Register Now for Winter Workshops!
While the fall has extended out to help us get all those last minute garden and yard projects done, a chilly weekend with a hint of snow helps to get us focused on the season to come!
We have started to book our winter season and holiday workshops which will be beginning in December. This year we have added a couple of new ones!
We also have a few spots still available to host private groups (e.g. staff outing, family and friends groups)
Registration is available online or stop by the shop to sign up in person :-)
We are currently open 9:00-5:00 Monday - Saturday and Sunday 10:00-4:00.
- Kristin Ego
Plant Fall bulbs now for spring colour!
Fall is the time to think ahead to next spring if you want colourful Daffodils, Tulips, Crocuses and more to enjoy once the snow has left.
Hardy fall bulbs such as daffodil, tulip, hyacinth, crocus and snowdrop are spring flowering plants that must be planted in the fall. They are mostly native to mountainous areas of Europe and the near east — Spain, Turkey and Afghanistan. They actually need the dormant rest period of a long, cold winter. The melting snow and ice in early spring provide needed moisture as they start to grow and flower. Plant from September to December, even after the first frost if the ground can still be worked.
Bulbs can also be planted in individual holes. Dig a hole and sprinkle a tablespoon of a bulb fertilizer in the bottom of the hole. Place the bulb in the hole with the pointed end up.
Cover the bulb with soil and water thoroughly. A 5 cm layer of mulch on top of the bed will help prevent winter weeds, retain moisture and insulate against severe winter cold and temperature fluctuations.
Preparing a bed for fall planted bulbs
Prepare the bed - double digging will help to make a well-drained planting bed.
Condition the soil - Improve soil by adding three inches of peat moss and one inch of composted manure or a 3-in-1 soil mix. Then work into a depth of 30 cm. Add 1 kg bonemeal for every 92.9 m2 (1000 sq.ft.)
Plant — the sooner the better
Point bulb upward. Add sprinkle of blood meal or Actisol (with Hen Manure) to deter squirrels from stealing bulbs.
Add 2-5 cm of mulch.
After spring flowering the foliage must be allowed to remain to soak up sunshine and replenish the stored energy in the underground bulb. Only the flowering stems should be removed. In a few weeks, the foliage withers and dies down. This is the plant's natural defense against the too hot summer sun in its original habitat.
Replanting your flower bed with summer annuals gives you the opportunity to use more bone meal which, with its high phosphorous content, is beneficial to both the new planting and the bulbs.
For many, pumpkins are associated with autumn, sweet desserts, and holiday festivities.
Pumpkins and other crops in the Cucurbitaceae family originated in Central America, where Native Americans would either roast and consume strips of pumpkin flesh, or dry the skins and weave them into mats. When European colonists arrived in the Americas, they prepared a dish believed to be a precursor of modern pumpkin pie. They cut the top off the pumpkin, removed the seeds, and filled the inside with milk, spices, and honey before baking it over hot ashes.
The popular tradition of pumpkin carving was derived from an Irish custom of carving jack-o’-lanterns out of turnips and potatoes, and placing an ember inside to ward off evil spirits. When Irish immigrants arrived in America in the 1800s, they brought this custom with them and applied it to pumpkins.
Today, pumpkins are a staple for fall decorations and recipes. Eating pumpkin provides numerous health benefits: they are high in fiber, potassium, iron, and vitamins A, B and C while being low in calories, fat, and sodium. Pumpkin is excellent in baked goods, soups, casseroles, pasta, and sauces. Cook with pumpkin throughout the year to support heart health and healthy blood pressure.
What is a Pumpkin?
As a member of the Cucurbitaceae family, pumpkins are related to squash, cucumbers, and melons. Most varieties that we classify as pumpkins belong to the species Cucurbita pepo, which also includes varieties of winter squash, summer squash, zucchini, and gourds. These pumpkins are characterized by round fruit with a thick shell that has smooth, slightly ribbed skin and a deep yellow to orange color.
Some winter squash varieties from the species Cucurbita maxima (Jarrahdale, Turk’s Turban, and all giant pumpkins) and Cucurbita moschata (Long Island Cheese, Rouge Vif D’Etampes) are sometimes also considered pumpkins due to their similar appearance.
The diversity among varieties that are classified as pumpkins is incredible! With sizes ranging from 4 ounces to over 1,000 pounds, various unique shapes, and brilliant colors like orange, yellow, white, green, blue, gray, pink, and tan, there are endless opportunities to select the perfect pumpkin.
Choosing the Perfect Pumpkin
When selecting a pumpkin for cooking, it is best to choose a “pie pumpkin” which has dense, sweet flesh. The sugars and lower moisture of these types hold up best in cooking. It is also easy to grow pumpkins for harvesting edible seeds.
When selecting pumpkins for carving and fall decoration, choose varieties that suit your style! Traditional carving pumpkins are medium to large in size, deep orange, and lightly ribbed with a strong handle.
Add additional interest to fall décor using miniature pumpkins with unique colors and patterns. Miniature pumpkins are typically less than 2 pounds and can be found in a variety of shapes and colors.
How to Grow Pumpkins
To have mature pumpkins for use in autumn, plant seeds between late May and mid-June after all risk of frost has passed. Seeds can be direct sown or started indoors and should be planted at a depth of 1” into well-drained soil that has warmed to 70°F. To ensure fruit set and yields, allow sufficient space between each plant. Give small pumpkins a 12 ft2 area, large pumpkins a 24 ft2 area, and giant pumpkins a 36-48 ft2 area per plant.
Pumpkins perform best when they are fertilized throughout the growing season and fruit set will be strongest if the flowers are pollinated by bees. If pumpkin flowers are not pollinated completely, the fruit will start growing but will abort before full development. To ensure a bountiful pumpkin harvest, encourage bees in your garden or pollinate the flowers by hand.
When the pumpkins have matured, the stem holding the fruit will begin to dry. Harvest the pumpkin by carefully cutting the vine on each side of the fruit stem, leaving a nub at the point where the stem meets the vine. This will encourage the stem to maintain strength as it dries down and will minimize infection by microbes that can cause decay.
To keep longer-lasting pumpkins, wash the fruits in a diluted bleach solution, allow them to dry, and place them in a cool shady spot after harvest. Then they’ll be ready to carve, decorate, or use in the kitchen.
As pumpkins grow in the garden it is incredible to observe the changes throughout the season, and rewarding to finish with a harvest of beautiful, versatile fruits. The uses of pumpkins in the garden and kitchen are limitless, so let your creativity bloom!
The information in the article has been provided as an educational service of the National Garden Bureau.
- Kristin Ego
Seeds are a great way to get started!
Seeds are a great way to get started!
So as we get excited about Spring finally arriving – buying and planting seeds is a good ‘spring’ activity that you can do when it is still cold out.
A few considerations... the frost free date is the ‘official’ date when the risk of a killing frost is less than 50%… for Ontario we use some old data from the 80’s that might not take into effect the recent climate change issues – but here is a chart that will get you close to the time it is safe to plant out tender flowers and vegetables.
|Owen Sound||May 12|
|Thunder Bay||Jun. 1|
But we can play with seeds ahead of the frost free dates – both indoors and out in the garden.
Veg and Flower gardens have 2 types of seedling processes – one is for seeds you need to start indoors ahead of putting plants into the garden while the other activity is with seeds you plant directly outdoors into your garden beds.
Plants we start in our greenhouses are the same types of plants you could grow yourself indoors on your windowsill or start under artificial light. Typically we start indoors ahead of the season tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, cucumbers and squashes – all plants that need warm soil and take a long time to fruit. The annual flowers we start ‘indoors’ include begonias, marigolds, alyssum, petunias and other slow to grow flowers.
A few things to know about starting seeds indoors:
1) Clean is key – you need to use ‘sterile’ seedling mix as bacteria and slimy stuff likes warm, humid environment. Do not use garden soil – a ‘soil-less’ or seed-starting mix is best.
2) Light is important – you need a bright windowsill, or strong artificial light from grow lamps to keep young tomato plants from getting too stretchy.
3) High moisture when seeds are germinating and seedling are very small is key, Use a clear plastic greenhouse covers or you can use clear saran wrap – also good to know that after seedlings are an inch or so high to ease back on high humidity to toughen up the small plants to get used to drier air of garden.
4) Do not start seedlings too soon! We all get so excited about spring coming that we plant seeds in dark of winter. Look at your outdoor planting date – then back up from that date time for seeds to germinate then about 3-4 weeks of growing time for peppers/eggplant/tomato – only 2-3 weeks growing time for cucumbers (they grow really fast).
5) Read the packet – all seeds are a little different – some like to be covered – some like light to germinate. Spend a few minutes reading each seed packet and you will have greater success.
6) Start with easy plants – if you have not done this before consider trying some of the easier plants first to get experience and see if seed staring is for you. Good beginner seed items include any cucumber or squash, peppers, tomatoes, marigolds, sunflowers and zinnias. Small seeded and slow growing plants like begonias and petunias are perhaps for more experienced gardeners.
But if you start clean, have enough light and moisture and leave just the right amount of time – chances are you will have great success with indoor sowing.
On to outdoor sowing. The vast majority of veggie crops can be sown directly into the garden. Radish, peas, lettuce, cabbage, beans are the most common. Add into that mix sweet corn, cucumbers & zucchini (for those who chose not to try these two fast growing plants indoors), carrots, beets – – it is a long list.
In early to mid April – you can plant peas, broccoli, cabbage, lettuce and onions. Warm loving crops like peppers and tomatoes need to wait a few more weeks.
- Kristin Ego
Viva Magenta - Pantone Colour of the Year 2023
What is Viva Magenta?
"Pantones Color of the Year, Viva Magenta 18-1750, vibrates with vim and vigor. It is a shade rooted in nature descending from the red family and expressive of a new signal of strength."
- Leatrice Eiseman, Pantone Color Institute
The Pantone Colour of the Year is Viva Magenta, a great hue for gardeners to incorporate into their plantings for 2023 (and beyond!).
For those of you looking to work this vibrant shade into your pots, planters and landscapes for this coming season, we have picked a few of our favourite plants...
Gladiolus 'Lumiere' is a Dutch Novelty Glad that is great for borders and cut flowers. 'Lumiere' grows to 100 cm (40") and is best in a sunny location. Glads are not winter hardy so dig them up in the fall and store in a frost-free area.
Calla (Zantedeschia) 'Captain Romance' is a tropical plant that produces lush foliage and long-lasting blooms. Callas grow best in sun to part sun and can be used in containers or in the garden. 'Captain Romance' grows to 40cm (16"). To save bulbs over winter, dig in fall before frost and store above freezing.
Petunia 'Supertunia Vista Fuchsia' is very vigorous, with a mounding habit that can reach up to 2 feet in height in the landscape and will trail over the edges of baskets and containers up to 3 feet by the end of the season. It is a fantastic landscape plant and is also great in large containers, where they function as both fillers and spillers in mixed plantings. In garden beds, they will work either in the front or middle of the bed.
Dianthus 'Paint the Town Magenta' is a brightly coloured perennial that produces single, vibrant magenta pink flowers atop a low mound of glaucous blue foliage. Use it to edge sunny borders and pathways. Blooms in spring to summer reach 20 cm (8").
Hibiscus 'Evening Rose' produces huge 8”, puckered hot pink flowers in summer that cover a round, dense habit of near black foliage. A must have statement piece for your garden! This perennial Hibiscus grows best in part sun to sun with consistent moisture. It can reach 4 ft in height and 5 ft spread.
Rosa 'Oso Easy Peasy' has already been decorated with a prestigious Award of Excellence in the No Spray division from the American Rose Society. Its apple-green foliage resists powdery mildew and black spot, and its abundant magenta flowers appear in endless profusion from early summer through frost. The size and scale of this rose and its blooms is perfect for incorporating into flower gardens - about 3 ft height and spread. Like most roses, it performs best in a sunny location.
Weigela 'Spilled Wine' shares the fabulous deep purple foliage and bright pink flowers of the classic Wine & Roses® weigela but in a smaller size. This useful plant grows wider than tall, making it the perfect choice for edging beds or walkways and for incorporating under windows in your landscaping. Like all weigela, it is deer resistant and very easy to care for.
Photos courtesy of Proven Winners, Walters Gardens and VanNoort Bulbs
- Kristin Ego
2022 PW Gardener's Idea Book
Need a little inspiration to get planning for the coming gardening season?
Proven Winners has published their 2022 Gardener's Idea book to give you some inspiration for spring...
- Kristin Ego