Summer Is Here

Summer Is Here

May Long Weekend is the weekend for gardening here in Central Alberta. It’s when we’re pretty much guaranteed not to have to worry about frosts anymore, and people go absolutely crazy. My mom and I got a jump on some last minute plants and garden supplies yesterday and it was already getting busy, even though the long weekend doesn’t start until tomorrow (oh I feel for those working at garden centres as I did in my 20s!).

Normal temperatures don’t apply this summer, and I’ve been hardening off my plants for about two weeks now. Normally I’m bringing them back in and out overnight for the first week, but after the first few days, I’ve been leaving them out full time, letting them get more used to the full, hot sun and temperatures we’ve been having. There was an incident with a hail storm and me frantically pulling my tiny starts back inside on day one, but other than that and a few minor burns, everything has gone quite smoothly. I started planting out some dye plants, and several seed varieties have gone in already. The turnips, beets, Slocan Snow Peas, and onions are doing great. Beans I’m still waiting on to come up, and my carrots have been suspiciously quiet. I’m starting to think they might not come up at all, but I’ll give them another week. If not, I’ll plant some beans in that spot instead (I’ll dig through the bank and see what needs growing out and stick those in there).

I also added a ‘Boyne’ Raspberry and a ‘Standing Ovation’ Saskatoon to my garden, although they’re yet to be planted out. That’ll likely be all the berry bushes I have room for with the currants that are already in; my yard isn’t huge and I can only squeeze in so much. I decided on ‘Standing Ovation’ over a more traditional Saskatoon because I wanted something with a more upright growth pattern due to the location. I was originally going to go with a small ornamental tree, but while I was looking around I came upon this variety and knew it was perfect. Why have something ornamental when you can have something ornamental and edible?

And on another topic, can we talk about the price of potting soil briefly? The brand I normally buy has gone up, I kid you not, about 40% in the past year. It’s unbelievable. It seems like all potting soils have absolutely skyrocketed. A small bag (30L) of the brand I normally buy is now $11. Are you KIDDING? I had planned on refreshing all my potting soil this year, but at that price I wasn’t going to do it. What I did instead was buy the components (Sunshine mix/manure/perlite) and I mixed my own damned soil. I cut that about 50/50 with the pots I used last year, and filled out some extra pots since I have so many tomatoes and peppers this year.

I wouldn’t do this had I had any disease problems, but fortunately I didn’t. That is just absolute insanity what they are charging. Oddly enough, the black earth/3-in-1/manure that I get for the beds, all of which come from a farm in Quebec, only went up by cents, and it’s just as good as ever. I don’t know what the story is there, but makes me think the potting soil is price gouging since obviously the components of said potting soil are all the same prices.

Plans for this weekend are mostly getting things in as I can; corn and zucchini desperately need to get out of their tiny pots, and some of the tomatoes and peppers are getting very root bound. I have one more sizable project that I got all the components for yesterday; a small bed along the shady side of my house. It’s shade for almost all day, save for one to two hours in the morning. It’s very seasonally moist, but does dry out more as the summer goes on. I’ll be on the hunt for perennials that aren’t hostas to add slowly to the space, but I’m mostly looking forward to that side of the house not looking like a muddy, terrible mess all the time.