Weather Confusion – What Happened To Spring?

March 25, 2016 - ice storm in southern ontario

If it wasn’t April 4 I’d think this was someone’s idea of an April fool’s joke. After a very mild winter, with little snow, old man winter dressed up as a Polar Vortex and decided he’d show up just as spring arrived. He’s not just late to the party but he’s the guest no-one wants… Read more »

Practical Crop Rotation – A Second Look

crop rotation vegetable gardening

Gardening evolves with knowledge and experience. I have been formally planning my vegetable garden layout on paper for several years now and each year I think I get a little bit better. In addition to learning about plant families, I have come to realize how you effectively rotate your crops depends upon what exactly you… Read more »

Crop Rotation, Plant Families And The Vegetable Garden

When planning your vegetable garden, consider the benefits of crop rotation. Good crop rotation prevents the build up of pests and diseases in the soil and preserves micro-nutrients. For example, legumes (beans and peas) will actually add nitrogen to the soil. While crop rotation will not guarantee that diseases will not occur, it greatly reduces… Read more »

My Pruning Schedule

I’ve often found it hard to know what shrubs needed pruning when, and with all the new shrubs I have planted or plan to put in this year, this task will get even harder. To help me this year, I’ve made up a pruning schedule by major time of season. If you are reading this… Read more »

Draw Your Own Garden Plan Without Expensive Garden Design Software

garden plan software

I experimented with quite a few different garden design software packages. Many of them were very cumbersome or too limited for what I wanted. I eventually found that it was easier to use an Excel spreadsheet by treating it like graph paper and combining this with the many autoshape tools in Excel. The end result… Read more »

Not The Best House Guests

The lusher our garden becomes, the more wildlife we see. Birds, rabbits, deer, chipmunks, squirrels, even garter snakes are now common place in our yard. Isn’t that great you say? Well perhaps, but couldn’t they be better house guests? I mean if the deer love my red begonias so much they want a closer look,… Read more »

The Promise Of Summer

Red Charm Peony

I know it’s still officially spring and that peonies, irises & weigela are technically spring blooming plants, but I always think of June as the promise of summer to come. The blooms are bigger, brighter and more intense than the early spring blossoms.  I’m enjoying finishing up my summer planters, adding even more colour to… Read more »

Why Can’t I Grow Cauliflower?

I’ve got a pretty good green thumb when it comes to outdoor plants and the vegetable garden. On top of that I love to experiment. We’ve grown our own sweet potatoes, celery, kidney beans, black beans and even pak choi one year. But for the life of me I can’t grow cauliflower. OK, I’ve only… Read more »

Late But Perfect

Doublefile viburnum

Spring may have arrived late this year but it has been almost picture perfect. For the past several years, unseasonably warm weather in April and early May meant that most plants began to leaf out and put on blooms early, only to be damaged by late spring frost. Almost every year I lose something, either… Read more »

Frost Ready – Again

Frost covers tomatoes & peppers

I don’t care what the calendar says or what the weather was like yesterday, you can always count on a good chance of frost in southern Ontario even into the end of May. Having said that, I always jump the gun and put my tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and basil in during an early hot spell,… Read more »