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Gardening activity in Red Deer heats up with warmer weather

All plots spoken for in city’s Garden Plot Program for residents
Kimberley Roberts, tropical plant staff member at Parkland Nurseries and Garden Centre, was deadheading some plants on May 15, 2023. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff)

Red Deer gardeners are back at it — whether it’s in their yards, putting out pots on their decks and balconies, or through the city’s Garden Plot Program.

Ken Lehman, the city’s ecological services operations co-ordinator, said most of the city’s roughly 350 garden plots were snapped up quickly when registration opened in April, which is typical, and it didn’t take long for the rest to be assigned.

The plots, located in four areas within the city, opened to gardeners on Saturday, and many residents quickly got to work.

“This year it was nice and hot and dry and we were able to get those surveyed early,” Lehman said.

“It’s fun to see people use public space to grow a lot of food. It’s pretty valued by people.”


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There may still be a few gardening spaces available in the Neighbourhood Community Gardens program which is mostly run by neighbourhood associations. Contact information for those in charge is available on the city’s website.

Lehman said beyond growing their own food, both garden programs give residents the opportunity to get out and enjoy the outdoors as well as meet others in the community.

“It’s wonderful to be out there and witness how people are getting to know each other, teaching each other different tricks of the trade.”

In early July, ‘Weed It or Lose it’ notifications will be sent out to applicants with the Garden Plot Program if their plots are not adequately maintained.

Oct. 9 is the last day to harvest produce and remove all fencing, stakes, water containers, tools, etc.


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Gloria Beck, owner of Parkland Nurseries and Garden Centre, said it was a very busy weekend at the centre, but customers were quick to call or visit the centre as soon as temperatures started climbing earlier in the month.

“They had all that pent-up demand wanting to get into their yards and get gardening. We all experienced such a long winter,” Beck said.

She said the traditional planting weekend is the May long weekend, but it all depends on the weather.

“I take every year as it comes and every day as it comes. Last year was so cold and wet in May it was not a good growing season. Now this year we’ve got incredibly warm weather, but we need rain to go with it.”

She said some people are asking about drought tolerate plants, getting rain barrels, or changing their yards by using a combination of gravel and plants to reduce watering. A lot of people are also interested in growing their own food, whether in containers, raised garden beds, or full vegetable gardens, to reduce their grocery costs.

“And it tastes so much better, anything you grow,” Beck added.

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Susan Zielinski

About the Author: Susan Zielinski

Susan has been with the Red Deer Advocate since 2001. Her reporting has focused on education, social and health issues.
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