Gardening Tips

Gardening Tips – August

“A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken. ” ~James Dent

  • Water lawns and gardens, preferably in the morning. Water deeply and thoroughly.
  • Keep the birdbath filled, especially if drought comes. The water evaporates quickly in such weather.
  • Record notes about perennials and annuals for next year’s garden.
  • Mark fading perennials with a stake or rock. This reminds you not to pull  as a weed next spring.
  • Continue to deadhead flowering plants to prolong blooming.
  • Stop pinching back chrysanthemums.
  • Prune climbing roses.
  • Wage war on weeds safely. Cultivation is your friend.
  • Harvest herbs for drying.
  • Keep potatoes in the dark. Hill with earth or mulch to keep from going green and becoming inedible.
  • Continue to harvest the bounty of food crops! Check for nasty bugs and remove.
  • Cut back raspberry canes that produced fruit this year to get strong shoots for next years crop.
  • Finally time to harvest garlic that was planted last fall.
  • Locate some manure now to compost and rot for next spring. The more it cooks the less weed seeds so let it stew!
  • A Smart-thinking gardener orders spring flowering bulbs (tulips, daffodils etc.) early for fall planting in the garden.
  • Look carefully at crabgrass to prevent it from seeding.  Apply organic lawn food late in the month. Water thoroughly several inches deep.
  • Save seeds. Propagate, seed biennials, and divide plants for next season.
  • Start canning and freezing ripened fruits and vegetables.
  • Let strawberry runners ramble where wanted, remove the rest. Replant excess or share with friends.
  • Remember to remove spent fruit and garden refuse to keep pests from establishing.
  • Plant ornamental grasses and evergreens in the ground by September 15. Water in deeply.
  • If you do not have a coldframe, now would be a good time to build one.
  • Clip off the dried heads of last spring’s lilac flowers. Deciduous trees need only moderate pruning. Large limbs should not be removed until sap has stopped circulating through the branches in autumn.
  • Give pond fish an Epsom salt bath while you clean the pond.

Gardening Tips – July

“Summer afternoon – Summer afternoon… the two most beautiful words in the English language.”
–   Henry James

  • Regular shallow hoe your gardens to keeps weeds under control and retain moisture.
  • Water lawns and gardens, preferably in the morning. Water deeply and thoroughly.
  • Use grass clippings and compost on gardens to help conserve moisture and control weeds.
  • Keep the birdbath filled, especially if a drought comes. The water evaporates quickly in such weather.
  • Phlox, Veronica and Hollyhock will bloom again if kept from seeding.
  • Peonies are now getting ready for next year’s bloom. Care for them. Maybe they need division in September. Get ready.
  • Deadhead flowering annuals to prolong blooming. Pinch back if getting straggly.
  • Prune bleeder trees, roses, and vines.
  • Pinch back mums for the last time by mid-July.
  • Hedges will need a lively pruning by now. Be sure the cutting is by mid-month.
  • Harvest early vegetables and berries as they ripen.
  • Tie celery stalks to prevent sprawling. Secure tomato cages again, tomatoes are heavy!
  • Most groundcover can be kept in check with a little nip and tuck!
  • Prepare a new garden bed for late summer – early fall planting, when temperatures have cooled.
  • Don’t forget to feed and water the compost pile.
  • Lupines, a member of the pea family, planted near delphiniums and peonies (both crazy feeders) aid in replenishing depleted calcium and nitrogen.
  • Remember to replenish yourself when gardening. Drink lots of water, wear a goofy hat, and cool off in your favourite shady spot.

Gardening Tips – June

“Roses are red,
Violets are blue;
But they don’t get around
Like the dandelions do.”
–   Slim Acres

  • Prune raspberries, roses, vines, evergreens, hedges, ‘bleeder trees’ such as maples, poplars, birch, walnut and magnolia.
  • Seed green beans, carrots, beets, radishes, lettuce as the season progresses to get a continual crop throughout the summer for table and freezer.
  • Continue to transplant perennials, annuals, evergreens, containers and fall mums.
  • Water lawns and gardens preferably in the morning. Use grass clippings and compost on gardens to help conserve moisture and control weeds.
  • Thin vegetable garden to allow room for filling out. Bonus: an early harvest of tender baby veggies that markets charge premium prices for. Enjoy them raw, steamed, or stir-fried.
  • Prepare a brew of compost tea.
  • Weed vegetable and flower gardens. Regular hoeing keeps the task from becoming a time-consuming chore.
  • Stake tall perennials and tie-up vines.
  • Remove rose blooms before they fade to dry for use in potpourris and sachets.
  • Keep a vigilant eye for garden pests. Insect control in its earliest stages prevents a serious infestation.
  • Make a hill of compost and plant zucchini on top, it will take less space.
  • Tuck banana peels under the mulch around roses for a nutrient boost of potassium and phosphorous!
  • Rid your garden (especially hostas) of earwigs, slugs, and snails with diatomaceous earth, a non-toxic powder made from fossilized shells of diatoms. The sharp edges create abrasions on the surface of the pests causing dehydration.
  • Trim conifers if necessary. Yews can be sheared, but exercise caution on the evergreens.
  • Remove spent flowers from rhododendrons, careful not to rip off new shoots that will emerge at the base of the flower. Treat rhodos with a low nitrogen/high phosphorous feed.
  • Prune spring flowering shrubs such as lilac, forsythia, deutzia and mock orange after they have bloomed.

Gardening Tips – May

  • Plant perennials, trees, shrubs, evergreens, roses, and herbs.
  • Let the foliage of tulips and daffodils die back naturally-this feeds your bulbs for next year.
  • Wait until you see growth at the base of silver leafed plants such as Artemesia, lavender, and Russian sage before cutting them back.
  • Put supports of twiggy branches, wire mesh cages, or stakes and string around perennials while still small. Those gorgeous delphiniums will thank you later!
  • Check lawn and garden for grubs, those nasty grubs turn into Japanese beetles. Treat with nematodes (Grub Busters) their natural predator.
  • Fertilize, topdress and seed lawns organically.
  • Transfer bedding annuals to outdoor cold frames to acclimatize them for planting in a few weeks.
  • Prepare soil and plant vegetable garden, strawberries, and raspberries.
  • Plant summer flowering tubers and rhizomes such as cannas, dahlias, freesias, and gladioli.
  • Use a rain barrel.
  • Remember to wait for those slow risers such as balloon flower(platycodon) and Japanese anemone.
  • Prune trees, shrubs, evergreens but hold back on forsythia, lilacs, spirea, and serviceberry till flowering finishes. Cut away all dead, dying or diseased wood. Thin out crowded branches that cross or rub together. Remove all suckers that grow from the base.
  • Compost, compost, compost!


Gardening Tips – April

  • Continue garden clean up.
  • Once the lawn firms rake strongly to remove dead grass and thatch. Aerate with fork or aerating machine, golf shoes work in a pinch. Spread ½’’ thickness of compost or high nitrogen organic fertilizer.
  • All beds should be carefully raked over, working the mulch into the ground.
  • Loosen mulch around plantings, removing after danger of frost or snow subsides. Once the threat passes amend with compost.
  • Prune grape vines and all orchard fruits.
  • Plant trees, shrubs, perennials, and hedges.
  • Prune evergreens and roses. Stash banana peels under the soil near your roses; the potassium boosts beautiful blossoms and plant vigour!
  • Uncover spring flowering bulbs carefully, prepare soil for summer flowering varieties.
  • Transplant biennials such as foxglove, pansies, and forget-me-nots.
  • Plant early vegetables such as spinach, radish, onions, and peas.
  • Be careful to do all the digging when the ground is fairly dry to save the soil structure
  • Divide and transplant perennials.
  • Stake and wire newly planted trees to prevent them from swaying in high winds.
  • April Fool’s Day is the perfect day to prune most ornamental grasses. Don’t be meek, whack them to the ground.
  • Have a supply of organic products on hand such as Neem Oil for the insects and diseases that are sure to show up, even in the best of gardens.
  • Explore April’s nature and wildlife, hop on a bike or stroll your neighbourhood

Gardening Tips – March

  • Cut branches of forsythia and pussywillow for forcing into bloom. Soak in a bucket of water overnight, arrange in a vase of water. They will explode to life from the indoor light and warmth. Save the willow-water for rooting cuttings.
  • Start flower and vegetable seed indoors.
  • Prune deciduous trees, shrubs, hedges, fruit trees, berries and grape vines.
  • Do not wait for May to sow grass seed. Seed must be kept wet for at least two weeks to germinate. Altogether, it requires thirty days of moisture to grow successfully. Sowing seed about March 15th accomplishes the water requirements nicely.
  • Prune summer-flowering trees, shrubs, and ornamental grasses closer to the end of March before spring growth begins.
  • Walk the garden, noting any winter damage, what beds to enlarge, where to add new perennials, trees, ornamental grasses, shrubs. Prepare patchy turf grass for top-dress and seeding.
  • Add restraint when cleaning the garden. Removing mulch too soon spells trouble. Raking leaves, twigs and debris is ok.
  • Turn the compost pile.
  • Plant trees, shrubs, and perennials provided the ground is workable.
  • Firm perennials back into place if they have heaved. Careful of the crowns, covering with mulch could promote rot.
  • Recharge the camera; beautiful plantscapes are just around the corner!
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