Garden Giveaway Winners

We have our Garden Giveaway contest winners! Email addresses of our 3 winners have been pulled from our usual Mexican basket-hat by He Who Hogs The Power Tools, and the lucky ones have been notified of their great fortune:

Thanks to Comtech, a CatStop goes to JCF (who apparently has a very specific pesky stray cat in mind for discouragement), a SquirrelStop to Queen Marlene (her songbirds will be happy!), and a SlugsAway goes to Peggie (they say everything is bigger in Texas, so I don’t want to see her slugs!).

Thanks for playing! Your prizes will go out in the mail this week, so cross your fingers for prompt and efficient postal service… And for others, less fortunate, who must now weep over their pest-ravaged gardens in disappointment: Better luck next time! And there will be a next time, you know it!

Original post 27 May 208

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Salad Garden Dreams and Slug Solutions

So my veggie garden is still under four feet of snow — does that stop a keen gardener from planning for a new planting season? Heck, no!

One of the first plantings that will go in (when Spring eventually arrives in Atlantic Canada) will be the salad garden of mixed mesclun greens and spinach and lettuce, not to mention some tasty lovely snow peas. These are all vegetable crops that prefer cooler air and soil temperatures, and will quickly fade when summer sun grows warm.

decorative iron plant crown around lettuce plant

Stretch the Summer Salad Days

Did you know that you can grow salad greens in containers, if you don’t have a patch of earth for a garden? They look quite lush and lovely growing in pots, too.

Keep the harvest going by snipping off just the outside leaves, rather than the entire head of your lettuce plants. The plants will keep producing from the centre, and you get super-fresh salad for days and days on end!

Lettuce and spinach and other greens are easy to grow from seed. So easy, in fact, that I never seem to learn to scatter the seeds thinly enough — I’m always making allowances for seeds that might not germinate, and I end up with a crowded planting of tiny plants struggling against each other for light. Not so good for the air circulation, either, and some of my lettuce can end up composting itself if we get a few days of rain.

No big deal, though: just get in there with the scissors and thin it out. Cut off some of those tiny lettuce plants right at soil level when they’re just a few inches high, and start the salad season early. Thinning out will let the remaining plants grow better and avoid those nasty damp-related problems.

Slugs and Snails, Oh My!

Slugs and snails are the biggest threat to a nice salad garden, and you’ll have to be on your toes to keep ahead of them — they sneak out at dusk and can eat their way through a great deal of salad in one night, leaving silvery slimy trails all over the ragged green leaves, while you’re sleeping peacefully and all unawares… Unpleasant!

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Save Your Berries From the Hungry Birds

While our friends Down Under are basking in gardening season, we in the Frozen North can’t see our gardens for snowdrifts… ah, but that never stopped a keen gardener from planning ahead for a new season’s harvest!

Me, I’m dreaming of sweet strawberries, fat gooseberries, tart white currants, raspberries bursting sweet on my tongue, blueberries hanging in dusty indigo clusters…


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The Desperate Gardener and the Homemade Deer Repellent

Asiatic lilies in mixed bouquetI can live with the adorable little deer eating my apple trees. Well, I can tolerate it because there’s not any practical way to protect the orchard, short of a ten-foot-high electric fence (not practical) — but when it comes to the flower garden, the deer had better keep off!

My pride and joy (and the result of a heck of a lot of digging and weeding) is a 40-foot mixed perennial garden bed. The deer seem to feel that this lovely garden is a buffet table, laid out for their browsing pleasure.

Asiatic lilies don’t stand a chance. Every year I get all excited to see my gorgeous exotic lilies budding up, and then comes a night when the deer tiptoe in and work their systematic way down the length of the border, eating off the top half of every single lily.

This year, even the delphineum plants have been thoroughly browsed, and the heuchera, and the lavatera. The deer have even been eating my daylilies, and I just gave up on growing hosta plants some years ago… It wouldn’t surprise me to go out some morning and find the prickly Scottish thistles eaten down to the ground.

It would break a gardener’s heart.


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