Tips for Gardeners

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Early Spring Annual Flowers

Plant pansies as they flourish in cooler weather. Seedlings may be planted outside when temperatures average 15 degrees, and will tolerate nighttime temperatures down to 4 degrees. Pansies prefer full sun but will tolerate partial shade.

Spring Pruning

Prune spring blooming shrubs such as Forsythia and Spirea after they have completed flowering.

Insect Control

Save your eggshells during the winter. Have a stash ready in the spring to spread under Hostas, to ward off snails. Rinse the shells, air dry, crush and store in a recycled coffee can.

Some plants help to repel mosquitoes in your garden: Lemon Balm (plant in a pot to control spread), Marigolds, Basil, Lavender, Citronella grass.

Protecting Evergreen Trees from Snow

Brush snow from evergreens as soon as possible after a storm. Use a broom in an upward, sweeping motion to prevent serious damage caused by heavy snow or ice accumulating on the branches.

Ants in your Flower Beds?

Keep your used coffee grounds until you have enough to cover the ant nest. They will move away.

Over-Wintering Your Dahlias

  • Leave the tubers in the ground in the autumn as long as you can.
  • Dig up the plant and cut off the stalks approximately six inches above the tuber
  • Do not wash them, or shake the earth from them, or spray them; just let them sit for a couple hours after you dig them all out of the ground
  • Place them separately in plastic bags with a nice blanket of wood chips all around them, not vermiculite or peat moss
  • Then place the bags of Dahlia tubers in plastic containers and leave them in the garage until the nights are really cold. Then move them to a cold storage room until March or depending on the weather.
  • In March-April, take them out of their comfortable bag of wood chips and place them in individual pots, give them a little water and wait for the sprouts to appear.  Do not leave outside overnight if there is danger of freezing.
  • When danger of frost is past, transplant your sturdy dahlia plants to your garden. 
  • It seems that dahlias grow best in full sun and when protected from winds. You can support each dahlia with a tall tomato cage.

Epsom Salts for the garden

  • Herbs: To improve the flavour, treat herbs with an occasional dose of Epsom salts. Mix 2 tbsp. /25 ml Epsom salts in one gallon/4 liters and give them a good drink. This will produce sturdier stems, stronger growth and make them more resistant to marauding insects.
  • Roses and Evergreen shrubs: Epsom salts supply magnesium to the soil, so add a least 1 tbsp. /15 ml to the base of rose bushes and evergreens in May and then again in June, to encourage new growth.
  • Spring Flowers: In the spring don’t you wish you could keep those daffodils, tulips, hyacinths going longer? When you see the first signs of growth in the spring, mix 2 pounds of bone meal with two pounds of wood ashes and one pound of Epsom salts, and sprinkle the mixture on the soil around the plants. This will fortify the bulbs and give them extra strength for their blooming journey.
  • Vegetables: Epsom salts spread around vegetables such as lettuce and cabbage keep slugs away.