Gardening Tips

Invader of the month – Garlic Mustard

Garlic Mustard has rapidly become one of the most invasive plants we’ve ever seen in Ontario. It spreads aggressively by seed so the time to deal with it is in spring before more seed is distributed!
Check out the Best management Practices with great information about how to control this invasive plant.

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Peony Diseases – diagnosis and remedies

Peonies are considered by many gardeners to be the most beautiful shrubs in the garden. Does yours seem to be in trouble? Find out more about peony diseases and what to do about them.

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Go Native!

Southern Ontario sits in the Carolinian life zone and is one of North America’s most vibrant, but fragile ecoregions. This area contains 25% of Canada’s population in just 0.25% of its land area and currently has over 60 species at risk of disappearing forever – more than any other life zone in Canada.

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Help us choose Canada’s national Flower – Vote before June 30th

The Master Gardeners of Ontario decided to launch a search for a pan-Canadian flower. One that appears in every province and territory, and is not already a provincial or territorial emblem. Help us choose from three great plants. Vote before June 30th.

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Saving Seeds – What, When, Why, How?

Whatever our reasons to save seeds, here’s a great article that will help you know what to save (Hint – not hybrid seeds as they won’t breed ‘true’). Most importantly we want to be sure we do it the right way so our carefully saved seeds will germinate! Read more here about when and how to save seeds.

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Get “In the Zone”!

Do you want garden design that looks terrific AND serves a purpose? Interested in advice from wildlife and gardening experts? If so, check out ‘In the Zone’, a new guide to help you cultivate vital habitat. Connect with a community of gardeners to share tips and exchange native plants. We can impact the health of the ecosystem on which people and wildlife depend.

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Bird Suet Recipe

Make your own high energy bird suet to see them thru until spring. Try this easy recipe to help the birds and attract them to your yard. Most all birds will enjoy this suet including the early spring arrivals when it is still too cold for plenty of insects and worms.

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Protect your Greens from intermittent light frost

It’s fall and we’re starting to get some frost. It’s possible to protect your greens by trapping heat present in the soil so it stays around the plants.

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Raised Garden Bed

Benefits of a Raised Garden Bed Raised gardens are a great way to grow vegetables and flowers. Here are some of the benefits of a raised bed: 1. Less weeds – since you have control of the soil weeds are less of an issue and easier to control 2. Animal control – if your raised […]

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Powdery Mildew problem?

Lots of heat and humidity this year so most gardeners are struggling with Powdery mildew, a fungal disease that attacks a wide range of plants. It appears as a white, dusty coating on leaves, stems and flowers. Learn more about this common problem and organic treatments.

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Favourite Newsletter of the Month

Here’s this month favourite newsletter with tips about plant guilds (vs companion planting), white cabbage moths plus a book review and a great recipe. Enjoy!

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Invader of the month – Wild Parsnip

Wild parsnip spreads quickly as its seeds are easily dispersed. Like giant hogweed, it produces sap containing chemicals that can cause human skin to react to sunlight, resulting in intense burns, rashes or blisters. Learn how to identify this plant and deal with it.

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Water Wise Gardening

Reduce your costs. Don’t waste a precious resource. Stop dragging garden hoses around for hours every few days. Here are some steps we recommend to conserve water and still have a great lawn and garden!

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Frequently Asked Questions About Neo Nics

Neonic use as a seed treatment in field crops (ie. Corn, beans, grain crops) continues to be newsworthy and consumers are concerned. Read more about the science and the opinions of the Ontario government, the bee keepers and the farmers. What choices do you have as a consumer?

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What disease is destroying my tomatoes?

What’s wrong with my tomatoes? Most of the leaves are dying and the actual tomatoes are turning brown then going soft and rotting. What is the problem and what can I do about it?

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Urban Growing Concerns – Potatoes & Tomatoes

Did you know that urban gardeners are asked NOT to grow potatoes or tomatoes? Why? Because they currently pose a risk to potato and tomato production as a source of late blight! There are things you can do though to still grow your favourites at home while minimizing the risk to our local farmers.

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Dandelion – Weed or Wonder?

The dandelion has more nutritional and medicinal uses than any other common garden weed. It flowers at a time of year when bees need help the most. It requires no water or special care and yet stays vibrant green.

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Tips and Resources from Seedy Saturday – recipes, handouts, links to exhibitors …

Here’s where you’ll find terrific resources from recent Seedy Saturdays such as quick links to exhibitors and garden catalogs, handouts from various talks, even recipes!

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Rain Gardens

Rain Gardens are an excellent way to use rain water for our own plants and avoid runoff. Learn about the basics – it’s easier than you’d think!

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Ontario Invasive Plant Council Events and Information

Ontario Invasive Plant Council offers loads of information about invasives such as phragmites, various aquatics, japanese knotweed and more. Learn “What to Grow Instead?”. Check out their upcoming events.

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Fertilizer Facts – What, When and How Often

Organic matter and compost are the best ways to amend soil, however, if fertilization is your choice, make sure you use the right amount, of the right type at the right time!

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Attracting Birds to your Garden

Why would you want to attract birds into your garden? What is needed to make them want to move in? Which species might set up residence in your yard? What can you plant to make them want to stay?

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Tips from talks and demos at Seedy Saturday

What’s your soil Type? Do you know how to test and amend it? Wondering how to reduce amount of watering you have to do? Interested in the City’s Growing Naturally program? Wondering what plants grow well in clay vs sand or acidic vs alkaline soils? Thinking of starting seeds and wondering when or how? All this and more from demonstrations and talks at Seedy Saturday 2015!

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Spring is in the Air!

Spring is in the air and it’s time to plan, buy seeds and do a few tasks that will get us ready for a great growing season. Here’s a checklist of spring tasks and links to great sites for more ideas. Are your green fingers and thumbs just twitching with anticipation? Ours are!

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Beneficial Bacteria in the soil

Soil is alive and biologically complex. By considering this, we realize the importance of not just being on alert for the presence of pathogens, but also the presence of beneficial microorganisms which are transferable to create more “good” soil.

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Ten Tips for year-round interest in a garden

Winter is a terrific time to read and explore plant choices. Here are TEN TIPS for creating a year-round sunny border PLUS a handy list of plants you might choose! Start making your list and in no time you’ll be ready for spring.

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Choosing Deer resistant plants

Here’s some advice for choosing plants that are more resistant to these cute but destructive nibblers.

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Winter Protection of new evergreen

What should I do for my newly planted evergreen to give it best possible chance of survival over the winter?
One of the first things you might want to consider is staking the tree, then build a wind-break or protection against the dominant wind.

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Fall is NOT a good time to prune

When should I prune my tree and how do I develop its shape properly?

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Fall Gardening Tasks

Taking advantage of the sunny fall days and cooler temperatures to prepare your garden for winter will promote a healthy and productive garden for the spring.

First of all, early fall is a great time to divide and transplant perennials.

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Japanese Beetles have arrived

Japanese Beetles are most active from July to early September. These voracious little pests damage many species of plants. Let’s understand the life cycle and options to help control this beetle and reduce the damage in the garden.

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Renovating a Garden

Help Please – my garden needs a makeover. It is full of invasive plants, is now too big and too much work for me and is so heavily shaded by the trees that my sun-loving plants are desperate. Where do I start?

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Black Spot on roses

My roses are covered in spots, the leaves are turning yellow and dropping rapidly. I know it’s Black Spot but what am I doing wrong and how do I help my beautiful roses?

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Planting a pond or water feature

What do I plant around my waterfall to help it look more natural?

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Extend the season for edible crops

We don’t have to limit our growing and harvesting season just to those few short summer months. Many gardeners are now successfully growing and harvesting almost year round.

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Bees – what to do about a swarm?

Our bees are threatened and we need to protect all that we can. However, that doesn’t mean we want a swarm in our back yards! Here’s what to do if you find a swarm.

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Test your Gardening Knowledge!

Are you ready to test your basic knowledge? Take this short quiz and test your gardening knowledge. Ready…Set…Go!

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Great Lawns begin with a few key tasks in Spring

Since herbicides came off the market in Ontario in 2009, many homeowners puzzle over the right strategy to keep their lawns healthy. Fear not! All the turf management tools you need follow and proper lawn care techniques, done at the right time, can make your lawn greener than it’s ever been!

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Attracting Pollinators

Pollination is not just fascinating natural history. It is an essential ecological function. Without pollinators, the human race and our ecosystems would not survive.

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Starting Seeds

Seed packages usually identify how many weeks ahead of average last frost date to start the seeds. Count back from that frost date for each type of seed. Start hardening off for 1-2 weeks after this date and keep a close eye on the night temperatures. May 24 is a safer date for actually planting out.

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Yes you can grow plants from scraps!

Which plants will regrow from your kitchen scraps? Check out our list. What are the top tips to encourage scrap growth? Have a look at these suggestions.

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Spring is NOT the time to deal with grubs

Ignore all the ads for grub control in spring. It’s just about the least effective time to try to control grubs, insects then so close to maturity that they’re next to impossible to reach and kill. Baby grubs, that’s what we should go after.

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Top Ten Myths about Tree Care

Most homeowners treasure the trees on their property but know little about how to care for them. Much of what we have heard about tree care is actually incorrect, based on myths and misconceptions.

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Container Gardening

Gardening in containers is the perfect answer for apartment balconies, small condo spaces, a way it add colour and texture in those difficult spaces to plant, a way to set a theme or create an interest in an area.

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Monthly Garden Checklist

Here is list of monthly jobs that the everyday gardener in Zone 5 to Zone 6 can perform. Of course, the timing of the outdoor tasks depends on the reliability of Mother Nature, and may vary from year to year.

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Know What to Grow for Your Zone

Gardening is the fastest growing leisure activity in North America. Every year both young and old discover it. The joys and rewards of gardening include the practical, such as growing herbs and vegetables for consumption, to the exotic, such as breeding orchids or cultivating special hybrid roses.

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When is the best time to apply Horticultural Oil?

Horticultural oil is an ideal remedy to deter overwintering pests. The best time to apply it to woody plants and shrubs is before the buds break and leaves open but you also want the little pests to be active, not hiding, so wait until temperatures warm up to above zero for at least 24 hours.

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Pruning Hydrangeas

Can I prune my hydrangea bush now or should I wait until spring? First it’s important to know if its the type of hydrangea that blooms on new wood or old.

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