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  • February 03, 2024 3:23 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Things to do in your garden in February.

    Taken from the Ontario Master Gardener Calendar
    by John Hethrington, Master Gardener Emeritus
    Past President, Master Gardeners of Ontario

    Please contact John for more information!

    February Garden Tips:

    • The warm pre-Christmas weeks into the first 2 weeks of January were over with a ten below bang. The snow was really here. There was lots of snow cover too. But, before we get a February thaw and refreeze, mound up all the available snow and any new snow that falls, around tender plants like roses.
    • If you have a few boughs left over from your Christmas tree, put them over tender plants to catch the snow. It is the freeze/thaw cycle that kills plants, not just the cold.
    • Start planning your garden projects for 2024. Make a list for the Spring, then you will know what you didn’t get done when you check it in June. I have mine done and I am tired already. Luckily, a garden is never finished!
    • Go online and order up Spring Catalogues. I just got mine from Botanus in British Columbia, packed with spring and summer plants like dozens of colourful Dahlias, beautiful Begonias, lovely lilies and Achilleas. Check them out at www.botanus.com
    • Start propagating stem cuttings of geraniums, fuchsias, etc. by the end of the month.
    • Plant slow germinating seeds for the spring inside now, like impatiens, peppers, eggplants, etc.
    • Don’t over-water house plants. Wait till the soil in the pot is dry down at least an inch before adding more water. Then water well and wait until it’s dry again.
    • As the weather warms, you can start pruning shade trees, fruit trees and shrubs, if you can get to them through the snow. Leave trees that “bleed” like maples and birch until after the sap runs and the leaves appear in the spring.
    • You can forget about the big garden shows again this year. Canada Blooms and the Peterborough Garden Show are on hiatus, still recovering from the effects of COVID, etc.
    • But, to get a WHIFF OF SPRING, plan to take in the Barrie Spring Garden and Home Show, March 9 -10 2024, 10 AM to 4 PM at Bradford Greenhouses Garden Gallery in Springwater, on Hwy 90, just west of Barrie. Hear special guest presenter, Frankie Flowers at 1pm on Saturday and Sunday. It’s worth the drive to Springwater.
    • It may be early, but if there are any students out there interested in garden work after school this spring and all summer too, please get in touch now. There are lots of jobs available—please contact John Hethrington

    John Hethrington,
    Master Gardener Emeritus,
    Past President, Master Gardeners of Ontario



  • January 06, 2024 7:03 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Things to do in your garden in January.

    Taken from the Ontario Master Gardener Calendar
    by John Hethrington, Master Gardener Emeritus
    Past President, Master Gardeners of Ontario

    Please contact John for more information!

    January Garden Tips:

    • Inspect house plants for white flies, spider mites and aphids.
    • Apply insecticidal soap and spray with water.
    • Inspect spring bulbs you may have stored or forgotten about. Discard soft or mouldy ones.
    • Plant left over, not-yet-planted spring bulbs like daffs, tulips etc. in pots with good potting soil and a little bone meal. Water. Put the pots in an unheated garage or garden shed for 6 weeks. Take them inside in February or early March. You should get spring blooms in less than a month.
    • There has certainly been lots of snow! If the traditional January thaw comes and the snow melts away, mound any remaining snow over roses and tender perennials.
    • Cut the branches off your Christmas tree and place them over tender plants to catch the snow. It’s the freeze/thaw cycle that kills the plants.
    • Expand your personal knowledge through on-line courses, plus start looking online for seed and plant catalogues.
    • Start planning your garden for next spring. I’m already making lists of plants to divide.
    • Make detailed lists; BIG projects, regular maintenance, new plants to buy and plants to divide and donate to the St. George’s Plant Sale, in June. Call 519-599-5846 for more info, or if you need a digging crew to help you post up plants.
    • Google “Seed Catalogue Websites” and see hundreds of seed sources.
    • Order flower and vegetable seeds. Decide which seeds should be started inside.
    • If you can find them, try forcing amaryllis and paperwhite narcissus now for indoor winter bloom that will cheer you up.
    • At the end of the month, start the slowest germinating seeds like begonias and geranium, also seeds for early spring bloom e.g., pansy, verbena, alyssum and dianthus.
    • The Markdale CO-OP, now Midwest Co-Op 1-519-986-2031, should have a good supply of Triple-19 fertilizer by the end of February. This is the strong agricultural fertilizer to put on top of the snow, only on your flower beds in March before the snow melts away. It will fertilize your gardens all summer long. It’s worth the drive to Markdale!

    John Hethrington,
    Master Gardener Emeritus,
    Past President, Master Gardeners of Ontario



  • December 05, 2023 7:25 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Things to do in your garden in December.

    Taken from the Ontario Master Gardener Calendar
    by John Hethrington, Master Gardener Emeritus
    Past President, Master Gardeners of Ontario

    Please contact John for more information!

    December Garden Tips:

    After the wonderful mild “late Summer” days in November, here are a few things you still can do in your garden this December. As you know, there is no end to garden chores.

    • Cut down tall perennials and ornamental grasses bent over by high winds and snow.
    • Loosely wrap evergreens and especially rhododendrons with burlap. It is better to use 3 tomato stakes and make a triangle of burlap, as high as the plant and 6” to 8” away from it. This will break the drying wind and shield it from the winter sun.
    • Protect young trees and shrubs from rodents with spiral plastic wraps or chicken wire. I know wraps look ugly, but the white reflects the sun to minimize sun scalding.
    • If not done already, hill up the soil and/or place compost around your hybrid tea roses and other tender plants and shrubs.
    • I place loose straw over my potentially tender Phenomenal and Czech lavender to create an igloo of protection.
    • Bring in, drain and store all hoses and water related equipment. Blow out in-ground garden water lines before they freeze.
    • Wash all your garden tools. Wipe the metal parts with a cloth soaked in 3-in-1oil. If you really want to be fancy, wipe wooden handles with boiled linseed oil.
    • Make sure you have stocked up on firewood for your fire place this winter.
    • With all the mild weather, the ground should not yet be frozen, so you can still plant those spring bulbs that you forgot in your garage.
    • I once planted tulips on Christmas Day in my garden by the sidewalk in downtown Toronto. An elderly gentleman passed by and asked, “Whatever are you doing?” I told him, “It’s an old Hethrington tradition. I always plant tulips and daffs on Christmas Day”. He shuffled off shaking his head, but there were blooms in April. So, stick any bulbs you can find in the ground before it freezes hard.
    • Inside, check to see that your house humidifier is maintaining the humidity at over 40% to benefit both house plants and your family.
    • Put lots of garden tools and garden books on your Christmas list.
    • Start making to-do lists for your garden for next year.
    • Order seed catalogues and start dreaming about SPRING 2024! 
    Merry Christmas from your Beaver Valley Master Gardener!

    John Hethrington, Master Gardener Emeritus,
    Past President, Master Gardeners of Ontario



  • October 29, 2023 8:44 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Things to do in your garden in November.

    Taken from the Ontario Master Gardener Calendar
    by John Hethrington, Master Gardener Emeritus
    Past President, Master Gardeners of Ontario

    Please contact John for more information!

    November Garden Tips:

    • While we have had some rain in October, I would suggest a little last-minute deep watering to trees and shrubs before the frost.
    • Look for discounted bulbs on sale. Buy them and get them in the ground. Your extra efforts will bloom in the spring.
    • Remove annual plants from the garden and from pots or other containers. Dump plants and soil onto your compost pile. Clean pots thoroughly and store them.
    • There is an annual argument among gardeners as to whether you should cut back your perennials, grasses etc., in the fall, or leave them long for “winter interest”. Up here, most perennials are covered by 2+ feet of snow, so you can’t see them anyway. With no fall clean-up, spring clean-up can be daunting. It can be delayed by wet weather, a late spring or there can be instant summer. That’s why I am opting for a BIG FALL CLEAN-UP to get a jump on spring 2023. Suit yourself.
    • Dig up and bring in dahlia tubers, tuberous begonias and gladiola corms when the leaves turn yellow. Remove the soil and wash the tubers. Remove little cormlets from glad corms for more plants next year. Cure the tubers and corms for 2-3 weeks in warm dry place. Place in trays and cover with dry compost, peat moss, sand or perlite. Store at about 5 C in a cold-cellar, or a slightly heated garage.
    • Try potting up some spring bulbs like amaryllis and paperwhite narcissus and force them into bloom for Christmas and/or for late winter indoor colour. Different bulbs will require various lengths of cold storage in your frig or cold cellar to flower, so read the product packaging carefully.
    • Complete winterization procedures for plants and containers; drain hoses and clean all other garden equipment. To be a perfect gardener, sharpen your tools and put linseed oil on wood handles. Paint small hand tool handles RED so you won’t lose them in the garden next spring.
    • Protect young trees and shrubs from rodents by using wire collars or plastic protectors.
    • Hill up your hybrid Tea and Floribunda roses with 10+ inches of compost covering the stems, or use a metal or plastic “Rose Collar” and fill it with compost before the ground freezes.
    • Create one or more Winter/Christmas urns using a variety of evergreen branches. Find branches with berries and add colour with red dogwood stems and dried hydrangea blossoms.
    • Check mulch levels in gardens. Pull mulch back 3” to 6” from around shrub and tree trunks to discourage rodents. Add more compost or leaves to beds if you have them. It provides winter homes for pollinators and other insects.
    • Order seed catalogues for next spring.
    • I usually recommend that you stock up on Triple-19 fertilizer now, so it is ready to put on your flower beds in March, right after the snow has melted. In early March, call the Markdale Co-Op at 1-519-986-2031 to make sure they have it in stock, or buy some now to be sure you’ll have it in March.

    John Hethrington, Master Gardener Emeritus,
    Past President, Master Gardeners of Ontario



  • October 01, 2023 11:58 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Things to do in your garden in October.

    Taken from the Ontario Master Gardener Calendar
    by John Hethrington, Master Gardener Emeritus
    Past President, Master Gardeners of Ontario

    Please contact John for more information!

    October Garden Tips:

    • After a warm, no, it was a HOT summer, plus some lovely summer days in September, FALL is definitely here with a possible risk of FROST.
    • There is much talk in the fall about “Putting Your Garden to Bed”—I think they mean preparing your garden for the winter. There is an annual argument among gardeners as to whether you should cut back your perennials, ornamental grasses, etc., in the fall, or leave them tall for “winter interest”, and to feed the birds. However, up here, most perennials are covered by 2 feet of snow, so you can’t see them anyway and there are no seedheads for the birds. Spring Clean-Up can be daunting. There may be wet weather, or a late spring. For these reasons, I am opting for a BIG FALL CLEAN-UP again this year to get a jump on spring 2024.
    • I say it’s time to trim back perennials and divide them as needed for your garden, or to give to your neighbours, or to pot them up now and put them back in the ground for the St. George’s plant sale in June 2024. Plant donors get an Income Tax Receipt for the value their plants sell for, if you donate 15 or more plants.
    • When digging and potting up, always make sure it is a cool, cloudy day and add bone meal fertilizer to the pots, or to your new plantings.
    • Remember, October is a great time to plant perennials. They get a big jump on plants planted next spring.
    • Buy and plant spring flowering bulbs. Add a little bulb fertilizer, like bone meal, to the bottom of the hole and add water to the hole to get the bulb’s roots started. Your efforts NOW will bring big dividends in April and May 2024.
    • For a longer bulb bloom season, plant a variety of bulbs, like winter aconite, snow drops and crocus to start the season. You can also plant early, middle and late blooming tulips and daffs for a much longer bulb season.
    • Place chicken wire just under the surface of the soil over any tulip bulbs you plant. The squirrels will hate you. Daffs should not need this protection.
    • If there is an early frost warning this fall, cover tender annuals overnight with an old bed sheet. They should make it through the night and keep on blooming.
    • Bring in house plants when the evenings start to cool down, or if you get a frost warning. First, give them a thorough spray with insecticidal soap, so that there are no unwanted hitchhikers coming into your home.
    • Fertilize lawns with a “high” first number, no “second” number and lower “third” number or with a “Fall Formula” fertilizer. Don’t use that fertilizer left over from the spring.
    • Start cutting your grass much lower than in summer to avoid winter matted long grass next spring that you will have to rake out.
    • Water shrubs, evergreens and trees weekly and deeply at least until frost.
    • Buy Triple-19 fertilizer NOW and store it, so you will have it to put on your garden beds right after the snow has gone next spring. It’s possible the Markdale Co-Op may be OUT OF STOCK early next spring. It’s available now at the Markdale CO-OP (519-986-2031) for $29.40 for a 50-pound bag.

    John Hethrington, Master Gardener Emeritus,
    Past President, Master Gardeners of Ontario



  • August 28, 2023 5:06 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Things to do in your garden in September.

    Taken from the Ontario Master Gardener Calendar
    by John Hethrington, Master Gardener Emeritus
    Past President, Master Gardeners of Ontario

    Please contact John for more information!

    September Garden Tips:

    • Trim back perennials like Daylilies and Iris. My mother always cut the iris fans up one side and down the other into a perfect V. But she was a picky gardener. Divide them as needed. Make sure it’s a cool, cloudy day to divide and replant, or to pot up plants for your neighbours, or for fall plant exchanges.
    • Fall is the ideal time to divide and plant Iris, Daylilies, Peonies and many other perennials. Share extra plants with neighbours. To see my YouTube video on dividing and potting up plants click on - https:youtu.be/KmTTyGNoRB4, but don’t laugh at the old man grunting and groaning, as he divides perennials.
    • Buy and plant spring-flowering bulbs. Your efforts will be handsomely rewarded next spring. Check out the website www.bulbsrus.com for good deals. Add some water to the bottom of the hole, then some soil, then a little bonemeal fertilizer or special bulb food. Water well after planting to start root growth
    • Take a critical look at your garden. Then fill in any gaps that may have developed with new perennials, shrubs and/or evergreens. They will get a huge head start over plants planted next spring.
    • Bring in house plants when the evenings start to cool down. First, give them a thorough spray with insecticidal soap so that there are no unwanted hitchhikers coming into your home.
    • With cool nights and hoped for fall rains, it’s the ideal time for lawn repair. Dig out weeds, add clean, weed-free topsoil and re-seed. Keep the planted area moist.
    • Fertilize lawns with root-building “Fall Fertilizer” with a low first number (Nitrogen) and high second and third numbers (Phosphorus & Potash).
    • Don’t use the lawn fertilizer you have left over from the spring, probably with a high first number (Nitrogen). Save it for early next spring.
    • Even with the rain we have had this summer, deep down it is probably still dry. Dig a little test hole, say 14”-16” deep. Check the moisture levels at that depth. If the bottom of the hole is dry, water your gardens weekly and deeply until frost. Buy a soaker end and put it on the end of your hose. Then put it in the middle of your relatively flat garden beds and let the water seep slowly in.
    • Look for the annual Grey County Master Gardener’s fall plant sale, Saturday September 9 from 9am until noon. This year, it’s in Meaford, at the Rotary Pavilion at the Harbor. Choose from unique perennials and lots of native and pollinator plants at reasonable prices.

    John Hethrington, Master Gardener Emeritus,
    Past President, Master Gardeners of Ontario



  • July 23, 2023 12:58 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Things to do in your garden in August.

    Taken from the Ontario Master Gardener Calendar
    by John Hethrington, Master Gardener Emeritus
    Past President, Master Gardeners of Ontario

    Please contact John for more information!

    August Garden Tips:

    We have certainly had the HEAT, and the rain as well. The corn is high and the weeds too! Your garden should be looking good. Congratulations! Now, what to do this month:
    • Top up your mulch. Keep it at least 2 inches deep. It works to suppress weeds, keeps the soil cool and damp and retains the rain.
    • Sow vegetable seeds again for a fall harvest of spinach, radishes and some varieties of leaf lettuce.
    • Tidy up plants and shrubs with a little judicious pruning, but early in the month.
    • Stake tall perennials like against the wind.
    • Cut your grass at least 2’’ high to combat drying out. Water well when needed, or when it is allowed.
    • Check out bulb catalogues and order spring flowering bulbs before they are sold out.
    • Finally, pull or cut off the browned leaves of spring flowering bulbs. Trim back iris leaves. My mother would take her best kitchen scissors and cut up one side of each leaf fan and then down the other side to make a neat arrow. She was a picky gardener.
    • Fill in any gaps in your flower garden with fall-flowering perennial plants, like mums and asters.
    • Start drying flowers and herbs. Pick your lavender now for drying.
    • Start to divide daylilies as they stop blooming.
    • Collect seeds that have matured but not yet fallen from the seed head, plants like poppies. Once they have completely dried, store the seeds in air tight containers in a cool location or sprinkle them around your garden for colour next summer.
    • Take a hard look at your garden and take pictures too, so you can decide where there are empty spaces for new plants this fall. Identify any plants that have not performed well, (or you can’t stand) and plan to replace them with a fall planting program of shrubs and perennials.
    • Early Fall is a great time to sow grass seed and plant perennials, trees and shrubs. You’ll get a big jump on next Spring!
    • Look for the annual Grey County Master Gardener’s fall plant sale, Saturday September 9 from 9 am until noon. This year, it’s in Meaford, at the Rotary Pavilion in the harbor. Choose from unique perennials and lots of native and pollinator plants at reasonable prices.

    John Hethrington, Master Gardener Emeritus,
    Past President, Master Gardeners of Ontario



  • June 26, 2023 4:51 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Things to do in your garden in July.

    Taken from the Ontario Master Gardener Calendar
    by John Hethrington, Master Gardener Emeritus
    Past President, Master Gardeners of Ontario

    Please contact John for more information!

    July Garden Tips:

    • Watch for the Japanese beetle on your Asiatic Lilies, Roses, Rose of Sharon, Dahlias, Hollyhocks, and numerous other plants. Handpicking and squeezing, combined with a beetle trap, are the most efficient way to limit these ravaging critters. Luckily, the little red devils don’t eat Day Lilies (Hemerocallis)
    • Watch for earwigs and Gypsy moth caterpillars. Spray plants with a 40:1 mixture of water and dish soap.
    • Ants are also a problem. The ant powder does not seem to work for me. Maybe the ants didn’t read the instructions to take it back to their nest. Try boiling water.
    • Trim evergreens, cedar hedges, etc., NOW as needed, not later in the summer.
    • Stake straggly annuals and perennials, or pinch them back to promote new growth and make them bushy.
    • Raise lawn mower blades for summer mowing. Grass should be at least 5 - 7.5 cm (2 to 3 inches) high to stay healthy and weed free.
    • Prune spring flowering shrubs like Forsythia and Spirea after blooming, If you really want to be picky, remove individual spent lilac blooms.
    • Water flower beds deeply and try a second round of weeding. Add mulch again to keep the weeds at bay.
    • Mulch your tomato plants. When a ripe tomato drops, it won’t split or get muddy. Mulch holds moisture too!
    • Thin, hoe, weed and water vegetables as required. (This is why I stick to flowers)
    • Water lawns and beds as deeply as you can. We have had a very dry spring, so keep pouring the water to the grass.
    • Tackle weeds now before they go to seed. Save yourself from weeding their offspring next year.
    • Stake tall perennials that may be weakened by too rapid growth.
    • Turn compost regularly and check the moisture level - not too wet, not too dry,- like Goldilocks, just right.

    A big thank you to everyone who turned out for our Giant Plant Sale at St. George’s, the Anglican Parish for the Blue Mountains, in Clarksburg. You bought all 1,114 donated plants at an average cost of just $7 for a prized perennial. Thanks to the many plant donors TOO! They will get their income tax receipts in December.

    John Hethrington, Master Gardener Emeritus,
    Past President, Master Gardeners of Ontario



  • May 29, 2023 2:37 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Things to do in your garden in June.

    Taken from the Ontario Master Gardener Calendar
    by John Hethrington
    Past President, Master Gardeners of Ontario.


    St. George's annual Plant Sale:
    Don't forget the St. George’s annual plant sale, Saturday June 3, 2023. Donate 15 or more perennials and you will receive an Income Tax receipt for the value your plants sell for. Drop off date, Wednesday May 31—9 am until 3 pm at the church. 

    For tips on how to divide and pot up perennials, watch our “Potting Up” video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QkJ11TUmw9M

    Please contact John for more information!

    June Garden Tips - It's Summer!

    • Summer is really here!Lots of sun and much needed rain. Get your annuals & veggies planted now. Add a little general-purpose fertilizer and water well.
    • Fertilize perennials, roses, shrubs and vegetables using a balanced fertilizer, not the one for your lawn, it has too much nitrogen. Pull back the mulch (that should already be there) from the perennials. Dig the fertilizer in lightly around each plant and replace the mulch.
    • Start cutting your lawn higher/longer and leave cuttings on the lawn as fertilizer.
    • Prune spring blooming shrubs and trees (forsythia, lilac) after they have flowered.
    • Prune evergreens and hedges now, not later in the summer.
    • Finish removing all daffodil and tulip flower stems. Leave the leaves to mature and feed the bulb for next year’s bloom. Only remove them when brown. Add a little bone meal around bulb clumps to promote bulb growth for next year.
    • Stake or cage tomato plants, dahlias, gladiolas, peonies & delphinium plants.
    • Thin vegetable seedlings and plant successive crops. (Plant a second crop as the first is maturing e.g., lettuce, spinach, radishes.)
    • Seed flowering cabbage/kale into garden rows for later transplanting.
    • Plant seeds of fast-growing flowers such as cosmos, marigold, calendula, etc.
    • If desired, move houseplants outside to a protected area.
    • Deadhead (cut off) faded blooms on plants such as petunia, rose, verbena, etc. This will promote continuous blooms & bushy plants for later in the summer/fall.
    • Weed and water garden beds as needed.
    • Add mulch to suppress weed growth and hold in moisture. At least 2”.
    • Cut back by a third, late bloomers such as mums and asters. This will make the plants bushier and give them a mounded shape and more blooms in the fall.
    • Turn compost regularly and check moisture level, not too wet, not too dry, just right, like Goldilocks.
    • Take cuttings of perennials, shrubs, roses, etc. for rooting, for next year.
    • Watch for local plant sales like the Giant Plant Sale at St. George’s Anglican Church in Clarksburg, Saturday June 3 2023. It starts at 8 am. Entry by car only. Choose from a wide variety of choice perennials for sun or shade, Daylilies, ornamental grasses, unique Hostas and some shrubs at really reasonable prices. 599 Garden Club experts will provide advice. Meet your resident Master Gardener Emeritus at the sale to answer your horticultural questions.
    John Hethrington, Past President, Master Gardeners of Ontario



  • April 30, 2023 12:02 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Things to do in your garden in May.

    Taken from the Ontario Master Gardener Calendar
    by John Hethrington
    Past President, Master Gardeners of Ontario.


    St. George's annual Plant Sale:
    Don't forget to look over your garden to determine what plants are in the wrong place or should be divided. Dig and pot up any extra plant material to contribute to the St. George’s annual plant sale, Saturday June 3, 2023. Donate 15 or more perennials and you will receive an Income Tax receipt for the value your plants sell for. Drop off date, Wednesday May 31—9 am until 3 pm at the church. 

    For tips on how to divide and pot up perennials, watch our “Potting Up” video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QkJ11TUmw9M

    Please contact John for more information!

    Lots of things to do in your garden in May, now that Spring is here:

    • If not done already, clean up winter debris in the garden as soon as the soil is dry enough to work. Cut off dead plant stocks. Dig in manure or compost around perennials and shrubs and weed well. An extra hour weeding now, will save 3 days later in the summer!!
    • Use a line to cut sharp straight edges for your beds. For curved edges, run hot water through a hose to soften it up and lay out a smooth curve. Watch you don’t chop the hose!
    • Take coloured pictures of your spring bulbs in each of your gardens so you will know where there are any gaps and where the bulbs are when you plant more bulbs in the fall. Save the pictures in a safe place.
    • Plan now to plant early blooming bulbs like snowdrops and crocus in the fall at places close to where you come in and out of the house. It’s nice to be greeted by early signs of spring.
    • Add 3” to 4’” of mulch to flowerbeds and shrubs to conserve moisture and discourage weeds. Shredded cedar bark is best, but expensive. Try 13/Forty Landscape Supply who have 3 types of mulch: Cedar, Pine, Black and Utility, the cheaper kind that I use.
    • Don’t walk on or roll lawns that are still wet and full of water. If you can see your footprint, stay OFF the lawn. It will compact the soil.
    • If your lawn is already compacted, rent an aerator which will dig out small plugs. Let the plugs dry and rake them back into the lawn as a top dressing. Add grass seed to bare patches.
    • When dry, rake lawns vigorously to remove dead grass and thatch.
    • Spread weed-free topsoil on thin patches in your lawn. Apply grass seed, roll and water. Keep seeded areas moist, but don’t flood.
    • If you find moss in your lawn, the soil is too acidic. Apply dolomite lime before a rain. You may need a second application.
    • If you have pots or planters that are very big or deep, put some empty plastic water bottles with lids in the bottom of the pot to take up the space the roots will never get to. It makes the planter or pot lighter and easier to move.
    • Prepare containers and pots for planting. Fill with a mixture of compost and potting soil. Add peat moss or better still, coconut coir to retain moisture.
    • Place pots with culinary herbs close to the kitchen door for easy access.
    • Harden-off seedlings for at least a week before planting outside. Google the last frost date for your area (June 1 in the Blue Mountains) and allow at least 1 week more before planting tender transplants such as annuals and tomatoes.
    • Walk around your garden and look for perennials that should be divided, are in the wrong place, or you don’t like any more. Pot them up for spring plant sales at least 3 weeks before the sale. Add compost, not garden soil to the pots. To be really fancy, add a little bone meal to the pot before you put in the plant. Add plant labels with the name (Botanical and/or common), colour, sun exposure, height, bloom time, etc. Water well and keep in the shade.
    • Pot up and donate 15 or more perennials to the St. George’s annual Plant Sale and get an Income Tax Receipt for the retail value your plants sell for. Bring them to the church Wed May 31 9am to 3pm. It’s a win-win for everyone.
    • The giant annual St. George’s Plant Sale is Sat June 3rd this year on the church grounds in Clarksburg. It starts at 8 am.
    • Plant beans now directly into the garden as they germinate quickly and will grow as long as the soil is warm. Maybe mid-May this year.
    • Install peony rings before the plants start to grow.
    • Monitor for the presence of slugs, cutworms, earwigs and tent caterpillars. Pick them off.
    • Control weeds in the lawn by hand pulling. Use nematodes to control grubs, which eat the grass roots, leading to brown patches in the lawn in summer.
    • Prune roses according to type.
    • Deadhead (cut the blooms off) tulips, daffodils and other spring bulbs but do not cut or pull out the leaves until they are brown and decayed. They are needed to nourish the bulbs for next year’s bloom.
    • If you have any fritillaria or Asian lilies (day lilies are beetle free), now is the time to watch for the red lily beetle (adult, larva and eggs). It seems that removal by hand is the best and only way to reduce this problem. 
    John Hethrington, Past President, Master Gardeners of Ontario



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