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Category: Garden how-to guide

From controlling chickweed and fairy rings to planting bulbs and pruning lilacs, you’ll find step by step answers.

Common Lilac

Caring for Lilacs

When lilacs bloom in Southern Alberta, it’s usually getting close to the May long weekend. That also means it’s time to get the garden, shrubs and patio plants going. If you’ve thought putting in lilacs but are worried about when to plant, when to prune, or even the type of dirt they prefer, here are […]

windowsill

Starting Plants from Seed

Many Canadian gardeners start seeds indoors in January and February — then we’re ready to get out there by the time May long weekend rolls around! When to start seeds indoors 1. Check the estimated last-date-for-frost here: last frost dates for Canada and US. Below are Alberta’s first and last frost dates. 2. Seed packets […]

indoorgarden2

Indoor gardening

If outdoor gardening is out of the question, try growing your favorite plants indoors. Once you’ve had a salad made with home grown leafy greens and fragrant herbs, you’ll be hooked on indoor gardening. Best location for your indoor garden Choosing the right location for an indoor garden is critical. Windowsills are ok if the […]

Pink Tulips

How and when to plant bulbs

The best times to plant bulbs. Tulip and daffodil bulbs should be planted in fall or early winter for spring flowering, and early spring for summer blooms. The best time to plant bulbs is when evening low temperatures are between 5°C to 10°C (40°F to 50°F). Fall planting should be done about six weeks before […]

yellowdaffodils

Squirrels won’t eat daffodil bulbs

How can I keep squirrels from eating my bulbs? Plant them with the daffodils! Squirrels won’t eat daffodil bulbs so your tulips and other favorites should be spared. In many areas of Canada and the US, squirrels rank high on the scale of garden pests and there are plants that they don’t like, daffodils included. […]

Nymphaea mexicana

How to care for water lilies

Water lilies (botanical name: Nymphaea) add beauty to your pond or water garden. They provide shade and shelter for the fish, and they oxygenate the water, reduce algae and act as a natural water filter. Tropical water lilies Tropical water lilies may be either daytime blooming opening mid morning and closing in the late afternoon, […]

hardinesszonesCanada

Plant Hardiness Zones

Before you plan your spring garden, it’s helpful to know your plant hardiness zone. Hardiness zones are defined by the average climatic conditions of the region; knowing your zone will help you determine whether or not a particular plant will grow in your area. The map is divided into nine major zones, the harshest weather […]

Basket of Strawberries

Strawberries: getting ready for winter

Overwintering strawberries Strawberries are perennial plants, hardy to zone 2 as long as the roots are well insulated in winter. They need a period of dormancy during the winter months so after the first frost start thinking about getting the strawberry patch ready for the pending cold. Cut plants to a few inches in height […]

Grass

How to get rid of crabgrass and quackgrass

What’s the difference between crabgrass and quackgrass? To effectively get rid of weed grasses from the lawn it helps to understand their life cycle; this is a brief look at two common weed grasses. Crabgrass (Digitaria sanguinalis) is the annoying broad bladed light green grass with a rougher texture than lawn and turf grasses. Crabgrass […]

Get rid of aphids organically

Dealing with aphids organically

One day your plants look fine and the next day aphids are sucking the life out of them! Aphids puncture the cell walls of young plants draining cells dry, spreading plant viruses and eventually killing the plant. Species and colors of aphids range from shades of green, red, brown, black and yellow and most have […]

Organic Fertilizers

Organic Fertilizers

Now that your garden is well on its way, you’re probably thinking about fertilizers. Fish emulsion, bone meal, blood meal, manure and compost all work well and they’re organic. Overview of organic fertilizers To be called ‘organic’ means it occurs in nature, the three ‘natural’ categories are animal-based, plant-based and mineral-based organic fertilizers. The bottom […]

Canada thistle

How to control Canada thistle

There’s no denying that Canada thistle is tough to control, but the first step in dealing with it is to understand it. About Canada thistle Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense) is a fast growing perennial plant that can grow to 1m or more in height. Its leaves are deeply serrated and spiny, and the stems have […]

Green Clovers

How to get rid of clover in the lawn

Get rid of clover organically The best way to remove clover from your lawn is to get the grass to replace it. With a little persistence and effort, getting rid of clover is entirely possible and can be done without the use of chemicals. Depending how much clover has invaded your lawn, you could concentrate […]

Tomato Seedlings

Growing tomatoes

When to plant tomatoes The growing season in most of Alberta is about four months (mid May to  mid September) so tomato gardeners usually give their plants a head start indoors. Starting the seeds in March should allow enough time for seedlings to be garden-ready by mid-May. If you plant early, keep an eye on […]

Mushrooms in lawn

Fairy rings in the lawn

What are fairy rings? Fairy rings, also known as fairy circles or pixie rings in lawns and pastures may be caused by one of many species of fungi present in the soil but the mushroom fungus (specifically Maramius oreades) is usually the culprit. Fairy rings may or may not have mushrooms growing around their perimeter […]

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