Tuesday, March 24th, 2020

SEED STARTING FOR A NEW WORLD

There’s no better time to start seeds than now!

While we’re responsibly isolating at home, our new mission here at Shelmerdine is to offer ways for you and your loved ones to pass this time joyfully while connecting with nature! There are few acts that are filled with as much hope and promise as starting your own seeds at home. Within days, you’ll see tiny green baby sprouts emerging from the soil –  joy! A few more weeks and you’ll be thinning and repotting them – fun! Soon, with the sun on your face and your fingers in the soil, you’ll be planting these seedlings into your garden. And finally, in a moment where it feels like the whole world holds its breath for you, you’ll pluck the most gorgeous, juicy tomato off the vine, and bite into the crunchiest, sweetest carrot that you’ve ever tasted – life giving!

Just take a moment to imagine how good this make you will feel.

We’d be remiss not to observe how the Covid-19 pandemic has been a wakeup call in terms of how reliant we are on our food supply chain. Most of our fresh produce comes up from the US and Mexico, so as Canadians, our food supply chain is vulnerable. This moment in time is an opportunity to take control of how and where we get our food from. Wouldn’t you like to become more self-reliant, to save money, and to reap the healthy benefits of growing your own fruits and vegetables? Wouldn’t you love to legacy your children, and their children, with the skills and knowledge they need to grow their own food, today and forever?

Let’s start today!

1. Make a list of what you want to grow. This part is easy. What do you like to eat? Once you’ve decided this, it’s time to select the seed varieties you want to grow from our Shelmerdine Seed Starting Catalog. This is where the fun begins – there are so many varieties, from organic to heirloom and common everyday favorites. If you need ideas advice or ideas, ask your parents or grandparents – they have this knowledge and they would love to hear your voice right now!

2. Prepare the basics . . . 

SEED STARTING MIX is a special blend that’s ideal for sprouting seeds. You simply cannot expect successful germination of seeds without Seed Starting Mix. This lightweight blend holds enough water for seeds to germinate in, but allows essential oxygen to flow and delicate roots to easily penetrate the soil. Do not use regular potting soil, it’s just not fine enough for seeds to germinate and root in.

CONTAINERS can be anything from empty yogurt containers to small, inexpensive peat pots. Whatever you use, be sure to poke holes in the bottom for drainage, so that your seeds are not over-watered. Alternatively, you can plant directly into peat pellets – these little guys are amazing! They’re biodegradable and can be planted directly into the garden when the time comes. It’s also handy to set all of your seedling containers onto plastic trays so you can easily move them around and protect surfaces from water.

HEAT, not light, is needed for seeds to germinate.  Consider setting your containers on top of radiators, fridges, or ideally, a Heat Mat.   If your seeds don’t have enough warmth, they won’t germinate. Once planted, cover containers with a clear plastic dome, or with a layer of plastic film. Poke a few holes in the plastic with a toothpick for ventilation. This will create a biodome of heat for the seeds to germinate in.

MOISTURE is essential to seed starting. The best way to water seeds and seedlings is with a gentle spray bottle, like a reused windex bottle. They dispense water gently without causing too much soil disruption. You’ll have to check on your seedlings twice a day to make sure they don’t dry out. Set a timer so you don’t forget! The clear plastic dome or plastic film will also help to keep moisture in.

3. Timing is everything. Different seeds germinate at different rates, so you’ll want to start your seeds according to their ‘days to maturity’. This is the time it takes between germination and harvest time. Days to maturity is always indicated on the seed packet, but we highly suggest that you consult our favorite Seed Starting Chart before planting your seeds.

4. It’s time to plant! Fill your clean containers with moistened Seed Starting Mix. Next, plant your seeds at the depth listed on the seed packet, and cover them gently with a light layer of mix. We know you’re excited, but do not plant the whole packet at once! In most cases there are more seeds in the packet than the average household can manage at harvest time. Share excess seeds with your friends, or store them – most seeds can keep up to 3 years. Check on the seedlings daily, making sure to keep the seed starting mix moist but not saturated. Think of the mix as a damp sponge that contains both water and air.

5. Label your containers. This is very important. There’s nothing more frustrating than forgetting what you planted! Seedlings can look the same, and in order to plant out your garden you’ll need to know who is who!

6. Get ready for growth. Once the seedlings emerge from the soil, it’s time to move them into a bright, sunny spot for 6-8 hours of direct sun per day. Cool room temperatures are best for young seedlings. You’ll get sturdier, stockier seedlings if you grow them at temperatures in the high 60s. At higher room temperatures, seedlings may get leggy and weak. Using our favorite local and organic Seedling Fertilizer, start to fertilize once per week, once the sprouts have one or two sets of leaves.

7. Once seedlings have two sets of leaves, it’s time to thin. Unlike the hair on our heads, thinning seedlings is welcomed! You want one seedling per pot, so choose the healthiest, strongest-looking seedling to keep. Snip the other seedlings off at the soil line and discard them.

8. You got this! Our team is ready to take your orders for seeds and seed starting supplies! Call us at 204-895-7203 to place your order, or order using our Shelmerdine Seed Starting Catalog. Contactless curbside pickup is available Monday – Saturday from 10am – 4pm, and citywide delivery is also available.

We also want to encourage you to visit our friends at Westcoast Seeds in BC. They’re the most amazing humans, and their website is an absolute treasure chest of seed starting, veggie growing, and garden planning information.

Stay home, be safe! Sending you love, inspiration, and positivity!

Sunday, February 16th, 2020

GROW: SQUEEZE IN SOME CITRUS

Hundreds of citrus plants have just arrived!

Picture it; you walk by the kitchen window, lean over, and pluck a ripe lemon from your very own tree. It’s possible! If you have a bright enough space, you could be squeezing your own citrus. A few mouth-watering windowsill kumquats, oranges, or lemons could be in your cards – even in Manitoba. Growing citrus is mildly challenging, but the rewards are worth it, so we encourage you to challenge your green thumb!

Read on for our tips on how to successfully grow citrus indoors . . .

You GOT this!  Just have patience . . . and faith!

First comes flowers, then comes fruit. The fragrance of citrus flowers is a perfume beyond anything you can imagine! The flower is the part of the plant which develop into fruit, so a citrus tree needs to be of sufficient size to be able to successfully support a crop of fruit on its branches. This is a natural process that takes time, but when that fruit finally appears, you’ll be beaming with gardeners pride, not to mention boasting rites!  Fun fact; the average lifespan of a citrus tree is approximately 50 years, so when you take home a citrus plant, you can consider it a new friend for life.

HOW TO GROW CITRUS INDOORS

Here are our top tips on how to grow citrus plants. For even more information, visit our friends down in Florida!

LIGHT  What citrus really requires is a bright window that has generous dimensions. A south-facing window or sliding glass doors are ideal, but a well-lit east or west-facing window can do the job. Do NOT invest in a citrus plant if you don’t have enough light. To achieve a citrus plant that’s laden with flowers and fruit, ample indoor light and space are essential, and to make your citrus even happier, bring it outdoors in the summer!

POTTING  Citrus like to be slightly root-bound in their pots.  If it becomes overly root-bound or its pot cracks, repot the plant in the springtime only.  Transplant 2” (up one pot size at a time) or you may run the risk of rutting the roots with too much soil.

TEMPERATURE  Citrus thrive in the same temperatures as humans. If temperatures drop below 10°C , your citrus plant will fail to absorb the nutrients that it needs in order to set flowers.

NUTRITION  Citrus are hungry plants, and they react quickly when you fail to serve up sufficient food. Yellow leaves are the telltale sign of a starving citrus. Although most houseplants do not require fertilizing in late autumn and winter, citrus are the exception. If you go organic, deliver diluted fish emulsion throughout the year – once every two to three weeks seems to work well. Winter light levels are low, so dilute the fertilizer more than the recommended dose.

WATERING  Citrus are thirsty plants! When the furnace or air conditioner is running and the sun is shining, they might need water daily, and when citrus plants are in bloom or actively growing, their watering needs increase. We suggest using a moisture meter to monitor the soil. Water when the soil is slightly dry, but not bone dry. If your citrus plant gets too dry, it will drop its flowers before developing fruit. If your home is very dry, your citrus will demonstrate its discomfort by dropping leaves. You can combat this by running a humidifier. Yellow leaves are a sign that you are over-watering.  During winter months, sunlight levels lessen, so you will need to reduce and change your watering schedule accordingly.

Life is juicy!

Hours of Inspiration

MONDAY – SATURDAY / 9AM-5PM

SUNDAYS / 11AM-5PM

For the safety of our staff and customers, we encourage and appreciate mask wearing.

SECRET GARDEN CAFE REOPENS SEPTEMBER 21

Shelmerdine Garden Centre Ltd.

7800 Roblin Boulevard
Headingley, MB R4H 1B6

Phone: 204.895.7203
Fax: 204.895.4372
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