Hozers on hoses

Helpful tips from our local gardening expert, Terry Wallace.

By Terry Wallace

 

In order to grow a successful garden you must have moisture and up until June 20’s rain event, our only source of moisture was from a hose. As stated in “Record breaking rainfall hits Elk Valley” by Angela Treharne, June 20’s rainfall accounted for 101mm, smashing the previous record. It was enough to spiral Fernie back into a boil water advisory, force the evacuation of the communities along the Elk river and permanently alter its course to an unrecognizable meander. Prior to the rain I was caught saying “we need rain bad!” and it turns out we received a full months rainfall over the course of a few days.

The Elk Valley definitely has variable spring temperatures. This year has been a dry and warm spring, it’s been a treat for gardeners and their gardens.  Canadian Tire, Home Hardware and the Garden Centre have all been busy as most people have been out shopping buying plants, lawn mowers and other landscaping items. You yourself probably even went out and bought yourself a brand new hose because your old one leaked or was kinked and if you are like me, as soon as you tightened down your new hose and turned on the faucet you expected flawless action, but in fact you ended up with that same unexplainable, mysterious leak.

Up until May 1 of this year I hadn’t had a yard to garden in for some time.  However working in a garden centre and growing up gardening I knew that I had to be begin by gathering information about the climate to start a garden. I started by looking up the plant hardiness zone. Fernie is a 5a, but given its location and susceptibility to rare weather events I’d take the 5a with a grain of salt, as May 27 was a prime example of an unlikely yet likely snow event. Fernie’s hardiness means you can grow most veggies you buy at the grocery store; cucumbers, potatoes, carrots, peas, beans and corn but this is just a small list of what you can actually grow.  By comparison the Okanagan is a 7, Calgary’s a 4 and Cambridge Ontario, the town I grew up in is a 6. The number refers to how many frost free days an area receives, Fernie’s in a good location.

It is important to be choosy about what and when you water as every plant requires different amounts of moisture. Also the locations in your garden(s) will each have their own drainage and sunlight characteristics.  When you first plant those seeds give them a good shot of water to help them germinate. Don’t water them too much though as the seeds may rot. After the plant plan on watering in the mornings or evenings as less water will be wasted through evaporation.

If you want to be proactive about the environment and still water your garden and or lawn, start using a rain barrel. Fernie does not offer a rain barrel program but where I grew up and a lot of other towns across Canada, there are rain barrel programs. These programs are set up to either give rain barrels away to the public free of charge or in other cases for a small fee. Seeing as there isn’t a program you can always buy one from the local gardening store or if you are adventurous you can even try to make one yourself. Wasting water will only cost taxpayers money!

In the end we definitely needed the rain. Was it useful to our gardens? Maybe a little bit but that rain over a few weeks would have been more beneficial. I guess as new small-scale farmers the weather is everything. Too much is bad and not enough can be worse but this year we have been ok. So if it starts to rain as it did on June 20, get a hat and your rubber boots on and have a beer. If it doesn’t, keep an eye on your garden and prep your hose.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Mental health and COVID-19: going forward

Dr. Tyla Charbonneau offers some mental health advice for moving into our new normal

Elk Valley businesses announce permanent closures

Three local businesses will not be reopning their brick and mortar stores

Possible Kermode Bear spotted near Castlegar

A local resident spotted the white-coloured bear while on an evening trail run on May 27

District of Elkford rolls out four phase reopening plan

Phase two will begin in mid May with the reopening of some public outdoor spaces

Fernie Fox Hotel donates $5,000 to Fernie Pets Society

The donated money is going towards the development of the Railyard Dog Park

Only four new COVID-19 cases, 228 active across B.C.

Health officials watching as activities ramp up

Feds looking at ways to reunite families amid COVID-19 border restrictions with U.S.

Some families with members of dual-citizenship have become separated due to the pandemic

Condition in kids with possible COVID-19 link being studied in Canada

This month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert to doctors about MIS-C

‘I knew what he wanted’: Man recalls black bear chasing him up tree in Slocan Valley

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

COVID cancelled their wedding plans, so they married on a BC mountaintop

Ceremony was live streamed to friends and family around the world

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

Trudeau acknowledges racial unrest in U.S.; ‘We also have work to do in Canada’

‘Anti-black racism, racism, is real; it’s in the United States, but it’s also in Canada,’ Trudeau says

State of Local Emergency declared for Boundary as communities brace for river flooding

Warm weather and heavy rain could cause sections of Kettle River system to swell beyond 2018 levels

Large cruise ships barred from Canadian waters until end of October: Garneau

Last year 140 cruise ships brought more than two million visitors to Canadian ports

Most Read