• December: Encouraging Young Gardeners

    Encourage your child or grandchild to develop an interest in gardening by having them grow a plant from a seed.  Place 3 toothpicks evenly around an avocado seed and suspend it in a jar of water so that the bottom is always covered in water.   The seedling which will eventually emerge can be transplanted into a pot when it is about 6 cm tall.  The same can be done with a sweet potato – be sure that there are several eyes above the toothpicks.

  • December: Caring for Your Clay Pots

    Before storing your clay pots for the winter, give them a good scrubbing to remove all loose soil.  Then soak them for about half an hour in a solution of water and vinegar (1 cup of vinegar to 3 cups of water) to remove the white residue.  A thick residue may require scrubbing with straight vinegar.  Finish by scrubbing the pots in hot, soapy water.

  • December: Enjoy Flowering Plants Indoors

    At this time of year, many of us bring home cyclamens and poinsettias or nurture amaryllis bulbs to produce spectacular blooms for the holidays. Entering those plant names in the search box to the right will lead you to lots of good information about their care. But don’t forget the lovely orchids, which are easier to grow than you may think and will reward you with blooms that will last through long winter weeks. Check out our Gardening Guide on the subject here.

  • December: Remove Snow and Ice from Trees and Shrubs Carefully

    Gently sweep accumulated snow upwards. Do not shake or bang on branches; they break more easily when frozen.  It’s best to let the ice melt naturally, although on small evergreens, you could pour warm, not hot, water over the plants, if the resulting frozen pool below will not present a safety hazard. 

  • December: Keep Plants Safe While Clearing Ice

    Salt-based ice melters are bad for your soil, plants and pets, and unfortunately, most home use products are salt-based (indicated by the word chloride). First, think about whether you actually need to remove the ice or just make it safe to walk in the area. Spreading sand, sawdust, non-clumping kitty litter  and ashes might be all you need to do. Chopping and shoveling the ice away is the next best step. And finally, if you must use ice melters, then look for calcium or potassium chloride mixtures as opposed to sodium chlorides. Use as little as possible and make sure to shovel the contaminated ice and snow away from your garden and lawn.

  • November: Growing Amaryllis

    Amaryllis should be grown in a pot that is no more than 2 to 2.5 cm larger than the bulb.  Several amaryllis bulbs can be placed together in a larger pot.  Leave approximately one third of the bulb exposed.  Amaryllis should be watered sparingly and placed in a sunny window.  Turn the pot regularly so that the stem grows straight.

  • November: Feeding Houseplants

    It is time to stop feeding your houseplants.  The short daylight hours and resulting lower light conditions slow down a plant’s metabolism and the additional nutrients cannot be absorbed.  Houseplants grown under artificial lights will continue to need to be fed throughout the winter months.

  • November: Protecting Your Roses

    Rose bushes need to be protected from the freeze/thaw cycles that our winters bring us.  Pile a layer of peat moss, compost or shredded leaves around the bottom 20 cm of your rose bushes after the ground has frozen.

  • November: Diseased Leaves

    Diseased leaves should be removed from under trees and shrubs.  Do not put them in your compost pile.

     

  • November: Leave Root Vegetables in Place For Winter Harvests

    Root vegetables such as carrots and parsnips are sweeter after hard frost and can be harvested all winter. Remove top foliage from the plants and cover them with 15 cm of leaves or straw. Cover with an old piece of carpet. During the winter, just lift the coverings and dig out your veggies.