• 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.

  • April: Compost

    If your compost pile has thawed by the beginning of the month, now’s the time to give it a good stirring.At the end of the month, when the weather has improved and the garden is dry enough to work in, add a 1-2 inch layer of  well composted material (sweet smelling, crumbly and dark brown) to your garden beds, scratching it in lightly. Make sure that you are not putting against the stems or trunks of existing plants. When the earthworms wake up, they will pull that material further into the soil, helping you get ready for planting.

  • April: Cool Season Vegetables

    Vegetables such as spinach, lettuce, beets, peas and radishes all enjoy cool soil and can be usually be planted starting in mid to late April – check the long range forecast first in case some very cool weather is coming and planting needs to be delayed.  Lettuce and peas require the soil to be a little warmer than spinach, beets and radishes.  Watch the weather – if a frost is predicted, cover your plants to protect them.