IN THE GARDEN: It’s time to start pruning

  • Mar. 9, 2011 10:00 a.m.

In spite of the cold weather, the spring flowering bulbs are right at the surface. Crocus are the most advanced, but tulips are also at the surface, looking for warm weather.

Now is the time to start the tomato plants that almost every garden grows. I find a variety called Celebrity produces very nice medium- sized fruit. If you like to have some late blooming flowers such as asters, start the seedlings now.

If you have space in your garden, be sure to do a good job developing a compost pile. Well-rotted compost is the best way to build up a good vegetable area. A shredder is one of the best machines to have in your yard. Small prunings can be shredded, raspberry canes will break down, as will lots of grass clippings, and all the vines such as cucumbers and squash. I do not suggest adding any form of grease to the compost pile.

I was asked recently why one of the shrubs that turns the leaves to shades of red failed to change colour and remained green. I contacted a friend for his opinion and he suggested the following. First of all, be sure the plant was well-watered. Also, a good feeding of a balanced fertilizer such as 14-16-20 or numbers close to that level are ideal. Apply the feeding in late March or early April.

To the lady who called looking for a perennial that would thrive in shade, I suggest ferns as a very hardy perennial that should be useful.

Now is the time to work on fruit trees, thinning and pruning. If you are a grape grower, be sure to cut them down to the main stems. Remember that grapes produce fruit on new growth. One of my friends says the best crop of grapes he ever had was when he did the heaviest pruning.

Okanagan Gardens and Roses meets Monday at the Schubert Centre at 7:30 p.m. Don’t miss this meeting.

Fred Lyall has been writing in The Garden in The Morning Star for more than 20 years.