A Gardener’s Diary: Cool start to new season

A Gardener’s Diary: Cool start to new season

Jocelyne Sewell has been writing A Gardener’s Diary for eight years

This is the start of my eighth year of writing the gardening column in this newspaper. I hope you have enjoyed it and learn from it.

I try to find new subjects to make it interesting and help some of you to have a good garden. I myself still learn from research in books and especially on the Internet.

If you have stored dahlia and canna lily tubers over the winter, it is a good time to check on them if you haven’t done so yet. Some of mine are still doing good and I will have to give them a little spray of water as they feel very dry. A couple of my dahlia plants are starting to show a little growth, but the basement is cold enough that they should be OK until I am ready for them.

Until the first weekend of February, we had fantastic weather, the kind of winter I like. My tulips were already showing very good growth and even the blackberry plants still had their green leaves. The week before, I was picking some Swiss chard that tasted pretty good in the middle of winter. Even the parsley was being picked regularly. Then came the cold and the wind and more cold. I am hoping for the best for my fig trees in the ground although they are well covered with leaves. Time will tell.

This time of the year I am busy in pre-germinating seeds for the spring sales. On my tomatoes, I have an average of 90 to 100 per cent. So far, I have a lot of seedlings under the light. I am still hoping for an early spring – the groundhog said so –because I will run short of space in the house when I have to transplant hundreds of seedlings into bigger pots. I even have potatoes growing in the basement at the moment. I was told that us gardeners have an incurable disease, so I guess there is no use looking for a cure.

A Gardener’s Diary: Racing against time

A Gardener’s Diary: Make weeds disappear

Don’t give up on old seeds. They take longer to germinate than fresh seeds but eventually some of them come up. I am germinating eggplant seeds that say seven to 14 days. I started them on Jan. 24, and they are just starting to show roots now. All my seeds are germinating under optimum conditions. They are between damp shop cloth enclosed in plastic bags and set on top of my fluorescent lights which give them lots of heat. Once I put them in the soil, they will go under the lights for 16 hours daily. Then when they show good growth, they will go in the basement still under lights but in cooler growing conditions.

I have a celery plant started. Last year my three celery plants in the garden came from organic celery stalks. Celery grows well as long as it has rich soil, plenty of water and shade from the sun. I don’t bother blanching it. The entire celery plant is edible. You can grow new celery from the base. Simply put the base in a shallow cup of water and put it on a windowsill, adding more water as needed. When the roots form, I then transplant it to a 4” pot (10 centimetres) and then to the garden later.

With this first column and the start of a new year, I would like to wish you a very fruitful year and may your gardens flourish. Have a good and happy season.


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