Your online resource for garden information, ideas and advice.

 Winter in the Garden!
 
January 1 - 79 days until spring.
 
Leave out a few solar lights to view a nice, warm winter glow around the yard. 
 
Add a string of Christmas lights or two outside the patio door.
 
Feed the birds.
 
Enjoy the season, spend time with family and friends, be grateful...and build a snowman.
 
Best of all - seed catalogues are now arriving!
 
 
 
 



To Rake or Not to Rake...

 

 

 

 

Like it or not, it’s that time of year again. Falling leaves - or those pesky leaves that seem to blow onto your lawn from every other tree in the neighbourhood. But what happens if you just leave them alone?
 
You can - for a while, but a heavy layer of maple, oak or other large leaves won’t keep your lawn healthy over the winter and will end up creating more work, and expense, when spring arrives.
 
Here's the risk - a heavy layer of leaves, particularly left under an even heavier layer of snow will start to smother the lawn. It can't breathe and therefore creates the perfect environment for diseases like snow mold and brown spot to develop - not to mention the pests that might decide to move in as well. The weight might also prevent new grass from sprouting in the spring.  That leaf-layer presents a barrier to water, nutrients and air that the root system needs to survive. 
 
But that doesn't mean every single leaf needs to be removed - here's a few ideas to reduce the risk and make good use of the nutrients that leaves can offer, when used correctly.
 
Run the lawn mower over them. Your lawn will love  you for it. Those finely shredded leaves will fall between the blades, adding both a fertilizer and mulch to the yard - which in turn helps reduce the number of weeds in the spring and provide healthy lawn growth.
 
Shred some for the garden beds. They'll break down over the winter and will reduce the amount of time and money spent in adding nutrients before planting season starts again. 
 
And don't forget your compost pile, it would welcome a good helping of shredded leaves. 
 
And if shredding isn't your thing, then bag them up in paper leaf bags (vs. plastic) so they can be taken to (or picked up - depending where you live) the local composting station...and who know's, when you go pick up compost in the spring...you might just be getting your own nicely-composted yard waste back! 

Chinese Pink Celery

Every year I try one or two new products I've never grown before. One of this year's is going to be Chinese Pink Celery - I happened to come across it while perusing the Baker Creek Heirloom Seed website (www.rareseeds.com).
 
I've read a number of publications that discuss how challenging celery can be to grow, but this one is shown as an easy-to-grow variety, and better yet - it's bright NEON pink. This one is going to look great in the garden. 
 

Best Squash Ever ! 

Tried a few new squashes this year and in my opinion grew the best one ever. It was an outstanding performer with outstanding flavour. And the only squash I plan to grow next year. 
 
Renee's Garden Baby Butternut Squash - Honey Nut.
 
A petite, light-weight and colourful squash, baby butternut grows "up" perfectly on a trellis or A-frame with no need add supports to the fruit. When they first appear, they dark green and when ready to harvest are an interesting and unique darkish orange colour.
 
Certainly worth trying and great for any size garden. 
 
 


Pixie Cantaloupe

This compact, palm-sized hybrid melon
weighs in at roughly 1.5-2 pounds and the
fruit is deliciously sweet and juicy. With
a small seed cavity and plenty of bright
orange fruit, it’s the perfect size for a
hot afternoon snack. And it’s just fun
to grow – even if it does look a little
bizzare when mature.