Thursday, October 03, 2013

Over-Wintering Herbs

1. Look for the most healthy plants to over-winter.
2. Rid your plants of insects and disease before bringing them in. Use Insecticidal soap or any organic product.  Make sure it is safe to use on edibles.  Isolate your plants for about 2 weeks from other houseplants before introducing them into the house to avoid spreading any insects and disease.
3. The best chance for success with some of the culinary herbs indoors for the winter is to start new plants from seed.  The best time to start seed is early August for herbs such as basil, chives, coriander, dill, parsley, marjoram, rosemary, sage, summer savory and thyme.  Plant in 4 inch pots using a medium of soil, sand, peat and perlite. Sink the pots into the garden up to their necks. Cover the seeds with sand or sphagnum moss.  Keep moist and fertilize with a liquid seaweed or a fish emulsion (Organique) when the sprouts are 3 inches high.  If you’ve missed the August sowing, start them any time indoors.
4. Other culinary herbs for indoors such as mint, oregano and French tarragon are best prepared by potting up root divisions after the harvest.  The optimum time to dig up the plants that you want to keep indoors is about a month before the first fall frost.  Bring in existing plants or make new ones by dividing them.  Capture as many of the roots as you can.  Mature plants, such as sweet marjoram, lavender and scented geraniums should be cut back by about 1/3 their full height to make them more manageable.  (You can cut them back even more drastically if the root ball is small.)  Put each one into a pot that is slightly larger than its roots.  Mint needs a lot of room so consider planting some in hanging baskets.  Fill in with a soil less growing mix.  Let the plants get settled in the pots in a lightly shaded outdoor location for a week or so.  Then move them into deeper shade for a week to get them ready to come indoors. Before frost arrives, bring tender herbs indoors to the window or light garden you’ve prepared.  
5. Let chives and garlic chives stay out through a month or so of cold before you bring them indoors.  They will grow much better indoors if they get a short winter to trick them into thinking it’s spring.  If conditions are right, they will re-sprout and provide you with some fragrant foliage to harvest in midwinter. 
6. Spearmint and tarragon will lose some leaves, but will perk up by February.  Keep them cool and dry until they re-sprout.  You can then begin to water and fertilize lightly every couple of weeks.
7. Other herbs to consider for inside gardening are aloe, bay tree, catnip, lavender, scented geraniums and lemon verbena.
8. When your herbs are grouped together indoors, they may be more susceptible to pest problems.  If you find whiteflies fluttering around the indoor herb garden, spray with Insecticidal soap or another organic product to kill mature flies and repeat until you get rid of newly hatched generations.
9. Red spider mites may attack because the humidity is low.  If so, use a pebble tray and fight them with insecticidal soap (Pebbles allow you to rest herb plants over – not in a tray of water.)  Avoid misting your plants to increase humidity as this will encourage insects and disease.  To discourage disease, remove dark, dead and sickly growth, and scrub your pruning shears or knife in a solution of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water between each cut.
10. The key to successfully growing herbs indoors is bright light.  A large window facing south is best, with an eastern exposure the next choice.  Bay, lemon balm and the other mints need only partial sun indoors and can be in east of west-facing windows.  If you cannot provide the necessary light but want herbs, consider investing in a grow-light unit.  This may be a simple fluorescent work light with 4 foot tubes, one warm and one cool-white, or two full-spectrum bulbs.  To be effective, fluorescent lights should be lit for at least 15 to 16 hours per day.
11. Most herbs need cool temperatures – in the 15 – 20 degree Celsius range during the day and cooler at night.  As well, good air circulation is important to reduce problems with fungus diseases.  Make sure air flows freely around the plants, but don’t put them in front of a heating vent.  It’s too hot and dry there.  Instead, invest in a small fan to gently keep the air moving.
12. Adjust the amount you fertilize to your light levels.  In a dark area where herbs struggle to stay alive, they may not need fertilizer at all.  In bright light where herbs are actively growing, you can fertilize every month.  Be sure to harvest fast-growing herbs often so they’ll stay compact.  You may want to replant crops that you use often so you will always have a fresh young plant to take the place of an older one.
13. You must also pay a bit more attention to the water and nutrient needs of your indoor plants.  Different herbs need different quantities of water when grown indoors.  Basil, parsley, mint, chervil and arugula do best if kept moist, not bone dry or soggy wet.  Let Mediterranean plants such as rosemary and lavender dry out slightly before you water again.  Too much water has probably killed more container-grown herbs than too little.  The plants shouldn’t sit in water, but instead, the water should evaporate up around them.  Because most of our homes are dry during the winter, increase the humidity around the plants by using a room or whole-house humidifier.  Alternatively, set the herbs on either commercially available trays that hold water and have raised racks for holding the pots, or on trays filled with pebbles.
14. When you wish spring would hurry up, spend some time nurturing your sage or lavender. 
Here is a list of plants that can thrive indoors, with recommended means of propagation.  This chart was compiled by Susan McClure and appears in her book The Herb Gardener:  A Guide for All Seasons.
Sow Seed Take Cuttings
Arugula Basil
Basil Mint
Chervil Oregano
Coriander/cilantr Pineapple sage
Dill         Rosemary
Mustard Sage
Parsley Scented Geraniums
Summer Savory Thyme
Sweet Marjoram
Bring in Mature Plants
Chives         Garlic Chives
Greek Oregano Lavender
Lemon Verbena Mint
Rosemary Sage
Scented Geraniums Summer Savory
Sweet Bay Sweet Marjoram
Arlene Ortiz (Wheeler)
Posted by Tammy Jensen at 6:29 PM 0 Comments

Monday, July 22, 2013

Arlene's Beet Pickle Recipe

Arlene’s Beet Pickle Recipe 4 cups of white sugar 4 cups of white vinegar 3 cups of beet juice 1 Tablespoon of coarse salt Cloves Fresh beets Wash beets. Place them in a big pot and cover them with boiling water. Boil until tender. Save the juice!!! Mix 4 cups of sugar, 4 cups of vinegar, 3 cups of beet juice and 1 Tablespoon of course salt. Bring to a boil. Put a couple of cloves in each jar. Peel the beets while they are still hot and then cut them up into the jars. Cover beets with the brine and seal. Enjoy!
Posted by Tammy Jensen at 12:00 AM 0 Comments

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Free Gardening Seminars

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It's Spring!
At least in our Greenhouse it is!
The flowers are blooming,the plants are growing, the greenhouse feels like summer!
We are having FREE GARDENING SEMINARS all day Saturday April 13, 2013
We are quite booked already from our Garden Club Members - but bring a lawn chair and we wil make room for you!
A FREE LUNCH will also be served! I ordered extra food so we won't run out.
If you are planning on coming for sure send me a email to let me know at [email protected]
As a bonus all gardening supplies, outdoor containers, and giftware will be 15% OFF the regular price for the day!
So drop by.....visit our summer room....attend  some great gardening seminars....and Save money!
See you Saturday!
Tammy Jensen

Saturday April 13th Seminars
9:15 - Jan Pederson from Bylands Nursery
"What's New and Exciting for 2013" a sneak peak of exciting new shrubs and trees for 2013! Followed by a question and answer session with Jan!

10:15 - Michael Allen, M.Sc.F, R.P.F.
Consulting Urban Forester, Tree Diagnostician and I.S.A. Certified Arborist - Viburnum Tree Experts
What is wrong with my tree?
Find out why there is no simple answer to this question!
Find out what the O.O.A.D. Approach to Tree Problems is.

11:15 - Gregory Funk from Jensen Nursery
Pruning 101 - An interactive and entertaining seminar on proper pruning techniques

12:15 - FREE LUNCH!!!

1:00 - William Dowie | BA, Master Gardener, LEED-AP O+M
Independent Consultant / Engaged Citizen - Helping Community through Sustainability
It's Hip to be Square! A permaculture Viewpoint on Square Foot Gardening

2:00 - Arlene Wheeler from Jensen Nursery
Arlene's Spring Gardening Tips! New Products for 2013! Everything you need to know to get started in your yard this spring!

3:00 - William Dowie | BA, Master Gardener, LEED-AP O+M
Independent Consultant / Engaged Citizen - Helping Community through Sustainability
Sharpened your tools? Now sharpen your mind - tips and tricks to design and build your yard


Posted by Tammy Jensen at 12:00 AM 0 Comments

Thursday, September 06, 2012


SAT SEPT 15TH, 2012
Morning seminars:
9:15 “Fall lawn and plant care products” – Grant Dunn
Ugly lawn, bugs in your shrubs, brown cedars, deer and rabbits in your garden, or one of many gardening challenges. Grant has a solution for all your gardening woes!! Get your yard looking good and ready for the long winter ahead!!

10:15 “A Master Gardener’s Journey” – Bill Dowie
Bill Dowie, our Resident Master Gardener and Guest Design Consultant, will be presenting the following theme for two back-to-back seminars: "Working your Garden Mind". During the Winter season, there is lots to do to keep your mind on gardening and create that landscape plan that seems to always elude you.

Part One will be talking about all the education opportunities you have as a gardener to pursue degrees, diplomas, and certificates throughout Manitoba. Bill will share his academic journey and provide insight on education programs offered by various organizations. Whether you want to study for designations, or just have fun meeting fellow gardeners while increasing your knowledge of landscape, horticulture, and gardening, this seminar will be a one-stop-shop overview.

11:15 “Working your Garden Mind” – Bill Dowie
Bill Dowie – Master Gardener
Part Two will be talking about what you need to do now to plan your design opportunities for next Spring. Various ways to view, record, and map your landscape will be discussed so that you can plant the right plant in the right place. We all know that weather patterns are changing, that horticulture breeding trends are exciting, and your homeowner needs vary as your family dynamic shifts; this seminar will provide insight on how to take advantage of these aspects through the lessons-learned your garden is providing to you this Fall and Winter.

12:15 FREE LUNCH!!

Afternoon seminars:
12:45 “Pruning with Greg!” – Greg Funk
Learn proper tree and shrub pruning techniques from our resident expert Greg Funk. An interactive seminar that will be both informative and humorous!

1:45 “Top 10 Gardening for Dummies – Part 2”- Jennifer
The much anticipated sequel! Now that you have planted the perfect garden – What you need to keep it perfect!

2:45 “Getting your yard ready for Spring”- Arlene
What do you need to do to have your yard ready for spring?
Arlene will walk you through the steps! Get a jump on spring this fall!

EMAIL - [email protected] to register
Posted by Tammy Jensen at 3:41 PM 0 Comments

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Kid's Gardening by Arlene Wheeler

Kids’ Gardening
When I’m not enjoying life at Jensens, I’m enjoying teaching kids gardening. As a Garden Coordinator for Winnipeg Harvest, I have been fortunate to be able to attend many classrooms, daycares, churches and other places the past couple of years to teach the ‘Blue Box Gardens’ program (planting corn, beans and squash in a blue recycling bin), a new initiative under the Kids Who Care program. Using the ‘Three Sisters Garden’ as a teaching method, the connection between the land and the community is exemplified. It is a very symbolic garden consisting of Corn, the oldest sister, standing tall in the centre, providing support; Squash, the middle sister growing over the mound, protecting her sisters from weeds and keeping the soil cool and moist with her large leaves and Beans, the youngest sister climbing through the squash and then up the corn to bind all together. Each of the sisters brings and takes a different nutrient from the soil. All the planting is done in a blue recycling box. The program teaches basic container gardening and what plants need to grow. Containers can be easily moved to a sunny spot in the yard or taken with you if you are moving to a different place. You would be amazed at the vegetables that can be grown in a container. At Winnipeg Harvest we have onions, corn, beans, squash, cauliflower, cabbage and many other vegetables growing both in blue recycling bins and raised beds.
Gardening teaches so much to both children and adults alike. Gardening teaches patience, respect of property, a greater respect of all living and growing things and it gives a great sense of pride. Gardening is great for the soul. My friend, Kevin Twomey from T&T Seeds and I were speaking about this a few days ago. Kevin says gardening time is ‘thinking time’, and he’s absolutely right. It’s a peaceful place where we can work on our own, collect our own thoughts, create beauty, grow some vegetables and forget about all the problems of the world. One of the best places to connect with children is in the garden. A garden can be a magical place of mystery and wonder and this leads to knowledge. Children will blossom right along with the flowers when they are included in ongoing garden projects. Sign up today for one of our Saturday Family Day gardening classes at Winnipeg Harvest. Bring the family for half hour to an hour session. If you are unable to come down on a Saturday and you are part of a daycare, church group or any other group or club and would like me to come out to teach our program, call Winnpeg Harvest and we’ll arrange a time. We’ll have some fun and you will soon see what can be grown in a container! There is no charge for any of our programs!

Riddle for kids – Why do potatoes make good detectives?????

Answer – Because they have a lot of eyes!
Posted by Tammy Jensen at 12:00 AM 0 Comments

Monday, June 27, 2011

Tomatoes Love Calcium by Arlene Wheeler

I miss my tomato plants this year! At the apartment where I now live they are re-doing our balconies so this year I am Tomatoless!!! There is nothing like a home grown tomato, so I hope some of my gardening friends take pity on me.

Tomatoes are calcium lovers. Add calcium in the form of Bonemeal or Dolomite Lime to the soil as you are planting and then every few weeks throughout the growing season. Save your egg shells, crush them and then add them to the soil around your tomato plants. They take some time to break down but will also help keep away the cutworms. Don’t let your tomatoes dry out. The plants need sufficient moisture to uptake the calcium from the soil. The calcium and consistent watering will help prevent Blossom End Rot (the black end on the tomato). If you started your tomato plants early from seed and they have grown lanky before you have a chance to get them in the ground, remove some of the side stems and plant them deep. The seedlings can also be trenched as long as you leave about a three inch grow tip. As your plant grows, remove the suckers (the little stems that grow between the main stem and a side shoot). Once your tomato plant has set fruit, remove all the side stems underneath where it has set fruit. The plant no longer needs them and they will only take strength away from the plant and the fruit. In late August, cut the top of the tomato plant to allow all the strength to go into the plant and the fruit. You will get a much stronger plant and larger fruit! Enjoy!

first lady tomatoe, winnipeg, jensen nursery
Posted by Tammy Jensen at 12:00 AM 1 Comments