Saturday, 27 June 2015

Oh it burns! The science of watering in full sun

"... hot gardening (sort of like hot yoga but even more strenuous!)" ~ Audrey

With multiple days of 30+ degree weather and unclouded sun, it was dry, dry, dry: I poured water onto my plants every chance I could get!  But I might have been doing more harm than good.

It was my father-in-law who actually brought it up with me, "Isn't it bad to water plants when they're in the sun?"  I knew a lot of it probably did evaporate so it wasn't great for water conservation, but was it bad for the plants?  To the internets! 

What I found: Science has caught up to what old wives have known for years - watering plants in full sun can burn their leaves!  In some cases at least. 

Researchers found smooth plant leaves were unscathed, while the fuzzy leaves' "... hairs can hold the water droplets in focus above the leaf's surface, acting as a magnifying glass."
And that's exactly what I saw in the garden: My poor tomatoes and potatoes have tiny burn-speckled leaves while my sunflowers and beans were fine. 

So from now on it's only watering in the morning* and avoiding the leaves for me.

* More reasons why watering in the morning is better from Horticulture Magazine can be found here.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

PSA:(That Rotten) Apple-Maggot

Almost every one of our speakers in the past 12 months has mentioned a rising pest in the city: The Apple Maggot.  One has gone so far to say he's not interested in growing apples because of the likelihood of infestation.

Adult Apple Maggot Fly from Planet Natural
So, what is a gardener who loves apples to do?

Planet Natural's "Apple Maggot", Rob Sproule's "Apple Maggots 101", and University of Minnesota's "Apple Maggot: IPM for home growers" all have plenty of information about this insect and have devised approaches to manage it by interrupting its life cycle.

Tips include:
1. Set up apple maggot traps right after bloom time - trap the adults before they lay eggs on the apple fruit
2. Clean up apples right when they fall and do not compost them - prevents the pupae from leaving the apples, overwintering, and becoming adults.
Do these and convince your neighbours to the same, and we'll all get fewer of these:
Apple Maggot in Apple from Planet Natural 

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Neighbourhood Walkabout - June's Meeting

It was a lovely night for a walk so Erica and I took the Garden Club meeting outdoors into the neighbourhood for a walkabout.

Immediately, we could see the Club's hard work paid off: the community garden looked great! Purple irises, pink and white daisies, blue perennial cornflowers, along with the last of the yellow Icelandic poppies made a colouful display.

Happy bees circled the blooms and had the two of us snapping away.

Janis Irwin, NDP Candidate for Edmonton Griesbach, found us thus, and joined us to admire the garden.  She was impressed and thought it was great for the Club to maintain this for the community.  
Erica and I went next to Highlands Park to check on the planters.  They were showing good general growth (pink columbine, yellow day lilies, and lilies in bud), but also bald spots that could use some care.  

We continued our walk into the neighbourhood and was admiring the diverse gardens so close by.  One house in particular was luscious in the shade. As we leaned closer to look in, one of the owners hard at work noticed us and offered a tour!  

The other owner and their two dogs soon joined us and we chatted about plants, gardening, and urban bee keeping until the mosquitoes drove us away.

The neighbourhood tour certainly had us inspired.  So, whose garden is next?  

Thursday, 4 June 2015

My Stupidest Gardening Mistake - or- We Were Once All Newbies

If you're ever feeling down in the dumps about a stupid garden mistake - search no further than Gardenweb forum for "My Stupidest Gardening Mistakes..." to help you laugh through the pain. Get doses of gardening tips and advice with every spoonful of schadenfreude! 

Below are some short ones from the discussion. 

May you soon be laughing at your own mistakes and sharing them with us here! 

* Posted by: Pickwick z5 (My Page) on Thu, Mar 13, 03 at 18:14 The grounds superintendent of a large estate where I worked in the days of my youth, assigned me to plant grass seed in a freshly prepared area. He conveyed to me where I might locate this seed. Evidently, I seemed to have grabbed the wrong bag. It was thistle birdseed...........

* Posted by: MaryMarg Zone9/San Jose (My Page) on Thu, Feb 27, 03 at 15:27 We moved into our first home four years ago, and had a gorgeous bougainvillia draping over the tops of the french doors to our bedroom. New to gardening, my husband and I couldn't figure why it "died" several months after moving in. My husband, escaping with multiple minor cuts and several colorful expletives, managed to remove it. We found out several weeks later (after it had been taken away by the garbage man) that the beautiful climber was merely dormant. Such remorse!
* Posted by: PattiA6290 7b ) on Sat, Feb 9, 02 at 8:17A friend of mine had her son-in-law plant several hundred tulips for her one year. That next spring none of them came up. Miffed she was gonna return them to the nursery where she buys all of her plants. After she started digging them up she notice he had planted them all up side down.

* Posted by: Marisha 6OH on Sun, Feb 17, 02 at 20:47
One year my husband brought home a truckload of grass clippings from work, in big plastic bags. Oh, thrill! We could use them for mulch in the vegetable garden......little did we know how many dandelion seeds were hidden in all those grass clippings...until the next spring when they all bloomed!