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Maple Ridge farm owners share tips to help gardens survive extreme heat

Best way to get into gardening is to go out and get your hands dirty, says the couple
The garden centre owners encourage residents to explore ways to conserve water when gardening. (Sara Williams/Special to The News)

Pandemic pushed a lot of people to experiment in their own backyards, and gave a boost to gardening. However, with the extreme weather conditions, and more heat waves expected this year, one local garden has tips to help all the new green thumbs out there.

Buddies Farm and Garden Centre, a family farm in Maple Ridge opened by Bryan Miller and Sara Williams amidst the pandemic, has had a steep learning curve through the year including learning to deal with the heat wave.

“We are fairly new to this field so we are still learning as we go. The hot and dry conditions have made it more difficult to maintain consistency with moisture to our plants,” said Williams. “Extreme heat this early in the summer season can be hard on your garden. It’s difficult to maintain through these heat waves we are seeing as it needs hydration and shade to thrive through these tougher conditions.”

ALSO READ: 13 records smashed across B.C. as heat wave continues

Here’s some things the couple shared, to keep in mind when planning a garden especially through this heat:

  • Paying attention to the timing of when to start plants, companion planting (what’s good to plant together and what isn’t), soil (some plants prefer different soil types), and maintaining good drainage,
  • Watering early in the morning as any water given in the afternoon doesn’t help, and most is likely evaporated due to the heat, which also leads to water wastage,
  • Avoiding water on the leaves as it can cause them to burn from the sun while they are wet,
  • Moving potted plants around so that they don’t bake in the sun. If moving to the shade is not a possibility, setting up something that will provide them shade in their location to protect them from sunburn,
  • Adding a mulch cover over the root area because if the soil dries out it is not good for what’s growing in it,
  • Setting potted plants in small pools of water to maintain hydration

The Williams are working to take better advantage of what nature provides.

“We have gotten some large water tanks, and we are in the works to have them set up as rain water collection tanks that we can use to water our gardens. We currently have to rely on our city water, and we would love to be able to use as much as we can from rainwater,” Williams said, adding that being aware of watering restrictions in the city is important.

The couple is also implementing several xeriscaping ideas — a system of landscaping with water conservation. They have soaker hoses set up in some of their garden areas, and have pools made by digging small trenches then lining them. That allows them to set potted plants in them to ease the amount of watering that’s needed.

Miller also suggests paying attention to the water table as a lot of the Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows region has a high water table, making raised beds perfect for the gardens.

Miller and Williams have also been making sustainable choices in the garden and encourage new gardeners to include as many of these as they can. The couple has installed solar panels, and repurposed old or fallen wood to build garden beds and other builds around the garden centre. They don’t use herbicides or pesticides on their crops, plant things that are good for bees and are now planning a compost pit.

“The best way to get into gardening is just to go out and get your hands dirty. Ask questions to people with more experience. I am part of many groups on Facebook for gardening and find that a lot of great information is shared by many people,” said Williams.

“Don’t give up if you don’t succeed with a certain plant the first time you try to grow it. There are many things I’ve learned over the few years and have had better success each year that I’ve tried new ways and followed suggestions from other gardeners who have been successful.”

ALSO READ: Maple Ridge Intergenerational Garden project welcomes new coordinator

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The garden centre owners encourage residents to explore ways to conserve water when gardening. (Sara Williams/Special to The News)

Priyanka Ketkar

About the Author: Priyanka Ketkar

Priyanka Ketkar has been a journalist since 2011 with extensive experience in community-driven news writing, feature writing, and editing.
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