It’s the end of September and we still have not had frost. I have harvested the bulk of the vegetables but have left some tomato plants standing in my urban home garden just to see how long they will continue to produce. Despite the shorter days and cooler nights, the strawberries are still ripening, and the plants continue to flower.
Tis the season of ‘do I or don’t I’ cover the tomatoes. The first forecasted temperature near zero came a few nights ago, but I had already decided that I was not quite ready to dig in the garden shed to find my supply of old sheets. After a brisk walk with the dog in the cold evening air, I erred on the side of caution and covered them up. Needlessly, as it turned out, but the sheets are now at the ready for when the frost does come.
As weather patterns change, it may be worth considering how you can adapt your garden to survive hotter and drier spells without having to water frequently. A good way to begin is by building healthy soil that retains moisture and layering mulch on the surface to keep that precious moisture from evaporating. The next step is to select plants adapted to withstand long, dry periods.
Aphids are one of the most common garden pests around, but they are by no means the worst. An infestation is generally controllable if caught early. They cause damage by sucking the sap out of tender leaves and stalks but rarely kill a plant unless it is already unhealthy or stressed.
This may turn out to be a challenging year for gardeners. The heat in May was great for getting vegetable gardens and containers started early, but the dry conditions that have come along with the prolonged heat are providing the perfect conditions for certain insects to proliferate.
Every customer who walks through the doors at Wallish is unique in their needs and wants for plants that will thrive in their gardens, containers, and on their balconies. For some it is a simple process – select the plants that have always done well in a particular spot and that’s that. For others, it is a much more complicated process. For new gardeners, it is often a learning experience that can be both exciting and overwhelming.
Wallish staff answer a lot of questions from our wonderful customers every day, but there are just some questions that keep coming up more often than others. So, here is some information that may help you select your plants with greater confidence.
Many early blooming perennials are currently flowering in the greenhouse so it is an excellent time to see what they will look like in your garden next spring. They can be planted now but need a few days of hardening off to acclimate their tender leaves to the sun’s rays.
Our growing season is so short that we all want to jump in and get colour into our gardens as soon as we can. April has been chillier than normal this year, so greening up is taking its time. The urban landscape is still mostly shades of brown but there are tiny pops of green and bits of colour showing up here and there. I am glad to see the green tips of the daffodils and scilla bulbs peeking through the mulch around my lilacs, and on inspection of my very sheltered front flowerbed, I find last year’s violas have overwintered and are looking fresh, green, and ready to grow. Pansies and violas are the perfect early annual as they can handle both the chill of early spring and the unexpected snow that May often throws at us.
Protect Pollinators by Resisting the Urge to Clean Up Garden Beds
RESIST theurge to get out there and clean up the plant debris!It’sa very hard ask for some gardeners, but waiting until the days are reliably above 10 degrees (say, five in a row) to clean up your garden beds is incredibly important for the hard-working pollinators that literally help your garden grow.
Ground-hugging plants can be shrubs, grasses, or perennials. Smothering weeds with their leafy stems, they help fill “sunny” difficult areas such as a steep, sloping bank or a rocky area, and next to sun-baked patios and decks. Species adapted to long periods without rain, such as alpines and succulents, are often tough in other ways. Many can withstand harmful insects and don’t require regular feeding or pruning.
Ground-cover plants are all-around problem solvers. They are vigorous, low-growing plants that can be used as living mulch, suppressing weeds by absorbing water and nutrients, blocking out light, and forming a physical barrier. They even provide habitat for pollinators like bees and butterflies.
It’s pretty hard to beat a juicy summer tomato or sweet strawberry from your own garden and the benefits of homegrown vegetables and fruits are countless. More and more people are considering quality and taste, organic options, continuous harvest, room to grow and how much time they have available and they are ready to take the plunge and sow their own. Hardening off seedlings is the most important concept that new gardeners will learn to improve successful transplants. Those young, pampered seedlings that were grown either indoors or in a greenhouse will need an adjustment period to acclimate to outdoor conditions before being planted in the garden.
Many of us have been there. Had a week of warm weather at the beginning of May, and couldn’t resist “just looking” at the greenhouse, and returned home with some plants tucked under your arm. Now what? You put them in the garage until it was warm enough to plant. When you planted them in the soil, you noticed they didn’t look the same as they did in the greenhouse, but they still seemed all right. Then you waited for them to bloom. Three weeks to a month later and finally a flower appeared. Then your plants started to return to normal and bloom like they were supposed to. What happened?
Always stunning, the Gladiolus combines old-fashioned and nostalgic feelings with easy to grow requirements making them perfect for flower beds as well as containers. With very little effort, they will burst into bloom and add sensational summer color to the garden. They can be overwintered by digging them up in the fall, storing, and replanting the following spring.
I had a Great Aunt who said she could test her soil by tasting it. I haven’t tried that, nor do I plan to, so I can’t tell you if it works or not. I do know that our home vegetable garden improved dramatically when we used a do-it-yourself soil kit and learned our soil’s pH, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium levels.
When we first planted our vegetable garden in rows, our first spring in our acreage home, it never occurred to us to plant more than one kind of vegetable in any row. I’d never seen it done any differently, nor even heard it spoken about. But after a few years of gardening, and a whole lot of attention given to the soil, the sun, the moisture, and the bugs, I’ve become very interested in the practices of companion planting, intercropping, and succession planting. Any technique that improves the taste and yield of our vegetables, while reducing the amount of work I have to do to produce those vegetables, is worthy of my attention and my evaluation.
Long-time gardeners sometimes forget that new gardeners might not yet know the nuances of some phrases. There are still some of my grandmother’s gardening phrases floating around in my head that I have yet to decipher, however the last few years in my own garden have provided me with several “aha moments”. Imagine my disappointment learning what “bolt” (describing a plant that has gone to seed prematurely) actually meant.
Once daylily clumps become too large and flowering decreases, you will want to divide your dalillies. Diving your daylilies rejuvenates them. Check the center of your daylily plant to see if there is any dead growth. If there is, your plant is telling you it’s time to divide it. The best time to divide daylilies is shortly after they have finished flowering in late summer to early fall. You can expect to divide daylilies every 3 or 5 years in order to keep them healthy and blooming strong.
Blossom End Rot is a common challenge for many gardeners and one I’ve heard many frustrations about over the years. Those frustrations tend to come around this time of year, with the first tomatoes of the season when they are approximately half of their full size.
Even the most careful and experienced gardener will occasionally find plants that are weakening or a crop teeming with a troublesome pest. No garden is immune from pests and diseases, and learning to recognize the symptoms and determine appropriate controls is your best defense.
If you are struggling with any of these challenges, don’t let it discourage you from trying again. You are not alone in this, we are all gardeners and we are all learning all the time. These are some of the most common challenges that all of us face:
Last year at the end of summer, we picked our first ear of corn that we grew ourselves! Unfortunately, that ear of corn was at most 4 inches long. Failure is part of the deal when gardening, and garden failures happen to even the most experienced of gardeners and beginners alike. You will have resounding successes with some plants, and experience colossal failures with others. Try to remember that gardening is about learning and experimenting as part of the experience. Every failure teaches you how to be successful next time.
Something that really clicked for me, was remembering how my grandmother called her plants her “babies”. At the time, I thought it quite strange, but now, many years later, it’s as if a light bulb went on in my head. I have a new understanding of “hardening off” and a new perspective about a plant’s needs.
Have you ever looked at your Hollyhocks only to find unsightly spots and lacey or dying leaves and asked yourself, “what is wrong with my Hollyhocks?” These different kinds of deterioration are likely the handiwork of Hollyhock Rust.
Scarlet lily beetles (lilioceris lilii) – also known as red lily beetles or simply lily beetles – are pesky little offenders that can wreak some serious havoc on your garden. Today, we’re explaining the life cycle of lily beetles as well as our foolproof way to get rid of lily beetles naturally.
Dahlias, in their amazing array of colours and styles, bring sparkle and drama to a garden space. Dahlias are the flowers that your neighbours will stop and ask about. The dahlia family offers a multitude of choices in colour, height, and flower type to compliment your garden the best.
For plants, light is life. Light is the crucial element for their growth – if we didn’t have light, we wouldn’t have plants. In the north where we live, adequate lighting from natural sources for growing plants can be hard to come by.
In this blog we will talk about photosynthesis, why supplemental lighting for plants is necessary and new trends in LED lighting for horticulture.
Wondering how to overwinter your treasured dahlia flowers? Today, we’re sharing two simple methods for overwintering your dahlia tubers indoors during Canada’s cold winter – both for those grown in pots and those grown in the ground.
Hanging Basket Care can be overwhelming! We want to show you that caring for your hanging baskets is simple and easy. We will cover a quick system for tending to your hanging baskets using the acronym CARE.
Explore the history of horticultural zones, what horticultural zone Alberta is, what growing zone Edmonton is, how horticultural zones benefit the home gardener, and some hardy perennials for Edmonton’s horticultural zone with us in this blog.
Tomatoes are probably the strongest draw for the non-gardener to venture into trying to grow something because there really is nothing like a fresh tomato. Tomatoes are originally native to the tropics, producing smaller berry-like fruit than we know today. Here are a few tips on the environment of their choice and care.
When flowers bloom, a complex series of events start to perpetuate their species. We gardeners get to enjoy the beautiful color displays and heady scents, which flowers use to attract pollinators. And what a joy it is to appreciate the blossoms!
As the growing season winds down, that prickly patch of raspberries is screaming for attention. To be able to prune raspberries correctly, understanding their life cycle makes the task so much more bearable. Here are a few tips on raspberry pruning.