It’s that time of year again. Gardening centres in Lethbridge are bustling with green thumbs ready to start planting.
Richard Burke, a board member for the Lethbridge and District Horticulture Society, said if you’re new to gardening, make a good plan.
“Starting small is not a bad idea,” said Burke. “Don’t think that you’re going to grow a 100 square foot garden necessarily, because it will take a lot of your time.”
With drought conditions expected to continue this summer, Burke’s advice is to find plants that can help conserve water.
“You (can) control the water yourself if you can get a timer to put on (a faucet), or you can use soaker hoses that use 70 per cent less water than if you’re top spraying,” he said.
Karen Barby, co-owner of Green Haven Garden Centre, said they broke sales records with people buying plants on Thursday.
“It’s unbelievable how many strawberry plants we’re selling,” said Barby.
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Barby has seen a steady increase in first-time gardeners since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“What we’re really happy to see is a lot of younger families are gardening now. They’ve gone back to vegetable gardens and it’s just so exciting to see,” said Barby. “Now, with grocery prices going up daily… you can still grow product that you can harvest and enjoy.”
Erin McIlwraith, pest management foreman with the City of Lethbridge, said noxious weeds are essential to watch out for.
“They have the potential to completely change the ecosystem,” said McIlwraith. “The number one thing is early detection, rapid control. If you can identify these plants, then you’re able to know what they look like and where they shouldn’t be.”
She said some common noxious weeds like Canada thistle and creeping bellflower can grow quickly and wreak havoc on your garden.
“Once they’re established, you can deal with issues of allelopathy where it can actually change the chemistry of the soil and makes it harder for native plants and desirable plants that we want to grow.”
Many apps can help identify different weeds in your garden, but McIlwraith suggests using EDDMapS Pro to track your findings.