Dabbling in the Garden

When I saw the tomatoes flopping over in the greenhouse, I went to grab a roll of string to hold them back. On my way to find the string, I saw the wilting mint and decided I should plant it in the ground, so I went to get my favourite transplant spade. My husband admitted to leaving the spade out front in the new pumpkin patch. When I got the spade, I spotted a nest of emerging baby spiders on a hosta leaf so went indoors to get my camera. In case you’re at a loss — there is definitely a lot of dabbling in garden this week.

Dandelions:

I saw a man down on one knee on his lawn rooting out dandelions with a knife. If you have this kind of time, I suggest you also add a bit of soil and grass seed to the hole so the grass starts growing before another dandelion blows into the holes you’ve created.

Staking:

Peonies are a hardy perennial flower for Calgary but they are better when staked. Once a peony flops on the ground and its blooms are mashed into the mud, it is too late to stake it. Tip: tie the plant together with a sting to keep it compact while you wedge a peony ring over it then untie it. Other easy-to-use stakes include flop bars and curly steel rods for tall plants such as martagon lilies.

Fertilizing:

It is okay to wait and let the plants tell you when they need nitrogen. The lower leaves will yellow if there is a shortage of nitrogen but if there is too much nitrogen the plant attracts aphids. I prefer to fertilize with compost. I use it on lawns, and flower and vegetable beds to allow for a more natural, slow-release addition of nitrogen and other elements to the garden.

Thinning:

Vegetables are often seeded heavily and unless you want to eat baby carrots until November, thinning is a good idea. I have already thinned my beets and spring greens, removing clumps of plants to allow a centimetre or more between them. I use the plants I have thinned in salads.

Remember Charlotte’s web? This is the first time I have seen baby spiders hatch.


Balzer speaks and writes about gardening, tweets @NoGuffGardener and blogs at www.gardenguru.net.

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