Sioux Lookout set to bloom with beauty this spring, summer
Tim Brody - Editor
Vibrant colours and a season of growth are ready to burst onto the scene in Sioux Lookout!
As the snow melts and temperatures warm, many area residents are turning their thoughts to getting their flower and vegetable gardens ready for another season.
Sioux Lookout Horticultural Society member Ruth Coughlin said whether community members are still developing their green thumbs, or have years of gardening experience, the society’s Facebook page is a great place to ask for advice about this year’s planting.
“It’s a little bit early, depending on what you want to start of course. Tomatoes has been the big question – you shouldn’t start them until about the middle of April because they’re going to grow too fast… you need to wait at least a couple more weeks before you start vegetables. But, if you are starting annuals or perennials, they could be started because they take a while from seed until you start getting flowers,” she said.
When buying seed packets, Coughlin said people should take note of how many days the seed they are looking for takes to grow.
“Our growing season is approximately 120 days, so you don’t want to plant seeds that take 200. Things like tomatoes and peppers are heating loving, so they do better if you don’t put them in the ground until the soil is warmer. But then there are things like peas and onions that can be planted earlier because they don’t mind the cold soil. Tomatoes do really well in pots… they do really well on a balcony or a deck,” she added.
Annuals bloom all summer long, while perennials come up year after year in spring, summer, or fall, depending on what you plant.
Coughlin said when the snow melts away and the ground thaws, people can start to prepare their garden bed by digging or tilling before they plant.
“I would do that a few weeks before. Beginning of May, middle of May. By that time the garden centres, Home Hardware, Fresh Market Foods, should be open, so if you need soil or fertilizer they will probably have it,” she added.
Most people in Sioux Lookout plant the end of May or beginning of June she said.
Another bit of advice she had was not to uncover plants too early, “Wait until the middle of May before you’re uncovering that rose bush that you’ve planted because you could get a frost.”
Kelli-Dawn Baker, Home Hardware retail store manager said the store plans to open its garden centre on the May long weekend, or possibly within a week of that depending on temperatures.
“We’ll have a mix of garden vegetables: tomatoes, cucumbers, squash. Last year we had lots of people asking for kale, so we’ll bring in some kale again this year. We’ll have annuals and a wide variety of perennials. We already have our seeds out on display. We have our starter soil on display. We have plant pots already to go,” she shared.
Home Hardware also offers a wide variety of garden tools to help residents get the job done.
Soils and fertilizers will be sold there too.
“There’s lots of people that start their seeds at home in indoor gardens,” Baker said. “You don’t want to start them too soon. I was always told when I was younger that you should always wait until the new moon in June because you’re told there’s no more frost.”
“Along with garden accessories we’ll have gazebos and chairs, deck boxes, sheds, all kinds of stuff to go along with that, so you have a place to store you tools, and all of your outdoor needs,” she added.
Ed Evens, Fresh Market Foods garden centre manager, said the store plans on opening its garden centre just before the May long weekend.
“We’ll have everything we had last year, plus some new varieties of perennials and shrubs and trees, vegetables. We had requests for eggplant and Brussels sprouts last year, so we’ll be bringing them in. We’ll have topsoil, potting soil, fertilizer. This time of year we normally start putting some gardening tools in the store. Right now we have our seeds in the store available,” he said.
Evens advised people should know the location they’re going to plant and whether it’s full sun, or part sun when considering flowers to plant. Also what type of soil they have and what the drainage is like as well,” he added.
Once those factors have been determined, he said, “A lot of it comes down to personal preference, what you’re looking for in colour, shapes, and sizes, we can assist with providing advice.”