You might want to plant all your Okanagan veggies right now — but you shouldn't - InfoNews

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You might want to plant all your Okanagan veggies right now — but you shouldn't

The busy season is just beginning for local nurseries, like The Greenery.
April 23, 2019 - 6:30 PM

KELOWNA - Kirsten Segler is always happy to sell you bedding plants any time you want them.

But the manager of The Greenery Garden Centre in Kelowna has a warning about many of the warmer-weather plants people are rushing to buy these days.

“I hope they’re not planting them outdoors,” he told iNFOnews.ca.

Over the years, he’s noticed the busiest time of the year in the store is gradually moving earlier and earlier in the season.

“People are full steam ahead,” Segler said. “They just want to get these things and get done. The old saying was the May long weekend (for planting). Now we’re done by then. We’re not very busy by then.”

It’s not that the climate has warmed up enough for people to safely plant earlier in the year. It’s just that people seem to be in a bigger hurry.

That may be because more people are buying cold frames so they can grow plants earlier.

Or, it could be that people are shopping earlier in order to avoid the crowds (Segler predicts hundreds of people will be lining up at the Greenery on April 26 when their mixed hanging baskets will be coming out for the first time).

But, there are a certain number of people, each year, who rebuy things like tomatoes and cucumbers after their first plantings die from frost – which can happen into May.

Segler explained that there are, essentially, two prime vegetable planting times.

There are cold weather crops that can be planted now, or even earlier in the year. These include lettuce, broccoli, Brussel sprouts and kale. Those plants can withstand -5 C temperatures overnight (but only as plants, not as seeds).

Warm weather crops are the ones overanxious gardeners sometimes plant too early. Along with the tomatoes and cucumbers, these include things like melons and peppers that need warmer soils and nights.

Segler has noticed that vegetable sales have climbed in the last four or five years, which he attributes to an increasing interest in buying locally grown products (the Greenery raises all its own plants) and eating healthier. By growing their own, customers can choose to be organic.

Sales of kale took off a couple of years ago when kale chips became fashionable but that has leveled off.

By the May long weekend, the crowds will have dropped off dramatically, even though planting season will carry through until later in June, whereupon the Greenery will close for the season.

Lots of colour at The Greenery.
Lots of colour at The Greenery.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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