Monday May 16, 2022 | LANGFORD, BC
by Mary P Brooke, Editor | Island Social Trends
This cooler-than-normal spring weather has surprised retails and gardeners alike. Getting those veggie plants into the backyard garden has been delayed due to temperatures that have been around five degrees cooler than usual for March, April and May.
Yes, the garden-planting season on the west shore and in south Vancouver Island region is normally long … from as early as mid-March to as late as the end of October. Local microzones for heat and precipitation will make the difference.
Some gardening stores last month were considerably down on seasonal nursery sales over last year. People weren’t out in their gardens yet to prepare for spring planting. Plant purchases were behind schedule, and some warehouses were bulging at the seams.
Retail plans ahead:
Garden retailers naturally try to meet the garden planting and maintenance needs of their new and returning customers.
The popular Buckerfield’s garden and farm supply chain (nine stores in BC, five of which are on Vancouver Island — one of those here in Langford and the others in Saanich, Duncan, Nanaimo and Parksville) orders their inventory one year in advance, and plan their advertising including flyers and coupons accordingly.
A lot of orders are being done now for next spring (2023). For Buckerfield’s, that’s a big gamble on some stock.
Cooler weather is easing off, but the season is “definitely different”, says the Buckerfield’s manager. But they are all stocked up.
Each store has its own warehouse, though at the Langford store the warehouse space is minimal, notes Young. In some cases, stock has been redirected to bigger locations as one way to accommodate the unexpected impacts of weather on sales volumes.
“This year we had snow in April and Easter Weekend was much cooler than last year’s 20-degree Easter weekend high,” says Travis Young, marketing manager, Buckerfield’s.
In the cooler, rainy weather, people have not been out in their yards as much this spring, for gardening or playing with their pets.
Temperatures do seem to be heading upward later this week, however. It’s the night time lows that are most important for gardening considerations.
Supply chain impacts:
Speaking with Island Social Trends from Buckerfield’s head office in Nanaimo, Young says no one could really predict the weather variations that we’ve seen this year. As well, the COVID situation a year ago still held many unknowns — backyard gardening as a past-time during the pandemic was still considered in garden-supply retailer planning.
“Last year there was panic buying around supply chain concerns and COVID,” says Young. “This year, most things are simply more expensive due to gas prices impacting most things. Supply chains are impacted.” In some cases, things that were ordered last summer for early spring 2022 “never showed up” due to supply chain interruptions.
Ordering can be ‘a bit blind’ for retailers under these circumstances, says Travis Young.
Avian flu impacts:
Some store may be seeing more demand for fencing and yard supplies during the current need to protect backyard poultry flocks from mingling with wild birds, as the H5N1 avian flu has been found in several locations around BC (on Vancouver Island so far reported only in the Comox Valley area).
The Buckerfield’s slogan is “BC’s Original Country Stores”. Their stores provide garden and farm supplies for urban and rural needs.
Bigger farm items are sold at the Abbotsford store, within the large-farm Fraser Valley agricultural area.
There are about 150 employees at Buckerfield’s stores around BC. They have been adapting to the changes in inventory and customer traffic over the past few years.
The Buckerfield’s Langford Store Facebook page includes local flyers and info.
Avian H5N1 found in flock in Comox Valley (May 12, 2022)
Emergency update Dec 1: Financial relief, weather analysis, supply chain (December 1, 2021)
Forecasted weather bomb unfolds on Vancouver Island west coast (October 24, 2021)
Greater Victoria weather alert: high temperatures July 27 to 31 (July 26, 2021)
School-grown seeds supported by Buckerfield’s Langford (April 22, 2021)