It’s not too late! Here’s what to plant in late June or early July

How to Grow

It’s not too late! Here’s what to plant in late June or early July

OK, so it’s the end of June and you’re feeling like it’s way too late to dig into gardening and get something truly meaningful done with your landscape, however big or small. Between work and play, those summers where May and June seem to fly by are all too real, but we have some good news! It’s never too late, and if you’re looking for a little quality time with your soil you have plenty of mid-summer options, flower and vegetable alike.

Flowers

  • Alyssum Saxatile: a hardy spring blooming perennial with beautiful, fragrant golden-yellow flowers that can be planted in June and will flower the following year.
  • Chinese Lantern: in a league all their own, Chinese Lanterns look eerily similar to ornamental paper lanterns. They’re bright orange, and have several lantern-shaped blossoms to a stem. Ideal for a fall or winter arrangement and visually exotic in just about any setting.
  • Christmas Rose: we have these beauties listed in our store as a rose ‘for a gardener looking for a challenge.’ Beautiful and long lasting, the Christmas Rose is a perennial with creamy-white pearls and lovely golden anthers.
  • Early Sunrise Coreopsis: when you’ve been specially bred to produce a vibrant, glowing display of semi-double golden-yellow blooms, you really knock it out of the park. These Early Sunrise Coreopsis have genetics on their side, and won’t disappoint!
  • Delphiniums: to say these Delphiniums grow high would be an understatement. At a formidable 60 inches high, the beautiful array of colours they produce will be visible to most and are particularly attractive to bees. Plant in June or July for flowers the following year.

Vegetables

  • Squash: summer squash planted in June will yield fresh vegetables in either July or August. The window is small here, so if squash is on your radar, this is one you should jump on, soon!
  • Broccoli: capable of growing right into November, broccoli is a good go-to if you’re planting in June or July and want to add some green to your meals. 
  • Beans: we talked about bean teepees in one of our latest Inspiration Garden posts, and now beans in general are in the spotlight. Pole and bush alike, you can plant beans now and enjoy a reliable harvest.
  • Carrots: champions of the fall crop, carrots can be planted in July and will yield crops well into the fall and will sustain in your garden until needed and harvested.
  • Kale: your friend in both July and August, Kale will yield harvestable plants all the way through fall and into the winter. Plant these hardy vegetables before mid-August and reap the rewards.

Of course, these are just a few options open to you if you’re looking to get started with your garden a little later than usual. Drop by our store in Halifax, and one of our staff will be happy to assist you in picking out the right plants for the mid-summer job. Happy gardening!

Bringing light and life to your shade garden

How to Grow

Bringing light and life to your shade garden

Experienced gardeners know that shade gardening is far from easy. Aside from the nourishment benefits of the sun, the range of plants that flourish with just a glimpse of sunlight far outweighs those that can thrive without. However, most gardeners will also agree that there’s something incredibly rewarding about ducking away to your shade garden on a scorching summer day to defy expectations and make something stunning out of a consistently shady area. For urban gardeners with sheltered patios and limited options, we’re looking at you, too!

The benefits of a shade gardening may surprise you. Because the sun’s reign is limited in shade gardens, moisture will evaporate slowly and reduce the maintenance and watering requirements on these sorts of gardens. Additionally, pests of all shapes and sizes (including weeds) will make less of a showing in these darker areas. Less watering and fewer pests means low maintenance, and we call that a win-win.

So the challenge isn’t so much caring for a shade garden as it is choosing the right plants for the job. Dropping sunlight-hungry beauties into a dark garden is a real tragedy, but with the right information you’ll be on your way to working with plants that require little to no sunlight. A challenge worth taking on!

The most commonly regarded ‘shade plant’ is arguably the Hosta. They’re large and luxuriant, growing leaves that look like they’re straight out of the rainforest. Best of all, they’re simple to grow. Just ensure that there’s ample room for drainage in the soil and keep things damp (not wet!)

Bleeding Hearts are a surefire win if your goal is to bring brightness to the darkness of your shade garden. Another dependable perennial, Bleeding Hearts bring radiance to an otherwise shady shady garden, with long elegant stems and heart-shaped flowers. Easy to grow and easier on the eyes, Bleeding Hearts are an easy recommendation, and one we make often!

Continuing our crusade for colour in the shade, Astilbes are, again, perennial (we dig patterns here, and yes, pun intended) that grow plumes of vibrant flowers. Pick a moist, shady area and commence with adding an array of colours to your darker garden. By the way, if you need any help with colour palettes, we have an Inspiration Garden entry for ­just that. Between the Astilbes and the Bleeding Hearts, your shade garden will be anything but dreary.

In addition to the above, we recommend Japanese painted ferns and Hakonechloa grass. For more information and other inspiring ideas, head to our store or deeper into the Inspiration Garden. Happy gardening!

Culinary herbs in your urban garden

How to Grow

Culinary herbs in your urban garden

Whether your urban garden takes up your whole balcony or just your windowsill, incorporating herbs will provide a quick and easy source of culinary enhancement that’s way more satisfying than store bought. On top of that, most herbs produce abundantly all season long and fit well in a container, flower garden, or vegetable garden. Naturally, herbs will flourish best in sunlight, but many of the more popular herbs like parsley and chive will tolerate partial shade and produce well.

Some culinary herbs we recommend for your urban garden:

  • Basil: As well as being a kitchen essential, Basil is regarded as one of the healthiest herbs around. Enriched with vitamin K, copper, and calcium, basil requires 6-8 hours of sunlight a day and is a great addition to any urban herb garden.
  • Chives: Similar to basil, chives are arguably a cooking essential. If French cuisine is the name of the game, look no further! With a hybrid garlic and onion aroma, they’re not only aromatic, they’re also easy to grow. Though they prefer full sun, they will grow in partial shade and still do wonders.
  • Cilantro: Cilantro’s taste is best described as a promise of lively fresh flavor. As long as you’re not affected be the genetic soap taste it strangely offers some people, Cilantro will definitely be of benefit to your next dish. For optimal growth, make successive sowings every 2 to 3 weeks starting in late spring.
  • Mint: Mint carries the chemical menthol, which can be a treat for your taste buds. Use just the right amount and you’ll add a bit of fresh bite to a dish. Similar to basil, mint is a health nut’s friend and is rich in manganese, copper, and vitamin C. For optimal growth simply cut the stems one inch from the ground before flowering. As an added bonus, you can pick mint leaves whenever you need them!
  • Oregano: Oregano offers a special savor to almost any dish, but is most commonly used to compliment tomatoes, eggplant and meat. It will also take any pizza and pasta to the next level. Oregano does not have a strict growth cycle, so you can harvest the leaves as you need them.
  • Thyme: Thyme brings an intense kick to foods, and should be used sparingly. To unlock the full flavor of thyme it is best to add at the last moment of a recipe, because the oils are easily evaporated. Thyme is another ingredient that will help bring your specialty pizza or pasta to the next level, and gives your morning omelet a pleasant aroma. Although it’s not as beneficial to your health as basil or mint, thyme has several surprising medicinal uses. It can be used as eyewash, a hair rinse to prevent dandruff, or a tonic to stimulate the nervous system. Believe it or not, it’ll even alleviate nervous disorders such as nightmares, depression, insomnia and melancholy. Time to plant some thyme!

Dill, Lavender, and Parsley are also fairly easy to grow, and will make spectacular additions to your urban herb garden. For more information and other inspiring ideas, head to our store or deeper into the Inspiration Garden. Happy gardening!

Sprouting!

How to Grow

Sprouting!

Sprouting is an increasingly popular practice that allows you to grow your food, even during the cold of winter. Sprouting is a simple and fast process. They are considered a “live” food, because at the time of consumption they are still growing. Sprouts are packed with vital enzymes and vitamins and are great used on sandwiches, salads, soups and cooking.

The materials that you require are:
• A jar (with a wide mouth)
• A screen or netting (that will cover the mouth of the jar), and an elastic band
• A bowl
• Sprouting Seeds (We recommend Mumm’s Organic Sprouting seeds)
• Air, warmth, light (but not direct sunlight), and water.

Step 1:
Soak seeds in your container / jar. Cover with mesh or netting, and secure with the elastic band. The seeds should be soaked in water for 4-8 hours (or over night) but read package directions as some varieties of seeds only require 2 hours of soaking (ex. Broccoli). When you choose your type of seed it is important to determine the length of soaking time and how large the seed can become as seeds will expand greatly as they grow into sprouts. This is important to take into account when choosing the quantity of seed to place into the jar. It can expand up to 20 times its regular size. A little seed goes a long way!

Step 2:
Drain water after soaking. After this, the sprouts need to be rinsed at least twice a day. This is approximately once every 12 hours (set an alarm). All the water should be drained after being rinsed. The jar can then be propped up at a 45 degree angle to help drain water out and allow air circulation. This can be done by propping the jar in a bowl. This process should continue until the sprouts are ready to harvest.

Step 3:
Days until harvest generally varies from each variety, ranging between 3-10 days. Monitor the seeds to determine when they are finished. Harvest them carefully by pulling apart the sprouts carefully, and separate the developed sprouts from the ones that are still growing. This way you can keep growing the sprouts that have not full grown.

Step 4:
Store sprouts in plastic bags in the fridge, and rinse them every 3 days. Generally sprouts will last at least a week to 10 days.

Tips:
• Use sanitary equipment to avoid any salmonella or any other contamination
• It is recommended that pregnant women do not eat sprouts
• Never let seeds dry out during growing, or in storage

Popular sprouts:
Alfalfa, brocolli, buckwheat, canola, fenugreek, flax, garbanzo beans, lentils, mung beans, mustard, chickpeas, radish, red clover, sunflower, wheatgrass