Category: Linda Gilkeson

Linda’s List For April 12: What To Plant; Flowers In The Garden; Gardener Resources

his colder than usual spring seems to be taking forever to warm up (I was breaking ice out of the bird bath again this morning!). Over the next few days, however, the forecast is for the kind of warming we have all been waiting for. Remember, though, that the soil is still pretty cold because so many nights recently have been close to freezing. Peas and early cauliflower that I planted out in in the last couple of weeks have hardly grown at all–which is just reminds me of the joys of overwintered vegetables. With winter cauliflowers, purple sprouting broccoli, kale, spinach and other greens, the last of the carrots, beets and Brussels sprouts, there can still be lots of fresh veggies from a garden at this time of year.

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Linda’s List for January 1

Whither Seedy Saturdays? In other years, Seedy Saturdays, starting in January, have been a high spot for gardeners in communities all over BC, but this year, of course, events have been cancelled or altered. Some, such as Cowichan (Jan. 30), Denman (Feb. 6), Sooke (Feb. 27) plan to host a virtual event and have speakers lined up, others, including Salt Spring, Richmond and others are still working out what form their event will take.

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Linda’s List for Nov. 18: Mulching, Citrus Protection, Planning Ahead

In fact, now is a good time to get organized for the next gardening season in general. Given the run on everything to do with gardening last spring, it would be good idea to get an early start on laying in supplies, seeds and soil amendments. Seed companies are still shipping at this time of year, supplying 2020 seeds or a mix of 2020 and 2021 stock that has come in. Some companies are taking orders after Dec. 1 for January shipment. Don’t forget to check out the web sites of local seed companies: with 2021 Seedy Saturday dates in doubt or cancelled, you can still get seeds by mail order from companies you might have counted on seeing at a Seedy Saturday event.

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Last Seeding, Powdery Mildew, Timely Tasks

This week is the last chance to sow frost hardy lettuce, corn salad and arugula in the garden outdoors. If you have coldframes or are sowing in an unheated greenhouse you can get away with waiting another week or two, but given the generally cool season, I would still sow as soon as possible. With the high daytime temperatures forecast for the next few days, be sure to shade new seedbeds so that seeds and seedlings don’t fry. By now, with gaps opening up in the garden where sweet corn, onions, early potatoes, etc. have been harvested, you should be able to find lots of open spots to sow seeds. You can also sow corn salad and lettuce under tomatoes, peppers, pole beans and other crops that will be finished in October—just pull back mulches and scatter the seeds on the soil. Corn salad simply won’t germinate in

warm soil, but when it is a bit cooler you will suddenly see the soil covered with seedlings.

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Plant Diseases, Garlic Harvest, Sad Tomatoes

Diseases du jour: With this prolonged damp weather, the proliferation of plant diseases has been quite remarkable. Conditions for rusts (garlic, raspberries), apple scab, Botrytis diseases (strawberries) have been perfect. [Photos of these diseases are shown on my web site]. The best defense against disease is choosing disease resistant varieties whenever possible. True immunity to disease is rare and varieties listed as resistant to certain diseases vary in how well they stave off infections. When conditions are not particularly favorable for a particular pathogen, such as the fungus that causes apple scab, disease resistant varieties produce a crop without a speck of scab. When conditions are perfect for repeated generations of the scab fungus, however, even resistant varieties may have some apples with scab spots, usually in parts of the tree with dense foliage and the least air circulation. Under such conditions, apples of scab susceptible varieties can be so covered with scab spots that the fruit is stunted and cracked. A few scabs on apple skins are no problem and it is safe to consume juice from scabby apples, but scab infections do shorten the length of time apples can be stored fresh (so use up scabby apples for applesauce, cider, dried apples, etc.).

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Linda’s List for May 6: Tricky May Weather Vs. Eager Gardeners

It finally looks like night time temperatures will be reaching the comfort zone (10oC/50oF) for planting out well-grown squash and tomato plants this week (don’t rush to plant small plants that can wait awhile). In some inland gardens it might even get hot enough by this weekend that seedlings and seed beds may require shading in midday. With forecasted highs of 25-27oC (up to 80oF), very young plants and seeds in the process of germinating could easily be killed by the hot sun because their tiny roots are so close to the surface. For temporary shade, use anything you have: upside down pots or latticework seedling trays, newspaper or lightweight fabric supported on stakes or hoops. If you are using opaque materials for more than 2 days, only cover plants for the hottest part of the day (11:00 to 3:00 or so) so they receive light in the morning and late afternoon. For a long term investment, you might want to buy horticultural shade cloth or build wooden latticework to shade plants. These let in enough light for growth so can be left in place for the entire heat wave. Also, try to work mulch around small plants to cool the soil. Lawn clippings are excellent for this because they are soft and fine enough to use around tiny seedlings.

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Linda’ List For April 5: Save Seeds, Help New Gardeners

Finally, the forecast is for a warm, sunny week of seasonal temperatures. I was more than a little put out by the frequent snow showers that fell on my garden last week—and had to apologize to the peas I planted outdoors the week before [in these strange times, talking to your vegetables is OK, right?…as long as you aren’t hearing them reply, of course…

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