Nursery Notes: Erickson nursery production changes with housing market

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Evan Davies owns Beltane Nursery at 2915 Highway 3 in Erickson.

Evan Davies owns Beltane Nursery at 2915 Highway 3 in Erickson.

One of my more obscure winter chores includes going through my office and filing all of the nursery, greenhouse and gardening magazines that landed there between last March and December, the “busy season”. There are more than a dozen titles published from both Canada and the U.S.A. They are all complimentary by now, looking to sell advertising and keep their circulation up. I think of them as one of my lifelines to the larger industry beyond southern B.C.

As I peruse the headlines and articles, a few things become clear: the demand for nursery production has picked up with the housing market (potted trees and shrubs can be shipped south with inspections and our dollar is low) and greenhouse floral production is decreasing while greenhouse fruit and vegetable production is strengthening.

What this means for us here in Creston is that it may be a little harder to get certain varieties of more popular plants like Calgary Carpet junipers, for instance. It may take a couple of extra years to bring in the hottest new plant varieties promoted in home and garden magazines or TV shows.

I will need to book them a year or two in advance with the most reliable suppliers to ensure availability. With less demand for floral bedding plants, I will need to further cut back their production in favour of more popular vegetable starts. When I began my greenhouse seedling program about 15 years ago, I really only grew four kinds of tomatoes for “vegetable” production. Now we grow close to a hundred varieties of vegetable seedlings, accounting for a third of the greenhouse production. We also grow veggie seedlings for a few of the local farmers in order to help them reliably start their spring off. Things are always changing — at least that is consistent!

Evan Davies owns Beltane Nursery at 2915 Highway 3 in Erickson.