• May: Grass Clippings

    Leave grass clippings on your lawn as they are a natural source of nitrogen for the grass.  If your clippings are unusually heavy, spread them out rather than leaving them in a pile or windrow.

  • May: The Chelsea Chop

    To create sturdier plants that need less staking and to delay or extend the flowering period, cut some of your perennials back at the end of May (when the Chelsea Flower Show happens). Simply cut the plants back by half. To stagger the flowering period, if you have several of the same plants,  cut only some of them back. This technique works well for Phlox, Sedum, Rudbeckia and Echinacea.

  • May: Dividing Overcrowded Grasses

    Do some of your grasses have an empty, dead centre? That tells you it’s time to divide them, before they start to grow vigorously. Cut the foliage back to 10 to 15 centimetres, then dig up the entire clump. Use a large knife or sharp spade to cut it in half and then quarters. Remove all the dead or diseased parts, making sure the remaining divisions have good roots still attached, Compost the dead material and replant the divisions, watering well and mulching.

  • May: Interplanting Vegetables

    Plant two crops in the same space. Consider each plant’s growth period, growth pattern, preferred season, and light, nutrient and water requirements. Long-season and short-season vegetables can be planted together, such as radishes with carrots. Small plants can planted close to larger plants, (radishes at the base of broccoli). Shade tolerant plants such as lettuce, spinach, and celery, will grow in the shadow of taller crops.

  • May: Moving Houseplants Outdoors

    Like you, houseplants enjoy a summer vacation outdoors … but don’t rush to take them out. Wait until night time temperatures are consistently above 10°C. You can begin exposing your plants to higher light levels while waiting, moving them from an east window to a south one, for example. When it’s warm enough for them to go outdoors, harden them off. Put them in a protected, shady location for 10 to 14 days before moving them to their final location.

  • May: Hardening Off Plants

    All plants – vegetable seedlings, perennials, annuals – coming from an indoor environment (home, garden centre, greenhouse) must be gradually acclimatized to the outdoor environment. Put them outdoors in a sheltered area for an hour the first day. Each day, for the next several days, increase the length of time and the exposure to the sun. The plants will then be ready to be transplanted into the garden.

  • May: Patience Pays Off!

    Vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and eggplant are very susceptible to cool temperatures.  Be patient and wait to plant these vegetables until both day and night time temperatures have warmed up to at least 10 celcius.  Lower temperatures can stop growth and affect pollination and fruit formation.

     

  • April: Building Materials for Raised Vegetable Gardens

    Raised vegetable beds can be built from a variety of woods such as naturally rot-resistant red cedar or black locust.  Very effective raised beds can also be built by using the corrugated steel window wells – attach two together.  Pressure-treated wood is not recommended because of the possibility of chemicals leaching into the soil.

  • April: The Male Asparagus Plant

    Asparagus plants are either male or female.  The male plants tend to produce more harvestable spears as they do not have to expend energy on producing seeds.  Guelph Millenium is a Canadian all male hybrid variety of asparagus.

  • April: Do Not Work Wet Soil

    To prevent soil compaction and damage to plant roots, wait until the soil is dry enough to crumble in your hand before walking and working in your garden. If you must step into the garden for some reason (to prune, for example), put down some planks and step on them in order to distribute your weight across a wider surface.