Master Gardeners

Growing from seed

Written by  |  Wednesday, 11 February 2015 22:37  |  Published in Master Gardeners
by Helen Halpenny, Lanark County Master Gardeners It’s never too early to make plans for your 2015 garden. Already the seed companies have sent catalogues with beautiful pictures and glowing reviews to entice you to buy their regular and newly introduced varieties. Before you order new seeds, get out your left over packets and see what can be reused this year. Many packets of seeds are stamped with the year when they were packaged and the rate of germination you can expect; e.g. “packed for 2015, sell by 12/15 - 86%”. That is like a ‘best before date’ and does not mean they become throwaways after that date. It simply means that the rate of germination will likely decrease the next and in subsequent years.…

Ferns: Outdoors and In

Written by  |  Wednesday, 04 March 2015 19:10  |  Published in Master Gardeners
by Dale Odorizzi, Lanark County Master Gardeners Nothing says a woodland garden better than a stand of beautiful, delicate and graceful ferns. Ferns are plants that produce evergreen or deciduous leaf-like structures called fronds. In our part of the world there are close to 20 species of ferns growing wild in our woods. The most popular at garden centers are Ostrich Ferns and Maiden Hair Ferns. If you have a Bog Garden the Sensitive Fern grows happily in moist to wet soil. Ferns provide garden interest. Most uncurl bright foliage in the spring. The fronds of deciduous plants start fading in the late summer and die back after the first frosts. If you wish to grow ferns in your woodland garden, you will need partial…

Herb Gardens on your window sill

Written by  |  Wednesday, 11 March 2015 16:54  |  Published in Master Gardeners
by Helen Halpenny, Lanark County Master Gardeners The snow may be piled high outside, but starting your garden indoors can happen right now. Come February, the light level begins to increase and a sunny windowsill can be the perfect place to get a head start on the gardening season. There is lots of time before mid-May to get herbs growing. The smell of basil, mint and thyme and the taste of fresh herbs is a harbinger of spring. The seed racks at retail stores are filled with dozens of choices. Many herbs start well from seed while others are best grown from transplants. If your goal is to grow herbs that you can clip for culinary use or use as garnishes then the following suggestions…

Assassin from below: Cutworms

Written by  |  Wednesday, 06 May 2015 23:43  |  Published in Master Gardeners
by Dale Odorizzi, Master Gardener of Lanark County Have you ever gone out in the morning to admire the Beefsteak or Roma tomato plants that you planted the day before only to find one, two or more plants cut off at the soil line and lying flat on the ground? If so, your plants were visited overnight by cutworms! In my garden, my pepper or tomato plants are the usual victims of these predators. I have not had a problem with flowers seedlings. Cutworms are the larvae of the family Noctuidae which is a large family of brown or gray moths. The larvae are fat, greasy-looking gray or dull brown and are 2.5-5 cm in length. At night, these caterpillars feed on stems of seedlings, especially transplants,…

Growing raspberries

Written by  |  Wednesday, 06 May 2015 23:44  |  Published in Master Gardeners
by Helen Halpenny, Lanark Master Gardeners Fruit and vegetables grown in the home garden and picked at the peak of perfection taste the absolute best. Among the easiest fruits to grow are raspberries. Yes, you need space and good soil but the rewards are great. Prepare the soil well because the raspberry patch will be in situ for several years. There are many varieties of raspberries available at nurseries. “Red Boyne” is very hardy and flavor is excellent. “Nova” is a new variety developed in Nova Scotia. There are yellow raspberries, purple and black varieties as well. Most bear fruit about mid-July, but there are also ever-bearing kinds and these are my favourites. My Heritage raspberries bear a few fruits in July, (the robins get…

Square Foot Gardening

Written by  |  Wednesday, 06 May 2015 23:44  |  Published in Master Gardeners
By Dale Odorizzi Do you want to have fresh picked tasty vegetables but have a small lot with no room for a vegetable garden? If so, Square Foot Gardening may be for you. Square foot gardening is easy to do, easy to manage, very adaptable, and it produces high yields of top-quality food. One square foot garden unit measuring 16 sq ft (4 feet X 4 feet) holds an average of 130 plants and produces enough vegetables for one person. A family of four can have fresh greens in abundance throughout the growing season and beyond from only 64 square feet of growing space. Vegetables love sunshine. Put your garden in a site that will get a minimum of 6 hours sunlight a day. Keep…

How to grow sweet potatoes locally

Written by  |  Wednesday, 06 May 2015 23:44  |  Published in Master Gardeners
by Judy Wall Unlike the potato, which is grown from tubers, sweet potatoes are started from “slips.” To create slips, a sweet potato tuber is planted indoors in March. One tuber can produce several slips. To do so you will need to obtain a sweet potato which has been stored at room temperature, not in cold storage or one which has not been treated to prevent sprouting. You can buy from sweet potato producers if you're looking for a specific variety on line or, if you want to experiment, buy an organic sweet potato which is unlikely to have been treated. Take the sweet potato and place the pointed end down. Take 4 tooth picks, poke them into the sweet potato sides so that the…

Bringing your plants indoors

Written by  |  Wednesday, 17 September 2014 23:39  |  Published in Master Gardeners
by Dale Odorizzi, Lanark County Master Gardeners It is that time of year again. The days are getting shorter, the nights are long and cold. Many of us put our house plants outside for the summer or have purchased annuals to brighten up our containers. If you want to save them for another season, act now to get them inside before frost strikes. Before you decide which plants to bring inside, look at it carefully. If it has not thrived outside, it likely won’t thrive inside. Unless the plant is very valuable or has great sentimental value, do not bring inside. The first thing to do is to bring the plants inside without bringing in a lot of creepy crawlies—that’s the technical for insects. Earwigs…

The Fall Flower Garden

Written by  |  Wednesday, 15 October 2014 12:15  |  Published in Master Gardeners
by Dale Odorizzi, Lanark County Master Gardeners All summer long, your flower garden has bloomed beautifully. As the days get shorter and cooler, many of our gardens are looking a little shaggy. What is a poor gardener to do? If you want colour in your garden in the fall, you have to think about it in the spring. So often, we go to the garden centre or plant sale and only buy plants that are in bloom. By the time September rolls around, they are worn out. Many of the flowers that bloomed earlier in the year will bloom again if you deadhead them shortly after blooming. Perennial Bachelor Buttons, Delphiniums, Yarrow and Dianthus are all plants that had bloomed in the spring or summer.…

Garlic Scapes

Written by  |  Thursday, 26 June 2014 08:18  |  Published in Master Gardeners
by Gerda Franssen, Dale Odorizzi, Lanark County Master Gardeners What are those strange curly green things growing from the top of my garlic? If you were one of the gardeners who planned ahead last October and planted a variety of hard-necked garlic, right now you might be asking yourself just that question. Garlic is one of the few plants that provides two harvests. The first crop is those strange curly things, known as Scapes. If you cut off the curly flower stems, your garlic bulbs will grow bigger. Once you have cut them off, they are a delicious addition to your early summer dining. If you are picking your scapes to energize your garlic, timing isn’t too important but to enjoy the mild, tender stems…

Clematis: To Prune or Not to Prune

Written by  |  Thursday, 12 June 2014 09:01  |  Published in Master Gardeners
By Dale Odorizzi, Lanark County Master Gardeners Few subjects in gardening are as confusing or as frustrating as the proper pruning of Clematis. Most modern hybrid clematis have complex parentage with many combined strains that have contradictory pruning needs. As Yogi Berra once said, you can observe a lot by just watching. The easiest way to determine the specific pruning needs of your clematis is to watch it grow through a season. It won’t harm your plant one bit to leave it completely unpruned for a season. Group A - If it blooms only in April and May, it belongs to Group A. These plants flower on old wood. To prune this group, just remove any dead stems and weak growth as soon as flowering…

Companion Planting and Disease Prevention

Written by  |  Wednesday, 04 June 2014 23:37  |  Published in Master Gardeners
By Margaret Inwood, Lanark County Master Gardeners Companion planting is the practice of planting certain plants with others in the hope of repelling bugs. Many gardeners swear by the power of garlic, marigold, onions, chives, and nicotiana in keeping their immediate neighbours free of insect infestations. Some other suggestions to use as companion plants are basil, catnip, celery, dill, flax, geranium, hyssop, horseradish, nystertium, parsley, sage, peppermint, tansy, thyme, and tomato. Interplanting beans and potatoes help reduce injury from Colorado potato beetles and leaf-hoppers. As a method of pest control, avoid close planting of highly competitive densely foliated plants near the crops. For example, avoid planting marigolds, catnip, celery, tansy, and tomato as companions unless sufficient space is allowed. Avoid companion plants which could serve…

Starting your seeds indoors

Written by  |  Thursday, 08 May 2014 10:03  |  Published in Master Gardeners
By Ankaret Dean, Lanark County Master Gardeners There is nothing like watching a few seeds popping up indoors when there is still snow on the ground. By starting seeds indoors they get a good head start on those planted outdoors. This means that you will be enjoying your fresh vegetables that much earlier. Some vegetables well worth planting indoors are leeks, onions, the brassica family of kale, broccoli, cabbage etc., and herbs like slow-growing basil. Plants like lettuce will come along much faster when planted out as transplants but do equally well planted outside. Peas are quite hardy and will do well to be planted outside in early May as soon as the ground is workable. The delicate vegetables such as squash, cucumbers and melons,…

Container Gardening

Written by  |  Thursday, 08 May 2014 10:00  |  Published in Master Gardeners
by Ankaret Dean, Lanark County Master Gardeners Although window boxes and hanging baskets have been in vogue for many years this year people are taking a new look at growing plants, such as vegetables in containers. With the renewed interest in growing vegetables and herbs, the garden nurseries are offering an ever growing variety of containers. It is even possible to grow tomatoes in a upside down hanging plastic bucket, growing downwards from a hole in the base. Check on the internet for details on this idea. Firstly. The most important consideration is where to put the container. Shade is easier because the earth does not dry out so quickly on hot days; however all veggies and herbs need at least half a day of…

Inviting spring in: a guide to starting seeds indoors

Written by  |  Thursday, 08 May 2014 09:58  |  Published in Master Gardeners
by Dale Odorizzi, Lanark County Master Gardeners Growing your own vegetables is the most rewarding form of gardening—the plants are beautiful and you can eat the results. Starting your vegetable transplants from seeds kicks all of these rewards up a notch. Every time I pick up a tiny tomato seed and imagine the bushel of tomatoes it will produce, I am amazed. Also, starting your own vegetables indoors lets you get your hands dirty sooner! To grow seeds, you need growing medium, containers, water and light. I typically purchase a soilless mix to start my plants. You can make your own using equal quantities of good garden soil, clean, coarse builders sand and peat moss. The garden soil should be sterilized by spreading in a…
Page 2 of 5
 

News From Across Frontenac

Click Here for More