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Hanging Baskets


May is famous for two things: Mother’s Day and the time to put out our Hanging Baskets.

In Northern Alberta we have to be wise in putting out our baskets – whenever the temperature might fall close to freezing or if a cold northern wind blows in, we need to bring our baskets inside for the night or a day or two.

How to choose a Hanging Basket: 2 options – pre-made and make your own.

If you want a pre-made basket, here at Dunvegan we have thousands to choose from. For flower baskets, one of the first things to decide is colors. Are you aiming for a harmonious look? That would be a look with several shades of the same color. Example: a basket of several different pink flowers would be considered harmonious.

A contrast color theme would be where opposite colors are planted in the same basket. Example: purple and yellow flowers.

If you want to get creative on planting your own basket, consider checking a color wheel on the internet and looking at what colors are opposite each other – those are known as complementary colors. Artists use this in paintings and it can also be used in flower arranging and basket making.

Next decide on how big a basket you want. The bigger the basket the more volume of soil and that is better for your plants, if you are into math, a 14” pot has almost half as much soil more than a 12” pot. If you are planting your own basket, the general rule of thumb is one plant for every 2-3 inches of diameter of the basket. This would mean a 12” pot would require 4-6 plants.

Soil is the next factor in making your own basket. You need a soil that is suitable for drainage and not dense so that the plant roots can make their way through it. At Dunvegan we recommend our own bagged Dunvegan Soil for this.

Now that you have your hanging baskets picked out or made up, maintenance is the next step.
We cannot emphasize it enough – water, water, water. More hanging baskets are killed by failing to water than anything else. Realize that on a hot day, baskets take more water; on a windy day, the soil dries out and baskets take more water, you often have to water at least 2 times per day.

Fertilize your baskets. Our favorite is Miracle Grow All Purpose 24-8-16 an excellent choice for your hanging baskets. We also like Miracle Grow Ultra Bloom as well. Fertilizing should be done on moist soil and every 2nd watering to ensure your baskets bloom until fall.

Sometimes by July your basket might look a little straggly, when that happens pinch off the straggly stems or give your plant a haircut. Pruning can liven that basket back up. For blooms that are finished and wilted, be sure to pinch them off of the plant – this helps the plant to create new blooms and to look fuller longer.

Feel free to stroll through our back greenhouses and look at our thousands of hanging baskets or come pick your own flowers to make your own.

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!

 

 

 

 

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.

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.

Fall Leaves

 

After this past week with incredible temperatures hopefully you got the last of your gardening done, but you might be asking yourself: What do I do with these tree leaves all over the ground?

Great question and here at Dunvegan we have a few options:

  • Use the lawnmower and go over them, it chops them into finer, smaller pieces and as the leaves decompose they release nitrogen for the lawn. Lawn food. You must chop them into finer pieces because left whole the leaves are too heavy and they could smother your lawn.
  • You could leave them whole and use them as mulch over other plants. Ideal for covering and giving a layer of protection to strawberries, raspberry or blueberry roots or a covering for perennials.
  • Compost them. If you mix the leaves and the grass cuttings those 2 things will produce a fine mulch to add to the garden next spring.  Just layer the 2 – use approximately 3-4 inches of leaves and then a layer of grass clippings then leaves, then grass – you get the idea.
  • Add them to the soil – dig some leaves into your soil – it will give it a boost and provide great living conditions for earthworms.

If you have no leaves go check out the neighbours yard, I’m quite sure they will share with you!