Archives > April 2018

Scarlet Lily Beetles Part 2: The Next Generation

Posted by Wallish on Apr 26 2018

Scarlet Lily Beetles have begun to ravage gardens in the Edmonton region the last few years.  Our second video talks about how to spot the eggs and juveniles and ways to short circuit their life cycle at these stages.  Remember:  You can do this!!

If you are looking for more information about Scarlet Lily Beetles.

If you have questions about Scarlet Lily beetles, please feel free to contact us via our website at or by phone at 780-467-3091.

Scarlet Lily Beetles Part 1: Adults at Play

Posted by Wallish on Apr 25 2018

Scarlet Lily Beetles have begun to ravage gardens in the Edmonton region the last few years. This first video talks about the importance of understanding their life cycle, what signs to look for, how to spot and catch the adults.

Looking for more information about Scarlet Lily Beetles?

If you have questions about Scarlet Lily beetles, please feel free to contact us via our website or by phone at 780-467-3091.

Scarlet Lily Beetles VLOG

Posted by Wallish on Apr 24 2018

This video talks about the importance of understanding the life cycle of the Scarlet Lily Beetle, what signs to look for, how to spot and catch the adults. If you have questions about Scarlet Lily beetles, please feel free to contact us via our website.


Ready, Set, Not Quite Yet

Posted by Wallish on Apr 19 2018

Our Alberta climate likes to play with our minds – especially this winter – and fool us into thinking that spring is settling in.  The thing with Alberta is that we are never really sure when a heavy frost may come.  The long weekend of May has historically been the planting weekend for Albertans but we can still get frost in June. So, while your fingers are itching to get into the garden, here are some things you can do to make your garden ready:

  • Rinse out hoses
  • Wash garden tools with warm soapy water
  • Yard Cleanup
    • Rake leaves
    • Cut down ornamental grasses and perennials that were left for winter interest
    • Remove dried leaves from perennial crowns
    • Rake the lawn
  • Gather your gardening supplies:
    • New tools
    • Garden stakes
    • Velcro tape
    • Labels & markers
  • Work on ‘hardscaping’ projects like:
    • Taking down the Christmas lights
    • Deck maintenance
    • Cleaning sidewalks & pathways
    • Restoring fountains & ponds
    • Building new flower beds or raised beds

We have a couple more articles on spring preparation that you may find interesting:

Crop Rotation

Posted by Wallish on Apr 17 2018

Ever had a flower bed or vegetable patch that you grew you favorites for a few years and years with amazing results but then suddenly  its production became anemic or could be best described as ‘meh’? And then you wonder is going on with it — Is it the seeds?  Is it the transplants?  Is it the soil? Is it bugs?

Chances are that if you’ve grown the same plant in the same place year after year, there is something up with the soil.  It could be the soil on a number of different fronts:

  • The soil may be depleted of a particular nutrient that plant feeds heavily on. For example, tomatoes use a lot of nitrogen, so if they are grown in the same area for many years, the soil will become depleted of nitrogen.
  • Favorite pests may begin to grow there and stay there because its favorite plant is there reliably and dependably year after year. Those same pests may even overwinter in the soil.
  • The same goes for soil borne diseases.

How do you combat that?

  • The best thing you can do is rotate your ‘crop’ or plants around the garden. Rotating plants means to shuffle your annuals or veggies around in their placement in your garden. This doesn’t mean that you can’t grow your faves, it just means its best practice to move where you are growing them in your garden every few years.
  • Beans and peas replenish nitrogen to the soil, and tomatoes pull a lot of nitrogen from the soil. As an example, it’s a good idea to plant tomatoes where you had peas or beans the year before.  And to put peas or beans where tomatoes were the previous year.
  • Just mixing it up and keeping things fresh by moving annuals and vegetables around in the garden keeps soil replenished, pests wondering what you’re doing, diseases at bay; and maintains productivity.

Crop rotation is a simple concept with big benefits.  Feel free to contact us via our website or by calling us on the phone at 780-467-3091.  We love to puzzle through gardening issues with you.

Pounds of Veggies – Veggie Timing Chart 2.0

Posted by Wallish on Apr 10 2018

Knowing when and how to get your veggie garden up and going can be daunting – we’ve put this updated new and improved veggie timing chart together for you.  To make this chart better we’ve added:

  • More specific information for seeding – whether indoors or outdoors
  • Which plants are best to get a jump start on – to seed indoors or to buy transplants
  • Common pests and diseases to watch out for
  • Common companions
  • Gardening Tips specific to each vegetable

We welcome you to send in any questions you have via email and encourage you to come into the greenhouse this spring for seeds and started veggies in our vegetable department.  We’d be delighted to help you choose fun and tasty varieties to try this growing season.


           Pounds of Veggies – Veggie Timing Chart 2.0                            


“Blight” Potato and tomato blight is a disease of the foliage and fruit or tubers of tomatoes and potatoes, causing rotting.

It is most common in wet weather.

Importance of well drained soil with good organic content.  Stay out of wet gardens to avoid plant to plant transfer.

Look for disease resistant varieties.

Cut Worms Cranky garden pest with a broad appetite – cuts off tender plants at / near soil level usually at night.

Cool weather – just below ground level.  Warm weather – just above ground level.

Dig them out of the soil, place collars around stems.

Till garden in spring and fall. Keep garden clean of weeds and plant debris.

Slugs Slugs love cool ground → place wood ashes, sand, lime (slugs will not cross over them)

– saucers of stale beer, slug baits


** please remember that dates in chart are approximate ALWAYS depending on weather **


Crop Timing Tips Common Pathogens/ Pests Companions
Beans Seed after May 24 because of frost sensitivity Bush & Climbing types


Garlic, Onion, Shallots ↓ bean growth

Generally unaffected Beet – bush beans

Carrot, Cole crops, Corn,  Cucumber, Peas

Cole Crops

(Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Kale, Kohlrabi etc)

– Transplants recommended to put in garden as early as the 3rd week May


– start seeds indoors the 3rd week of April

Cool weather crop

Mulching is very beneficial

Butterflies / Worms→ Bacillis Thuringiensis (BT) very effective

– Nasturtiums (trap crop) at opposite end of garden – cabbage butterflies like Nasturtiums better = effective even in small gardens

– rye flour

– rotating crop (larvae winter over in the ground)

Hate: tomatoes ↓ cole growth, strawberries, pole beans


Like: carrots, onions, beets,

Garlic improves flavor

Rosemary, Sage, Mint deter cabbage moth

Corn Seed Early → Long crop – seed May 5-14 depending on weather

If there is heavy frost at < 5” tall, corn will be okay

> 5” will frost will kill corn

Seed 3-4” apart in 40” row

Seed 6” apart in 20” row

Plant in blocks for cross pollination

Heavy feeder (likes Nitrogen)

Heavy water consumer

Highest sugar content in morning – pick & cool immediately


Few pests or diseases generally


Beans & Peas

(nitrogen fixers from air into the soil)




Cucumbers – Transplants recommended  — or seed later, May 18-24, because of cold sensitivity

– Start seeds indoors 1st -2nd week of May

Love heat and warm feet (cover soil with black poly x 2 weeks before seeding)

Don’t like roots disturbed

Consistent moisture to prevents bitterness

Greenhouse culture – Support / trellis

Heavy drinker (water) / Heavy feeder

Yellow skin = over ripe

Few pests or diseases generally


Nasturtiums & Marigold deter pests

Hate pumpkins, squash, sage, Zucchini – will not produce

Like beans, cole

Marigolds deter beetles

Lettuce  -Seed / or transplants 4th week May

– Start seeds indoors 1st -2nd week of May

Try successive plantings every 2 weeks

Bolting is due to heat stress

Keep evenly watered

Rabbits & Rodents & Deer

Occasionally aphids

Garlic, Onions

Radishes, Carrots

Chives deter aphids

Onions – Transplants  or sets around the 3rd week May We prefer transplants over onion sets

Red onions store well

Ready to harvest when necks fall over

Field cure alternatively until tops are dry

Onion Maggots – aggressive

‘subterranean chainsaws’ (Ken Beattie)do much damage with onions planted in rows → plant in random clumps throughout garden

beets, carrots, cole crops, lettuce, parsnips, peppers, potatoes, tomato
Peas Seed as early last week April to 2nd week of May  – can take cold weather


Supports/Trellises if you wish

Seed thickly (2” apart)

Powdery mildew – esp. later in the year due to wet conditions → look for mildew free peas

rotate crop

beans, beets, carrots, celery, cole crops, corn, cucumbers, lettuce, potatoes, radishes, squash, sage, turnips
Peppers – Transplants recommended

May 24

– Start seeds the 2nd – 3rd week of April

Love heat

Love Greenhouse culture

Black plastic mulch or organic mulch keep roots warm

Temperature variation encourages better blooms & fruit setting

All green peppers turn red

Grown inside a greenhouse – aphids basil, carrots, coriander, onions, spinach, tomatoes
Potatoes – Start seed potatoes the 2nd – 3rd week of April Try successive plantings every 2 weeks

Try new colored varieties (ie Russian Blue)

Potatoes & Tomatoes are attacked by the same blight therefore avoid planting close together

– Potato bug

– Potato Scab d/t alkaline soil (ph > 7.5) treat soil w/ compost / peat moss, increase organic content, avoid manures

– Potato Blight – wet weather

Companions: Beans, Peas, Corn.

Allies:  Marigolds – deters beetles

Horseradish – generally protects

Tomatoes – Transplants recommended

May 24

Love heat – warm soil 2 weeks before planting – speeds maturation

– mulch – stone mulch warms soil, deters fungal infections

Needs warmth to set blossom

Up against house / Greenhouse culture

Heavy drinker – consistent moisture at all times

Heavy feeder – commercial tomato fertilizer 4-12-4, 5-20-5 weekly

Spindly tall tomato – plant deeply or in a trench

Blossom end rot – due to stress: calcium deficiency or watering inconsistency or too dry, and cold nights

– have good air circulation

– don’t water at night


Basil – best garden buddy

asparagus, carrots, celery, chives, oregano, onion, parsley, rosemary, strawberry



Veggies that share common problems: peppers, eggplant, okra, potatoes

Tags: Blight, Slugs

Who’s Your Buddy? Let’s Take a Look at Vegetable Companion Planting

Posted by Wallish on Apr 5 2018

Companion planting is a concept that has been practiced for years.  It is born out of the idea that there are groups of vegetables and flowers that grow more robustly together than they do alone.  And conversely, there are certain plants that actually grow worse – their growth slows down or is impeded – by certain neighbouring plants.

We have put together the chart below to give you ideas as you plan your veggie gardens, be they in ground, in raised beds, or in square foot gardens.

Before we get to the chart, just a few quick definitions:

  • Allium Family – onions, garlic, leeks, chives, shallots
  • Cole crops – also known as cruciferous vegetables – include: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi, etc
  • Leaf crops – includes lettuce, lettuce mixes, spinach, Swiss chard
  • Root crops – the roots are the vegetables we eat – include: beets, carrots, potatoes, parsnips, onions, turnips
  • Squash family – includes squash, pumpkins, zucchini

One other note: Marigolds are included in this chart because of their overall benefit to gardens in general – they assist in controlling many garden pests and nematodes.  Specifics are included in the chart.

We welcome you to reach out to us with any questions that you may have via email us and encourage you to come into our greenhouse this spring for seeds and started veggies in our vegetable department.  We’d be delighted to help you choose fun and tasty varieties to try this growing season.

 Vegetable Companion Planting    





carrots, celery, cole crops, corn, cucumbers, lettuce, onions, peas, potatoes, squash family


allium family, cabbage, chives, fennel, peppers, sunflowers corn acts as a trellis,

beans add nitrogen to the soil

carrots, cole crops, corn, cucumbers, lettuce, peas, onions beans, tomatoes
asparagus, allium family, beans, lettuce, parsley, peas, peppers, rosemary


celery, coriander, dill, parsnip, potatoes onion, parsley & rosemary help the companions deter carrot fly
beans, cole crops, dill, leeks, marjoram,  peas, potatoes, spinach, tomato, cosmos, daisies, marigolds, nasturtiums, snapdragons anise, dill, carrots, corn, parsley, potato, asters Asters may cause a disease called Aster Yellows
beets, carrots, celery, dill, garlic, mint onions, parsnips, peas, rosemary, sage pole beans, onions, potatoes, tomatoes, strawberries,


mint & rosemary deter cabbage moth

garlic improves flavor

beans & peas & pumpkin

cucumber, lettuce, marjoram, potatoes, sunflower, squash family

celery, tomato beans + corn + pumpkin / squash = the 3 sisters that work together to fix nitrogen from the air & into the soil
beans, celery

cole crops, corn, dill, lettuce, peas

squash family, potatoes, heavily aromatic herbs potatoes & zucchini cause cucumbers to produce poorly
beans, beets, cole crops, leeks, mint, peas, peppers, radishes, strawberries, marigold parsley mint helps to repel slugs
cole crops, cucumbers, lettuce, potatoes, squash family, tomatoes beneficial for deterring many garden insect pests, beetles, and root crop damaging nematodes
beets, carrots, cole crops, lettuce, parsnips, peppers, potatoes, tomato, rosemary,  strawberry asparagus, beans, peas, sage  
beans, beets, carrots, celery, cole crops, corn, cucumbers, lettuce, potatoes, radishes, squash, sage, turnips allium family, onions, tomatoes  
basil, carrots, coriander, onions, spinach, tomatoes beans, eggplant share similar traits and pests – keep a distance from each other
basil, beans, celery, corn, garlic, lettuce, onion, peas, spinach, asparagus, carrots, cole crops, cucumber, peppers, squash, tomatoes, raspberries, strawberries, sunflowers cucumbers, raspberries & tomatoes share similar pests – maintain a healthy distance from each other
beans, corn, dill, garlic, peas, radish, strawberries, spinach, marigolds, nasturtiums, sunflower potatoes  
Basil – best garden buddy for tomatoes

asparagus, carrots, celery, chives, oregano, onion, parsley, rosemary, strawberry

beets, cole crops, corn, eggplant, okra,   peas, peppers, potatoes


share common insects & diseases with  peppers, eggplant, okra,   and  potatoes =  space these apart from each other so they don’t infect one another


Square Foot Gardening

Posted by Wallish on Apr 3 2018

Garden grown vegetables have a quality and taste that can’t be replicated – think about the crisp crunch of baby carrots, the flavour of steamed new potatoes, fresh peas & beans, juicy ripe red tomatoes, the coolness of cucumbers, and on it goes…is your mouth watering yet?  Are you feeling nostalgic for you grandma’s garden??

Growing your own veggies is becoming a thing as we see urban gardens popping up all over the place.  Growing your own veggies can be a reality and for those with limited spaces — square foot gardening could be the answer.  Let’s talk about Square Foot Gardening and explore the role it could have in getting those fresh veggies on your table.

What is Square Foot Gardening?

  • Square Foot Gardening is a cultivation method of that it super productive – it maximizes the use of space and optimizes growth through the use of companion planting.

What are the Advantages of Square Foot Gardening?

Where is Square Foot Gardening done?

  • As we said, Square Foot Gardening is very flexible and it can be done:
    • In the ground


  • In raised beds – this is the most popular way because —
    • they are more accessible for planting, watering, weeding
    • the soil stays warmer and plants grow better
    • we recommend that raised beds have a 12” depth of soil for vegetable production – this will help maintain soil moisture
    • for more details on raised bed gardening, check out this link to our blog

How does one get Square Foot Gardening Started?

  • Take out time to research, get great ideas, and plan – otherwise your efforts could wind up being in vain – there’s nothing like building a tower without having the proper plans in place. This can seem like the least productive phase of the entire operation but you really do save time in the end when you have a plan and you are prepared.  Familiarize yourself with the following information:

Where is the best place to put your Square Foot Garden?

  • Pick the sunniest part of your yard – vegetabless need at least 8 hours of sunshine.

Make a list of what you’d like grow

  • Annual vegetables
    • know which produce continually – like tomatoes, herbs, peppers
    • know which only produce once – root crops like beets, carrots, leeks, onions, cole crops like cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli
    • know which veggies have a flush of production over a period of weeks, but they don’t produce all summer – peas, beans and leaf crops like lettuce, kale, spinach, and swiss chard all have a period of production, but they don’t last the entire summer

Develop a schematic diagram

  • Either make one from hand with a photo or do one on the computer
    • Draw a grid representing 1 foot x 1 foot grids, or you could use bigger grids if you’d like
  • When planning vegetable placement keep the following in mind:
    • match heights – grow vegetables of similar heights side by side so that the smaller ones don’t get choked out
    • place taller plants and those that need a trellis together and in a place where they won’t shade out the sunshine from the smaller plants
    • optimize your use of companion planting – some veggies do better grown together and others inhibit growth – our blog on companion planting is coming out next week.
    • be careful to not overcrowd your garden – take heights and widths of the plants into consideration – and believe the dimensions given. Overcrowded gardens decrease production because of the stress it causes on the plants.

Make a schedule of when things need to be seeded

  • Not all vegetables take the same amount of time to produce so they don’t all need to be seeded at the same time; and for our northern climate, timing is everything.
  • We have prepared this veggie timing chart, check out this link (veggie garden timing chart) for suggestions on when to seed various vegetables
  • Direct Sowing – some crops do best being sown directly into the garden:
    • peas, beans, and corn always do best direct sown
    • cole crops like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale do well either direct sown or sown indoors a few weeks earlier. If they are grown indoors, they will usually produce earlier than sown directly into the soil.
  • Sowing Indoors – to get a jump start on some vegetables that take a longer time or are more sensitive to the cold, you can always seed them indoors. Check out our blog on seed timing to be careful to not start them too soon.  If they are started too early, they may stretch and it’s more difficult for them to be productive.  Never be in a big hurry to get these crops started.
    • celery, herbs, peppers, and tomatoes can be started indoors in mid-April
    • sensitive and vining crops like cucumbers, pumpkin, squash, and zucchini that get really large very fast are best sown indoors in the first and second week of May – plant these outdoors around the last week of May or 1st week of June because of their sensitivity to our cool nights.
  • Successive Seeding – leaf crops like lettuce and spinach work very well seeded directly into the garden every 2 weeks to ensure a continual supply during the summer

How to Maintain your Square Foot Garden?

  • Weeding – it is always best to get the young weeds early because when the weeds are large, especially in a Square Foot Garden, you may accidentally take some good plants out while getting rid of the weeds.
  • Watering – with a raised bed depth of 12”, water retention shouldn’t be a big issue. Water when the soil is dry; avoid watering your garden on a strict schedule because it may end up getting over watered and soggy.  Plants stress from overwatering as much as they do from overwatering.
  • Mulch – using 2-4” of mulch around your veggies will decrease weeding, keep roots cooler, retain moisture, and decrease your work overall.  Mulch is the golden ticket for reducing work in your garden.

Take good notes

  • Get yourself a good notebook and keep a garden memoir. This will help you avoid making the same mistakes twice.  One thing:   Remember to review your notes at the beginning of each season!  This is where the real learning and becoming a savvy gardener happens.

Disadvantages of Square Foot Gardening

  • It can get over full – like, stacked & packed – so be careful to research heights and widths of the vegetables you plant to grow and plant accordingly. It’s VERY tempting to put more plants in when they are really small but they will fill out.
  • Water retention can be a problem if the raised beds are less than 12” deep.

Stay tuned for next week’s blog on Companion Plantingfeel free to email or call (780-467-3091) with any questions.  If you are looking for vegetable plants already started, we have a large selection in the vegetable department of our retail greenhouse. We are happy to help make your veggie garden fun, simple, and wildly successful place!