Those interested in starting a summer gardening project need not fear; the University of Saskatchewan is here to help with the introduction of its Gardenline program.
When it comes to gardening, the limited knowledge of most goes about as far as planting seeds and turning on the sprinklers. However, there is so much more to growing a healthy garden and the U of S intends to help those with a green thumb in learning all of the nuances.
Gardenline is a call center put into effect by the U of S that helps anybody in need of gardening advice. Whether you’re a master gardener looking for a quick tip, or a beginner gardener learning how daunting the task of gardening can be.
Mary Lee McArthur, head of the Gardenline program, had some helpful tips for beginners and emphasized that soil pH levels should be around 6.5 – 7.0 for a successful garden.
Planting order may seem simple, but McArthur said that it is very important to the gardening process. The seeds themselves are usually labelled with the seasons they are best grown in. Broccoli, radish and spinach seeds are best planted in cool weather while tomatoes and peppers should be saved for warmer weather.
“Plant the cool seeds first that can handle the colder spring weather and move on to the cool plants followed by the warm seeds and warm plants for the summer season,” McArthur said. “After that focus on pest control.”
McArthur, who is looking to stay environmentally friendly, recommends horticulture oils which are rubbed onto the plants themselves to keeps bugs away rather than relying on harsher methods of pest control.
The most common questions that McArthur has had from Gardenline are what causes damage to spruce trees, pruning concerns and dandelion control.
She recommends that beginners go to the downtown Sunday market on River Landing East and talk to farmers about their gardening recommendations.
Those with a well-developed skill in the hobby or anyone interested in gardening may want to seek out the Horticulture Club, a campus based group that’s always happy to help out people who are new to gardening.
Call in to Gardenline Monday to Thursday from 9am – 4pm at (306)966-5865 or email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.