Can I take your order?

If your yard is a bar, mushrooms are the patrons and the wait staff

newDonnawebThe phone call came during my regular CBC radio phone-in show.

The caller had heard Dr. Scholl’s foot powder was a fungicide. She knew lawn mushrooms were a type of fungus, so she wondered if she could kill her lawn mushrooms with foot powder – active ingredient Tolfanate, a synthetic thiocarbamate.

“No, definitely not,” I exclaimed.

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Seeding into fall

Try a last-minute salad crop

newDonnawebIt was well after her neighbour had finished their veggie harvest and late into November last year when my daughter, Chelsie, allowed her son, Cohen, to fulfill his final garden wish of the season.

First, she asked eight-year old Cohen to fill eight more bags of Kale from their patch.

The next morning, when the temperatures crashed and the remaining crop was crisply covered with frosty icing, Chelsie gave Cohen the go-ahead. He bounced high on his trampoline and lept off into the frozen kale patch. The kale cracked into shards on impact, and the still-soft soil broke his fall as he tumbled like a gymnast down the row. You couldn’t imagine a bigger smile and a better way to say goodbye to summer.

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Deadheading boosts blooms

But beware of Calgary’s famous hail belt

newDonnawebWhat’s with crazy gardening terms like “deadheading?” It sounds like something done in a dark alley, in private, after midnight.

Patrick Horner, a reader and fairly new gardener, wasn’t sure at first, but he figured out from an online search that it meant cutting flowers off after they fade to encourage more flowers. He sent me an email: “If I am deadheading [my dianthus], what do I remove?”

Horner’s plant in question is a perennial dianthus – a hardy dwarf relative of the common-cut flower the carnation. If he deadheads it, it may bloom again a bit this season, and will certainly bloom more heavily next year because it won’t use up its energy making seeds this year.

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Summer tech

Cool backyard tools that turn up the heat this season

A6Ahh, summer in the city. What a great time to be a homeowner, right? Step out your door and survey your domain, listen to the birds, smell the flowers and greenery — then plan your evening barbecue.

But wait. There’s a flipside to all that. Did you water the lawn and garden? Does it need mowing before you can enjoy it? Better get it done, because tonight you’re going to have to hover over the grill to make sure your steaks are done to perfection, while your friends and family enjoy the results of your backyard labour.

Well, we all know technology can’t solve every problem, but it can certainly help reduce the stress and time you devote to looking after your outdoor living space.

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