or a watermelon," he suggested, adding that people can get them started indoors.
"Put them in a pot [then] put them outside in the May long weekend. Once you get to September, cover them with a frost blanket. Two weeks into September, you'll have watermelons that are 17 pounds."