Posted by: silverspringsgarden | July 4, 2017

‘GROWING CONNECTION’ SPEAKER SERIES

Both the second and third presentations of our “GROWING CONNECTION” series with Janet Melrose proved again to be entertaining, informative, and fun evenings. If you have not yet joined us for Janet’s sessions, you are missing out on the best advice money can buy! Janet Melrose, aka ‘Calgary’s Cottage Gardener’, Master Gardener, and Horticultural Therapist, has been navigating Calgary’s quirky growing season for over 30 years.

The mid-May talk, ‘Active Growing Season: Time to Get Growing’ was largely about ‘when’ to start planting here in Calgary, optimum soil temperatures for planting, and what crops could be planted early, and which were best to hold off until soil warmed up; all very informative and important to Calgary’s short growing season and cool nights.

A ‘few’ helpful tips received from this talk include:

  • Lettuce, spinach, chard, beets, and peas can be planted early, as soon as the ground thaws (April).
  • Tomatoes, peppers, corn and beans are ‘warm’ season crops and need warm soil to germinate.
  • Best to grow garlic in the fall and harvest by the 20th of July the next year.
  • Carrots are a good companion plant to spinach.
  • Every part of the brassica family is edible!
  • Radish is the preferred diet for flea beetles and cabbage moths. Plant radish with ‘cole’ crops – plants that belong to the mustard (Brassica) family – to lessen destruction of major crop.

These are just a few ‘pearls’ from Janet that you might be missing.

Setting the Summer Stage’ covered all the hot topics for this time of year including pest/plant management, wind protection, watering wisely, and early harvesting, to name a few.

For those of us who practice organic methods of gardening, there are several ways to implement Integrated Pest/Plant Management (IPM). Timing your planting schedule, planting ‘trap crops’, plant spacing, and watering practices all play a vital role in the outcome of your garden.

A variety of problems including various fungus (such as Black Knot), molds and mildews, along with their remedies, were covered as well as identifying invasive plants and weeds.

One of the biggest gardening issues in Calgary is the wind and dryness. Two solutions: first, Google ‘Ollas’, then gather the supplies required to make this ancient and unique watering vessel. Make several; they are fun and you can go away for a few days and not worry about your plants withering! Bury them in your planters or gardens, then fill them.

Ollas

Second solution for wind and dryness – buy some row/frost cover fabric (available from Lee Valley Tools or online from West Coast Seeds). This miracle fabric allows rain through to your plants, keeps out unwanted bugs (like flea beetles, saw fly, cabbage moths), and lessens the damaging effects from wind and hail. This white row cover also speeds up crop production as it keeps the ambient heat of the soil and air a few degrees warmer. Use it late in the growing season when frost threatens to wipe out your beautiful bounty!

Make sure you join us for the last gardening talk this year:

Fall and Early Winter Gardening: ‘Putting Your Garden to Bed’

September 27th at 7:30 PM

Silver Springs Community Center

$15.00 at the door

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