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, March 1st, 2020

SLEEPING WITH A SNAKE PLANT

Of all the plants that grace our greenhouse, one special plant rises above all others, and it’s the Snake Plant. The Snake Plant or Sansevieria (san-se-vi-ee’-ri-ah) is a tried-and-true houseplant that anyone can keep and enjoy.  But it’s also a superb air purifier that has the power to improve your sleep and change your life. Our team is so passionate about the benefits of Snake Plants, and here’s why!

Let’s talk about air quality.

Air quality is important – we all know this, but sometimes air quality escapes us. We don’t see it, so we don’t think about it. But the air in our homes can be a far greater source of unhealthy air than outdoor air pollution. This is especially true in Manitoba, where we tend to spend the majority of our year indoors.  Poor air quality in your home can effect your heart and lung health, hurt your sleep quality, and impact your mood, with children being even more succeptible to this than adults. The air we breath is as important as the food we eat.

Now, let’s step into the bedroom!

You will spend about 26 years of your life sleeping. Sleep disorders are on the rise, and one facet that effects our sleep is the air quality in our bedrooms. If you have to choose one room to focus on air quality, it should be the bedroom! So how exactly does keeping a Snake Plant in your bedroom improve the air quality? The Snake Plant is unique because it has the ability to perform a type of photosynthesis called Crassulacean Acid Metabolism. What this means is that it converts CO2 (carbon dioxide – the air you exhale) to O2 (oxygen – the air you inhale) – at night!  Most plants go throught this process during the day.  While the Snake Plant performs this oxygen producing function, it’s also filtering chemical toxins like formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, toluene, and benzene from the air. These are chemicals released by mattresses, bedding, furniture, carpeting, and paint, which we would otherwise inhale.

According to NASA’s Clean Air Study, the Snake Plant is so effective in producing oxygen that if you were locked in a sealed room with no airflow (yikes!), you would be able to survive with just 6-8 plants in it. NASA recommends 15 to 18 medium-to-large size plants for a 1,800 square-foot home for optimum air quality.

As if this plant weren’t amazing enough, it’s also the most durable of all plants to survive even the most unsuitable growing conditions, abuse and neglect that a plant could receive. Basically, you have to work really hard to kill a Snake Plant! It’s the perfect plant for apartments, dorm rooms, and of course, the bedroom. Purchasing a couple of these miracle plants will greatly enhance your sleep quality.  Try it for yourself!  We guarantee that you will notice a difference within a week or two.

Sweet dreams!

Sunday, February 16th, 2020

2020 – HERE WE GROW!

1937.  Picture it…the population of Winnipeg was a mere 250,000. The Golden Gate bridge in San Francisco opened. A crippling drought on the Prairies had us in the grips of the Great Depression.  And a little company called Shelmerdine was founded in Charleswood, the very same year as Air Canada, Volkswagen and Dairy Queen! We’re entering into our 83rd year in business, so we’re feeling a bit nostalgic for all the wonderful people, warm memories, and lasting friendships that have blessed us at Shelmerdine.

83 years in the plant industry doesn’t happen by accident! We believe that our longevity is the result of incredible people, innovative thinking, some risk-taking (you mean Shelmerdine sells CLOTHES?!), and most importantly, the best customers in the world!  Our talented team constantly brainstorms, researches, collaborates, and looks to the future, all so that we can offer you an incredible experience, everytime you visit Shelmerdine. 2020 will be no exception to that!

So here we go! Read on to discover what’s new . . .

Shelmerdine Plant Lounge

COME HANG OUT IN OUR NEW PLANT LOUNGE

We’ve dedicated a section of our warm and sunny greenhouse as a cozy Plant Lounge. This is a space where you’re invited to just enjoy and relax in, where you can connect with yourself, reconnect with friends, or just feel a connection with nature. The Plant Lounge is the perfect place to escape the winter and just feel amazing! Come in as often as you like, and stay as long as you wish! Trust us – you’ll love it!

OUR COMMITMENT TO THE ENVIRONMENT – AND TO YOU

Our team is proud to announce these initiatives that we’ve taken to protect our environment – with more to come!

  • All of our packaging materials are 100% reusable, recyclable, or biodegradable, so if we need to wrap your purchases, you can feel good about how we do it.
  • Throughout our entire building and greenhouses, we’ve switched our lighting system to low-emitting LED lights.
  • Behind the scenes in our growing ranges, we’re growing more and more tropical plants by propagation. For example, many of the Pothos, Ivy, and Fiddle Leaf Figs that you see in our greenhouse are grown right here, instead of being imported from Florida. You can feel good about the fact that these plants were not trucked in on fuel guzzling semi-trucks.
  • Mark your calendar! We’re having a Recycling Event on June 20 and 21, so you can recycle all of your plastic gardening pots with us.  The City of Winnipeg doesn’t accept gardening plastics, but we’ve partnered with a local business who specializes in recycling plastics. We hope to save thousands upon thousands of plastic pots from the landfills on this weekend, and you’ll get a very special treat from us for taking part!

JOIN US FOR OUR FREE PLANT TALKS

Our passion for plants makes us want to keep sharing our knowledge, so we have an exciting roster of Free Plant Talks planned for you! Whether you’re new to plants, or you’re an avid gardener, you’ll learn a few new things from our experts while basking in the sunny greenhouse. Click HERE to see the full line-up!

SHARE YOUR LOVE OF PLANTS

We want to make the world a better place, one plant at a time. Plants make us feel connected, healthier and happier, and we all know that the world needs more of that.  If you’re reading this, it’s likely that you’re a gardener or plant lover on some level, but chances are that you know someone who doesn’t own a single plant. So we encourage YOU to bring plants into that person’s life! Invite them over to help you plant your garden, give them a gift of their first houseplant, or visit our greenhouse with them. These simple acts have the power to change someone’s life for the better, and 2020 is a great year to share and to connect!

Come on in! The sun is always shining at Shelmerdine, and we can’t wait to share our love of plants with you!

Tuesday, June 5th, 2018

Inspiration: Hydrangea Heaven

The single most popular flowering shrub in our region has to be the head-turning hydrangea, with its gorgeous large blooms. Its popularity is no surprise, since there are so many reasons to love this stunning shrub. Reasons like:

  • Colourful, vibrant blossoms all season long
  • Perfect for cut flower arrangements indoors
  • Thrives in our climate, and overwinters extremely well

Chances are good that you already have a hydrangea or two in your garden, but with so many lovely varieties to choose from, there’s every reason to try something new! The hardest part will be deciding which option to add to your yard, so to get you inspired, we’ve asked John, our Nursery Manager, to share his five favourite hydrangea varieties for 2018. Here are John’s top picks:

Invincibelle Limetta  

“This is a new dwarf variety that tops out at 2-3 feet in height and diameter, and features enormous lime green flower heads in mid-summer.”

 

Invincibelle Mini Mauvette

“One of my favourites, this dwarf hydrangea shows off deep pink-mauve flower heads in summer.”

 

Invincibelle Wee White

“This dwarf, rounded selection tops off at 2-3 feet in size, and features pretty white flower heads in summer.”

 

Invincibelle Ruby Smooth

“The Invincibelle Ruby features enormous ruby-red and silver-pink flower heads in mid-summer, which last for a very long time.”

 

Incrediball Blush Smooth

“This variety produces huge flower clusters on sturdy stems, and blooms from mid- to late-summer.”

 

Come by our nursery to snap up your favourite, and while you’re here, don’t hesitate to ask John or any of our helpful staff for tips and recommendations about whatever you’re growing this summer. And if you’re still stuck on which hydrangea variety to choose, check out some fun facts about colour when it comes to the power of flowers.

Always in bloom… we’ll see you soon!

 

Sunday, May 6th, 2018

Grow: Purple is the perfect colour, from garden to table!

When colour giant Pantone declares its annual Color of the Year, everyone from fashion leaders to interior designers take notice, and before long we start to see the colour all around us. We were overjoyed and very much on board when Ultra Violet got top honours for 2018, because purple just happens to be one of our favourite colours in the garden!

It’s no secret that colours have serious power – take a look at how the beautiful blooms you choose can affect things like mood and energy here – but our love for purple goes beyond the aesthetic. Fruits and vegetables of this hue have been linked to many health benefits that prevent disease and enhance our wellness.

Studies indicate that antioxidants produced by purple power foods can:  

  • reduce the risk of high blood pressure
  • lower cholesterol
  • help prevent obesity and diabetes
  • assist in lowering the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and neurological diseases
  • reduce inflammation and therefore chronic disease
  • aid cognitive functions
  • help prevent urinary tract infections, fight ulcers, and reduce liver damage and diseases which affect cell development

So with all of that in mind, here are a few of our favourite ways to put some purple on our plates!

 

Purple Ruffles Basil

Why we love it: The large purple leaves of this basil plant have both a strong fragrance and flavour.

How to serve: We recommend using this basil to create colourful and flavourful herb vinegars.

Cosmic Purple Carrots

Why we love it: Who says you can’t mess with an old favourite? These beautiful carrots will not only make your side dishes more lovely, the flesh is also particularly sweet.

How to serve: Try it cooked in a side dish, or add some colour and variety to snack time and enjoy raw.

Red Ball Brussel Sprouts

Why we love it: These little beauties are sweeter than your average brussel sprout, and pack an even heavier nutritional punch.

How to serve: Pull the leaves apart for a lovely salad, serve whole drizzled with a creamy hollandaise sauce, or go with a classic roasted method to get these on your table.

Pomegranate Crunch Romaine Lettuce

Why we love it: Is the name enough reason? Think of this lettuce as a cross between romaine and butterhead varieties.

How to serve: The salad possibilities are endless!

Honeyberry or Haskap

Why we love it: The first reason to love this berry is its sheer hardiness; this plant was made for the Canadian prairies, just like us. The second reason is that nutritional studies show the haskap to have antioxidant levels similar to or perhaps even greater than blueberries! The plant attracts butterflies to your yard, and the berries are delicious.

How to serve: Eat fresh, or make preserves.

Ruby Mizuna Mustard

Why we love it: It looks pretty and tastes great, but a major reason to love this plant is how easy and versatile it is to grow. Expect great results in cooler soil and winter harvests, in outdoor containers, or right in your kitchen.

How to serve: This plant makes for tasty microgreens or delicious and nutritious salads.  

Frontenac Grape

Why we love it: This grape is perfect for making wine… need we say more? Aside from its edible properties, it also makes a great landscaping component for hedges and screening.

How to serve: Try your hand at making juice or wine!

Long Purple Eggplant

Why we love it: The eggplant is such a beautiful purple that “eggplant” has become a colour in its own right. This particular variety is productive and hardy.

How to serve: Try in a stir-fry, or roasted in the oven.

Purple Peacock Pole Beans

Why we love it: These beans are a triple threat! They flower and produce quickly, provide an extremely prolific yield – as long as you pick them, they’ll keep coming in – and they retain flavour extremely well after being picked. Basically there are no reasons NOT to love them.

How to serve: Any way you enjoy green beans will translate – we like these lightly steamed!

Saskatoon

Why we love it: Ah, the saskatoon, that uniquely prairie berry. Like its cousin the haskap, this plant is hardy and versatile, and the berries are lovely but also delicious.

How to serve: If you’ve never had saskatoon pie, you’re not really living. Okay, that might be a little dramatic, but it really is a must-try!

Northcountry blueberry

Why we love it: This beautiful plant produces clusters of lovely little blueberries that are sweet and juicy. So long as you get the soil and drainage formula right, you can expect a bumper crop from this plant.

How to serve: Really, you can enjoy these in almost any way. Sprinkle them fresh on cereal, salads, or ice cream, mix up blueberry pancakes, bake in pies or crisps, make jellies, jams, and preserves… the list is endless!

Some cultures consider purple to be the colour of royalty, and it’s not hard to see why! Add this shade to your garden and your table, and you’ll feel like you’re eating like a king.

Long live purple!

Sunday, February 22nd, 2015

An Orchid For Every Room

Orchid2Orchids

Orchids are a true wonder of nature.

With an estimated 30,000 varieties occurring naturally, and over 150,000 hybrids, orchids make up one of the largest and oldest flowering plant families. Orchids are one of the most popular flowering plants; its simplicity and beauty are hard to resist.  When sourcing orchids, our greenhouse buyer Deanne Cram, works with a few selected orchid suppliers, taking into account ease of care, color, height, number of buds, and stage of budding.

Orchids can be surprisingly low-maintenance. Unlike most plants, some orchid varieties are epiphytic, meaning they grow in air. Their roots attach to trees or rocks, where they capture moisture and nutrients. Others are terrestrials, growing in loamy, detritus soil. Most varieties require little water, plenty of direct or indirect sunlight, and healthy doses of orchid fertilizer. For more specific care guidance, our greenhouse staff (some are orchid fanatics) would love to share their knowledge of orchids with you.

We’re excited to be taking part in the MB Orchid Society Annual Show and Sale coming up on March 20, 21 and 22 at the Assiniboine Park Conservatory.  We’ll be featuring a selection of affordable mini orchids, as well as growing medium, pots, fertilizer, and supplies.  A breath-taking display of hundreds of orchids will be available for admiration or for purchase.

1: Dendrobium Species (Classic White ‘Memoria Yukie Nakano’); 2: Dendrobium Phalaenopsis / Oncidium Species (Dancing Lady Orchid); 3: Oncidium Species (Miltassia Charles M. Fitch ‘Izumi’)

Hours of Inspiration

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SUNDAYS / 11AM-5PM

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Shelmerdine Garden Centre Ltd.

7800 Roblin Boulevard
Headingley, MB R4H 1B6

Phone: 204.895.7203
Fax: 204.895.4372
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