Best to buy seeds early, as planting season nears

It is hard to imagine that planting time is about a month away. Between now and then the snow must melt, the ground thaw, warm and the soil become dry. For those planning on planting vegetables, it is best to purchase seed early as popular varieties will disappear from the racks closer to planting time.

It is hard to imagine that planting time is about a month away. Between now and then the snow must melt, the ground thaw, warm and the soil become dry.

For those planning on planting vegetables, it is best to purchase seed early as popular varieties will disappear from the racks closer to planting time.

Vegetable seeds are available locally at garden centers, grocery and department stores, through catalogues and on-line.

If in doubt about which variety to purchase, look at the information stating the number of days between planting and maturity.

Choose the varieties that take less than 90 days to mature as the season is short.

The most import part of the garden is the soil. Productive soil is loose to touch, contains readily available nutrients, and has good drainage and water retention.

Start with the local top soil and amend it. Adding humus, compost or manure will benefit all types of soil increasing the supply of nutrients as well as adding bulk and air pockets between soil particles.

Clay soil is easily compacted and it is often suggested that sand be added to increase drainage.

This only works if the sand is sharp and has rough pointy edges.

Smooth sand tends to fill in the areas between soil particles making a cement like mixture.

When adding new soil to the old, mix the initial layer into the existing soil to ensure moisture, worms and insects will move freely between layers.

There are a number of different styles and combinations of gardens that work well in this region.

The traditional prairie garden is a big flat section of land with wide paths between rows.

The distance between rows insures that all plants receive an adequate amount of sunlight and it is easily maintained as equipment fits between the rows making it quick to cultivate and remove weeds.

The down side of this garden is the amount of space used and moisture needed. Wide areas of exposed soil wick moisture out of the soil and away from the vegetables.

It also takes time to cultivate between rows.

Too much cultivation or working the soil when it is wet will ruin the soil structure causing it to clump.

Raised beds are popular and can be divided into 3 different groups ones with: with permanent, hard edges, large raised areas without permanent edges, or mounded rows.

Regardless of the beds edge, it should not be wider than five feet to allow people to reach the center of the garden from either side without stepping on the soil.

Soil that is not walked on is less likely to become hard and compressed.

Soil within a raised bed is warmer than the traditional bed as the sun warms the sides as well as the top of the bed.

Most seeds react well to warmer soil, maturing faster than in the traditional flat gardens.

Warmer soil also means that the soil can dry out quickly needing to be watered often at the beginning of the season.

Plants within a raised bed are planted close enough together to allow the plant leaves to touch at maturity but far enough apart to ensure that each plant receives the light and nutrients it needs.

As the garden matures the lack of exposed soil usually means fewer weeds germinate and the soil is protected from the drying rays of the sun.

For those who just want a few fresh vegetables, tuck them into the ornamental garden. Vegetables are attractive plants and can be tucked into ornamental gardens.

If a vegetable garden is planned for this season, take time to collect seeds early and to amend the soil to insure it will be successful.

Linda Tomlinson is a horticulturalist that lives near Rocky Mountain House. She can be reached at or

Just Posted

Red Deer respiratory therapist Sarah MacKenzie was among the first central Alberta health professionals to receive the Pfizer vaccine in December 2020. Since then, nearly 3.4 million doses have been administered and COVID cases are falling rapidly. Photo by Alberta Health Services
Red Deer COVID cases continue to fall sharply

Red Deer cases almost into the double digits after topping more than 900 only five weeks ago

(Advocate file photo.)
Red Deer city council discusses strategies to restore integrated emergency dispatching

Red Deer city councillors discussed additional ways on Tuesday to try to… Continue reading

Local developers who are doing building upgrades or new construction will face less land servicing costs and gain some flexibility. (File photo by Advocate staff)
From left: Montana First Nation councillor Reggie Rabbit, Samson Cree Nation councillor Louise Omeasoo, Samson Cree Nation councillor Katherine Swampy, Samson Cree Nation councillor Shannon Buffalo and Samson Cree Nation chief Vern Saddleback were present during the painting of the Maskwacis Pride crosswalk. (Contributed photo)
Being gay made him contemplate suicide: Councillor in Maskwacis opens up

Maskwacis got a bit mote colourful over the weekend. Volunteers spent Saturday… Continue reading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

The Pornhub website is shown on a computer screen in Toronto on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020. Pornhub says it has removed all content uploaded by non-verified users. The sex website faced accusations it hosted illegal content. The company, which is owned by Montreal-based Mindgeek, says it has suspended all previously uploaded content that was not created by one of its content partners or members of its Model Program. THE CANADIAN PRESS
International women’s rights advocates call on Canada to hold Pornhub to account

Jeanette Westbrook says being sexually abused as a child will haunt her… Continue reading

FILE - In this Jan. 9, 2021 file photo, transporters Miguel Lopez, right, Noe Meza prepare to move a body of a COVID-19 victim to a morgue at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in the Mission Hills section of Los Angeles. The U.S. death toll from COVID-19 has topped 600,000, even as the vaccination drive has drastically slashed daily cases and deaths and allowed the country to emerge from the gloom. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)
US COVID-19 deaths hit 600,000, equal to yearly cancer toll

The U.S. death toll from COVID-19 topped 600,000 on Tuesday, even as… Continue reading

FILE - In this April 1, 2019 file photo, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry talks about health care legislation he's backing in the upcoming session, in Baton Rouge, La. The Biden administration’s suspension of new oil and gas leases on federal land and water was blocked Tuesday by a federal judge in Louisiana. U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty's ruling came in a lawsuit filed in March by Louisiana’s Republican attorney general, Jeff Landry and officials in 12 other states. (AP Photo/Melinda Deslatte, File)
Federal judge blocks Biden’s pause on new oil, gas leases

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Biden administration’s suspension of new oil and… Continue reading

Israeli police officers detain a Palestinian man during clashes that erupted ahead of a planned march by Jewish ultranationalists through east Jerusalem, outside Jerusalem's Old City, Tuesday, June 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)
Israelis march in east Jerusalem in test for new government

JERUSALEM (AP) — Hundreds of Israeli ultranationalists, some chanting “Death to Arabs,”… Continue reading

Montreal Canadiens right wing Brendan Gallagher (11) vies for the puck with Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo (7) during the third period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Vets Pietrangelo, Perry contributing for Vegas, Montreal

LAS VEGAS — Alex Pietrangelo and Corey Perry had very different free… Continue reading

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Jake Allen stands for the national anthem prior to an NHL hockey game against the Calgary Flames in Montreal, Saturday, January 30, 2021. Public health experts say Quebec should wait until more people have received a second dose of COVID-19 before increasing the number of fans allowed to attend Montreal Canadiens home games. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Quebec to increase arena capacity before first home game in Habs playoff series

MONTREAL — Quebec will increase the number of people allowed to attend… Continue reading

New CFL balls are photographed at the Winnipeg Blue Bombers stadium in Winnipeg, Thursday, May 24, 2018. Halifax regional council will consider today a new report on a proposed 24,000-seat stadium, the pivotal component of a bid to land a Canadian Football League team for the East Coast's largest city.THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

Most Read