Gardening News and Ideas by Joannabanana

Winterizing Roses in the ExtremesWinterizing Roses in the Extremes
November 23, 2015

For a number of years I have been growing hybrid teas, floribundas, miniatures and of course hardy shrubs. Mid October to mid November is the time to put the roses to bed for the winter.

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Bi-Color PetuniasBi-Color Petunias
September 2, 2014

Have you noticed that some bi-colored petunias change with temperature, sunlight exposure, and age of blossom? Here's a look at Petunia Glow™ Blue Stardust.

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Water Walls for TomatoesWater Walls for Tomatoes
March 7, 2014

Cool ambient soil temperatures will affect plant growth, flower bud formation, and taste. Water walls will insulate against cold temperatures and help increase your harvest yields.

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The Container Rose GardenThe Container Rose Garden
February 7, 2014

Container gardening has become quite popular and is not limited to annuals alone. I started container gardening with a couple of hybrid tea roses about 10 years ago. Since then, my collection of container roses has expanded from a couple to about 20 pots. Hybrid tea roses, floribunda roses, small shrub roses, and miniatures are all fantastic in containers.

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Roses Rock with Epsom SaltsRoses Rock with Epsom Salts
February 6, 2014

Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate, MgSO4, and should not be confused with common salt, sodium chloride NaCl. Magnesium and sulfur are both natural minerals that many plants need to thrive. I have used Epsom salts in my garden for years and am very pleased with the obvious results of increased plant vigor, more blooms, larger blooms, greener foliage, and overall better plant health. This is especially true of my roses.

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Creating a Color Theme with AnnualsCreating a Color Theme with Annuals
January 24, 2014

Have you ever thought it would be fun to have a color themed garden? Using annuals to enhance a specific color is a lot easier than you may think. One of the advantages is that you can change your color theme every year.

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Growing Strawberries in Cold ClimatesGrowing Strawberries in Cold Climates
January 1, 2014

Strawberries are of the rose plant family Rosaceae and genus Fragaria. There are over 20 different species and hundreds of varieties. In addition, there are three different "Types" of strawberries: June-Bearing, Ever-Bearing and Day-Neutral. The different types do require some different growing maintenance to achieve a good size crop in your home garden year after year.

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Insect Repellent DamageInsect Repellent Damage
July 29, 2013

The mosquitoes have been nasty the last few weeks and many folks use repellent spray to keep them away. Please be aware that you may damage your plants from the over spray of the chemicals.

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Petchoa - the New Kid in TownPetchoa - the New Kid in Town
June 18, 2013

XPetchoa is a recent new genus. The plants are a genetic cross between a petunia and calibrachoa. The Petchoa is a milestone in plant breeding and the result is a combination of the best characteristics of both the petunia and the calibrachoa. It is an amazing plant for home gardeners who enjoy hanging baskets loaded with blooms all season.

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A Love for Annual Vines from SeedA Love for Annual Vines from Seed
May 26, 2013

There are many annual vines that are very easy to start from seed. Some of these vines are enormous and will give you a gorgeous vertical display in the right spot. Most annual vines can be started from seed early, indoors, and/or direct sowed after the danger of frost is past. Many are suitable for either container gardening or directly in the ground.

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Symptoms and Solutions for Seedlings That Need FertilizerSymptoms and Solutions for Seedlings That Need Fertilizer
May 3, 2013

Sometimes we get so busy watering our seedlings, we forget to fertilize them on a regular schedule. The plants will let you know when they need to be fed by looking sickly.

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Growing Cool: Osteospermum SeedlingsGrowing Cool: Osteospermum Seedlings
February 20, 2013

For strong stocky seedlings, grow cool. Some plants, like osteosperman, require a vernalization period to produce flower buds.

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Seed Sowing Depth GuideSeed Sowing Depth Guide
February 8, 2013

When sowing seeds, shallow is better than deep.

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Starting Lavender from SeedStarting Lavender from Seed
January 28, 2013

It's possible to have early blooms the first year. Lavender seeds break dormancy when stratified. Roll seeds in a damp paper towel, put in a freezer bag and let sit at room temperature for a few hours. Place sealed bag in the freezer overnight. Thaw, sow in pre-moistened soil mix and place under lights. The seeds will germinate within a few days and will bloom by mid-June if you sow them the end of February. Lady Lavender is a consistent first year bloomer.

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Adding Height to a Trellis for HopsAdding Height to a Trellis for Hops
January 26, 2013

Some vigorous vines, like hops, require an extra tall trellis. Even if you found a 10 foot trellis, I'm not sure how you would get it home. One of the easiest solutions is to secure two six foot trellises together.

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Sweet Peas (aka Queen of the Annuals)Sweet Peas (aka Queen of the Annuals)
January 22, 2013

Lathyrus odoratus, the annual sweet pea, intrigues gardeners everywhere and the quest for an enchanting display of fragrant walls of colour is one of the most desired displays for many gardeners. Your geographical location will dictate whether sweet peas will be a winter, early spring or late summer and fall bloomer for you. There are a few things to do and consider in preparation for beautiful sweet peas in your garden.

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Starting BrassicasStarting Brassicas
January 18, 2013

Direct sowing is the best method for all: Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, etc. Once day temperatures are consistently above 10ºC or 50ºF, you can direct sow or transplant seedlings.

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Summer Squash vs Winter SquashSummer Squash vs Winter Squash
January 17, 2013

The most significant difference between the two groups is that winter squash has a hard shell and stores well for long periods and summer squash has soft skin, which does not store and is perishable. Both are of the genus Cucurbita. Summer squash are all the species pepo and winter squash includes several species: maxima, argyrosperma, moschata and also some pepo. For example, zucchini is a common summer squash and pumpkin is a winter squash.

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Seed Starting: Breaking DormancySeed Starting: Breaking Dormancy
January 15, 2013

Breaking dormancy of a seed is like waking it up from a sleep. The four key requirements are water, oxygen, light and temperature. There are a few techniques that will increase the germination percentage and help control timing of germination. Basically, water and oxygen need to penetrate the seed coat to initiate the break of dormancy. Some seeds need a combination of water, oxygen, light and/or set temperature.

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Seed Starting Tip: Pelleted SeedSeed Starting Tip: Pelleted Seed
January 14, 2013

Press pellet (clay coated seed) lightly onto pre-moistened soil surface. Heavily mist seed until the clay coating darkens and you see the pellet settle in place ensuring good soil contact. Mist daily until germination. A strong brew of room temperature chamomile tea will help prevent damping-off and is what I use to mist with.

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Seed Starting Tip: Pre-Moisten Soil MediumSeed Starting Tip: Pre-Moisten Soil Medium
January 13, 2013

Pre-moisten the soil mix before you fill your seeding trays or pots to sow your seeds. Moisture level should be similar to a damp sponge. Add warm water to soil mix and let stand for about 10 minutes, then fill pots or cells and sow seeds as directed. In addition to early indoor seed starting, this method applies to wintersowing and/or preparation for stratification (cool/damp environment) of seeds.

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Micro-Greens Pie Planting RecipeMicro-Greens Pie Planting Recipe
January 9, 2013

Fresh greens are easy to start from seed and are quick to germinate. Enjoy the bold taste of micro-greens within 1 to 2 weeks

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Identifying Pine, Spruce, and FirIdentifying Pine, Spruce, and Fir
December 23, 2012

These three trees are the staple of winter and holiday decor, however, they are often confused with one another. Viewing them side by side is a helpful way to see the differences.

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Gardener's Calendar GiftGardener's Calendar Gift
December 15, 2012

Add a personal touch to a gardener's gift.

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Poinsettia CarePoinsettia Care
December 7, 2012

Here are a few poinsettia care tips.

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The Proper Way To Plant in Strawberry PotsThe Proper Way To Plant in Strawberry Pots
November 11, 2012

Plant in the pot, not in the cup. Place the entire root ball in the pot so the plant crown is at the surface of the pot opening, not the cup opening. Mulch with mini-bark in each cup. Start with the bottom row of cups and add soil with each layer. Feed the plant through the holes from the inside of the pot. The cup holes are often too small to squeeze the root ball through the opening. I also add a little slow release fertilizer with each level. Take care to not have fertilizer in direct contact of roots.

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Seed Starting Tip: Mulch with VermiculiteSeed Starting Tip: Mulch with Vermiculite
November 7, 2012

Keep your soil-mix moisture level more consistent by mulching with an even, thin layer of pre-moistened vermiculite (just enough to cover soil). I like to grind it finer for small seeds that are recommended to be surface sowed. You will see quick germination and easier care for the seedlings

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Quick Clean for Small ToolsQuick Clean for Small Tools
November 1, 2012

Clean your small tools in the dishwasher and then spray with oil for added protection against rust. Quick and easy!

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Snow Is a Great InsulatorSnow Is a Great Insulator
October 30, 2012

"Snow is a good insulator". Anyone who gardens in the North has probably heard this numerous times and even repeated the statement to others, without knowing how much of a difference the snow makes.

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Flower Power in BasketsFlower Power in Baskets
September 16, 2012

In late summer, you might find that potting soil in some of your baskets has become a bit compacted. Watering daily keeps the plants going, but often the plants become nutrient deficient and the soil medium has no nutritional value left to keep producing flower buds.

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Dealing with MetersDealing with Meters
August 30, 2012

Here's a way to keep plant material from obstructing utility meter faces

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Big Balls of ColourBig Balls of Colour
May 16, 2012

You see them hanging 12 feet up along boulevards, blowing in the wind and totally exposed to the elements. Big beautiful balls of colour! How is this possible for the entire season? You rarely see anyone maintaining them. Ah - but they are. Let's have a look at how you can create and maintain your own big ball of colour in your garden.

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Free ClocheFree Cloche
April 16, 2012

A nice size cloche may be expensive. This is a 15 Litre (4 Gallon) water bottle with the bottom cut off. Recycle and save money!

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The Journey to Your GardenThe Journey to Your Garden
March 15, 2012

Have you ever wondered where all the plants came from that you buy from your local garden centre? Here’s a look at some common annuals and their journey to your garden.

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Spacing and Timing for Indoor Seed StartingSpacing and Timing for Indoor Seed Starting
March 3, 2012

Even after many years of starting seeds indoors, I make the same mistake year after year. I inevitably run out of room. Partly because I sow way too many plants (can’t help it), but truly, I have not planned my spacing appropriately

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