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Heirloom Seeds

There are some gardening terms used today that need a bit of clarification. One of those terms is Heirloom seeds, they can also be known as Heritage seeds.

Heirloom seed refers to open-pollinated; pollinated naturally by the wind or insects, which produce plants like the parent plant. Heirloom and Heritage seeds are seeds that are passed down from family to family or generation to generation. Heirloom or Heritage seeds are often more tasty, aromatic and have a higher vitamin content.

There are family Heirloom seeds and Commercial Heirloom seeds. Commercial Heirloom seeds are seeds that are passed down in the company that have been used for many years. Thus Heirloom seeds do not necessarily mean Non-GMO.  The Heritage and Heirloom seeds that Dunvegan carries are Non-GMO and say so right on the package.

Some terms to be aware of:

Organic seed refers to the way seed is grown

Heirloom refers to the parent plant.

Hybrid is a plant that is not bred from seed.

Untreated seeds are seeds that are not treated with insecticides or fungicides.

More questions? Please feel free to give us a call or stop in and talk gardening!

 

 

 

 

Orchids

 

   

Once a hobby only for the rich, Orchids have become one of the most beloved plants for indoor and outdoor use around the world and the rule is: once you get one Orchid, you will become hooked and need more!

With over 30,000 species being identified, Orchids are a very diverse family. Orchids can be as small as a thimble or they can grow to over 20 feet tall in some instances. Flower sizes can range from mosquito-sized blooms to the size of a common dinner plate. Colorful and often fragrant, Orchids are thought to be a tropical plant.

Orchids can be grown indoors and are Perennial in nature, Orchids will rebloom – usually with a little bit of help. Orchids can bloom once a year, biannually or even continuously.

Orchids like light and after over watering, being too hot or in a wrong light location is usually a cause for killing off orchids. Place Orchids near a window but not in the window, they love light but not directly.

If your Orchid has wrinkly or leathery leaves, it is probably being overwatered. Orchids need a special type of soil, one that is fast draining but also water retensive.  Here are Dunvegan we have several varieties of already potted Orchids. Orchid seeds grow slowly and it can take 2 years or in some cases 7-10 years for a plant to bloom; this often is why certain species are more expensive.

If your Orchid has stopped blooming, it is not dead, it is taking a much needed rest. Place the orchid in a cooler part of the house 55-60 degrees is ideal and feed it 20-20-20 every other week until it starts to grown again.

Come check out our blooming selection of Orchids, feel free to ask us questions on how to care for them and ask us about ice cube watering for Orchids.

 

 

Why Grow a Garden?

 

In our fast-paced world sometimes it is hard to think about adding one more thing to our to-do list, but there are many reasons why you should plant a garden.

  • Save money on groceries. There is nothing tastier than fruits and vegetables from the garden, store-bought produce cannot even begin to match the taste. Stuck on what to cook for supper? Wander out to the garden and pick a meal, it is proven that people who eat more fruits and vegetables are healthier.
  • Physical Exercise and Stress Relief. Ask any gardener and they will tell you, putting your hands in the soil and digging around is therapeutic.  Gardening is a great way to get some physical exercise into your schedule right in your own backyard.  It is also a stress reliever, a place to go just to enjoy nature and see what is growing.
  • The nutrients in your homegrown fruits and vegetables are higher than store bought commercially produced foods. You get to decide if your garden will use chemicals or stick strictly to nature and go organic.
  • Gardens and plants, in general, are a great way to help the atmosphere. Plants make oxygen and take carbon monoxide out of the air.
  • Teach your children where their food comes from. A lot of children today only associate “food” with stores, they have no concept of how food grows. Children are fascinated with the growing cycle of plants.
  • Help save the bees. Today bees are suffering worldwide, we need bees to pollinate our foods and bees need the flowers to collect the pollen from.  Without bees in the world, we would not be able to grow enough food to survive.

These are just some of the many reasons why you should seriously consider planting a garden. Gardens can be in containers, in the ground or even hanging on the walls – we can help.  Come visit us at Dunvegan Gardens and let’s talk gardening.

 

Haskap, Blue Berried Honeysuckle, Honeyberries

An old berry is making a come back!  Haskap is the “marketing” name going across North America for the blue berried Honeysuckle or Honeyberry – Lonicera caerulea.

Found growing wild in every province in Canada they can also be found across North America, Japan and Europe.  A Hardy bush that can withstand temperatures of minus 45 and the flowers have withstood temperatures of minus 11 and gone on to bear fruit.

The taste is described as a cross between a raspberry/blueberry and saskatoon. In the 1950’s the first planting in Beaverlodge was attempted, but the berries were bitter. The plant was ignored after that.  The trick with Haskap is to get the right kind – the right kind being a wonderful berry or the wrong kind, a bitter berry. Here at Dunvegan, we have several tasty varieties available.

Haskap’s grow to be 1.5 to 2 meters in height. They are pest and disease resistant, an easy shrub to grow.  There are reports that deer and birds like the berries.  There are no thorns or suckers.  The berries are the early addition to the garden, ripening a couple of weeks before strawberries.  The berries are oblong/oval and large 3-8 cm long and can be used for canning, pies, jams, jellies, candies, ice cream, and yogurt to name a few. There is even a local Haskap winery near Beaverlodge.

Haskap’s have to have a cross pollinator in order to bear fruit.  Not all plants cross pollinate with each other, come check out our Cross Pollinator chart in the store.

Varieties:  Tundra, Borealis, Indigo Treat, Indigo Gem, Indigo Yum, Honeybee, Aurora, Wojtek, Atlaj, Nimfa, Berry Blue, Polar Jewel

Here at Dunvegan we carry a selection of hardy Haskap’s and pollinators – it is never too early to start planning this year’s garden!

It’s Seed Time

                 

 

It is time to think about Seeds!  Here at Dunvegan we choose our seed companies very carefully, our selection includes:

McKenzie Seeds & Livingston Seeds – Manitoba Since 1896 A.E. McKenzie Co. has been a leader and innovator in the Canadian Gardening industry. Now Canada’s #1 Packet Seed Company, specializing in flower and vegetable seeds.  They are conscious and responsive to the growing concerns involved with food: cost, quality and safety.  Non-GMO, and carry organic seeds.

McKenzie Heritage and  Heirloom Seeds –  Manitoba  All seed is open pollinated, non-hybrid, non-GMO, untreated, natural seed. Heirloom Seeds, also called Heritage Seeds, are open-pollinated varieties that are usually at least 50 years old. They specialize in rare & endangered heirloom vegetable, flower & herb seed.

Pacific Northwest Seeds – Vernon, BC   Seed is of the highest quality and vitality with an excellent selection of vegetables, herbs and flowers, suited for Western Canada’s climates.

West Coast Seeds, Vancouver, BC  Untreated seeds for organic gardening, non-GMO. Choose from varieties of open-pollinated and hybrid vegetable seeds. West Coast Seeds features certified organic and heirloom seeds for growing, just about any vegetable seed you would like to grow.

Burpee Seeds, USA  Proud to have delivered the finest quality, non-GMO varieties in home gardening for over 140 years. They are a company of gardeners, for gardeners, and guarantee each and every product.

Renee’s Garden, California  The garden to table seed company. Offering the varieties that are very special for home gardeners, based on great flavor, easy culture and exceptional garden performance.

Mr. Fothergill’s has established itself as one of the most recognized seed brands available today. Commitment to their customers and striving for the best possible quality.

Gardening in the Zone

When living in the Northern part of Alberta, before you can make decisions about what to grow in your garden you should take some time to plan.

The very first thing you should know is what growing zone you are in. The government of Canada’s Plant Hardiness Map (above) is helpful to figure this out.

Or… we here at Dunvegan can just tell you:

Grande Prairie is Zone 3                      Beaverlodge Zone 3                         Fairview Zone 2-3

Peace River Zone  2-3                          Valleyview Zone 3

After you know what growing zone you are in, you can then find plants that suit your area.  Every plant identification tag should have growing zones marked on it for that particular plant.

When temperatures are dipping down to minus 35 and 40 you may begin to wonder what plants can handle that kind of cold. The good news is LOTS! From flowers to fruit trees there is a wide range of flowers, plants and trees to choose from.

The Friesen family has been growing in the Peace Country since 1952, when Chad Friesen’s grandfather opened a commercial vegetable garden. Through trial and error, patience and pruning, the expertise at Dunvegan gardens through the Friesen family is second to none.

We pride ourselves in having a selection of plants that will not only grow in Zone 3 but will also thrive.

We would love it, if you want to stop in and talk to us about your garden, no matter what time of year it is, we are always ready to chat.

 

 

 

Poinsettias

Nothing speaks Christmas like a Poinsettia.  Here at Dunvegan we have double and single blooms with their dark red flower bracts to the white and pink varieties.   All are beautiful!

In the north, make sure your Poinsettia is wrapped before you take it out of the store, they do not like cold or hot drafts. If the flowers get cold or frozen at all, the leaves will start dropping off.  Upon getting your Poinsettia home, unwrap it and place it in a sunny or bright window, making sure it will not get a cold draft by being too close to the window and not over a heat vent. Place the plant out of pets, they are mildly toxic to cats and dogs. They will last the best if the temperature is between 18- 22 degrees.

Water the plant only when it is dry to the touch and discard any excess water after 10 minutes.  Healthy Poinsettias will last well through the holiday season. If you want to winter it over for next year, here is what you do:

  • December     Full bloom. Water as needed.
  • April               Color fades. Keep near a sunny window and fertilize when new growth appears. Cut back stems to about 20 cm.
  • June 1            Repot if necessary. Fertilize with a balanced formula  20-20-20. Continue to water when dry to touch. Move outside if temperatures do not fall below 10°C. Place in light shade.
  • Late August   Take inside. Cut stems back, leaving three or four leaves per shoot. Sunny window. Water and fertilize as needed.
  • Sept 20 -Dec 1  Keep in light only from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Put into the dark (NO LIGHTS) 5 p.m. to 8 a.m.

To Ensure Success you have to follow the light/dark instructions carefully.

Succulents

   

How do you get colour and life from the garden in the cool of winter?  Here at Dunvegan, we have a wide selection of Succulents. Succulents have become a trend and have gained popularity as plants used to decorate in fairy gardens, terrariums, homes, and currently succulents are given as a thank you favours at weddings (order yours early as they sell out quickly).

Succulents are plants that have thick and fleshy stems and leaves used to retain water in poor or arid conditions. They come in a wide variety of colours, shapes and sizes and what is more, they are easy to grow and excellent plants for the forgetful gardener.

Almost all cacti are succulents but not all succulents are cacti.  The most notable of the succulents are Aloe Vera, Jade plants and the Christmas cactus.

The most troublesome problem with succulents is over-watering. When watering a succulent, give a generous amount of water but only after the plant has dried out completely. In the summer watering can be as often as every 3-5 days and in the winter it can be cut back to every 3-4 weeks.

Tips for caring for your succulents:

Use cactus potting soil, since succulents have to have good drainage soil, we have soils that are excellent for this, in particular, Promix Cactus Soil or Dutch Treat Cactus Soil.

Succulents do enjoy a sunny location in the home needs at least 6 hours of sunlight but do not enjoy the direct hot sunshine.

Feed your succulent – they do not need much but at Dunvegan, we recommend Schultz Liquid Cactus Fertilizer.

Succulents are a great way to bring joy and colour to your home when the outdoors is frigid and cold.