Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Gardening Saturday 2013

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It's Gardening Saturday time again!! We will be there with a large triple booth this year. We will have a complete Organic line with us as well as a huge selection of spring bulbs! We look forward to seeing you all there. If you are one of the first 800 in the door you will get a gift bag! ( I am putting a coupon for $10 free plants in ther- which more than cover your admission cost!)
Here is a little information I received on the event I thought I would pass on.......

Did you know that Gardening Saturday is Manitoba's largest gardening symposium and trade show? To date, Gardening Saturday 2012 was our most successful event with an estimated 2000 gardening enthusiasts who attended the trade show area and hundreds more who participated in the workshops.

 

Now it's time for Gardening Saturday 2013 on March 23rd from 9:00am - 4:00pm at the Canadian Mennonite University and we look forward to seeing you.

 

Be the first to get the latest gardening trends for 2013! Visit over 70 garden related displays and meet with horticultural related businesses, professionals and information booths. We will have a bustling food market, floral displays and educational demonstrations.



Do your garden projects include a water feature this year? Or a new retaining wall? Would you like to learn more about composting, vines, vegetable gardening, preserving or container gardening? Register for one of the 15 information packed workshops presented by local gardening experts.



One of the many highlights for Gardening Saturday 2013 will be Keynote Speaker Beckie Fox, Editor-in-chief for Garden Making magazine who will present on Container Gardening. We are also pleased to announce that our special guest speaker will be Sara Williams, noted author and Prairie Horticulturalist. Featured topic: Low Maintenance Gardening. 



For further information, please visit our Gardens Manitoba website www.gardensmanitoba.com. Registration form will be posted to the workshop page soon. Payment can be made via online (available end of January), mail-in (see address below) or phone (204-895-4560). Visa and Mastercard accepted.

Early bird registrants will receive a tote bag, compliments of Ball Hort, filled with goodies: catalogues, handy information guides, discount offers to your favourite garden centres, and more!



Presented by the Friends of Gardens Manitoba



Got questions? Contact Richard Baschak,

Executive Director Friends of Gardens Manitoba at:

Richard.Baschak@gardensmanitoba.com





CULTIVATING OUR GARDENING COMMUNITY
Posted by Tammy Jensen at 11:21 AM 0 Comments

Friday, January 18, 2013

My Seeds Are Sprouting – What Do I Do Now??????

I hope you have had some success in getting your seeds to sprout!
Once the seeds have sprouted, remove the cover.  When the seedlings are young, you may want to re-cover them for a few hours a day to keep them from drying out.
Over many years of growing my own plants, one thing that really helped me out was using a turkey baster to water the young seedlings.  I found I had better control over the amount of water I gave them, as opposed to using a watering can.  I often would use a spray bottle filled with water, however, in many instances, the young seedlings would be bowled over with the spray.  Always use warm water, NOT cool.
This is also the time to start fertilizing.  Use a water soluble fertilizer such as a 10-52-10. Add fertilizer to tepid water, as directed, and fertilize about every third watering.  A high middle number (phosphorous) will encourage a good root system; a high first number (nitrogen) will encourage too much leaf growth and the third number (potassium) will allow for better uptake of food and water from the soil and is good for the over-all health of the plant.  At this point, don’t over-fertilize and don’t over-water. 
Put the seedlings as close to your light source as possible to prevent the seedlings from “stretching”.  If you are using Fluorescent lights, keep your lights on for about 15 – 16 hours a day.  If you have them in a sunny spot in the house, make sure they don’t dry out from the heat of the sun.  You will also have to turn them every few days to encourage the stems to grow straight and prevent stretching.
Once the seedlings appear to be over-crowded, or have developed their second set of leaves, it is time to separate them and transplant them into little containers of their own, (about 1 ½” – 2”) large. Pick the plants up by the leaves, not the stem or roots when you are transplanting.  Make sure the containers you are using have holes for good drainage.  Peat pots are excellent ones to use as they allow the water to pass through and you won’t have to remove your plant when planting out into the soil as the peat pot will break down in the moist soil.  If you transplant seedlings into a container that is too large, you won’t see much new top-growth, however, the plant will be busy growing roots to fill the container.  At this point, you may want to switch to an all-purpose fertilizer (20-20-20).  I like using a very weak strength of fertilizer with every watering.
Almost all seedlings will grow into better, bushier plants if you pinch off their top growth after they’ve grown their second or third set of leaves.  Never pinch tuberous begonia or celosia.  As the seedlings grow, you may want to transplant them again into a container that is a little larger. You may also want to add some soil to your soil-less mix to train the roots to work their way through soil.  They will have a better time once they are finally planted into the garden.  You will then have some healthy, large plants to transplant outside once the weather warms (usually around May 24th).
As your seedlings grow, use a fan on them for a few hours a day to stress them a little.  Also, allow them to dry out a bit by missing a watering and a fertilizing once a week and put them in a cool spot at night. Your plants will be a lot stronger and more able to survive better on their own outside. 
Always harden off your plants before planting them outside by gradually getting them used to the conditions in which they are going to grow.  A plant that has been pampered with a lot of water, fertilizer heat and humidity will grow lush, green, tender foliage but will be the first to go into shock and keel over in our Manitoba sun and wind.  Always put your tender plants into a shady, sheltered spot for the first couple of days and then gradually introduce them out into the wind and sun. If your plants become withered or start showing signs of too much sun (white leaves), give them a good watering and put them back into the sheltered shade.  Your plants will soon become used to the conditions and be less likely to succumb to the harsh conditions of the outside.  A good rule to follow when planting is to plant your sun plants out first and then your shade plants.  Usually the shade plants are more tender and planting out too early (impatiens or begonia) will set them back or you may lose them if the nights dip down to below 10 degrees.
Many plants such as petunias, verbena, alyssum, dianthus, foxglove (foxy), snapdragons, gazanias, centaurea (batchelor button), rudbeckia (gloriosa daisy), sweet peas, chrysanthemum, cosmos and pansies can take a little cold and frost, but, be prepared to cover them if the risk of frost occurs soon after planting out.  Use newspaper, cardboard or sheets to cover.  Never use plastic as this draws the cold.
About a week after your plants have been planted outside, give them a good fertilizing (like a Miracle Gro 15-30-15 for all your blooming plants and an all-purpost 20-20-20) for all your leafy plants.  Continue to do so, according to directions, throughout the summer and you will have strong, healthy plants right through the season. 
Stay tuned for some more planting tips and tricks!
Arlene Wheeler
Posted by Tammy Jensen at 12:00 AM 0 Comments

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Starting Seeds Indoors


Seeding both indoors and out can be challenging at the best of times, but, with a few tricks and tips, you can be most successful!

If you are starting some of your vegetable or flower seeds indoors, it is not necessary to have an expensive “Grow Light” set-up.  An ordinary cool white Fluorescent light bulb will do (or a sunny spot in the house}.  The secret is to keep your seeds and seedlings as close to the light as possible.  This will give you a firm and stocky seedling rather than a spindly one that looks like it has been stretched and is reaching for the light.  If you are using Fluorescent bulbs, give them about 15 hours a day under the bulbs.  A sunny window will also work well, but, be careful not to let the seeds dry out. Keeping your seeds too moist or too dry will deter germination.  Drop into the garden centre for a “soil-less” mix growing medium that mainly consists of peat moss, vermiculite and perlite.  It is light, fluffy and easy to work with.  It also helps the seedlings form an excellent root system for transplanting.  The first thing to do is pre-moisten the mix with hot water and then fill your container with soil.  I often use a plastic muffin container or strawberry container.  They have a lid attached so it creates a little greenhouse – perfect for germinating seeds. There are many different containers you can use for planting seeds.  An ordinary margarine or other container will do, just cover the top with a saran wrap after planting or put into a light see through plastic bag like you would put fruit and vegetables in when you buy from a food store, to create the same “greenhouse” effect.  Other seeds don’t like to be transplanted so sow them directly into little peat pots so they can be planted directly into the soil.  Some seeds are like dust (like Begonia seed), so just tap them onto the soil from your hand.  Gently firm the soil and then cover.  I remember a number of years ago planting Lisianthus seed for the first time with a friend.  We got the giggles and at the end of the planting, we weren’t sure if we had scattered the seed in the container or on the floor!
You can also save toilet paper rolls and by making about 3 or 4 one inch slits from the bottom, you can turn them into little containers for planting out.  They will break down in the moist soil, just as the peat pots do, and will allow the roots to grow through without problem. Some plants such as cucumber, celosia and sweet peas don’t like to be transplanted so sow them directly into the peat pots.  Other plants such as alyssum and lobelia can be grown in rows without being transplanted to larger containers. Simply pull them apart in little bunches and plant them outside in the soil or into containers when you are ready to plant.
Mix a product called “No-Damp in a spray bottle and spray on top of the seeded containers.  It is an anti-fungus and will prevent your seedlings from falling over after they have germinated. Some seeds germinate best in light and others best in darkness. If your seeds prefer darkness, cover the container loosely with tin foil or even some newspaper to keep the light out.  Other seeds germinate best when merely pressed into the top of the soil so they are exposed to light. Make note of this when you are reading about different plant varieties.
Some seeds will germinate better and faster with a little bottom heat. A few warm spots in the house would be in an oven with the light on; on top of a Fluorescent fixture on a light stand or beside a heat register.
Once you have had some success in germinating seeds indoors, you will wonder why you haven’t tried it before.
If you have some seeds that have been collecting dust around your house for years and you are wondering if they are still viable, place your seeds into a jar and half-fill the jar with warm water.  The seeds that float to the top are not good.  Another way to test seed is to take some of the seeds and put into a wet paper towel and put into a sealed plastic bag.  If they are good for planting, they will be sprouting in no time!
Most vegetables, except for the root crops (beets, carrots potatoes and parsnips), can be started inside for earlier crops.  Vegetables such as peppers, tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, pumpkins, melons, leeks and Spanish onions should be started indoors early to insure you will have crops later.  Corn needs heat to germinate so if you start seeds indoors in small peat pots a few weeks before planting outdoors, you will get a great jump on an early crop. You will also have much earlier Lettuce if you start seeds indoors and just a tip – Lettuce likes it cool so plant the seedlings outside early.  They can endure a lot of cold!
Drop into our Garden Centre and pick up a few packages of seeds to try!  Growing seeds indoors is a lot of fun!

Stay tuned next time to find out what to do once your seedlings
 Arlene Wheeler
Posted by Tammy Jensen at 12:00 AM 0 Comments