Wednesday, April 29, 2015

5 Gardening Questions Answered by a local Master Gardener

I'm no gardening genius and most of what I know comes from fails- that is why I was excited to ask my burning questions to The Lindsay and District Master Gardeners at Seedy Saturday a few weeks ago in Lindsay.

"Master Gardeners in the Province of Ontario are experienced gardeners who have studied horticulture extensively and continue to upgrade their skills through technical training. With this training and continuing education, Master Gardeners provide expert horticultural advice to the general public."-Master gardeners of Ontario

Answers from Master Gardener Richard Evans- Lindsay ON

Q- What can I add to my garden this spring to enhance the soil?
A- Broadcast bone meal into your garden, unless your garden is extremely depleted (most soil is average) you don't need to worry to much about adding to it.

Q- What are the top tips for growing tomatoes?
A- Water soil (not the plants) intensely and regularly, about every 3 days.
Dig a hole where the tomatoe plant is to be planted large enough for a big bucket to be set in it (with the bottom cut off or holes in it to drain) , leave an inch or so to poke out above the ground, place some bone meal on the bottom, and than good soil and or compost to fill it up, than plant your seedling/seed. This retains water for the tomato plants and keeps bugs out, because they are apparently too lazy to climb over the lip of the bucket sticking out of the ground.

Stake your tomatoes as soon as you put them in the ground.

Trim leaves off of the bottom of the plant regularly.

Harden seedlings off in spring, start putting them outside as early as April (if it is warm) in the sun for an hour a day.

Q- What is the best thing I can add to my soil in the fall?
A-straw- again he mentions that you don't need to add to much to average soil.

Q- Onion seed's or set's?
A- Sets! Our growing season is too short for seed. Plant your sets, cover them with straw and pick them in the fall, do nothing else with them.

Q- Other tips?
A- Hill your greens. ( I had to google this- it basically means mound dirt up about 6" or so and than plant seeds)

Richard also said that he does not till his garden but loosens the soil with a pitch fork because some per annual weeds can grow from chopped up pieces, and they reach far down into the soil, steeling valuable nutrients. He also mentioned that for annual weeds you do not need to pull them, just scrape them off with a sharp ho, unless you really want to get down on your hands and knees and pick them- welcome advice!

Im going to try not tilling my garden this year. Because of this I have already been able to plant my onion sets and some greens- usually I wait until it has been tilled after the soil has dried out a little, also these things can take a little bit of cold, and if they cant- well I still have time to try again. I'm not sure if I can withhold picking weeds, is that weird, something about it looking neat and tidy makes me feel good. Im also going to try a few of my tomatoes with the bucket set up and see how it goes!

Happy spring!
Thanks for reading my blog!
Julia Taylor