Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Arlene's Lasagna Gardening Tips

Arlene’s Lasagna Gardening Tips

This is the time of year to take advantage of all the Carbon sources around to create a vegetable garden or flower bed without having to break your back doing it. It’s easy – no digging or tilling!  You’ll also be able to use all the compostable items from your yard and kitchen   NO meat or dairy please!!!
Lasagna gardening or sheet composting is an organic gardening method that results in fluffy, rich soil, with very little work. You are going to build a garden by layering nitrogen and carbon sources, similar to creating Lasagna.

Nitrogen sources:  grass clippings used coffee grounds
(Greens) used tea leaves or bags fruit & vegetable scraps
fresh weeds (no seeds) blood meal
alfalfa pellets composted manures

Carbon sources: leaves sawdust
(Browns) corn stalks (cut up) pine needles
peat moss straw
wood chips newspaper
cardboard shredded bark
dryer lint

To create a garden or flower bed, mow the grass or other vegetation as short as possible.  Loosen the soil underneath with a spading fork.  Remove the weeds.  Cover the area with 4 – 6 overlapping layers of newspaper or cardboard.  Wet the area thoroughly. Fill in the area with layers of Nitrogen materials (Greens) and Carbon materials (Browns), ending with Browns, to a minimum of about 18 inches in height. Ending with a Carbon layer discourages flies from laying eggs in the nitrogen, such as the kitchen scraps and composted manure, however, you will be creating an attractive playground for the earthworms to loosen up the soil as they tunnel through it.  To speed up the composting process, sprinkle the layers with a Compost Accelerator, as there is little or no heat reaction from the microorganisms to speed the process along. Cover with about 4 – 6 inches of a 4-way garden mix. By the time spring rolls around, the garden will be ready for planting.  The layers will have decomposed and it will look and smell like fresh earth. There will be no need for fertilizer next year!!!
Posted by Tammy Jensen at 4:01 PM 0 Comments

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

ARLENE’S FALL COMPOSTING TIPS


1. TILL THE ANNUALS IN. MOST ANNUALS THAT HAVE FINISHED FRUITING CAN BE TILLED INTO THE GARDEN. THE LARGER BODIED PLANTS SUCH AS TOMATOES, BROCCOLI AND DAHLIAS CAN BE CHOPPED UP INTO SMALLER PIECES TO MAKE IT EASIER TO COMPOST.

2. LET THE PERENNIALS GET BLACKENED BY FROST & LEAVE IN THE GROUND TO PROVIDE HOMES FOR THE GOOD BUGS LIKE THE LADY BUG OR CUT THE FOLIAGE AND TILL BACK INTO THE GARDEN OR SAVE IN BAGS TO BE ADDED TO YOUR COMPOST PILE.

3. MOW THE LEAVES BACK INTO THE LAWN, USING A MULCHER OR THE HIGHEST SETTING ON YOUR LAWNMOWER.

4. LEAF COMPOSTING  -  LEAVE UNDER TREES & SHRUBS TO COMPOST NATURALLY
- USE ONLY DECIDUOUS LEAVES THAT ARE CHEMICAL FREE & FUNGUS FREE.
- MAKE A LEAF PILE 4’ IN DIAMETER & 3’ HIGH.  INCLUDE A LAYER OF SOIL BETWEEN EVERY FOOT OF LEAVES; MOISTEN BUT NOT SATURATE THE PILE.  PUT A PLASTIC SHEET OVER TOP OF THE PILE TO KEEP IT FROM GETTING WATER-LOGGED.  WEIGHT THE EDGES DOWN WITH ROCKS. THE PILE WILL COMPOST ITSELF IN ABOUT 4 – 6 MONTHS.  THE LEAF COMPOST IS BEST USED AS A SOIL AMMENDMENT RATHER THAN A FERTILIZER AS IT IS LOW IN NUTRIENTS.

5. OAK LEAVES BREAK DOWN SLOWLY AERATING OUR CLAY SOIL, MAKING THE SOIL LIGHTER AND HELPING WITH RETAINING MOISTURE.  SPREAD THE LEAVES OVER THE GARDEN.

6. LEAVES ARE RICH IN CARBON SO ARE EASILY INCORPORATED INTO THE COMPOST BIN.
     -  YOU NEED 2/3 CARBONS (BROWN) - (LEAVES, TWIGS, STRAW, SHRUB PRUNINGS, DRIED GARDEN WASTE) AND 1/3 NITROGEN (GREEN) - (GRASS CLIPPINGS, KITCHEN SCRAPS, FRUIT AND VEGETABLE PEELINGS, COFFEE GROUNDS & OTHER FRESH MATERIALS.
BROWN – ACCELERATES THE COMPOSTING, ELIMINATES ODOUR & HELPS TO PRODUCE A LIGHT, FLUFFY COMPOST.
- DO NOT USE DAIRY OR MEAT!

7. BAG EXTRA LEAVES TO BE USED FOR THE COMPOST PILE IN THE SPRING AND THROUGH THE SUMMER.

8. USE COMPOST ACCELERATOR (WE HAVE AN EXCELLENT COMPOST ACCELERATOR BY ORGUNIQUE THAT WORKS VERY WELL).

9. SAVE WOOD ASH TO SPRINKLE IN THE COMPOST PILE.
Posted by Tammy Jensen at 10:44 PM 0 Comments

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

ARLENE’S FALL GARDENING TIPS ABOUT MULCH

ARLENE’S FALL GARDENING TIPS ABOUT MULCH

APPLY ORGANIC MULCH SUCH AS SHREDDED LEAVES, SHREDDED BARK, FLAX STRAW, COMPOSTED WOOD CHIPS OR COCOA HULLS ABOUT 2 – 4” DEEP AROUND TREES AND SHRUBS AND OVER YOUR PERENNIAL GARDEN.  NEVER PILE UP THE MULCH AROUND THE BASE OF TREES AND SHRUBS. LEAVE ABOUT 8 “ OF SPACE AROUND TREES AND 4 – 6” AROUND SHRUBS.

1. HELPS MAINTAIN MOISTURE

2. HELPS REDUCE GERMINATION & GROWTH OF WEEDS

3. SERVES AS NATURE’S INSULATING BLANKET, KEEPING THE SOIL WARMER IN WINTER & COOLER IN SUMMER

4. REDUCES WINTER INJURY BY MINIMIZING TEMPERATURE VARIATION THAT CAUSES THE CROWN AND ROOTS TO BE EXPOSED

5. IMPROVES SOIL AERATION, STRUCTURE AND DRAINAGE OVER TIME

6. IMPROVES SOIL FERTILITY

7. HELPS INHIBIT CERTAIN PLANT DISEASES

8. REDUCES SOIL EROSION FROM WIND AND WATER

9. IT HELPS IN CATCHING THE SNOW, PROVIDING GREATER INSULATION FOR THE ROOT SYSTEM.

Posted by Tammy Jensen at 3:09 PM 0 Comments

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

ARLENE’S TIPS ON FORCING BULBS INDOORS



Brighten up the indoors this winter by trying your hand at forcing some spring bulbs.  It’s easy to do.  The term forcing refers to inducing a plant to produce its shoot, leaf and flower, out of its natural environment and ahead of its natural schedule. When we force bulbs indoors, we mimic the same conditions that the bulbs would experience when grown outdoors.  Paperwhite Narcissus, which are fragrant, and Amaryllis are two bulbs that don’t need chilling as they are native to warm climates, however, bulbs such as Tulips, Daffodils, Scilla, Crocus, Muscari, Chionodoxa and Hyacinths need to be chilled. Both types are handled in the same way, although the forcing period may vary slightly.

Here are some tips:
1. Choose firm, non-marked, high quality bulbs.
2. Look for cultivars that do not grow too tall.
3. Use clean containers, keeping in mind that clay pots tend to dry faster.  If using clay, soak the pot for several hours to saturate the pores.  Bulbs look best in a shallow, wide container that’s approximately 4 – 6 inches deep.
4. Bulbs need moisture and also perfect drainage to grow successfully.  A mix of equal parts of peat moss, potting soil, sand and vermiculite or perlite is best; however, they can also be grown in a soil less mix combined with either part perlite or vermiculite. Hyacinths, Crocus and Narcissus can also be forced in water. Special clear glasses are used for forcing.  The bulb is placed in the upper portion and water in the bottom, just to cover the basal plate.  Paperwhites can also be grown in a shallow container of water filled with pebbles.  Secure the bulb in the pebbles deeply enough so that the basal plate is in touch with the water. Keep the container in a cool, dark room (preferably around 10 degrees C. or under) for a period of 4 – 8 weeks until the root system has developed and the top elongates. Use something like a black garbage bag to place loosely over top of the container if the spot you have chosen is not in complete darkness.  After the cool, dark period, place the container in a bright window and it will soon come into bloom. Each bulb will send up several flower blossoms.


5. If planting bulbs in a soil mixture, fill your container to about ½ to ¾ full of the potting mixture.  Moisten the soil.  Plant the bulbs close together, without touching and with pointed ends up, in a container partially covered with soil.  After planting, cover with soil, leaving the tips exposed and leaving about a ½ inch of space at the top of the container so it can be easily watered.  Never bury the bulbs.  If you are planting tulips, plant the flat side of the tulip bulb closest to the rim of your container. The largest leaf will always emerge and grow on the flat side, producing a more desirable look.
6. Water thoroughly.
7. After planting, the bulbs must be given a cold treatment, in darkness, preferably under 10 degrees C. for a minimum of 12 – 13 weeks. Don’t allow the bulbs to freeze as they will turn to mush. Most bulbs require a period of 16 – 18 weeks of cold before the flower is fully formed.  If you cut the cooling time short, the flowers may emerge but they will probably be stunted and deformed. The fridge, a cool pantry or an unheated basement are some great spots to keep them during the cool period.
8. Mark your calendar to remind yourself when the container can be removed from the dark and cool.
9. After the chill, gradually expose them to light and warmth.  Start them off in the coolest part or your house in indirect sunlight.  Exposing them to warm temperatures too quickly will cause the blooms to emerge too fast and they will fail before they ever open.  When shoots are about 3 – 5 inches high, move the container to a bright, sunny window.  When the buds start to show colour, move them to indirect light again to prolong the bloom time. At night, move them back into the cool, if possible, as warmer temperatures will result in rapid growth.
10. After the bloom has finished, discard Paperwhites, Hyacinths, Tulips and Crocus as they normally will never likely flower satisfactorily again.  Other bulbs can be planted out in the garden but may take a number of years to re-bloom.


If you follow these tips, you will be able to enjoy fragrant blooms and colour all winter long!

Posted by Tammy Jensen at 12:05 PM 0 Comments

Thursday, October 11, 2012

ARLENE’S TIPS ON FALL ROSE CARE

ARLENE’S TIPS ON FALL ROSE CARE

1. DON’T PRUNE ROSES IN THE FALL IN OUR ZONE – LET THE ROSES
FORM ROSEHIPS AND PREPARE FOR WINTER.
2. FOR HARDY ROSES – YOU REALLY DON’T HAVE TO DO ANYTHING, AS THEY ARE HARDY FOR OUR ZONE AND SHOULD SURVIVE THE WINTER, WITHOUT EXTRA PROTECTION.  
       IF YOU ARE CONCERNED ABOUT A NEWLY PLANTED ROSE, USE
      FLAX STRAW TO COVER IT AFTER THEY IT HAS GONE INTO
      DORMANCY.
3. FOR CLIMBING ROSES – TIE THE CANES WITH SOMETHING SUCH AS
      PANTY HOSE TO KEEP THEM FROM WHIPPING AROUND IN THE
      WIND.
4.  FOR TEA ROSES
a. THESE ARE THE ONLY ONES YOU SHOULD PRUNE IN THE FALL OR
    BEND THE CANES AND COVER, IN OUR ZONE.

b. DON’T PRUNE AND COVER, JUST TO GET IT DONE, UNTIL THE 
    COLD WEATHER HAS REALLY SET IN.

c. AFTER PRUNING BACK TO ABOUT 12 INCHES, SPRAY WITH A
    FUNGICIDE/INSECTICIDE OR SPRINKLE WITH GARDEN SULPHUR.

d. COVER THE ROSE WITH 6 – 8 INCHES OF DRY SOIL OR LEAVES.

e. PROTECT IT WITH A ROSE CONE, CARDBOARD BOX OR CONTAINER
   (NOT PLASTIC AS PLASTIC DRAWS THE COLD).  PROTECT IT FROM
    THE SUN, AS SOON AS THE FROST HAS GOT AT IT AND BEFORE IT
    HAS A CHANCE TO THAW OUT.  IT’S THE FREEZING AND THAWING
    THAT DOES THE MOST HARM.
Posted by Tammy Jensen at 7:46 AM 0 Comments

Thursday, October 11, 2012

ARLENE’S TIPS ON OVER-WINTERING CANNAS

ARLENE’S TIPS ON OVER-WINTERING CANNAS

1. DIG THE CANNAS AFTER THE TOPS HAVE BEEN KILLED BY FROST.
2. CUT THE STALK TO ABOUT 4 INCHES AND RE-POT.
3. STORE THEM IN A COOL SPOT (ABOUT 50 DEGREES).

OR

1. DIG THEM UP AFTER THE TOPS HAVE BEEN KILLED BY FROST.

2. REMOVE FOLIAGE.

3. ALLOW CANNA RHIZOMES TO DRY FOR A FEW DAYS WHERE THEY WON’T FREEZE.

4. STORE THEM IN A PLASTIC BAG WITH DAMPENED PEAT MOSS – POKE HOLES IN THE BAG FOR AERATION.

5. STORE THEM IN A DARK, COOL PLACE ( ABOUT 50 DEGREES).

6. CHECK EVERY MONTH THROUGH THE WINTER TO INSURE THE PEAT MOSS HAS NOT DRIED OUT.  USE A MISTER TO DAMPEN THE PEAT MOSS, IF NECESSARY.  KEEP IN MIND THAT TOO MUCH MOISTURE WILL ROT THE RHIZOME.

7. RE-POT THEM IN EARLY MARCH AND MOVE INTO A SUNNY LOCATION BEFORE PLANTING THEM OUTSIDE AFTER THE THREAT OF FROST.
Posted by Tammy Jensen at 7:42 AM 0 Comments

Thursday, October 11, 2012

ARLENE’S TIPS ON OVER-WINTERING CALLA LILIES

ARLENE’S TIPS ON OVER-WINTERING CALLA LILIES

1. CALLA LILIES ARE NOT LILIUM SUCH AS THE ASIATIC LILIES, THEY ARE ZANTEDESCHIA.

2. THEY WILL NOT SURVIVE IN THE GROUND.  THEY MUST BE TAKEN INSIDE OVER THE WINTER.

3. FOR THE COLOURED CALLAS, DIG THEM UP WHEN THE FOLIAGE IS STARTING TO YELLOW.

4. LET THEM DRY FOR A FEW DAYS, REMOVE THE FOLIAGE AND PULL OFF THE DRY ROOTS.

5. STORE THEM IN A CARDBOARD BOX IN A COOL SPOT, AROUND 50 DEGREES.

6. THEY DON’T HAVE TO BE STORED IN SOIL OR PEAT MOSS.  THEY ENJOY A GOOD AIR FLOW TO KEEP THEM DRY.

7. THE WHITE CALLAS - DIG THEM UP, RE-POT THEM AND SPRAY THEM WITH AN INSECTICIDE.

8. GROW THEM ON INDOORS, KEEPING THEM ON THE DRY SIDE.

9. THEY MAY SURPRISE YOU WITH FLOWERS IN FEBRUARY.

10. PLANT THEM OUTSIDE AGAIN THE BEGINNING OF JUNE AFTER THE CHANCE OF FROST.
Posted by Tammy Jensen at 7:11 AM 0 Comments

Thursday, October 04, 2012

ARLENE’S TIPS FOR OVERWINTERING GERANIUMS

THERE ARE A NUMBER OF WAYS TO OVERWINTER YOUR GERANIUMS

METHOD 1 - GROW THEM ON AS HOUSEPLANTS

1. GROW THEM AS HOUSEPLANTS OVER THE WINTER, SUPPLYING THEM WITH SIMILAR CONDITIONS TO WHAT THEY WERE GROWING IN OUTDOORS.
2. DIG THEM UP AND PLACE THEM IN A POT THAT CAN COMFORTABLY FIT THEIR ROOTBALL. PRUNE THEM BACK BY ABOUT 1/3.
3. SPRAY THEM FOR INSECTS AND ISOLATE THEM FOR A FEW WEEKS BEFORE EXPOSING THEM TO YOUR OTHER PLANTS.
4. KEEP THEM AWAY FROM HEAT SOURCES IN THE HOUSE.
5. TRY TO PROVIDE THEM WITH AS MUCH LIGHT AND HUMIDITY AS POSSIBLE AT A TEMPERATURE BETWEEN 60 -70 DEGREES.
6. IN EARLY MARCH, IF THEY HAVE BECOME LEGGY, TRIM THEM BACK BY ABOUT 1/3 TO MAKE THEM BUSH OUT.

METHOD 2 - TAKE CUTTINGS FROM HEALTHY PLANTS THAT HAVE BEEN KEPT RATHER DRY FOR A COUPLE OF WEEKS. (ALTHOUGH TECHNICALLY THIS IS NOT AN OVERWINTERING METHOD)

1. TAKE A CLEAN SHARP KNIFE AND MAKE A CUTTING ABOUT 3 -4 INCHES FROM THE GROWING TIP.
2. TRIM OFF THE LOWER LEAVES AND STICK THE CUTTING INTO VERMICULITE OR A COURSE SANDY MEDIUM, IN SMALL POTS OR FLATS THAT HAVE GOOD DRAINAGE.
3. WATER THEM WELL AND PLACE THE POTS INTO A CLEAR PLASTIC BAG IN A WARM SPOT AWAY FROM DIRECT LIGHT. OPEN THE BAG EVERY FEW DAYS TO ALLOW AIR IN.
4. DON’T LET THEM DRY OUT BUT DON’T OVERWATER THEM SO THEY GET ROOT ROT!
5. IN ABOUT 6 WEEKS AFTER THEY HAVE ROOTED, REPOT THEM INTO SOIL AND MOVE THE NEW PLANTS INTO A WARM SUNNY SPOT.
6. FERTILIZE WITH A WEAKENED SOLUTION OF ALL PURPOSE FERTILIZER EVERY 2 WEEKS.
7. WATER SPARINGLY UNTIL THEY CAN BE PLANTED OUTSIDE AGAIN IN THE SPRING.

METHOD 3 - MAKE THEM GO INTO DORMANCY UNTIL SPRING

1. DIG UP THE PLANT AND GENTLY REMOVE THE SOIL FROM THE ROOTS.
2. THE ROOTS SHOULDN’T BE CLEAN BUT SHOULD BE FREE FROM CLODS OF DIRT.
3. HANG THE PLANTS UPSIDE DOWN IN A SPOT WHERE THE TEMPERATURE IS ABOUT 50 DEGREES.
4. ONCE A MONTH, SOAK THE ROOTS IN WARM WATER FOR ABOUT AN HOUR AND THEN RE-HANG THE PLANT.
5. THE GERANIUM WILL LOSE ALL ITS LEAVES BUT THE STEMS WILL REMAIN ALIVE.
6. IN EARLY MARCH, REPLANT THE STEMS IN SOIL IN POTS AND THEY WILL SPRING TO LIFE.


GERANIUMS ARE ALSO EASILY GROWN FROM SEED!

Posted by Tammy Jensen at 7:59 AM 0 Comments

Thursday, October 04, 2012

ARLENE’S TIPS FOR DIVIDING PERENNIALS

Most perennials can and should be divided to rejuvenate, maintaining good health and peak bloom.  My favourite time of year is to divide in late fall.  The soil is still warm; the plant gets settled in quickly and comes up in the spring looking refreshed.  Most perennials, when really needing to be divided, tend to die out from the centre or produce smaller leaves and smaller and fewer flowers.  Many times over the years, I have found that I should have really divided the perennial at the end of the season of the year the plant is in its peak form, as, more often than not, the next year it’s starting to split in the centre or there are fewer blooms than the previous year.
Here are some tips when dividing:

1. Water the plant well the day before you intend to divide the plant to put less stress on the plant when you start digging.
2. Dig up the entire plant, starting at the drip line.  If the plant is huge, you may have to slice down the centre of the plant, using a sharp spade.  Then slice the other way down the centre again. The plant will now be in four parts and make it a lot easier to lift it out of the ground.
3. Once the plant has been lifted out of the ground, tangled, fibrous roots can be separated by hand or by using a garden fork, while tough dense roots like a peony will need to be cut apart with a sharp knife or spade.
4. Discard the woody centres of plants and any parts that have soft, rotted roots. Each new division must have two or three new shoots and a good bunch of healthy roots.  You will find a lot of the younger roots and offshoots that grow at the edge of the clump will likely produce stronger, healthier new plants.
5. Before replanting, replenish the area with organic matter to renew the soil.
6. Plant the new divisions as soon as possible otherwise they will soon start to dry out.  If they have dried out while on hold, soak them in a bucket of water for about an hour before replanting.
7. Plant the new plants at the same depth that the old plant was growing.
8. Use a rooting hormone, such as Root Booster or Myke, to get the roots settled quickly and then water the plant well.  Keep the soil moist for several weeks while the new roots are forming.

Plants that should be divided in late summer of early fall:

Asiatic Lily (Lilium) - (Dig deep and replant the bulbs). For an attractive display, plant the bulbs in groups of three on a mound of soil.  Also put sand at the bottom of the hole to provide good drainage.
Bearded Iris – Allow part of the corms to show above ground.  If they are planted too deeply, they may rot or they may not bloom.
*Daylily (Hemerocallis), *Jacob’s Ladder, *Peony (divide infrequently), *Tall Phlox (Phlox paniculata), *Siberian Iris and *Hosta
*Can also be divided in early spring.

Plants to divide in early spring: (Every 1 – 3 years)

Aster Garden Mums
Beardtongue Obedient Plant
Beebalm Painted Daisy
Carnation Shasta Daisy
Common Sundrops Spiderwort
Coralbells Tickseed
Cornflower Yarrow
Delphinium
Fernleaf Bleeding Heart
Foamflower

Plants to divide in early spring: (Every 3 – 5 years)

Astilbe Gooseneck
Bellflower Mallow
Blanketflower Sea Thrift
Catmint Speedwell
Coneflower Daylily (Hemerocallis)
Gay Feather Liatris

Plants to divide in early spring: (Every 5 – 10 years)

Cranesbill Geranium Lungwort
Goatsbeard Meadow Rue
Hosta Meadowsweet
Japanese Anemone Oxeye
Lady’s Mantle Siberian Iris
Plants to divide only to propagate:

Bugbane Yucca
Globeflower

DO NOT DIVIDE THE FOLLOWING PLANTS:

Baby’s Breath (Gypsophila) False Indigo (Baptisia)
Balloon Flower (Platycodon) Flax (Linum)
Bugbane (Cimicifuga) Gentian
Butterfly Weed (Asclepias) Foxgloves (Digitalis)
Carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus) Lupine
Clematis Monkshood (Aconitum)
Evening Primrose (Oenothera missourienis)
Russian Sage (Perovskia) Sea Hollies (Eryngium spp.)

Posted by Tammy Jensen at 7:56 AM 0 Comments

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Arlene's Tips for Over-Wintering Dahlia Tubers

ARLENE’S TIPS FOR OVER-WINTERING DAHLIA TUBERS

1. ALLOW THE DAHLIA TO BE BLACKENED BY FROST.
2. CUT DOWN TO ABOUT 4 INCHES FROM THE GROUND.
3. LIFT THE TUBERS WITH A GARDEN FORK SO AS NOT TO CUT THE TUBER.
4. ALLOW THE TUBERS TO CURE (DRY) A FEW DAYS ON THE GROUND.  MAKE SURE THERE IS NO FROST IN THE FORECAST OR YOUR TUBERS WILL TURN TO MUSH.
5. SHAKE OFF THE MUD AND DUST THE TUBERS WITH GARDEN SULPHUR.
6. YOU CAN DIVIDE THE TUBERS NOW WITH A SHARP KNIFE, ENSURING THERE IS ONE EYE ON THE TUBER OR YOU CAN WAIT UNTIL SPRING TO DIVIDE.
7. PUT THE TUBERS INTO A CARDBOARD BOX OR CRATE WITH DAMPENED PEAT MOSS (NOT TOO WET OR THE TUBERS WILL ROT).
8. STORE IN A COOL SPOT IN THE BASEMENT UNTIL MARCH.
9. POT UP IN EARLY MARCH AND YOU WILL HAVE BEAUTIFUL DAHLIAS AGAIN NEXT YEAR!
Posted by Tammy Jensen at 5:24 PM 0 Comments