Monday, April 30, 2012

Spring Gardening Tips

Spring Gardening Tips

If you have covered your perennials or roses with leaves or flax straw (which is a great winter protection for your plants), now is the time to be taking it away.  Do it slowly.  Remove it from the area directly around your plants to allow the plants to breathe.  Don’t put it too far out of reach as you may have to bring it back as protection if our temperatures drop too far below zero at night.  The emerging perennials will be able to endure a lot of cold but remember it’s still too early to be planting out newly purchased perennials. Jensen’s carries some beautiful perennials very hardy to our area. Keep in mind if you really like a perennial, that requires sun, and you have no room left in a sunny spot, all perennials will grow in the shade.  They may not grow as large and they may not flower the way they would in sun, or have smaller blooms, but, they WILL grow.  Don’t deprive yourself of a “Must-Have” perennial.  Give it a try.  You may be pleasantly surprised!
Also, if there are areas of your garden where the soil needs amending, now is the time to enhance the soil to get the area ready for planting.  Drop in for a soil tester to find out if your soil is too acidic or alkaline.  In our clay soil, peat moss is a good product to use as to increase the acidity level in our alkaline soil and it also improves the texture and provides for improved drainage.  Clay soil tends to be very compact and makes it difficult for roots to grow.  Empty the peat moss into a wheelbarrow or muck bucket and add water.  Mix it until it is thick and resembles soil and then dig it into the area.  It is much easier to work with and it won’t be flying away to your neighbours when you start to dig it in. Compost, mushroom manure and sheep manure are also excellent products to use for soil amendment.  If you have an area where your perennials require a lot of acid in the soil and you have evergreens in the yard, save your evergreen clippings and place them around that area.
If your soil is too acid, use a Dolomite Lime to increase the alkaline level.  It is more finely ground and will break down faster in the soil.
Also, if you have recently removed an evergreen tree from the yard, that area will need a Lime to enable grass to grow. This is the perfect time of year to get the area ready for seeding as most lawns prefer a soil that is nearly neutral; in the range of a PH level of 6.5 – 7.2 (PH 7.0 is neutral).
The majority of plants grow best in a PH level of 6.5 – 7.2 as well.
Tomatoes enjoy a handful of Dolomite Lime when planting and periodically throughout the grow season to discourage Blossom End Rot (the black end on the Tomato).
Stay tuned next time for more “Spring Gardening Tips”

Arlene Wheeler

Posted by Tammy Jensen at 8:32 PM 1 Comments

Friday, April 20, 2012

Slippery, Slimy Slugs, Yuck!

This is the time of year our hearts and minds turn to gardening and the great outdoors!  We live in Winnipeg, wait 5 minutes and the weather will change! 

Think of some of the problem areas of your garden instead and this is the time of year to deal with them.

Slugs are slimy creatures resembling snails that come up from the ground at night and make holes in your beautiful plants (they really love hosta), leaving a slimy white trail in their wake.
If you have had a problem with slugs in a particular area of your garden, now is the time to get out the fan rake and lightly rake the soil.  In giving the area a light raking, it will bring up all the eggs the slugs have laid and you will be providing food for all the birds coming into your yard, while reducing the number of slugs.  Often times they love to lay their eggs all along a sidewalk or walkway so rake the soil lightly along these areas. Be careful not to compact the soil by walking on it.  Take a long board out to the garden area with you to use to walk on so as not to compact the soil by walking on it. To encourage birds into your garden area, place some drier lint out by a shrub or tree.  They will soon find it to help build their nests and will help rid your garden area of slugs at the same time.

Here are a few more tips to rid your garden area of Slugs.
1. Ammonia Spray:  Mix 1 part ammonia to 10 parts of water.  Spray on slugs in early morning or late at night when they like to come out and do their damage.  It does not hurt the plants; however, you should be careful not to spray everywhere as it will kill the good insects as well.
2. Barrier method: Around the base of the plants under attack, right around the stem, use baby powder or talc which will stick to their gummy bodies.  They will not go through it, or, if they do, it will kill them eventually.  An inch of sand, the coarser the better, like a moat, the sharpness of the grains make it unpleasant to impassable for most slugs.  Copper bands apparently cause a shock to slugs.  This can be bought in a tape form at most garden centers.
3. Boiling Water: In the very early spring pour boiling water along any hard edge that is in contact with the soil of the bed.  This would be like a sidewalk, fence or edging material including large stones or rocks.  This will kill the eggs.  This can be challenging if you have huge spaces that fit this definition.  Apply in areas where there is a lot of moisture or shade where you are having a serious snail colony problem.
4. Egg Shells – Save your egg shells, break them up and add around the plants in your garden that are affected.  They will help cut their skin and they will tend to keep away from your plants.

If your slug problems persist, drop into our garden center and pick up some slug bait to rid your garden of the nasty, slimy ones!
 
Arlene Wheeler
Posted by Tammy Jensen at 9:25 AM 0 Comments