Heirloom or Hybrid? What do they mean?

When you shop for seeds, there are two types to choose from: hybrid or heirloom varieties. Both are great and have their own advantages! HYBRID Hybridization was created to improve food and flower crops. Hybrids are the result of two plants with desired characteristics being deliberately crossed to produce a new variety. Unlike genetically modified organisms (GMO) modified in a lab setting through transferring DNA from one plant into new plant cells, hybrids are crossed in a controlled but natural process, and many varieties are bred under organic guidelines. Hybrids are usually more productive and vigorous than heirlooms. They may be bred to increase disease resistance, market holding capacity, early maturity, uniform shape or color.  Hybrids are pollinated in the same way that heirloom plants are pollinated, by insects, wind or other natural means. During the creation phase, they are manually pollinated with compatible and desired plants in isolation. If you save seed from a hybrid, from these seeds you will grow one of the parents, not the plant that you retrieved the seed from, hence if you like that specific variety you should buy new seeds every year. HEIRLOOM Heirloom vegetables are old-time varieties, they are pollinated by insects, birds, wind, or other natural means and retain their original traits. Heirloom varieties are also called ‘open-pollinated’ or sometimes ‘heritage’ varieties. The [...]

By |2021-12-16T14:54:36-06:00December 16th, 2021|Uncategorised|

Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium: Fertilizing Made Easy

Have you ever wondered how fertilizer affects your plants on a cellular level? Which nutrients are important and how do you choose? How can you tell which nutrients are lacking in your mix by looking at your plants!? Let us break it down for you! The three main components of fertilizers are Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium. They each have an incredibly important role in plant growth and production.  Nitrogen Nitrogen (N) is a nutrient which helps a plant form its proteins. It is necessary for cellular processing of chlorophyll which supports photosynthesis. Lack of Nitrogen and chlorophyll means the plant will not utilize sunlight as an energy source to carry on essential functions such as nutrient uptake. Deficiency of Nitrogen is often seen in older leaves on the plants (shrivelled, pale yellow-brown). Abundance of nitrogen is often indicated by excess foliage and no blooms or fruit. By adding more of the other two nutrients you can counteract the effects of too much nitrogen. Plants that benefit from higher nitrogen: corn, soybeans Phosphorus Phosphorus (P) is essential for plant growth, and a plant must have access to it to complete its normal production cycle. It helps to capture and convert sunlight into energy for growth. Phosphorus promotes root development and early seedling growth. The highest levels of Phosphorus in plants are found in [...]

By |2021-10-26T16:18:07-05:00October 26th, 2021|Information|

Overwintering Asparagus

While asparagus requires no additional winter protection in mild climates, winter prep is recommended to ensure your asparagus plants go dormant for the winter.  As cool weather sets in, the leaves of the asparagus plant begin to yellow and the fronds die back. Once they have died back completely, cut them from the stems or allow the snow to knock them down onto the bed. The fronds are your mulch--the idea is to protect the crowns from cold injury by providing additional thermal protection.  Once the fronds have been cut back, cease watering the asparagus entirely.  If you live in a particularly cold area, you can  spread approximately 4 inches of additional mulch such as straw, wood chips, or other organic materials over the crowns. Remove in late winter or early spring once temperatures are warming or once crowns have emerged.  Successful storage of your food is an important part of the harvest and the larger cycle of growing. The less we waste the more food we can ensure to feed ourselves, our family, our communities, and whoever else we may grow for.  

By |2021-10-19T09:12:17-05:00October 12th, 2021|Information, Information|

Storing Your Harvested Vegetables

Storing Your Harvested Vegetables Although you may use much of your harvested fruits and vegetables over the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend, us avid growers are bound to have leftovers. It is therefore important to consider the different storage needs of your fruits and vegetables.  To successfully store your harvest you must consider the different temperature and humidity requirements of each fruit and vegetable. Luckily for us, there are only four basic temperature and humidity groups to consider.  Group 1: Cold and Moist Pack your beets, carrots, turnips, radishes, and rutabagas in a cold area such as an unfinished basement or garage at a temperature between 0 and 4 °C. To ensure that your vegetables stay moist, wrap them in sand, newspaper or peat moss and continually spray with water.  Group 2: Cold and Dry  Consider storing apples, pears, cabbage, brussels sprouts, and potatoes in the same location as Group 1 but package them in such a way that ensures more air circulation and therefore drier conditions. Your potatoes need to be stored in complete darkness, while your apples and pears need to be wrapped individually in dry newspaper.  Group 3: Cool and Dry  Your onions, garlic, and shallots will keep best in a dry, unheated spare room or closet with a temperature ranging from 0 to 10 °C. You should dry and cure [...]

By |2021-10-19T09:12:18-05:00October 6th, 2021|Information|

Winterizing Stawberries

Strawberry plants should be winterized once they have entered dormancy and the temperature gets cold enough to damage them. You don't want to do it too early risking dew beneath the mulch and freezing the plants if they are still actively growing. The plants have gone dormant when you have regular cold temperatures and plant foliage begins wilting. Be sure to keep watering regularly until this point to keep soil temperatures as even as possible. If strawberry plants have poor care or nutrition during the end of the summer, they won’t form many buds come spring. Remove all the dead and wilted leaves from your strawberry plants.  Next, clear any accumulated leaves or debris from the strawberry beds.  Finally, place a thick layer of mulch over the strawberry plants. Any material that allows water to drain and air to circulate is an acceptable mulch. The most common is clean straw, hay, pine needles, or dried leaves. Potted strawberry plants are a little bit more difficult to care for because the soil in pots is quicker to freeze.  If you have the space, simply dig pot-sized holes and place the pots in them.  Pack the dirt down around the sides of the pot to simulate planting and provide insulation.  Then, mulch them just like you would if they were actually in-ground. Remove in [...]

By |2021-10-19T09:12:19-05:00October 4th, 2021|Information, Uncategorised|

Bringing Plants Indoors For Winter

Houseplants, Annuals, and Other Outdoor Plants Many annuals like herbs, greens, and tropical plants will keep growing through the winter, when kept indoors in a sunny location. Houseplants that have been outside for the summer should be brought in once temperatures are dropping below 15°c. Annuals should be brought in once temperatures are dropping below 5°C or frost is nearing. Some examples that thrive indoors are: Coleus Begonia Geranium (if given plenty of light) All herbs Greens, lettuces, chards (if in pots) Bringing your outdoor plants inside for the winter is a great way to extend your season and add green to your interior design. But what many people don’t know is you can bring garden pests inside along with the plants. Spider mites, aphids, and thrips from the garden can quickly lead to an infestation of your other houseplants. How to de-bug your houseplants? Soaking Method: Fill a large bucket of water with warm water and add a few drops of mild soap. If you use dish soap, make sure it doesn’t have a degreaser in it. For smaller plants, you can even fill the sink with soapy water. Soak for about 15 minutes, this should be long enough to kill off any unwanted hitchhikers. Keep in mind there may be air bubbles in the soil so this may leave a [...]

By |2021-10-19T09:12:19-05:00September 30th, 2021|Information, Uncategorised|

What To Expect When Ordering Perishables

Bare Roots Some perishable items are sold as ‘bare root’. This means plants are dormant and have exposed roots. Most often they are wrapped in shavings/mulch. But some plants may come in small pots of soil. Bare roots should be planted as soon as possible either in the ground or a pot, keeping the roots moist at all times. Examples: roses, fruit trees, shrubs. Bulbs A bulb is a thickened, fleshy bud usually emitting roots from its underside. The stems, flowers and foliage will grow from the crown. The term bulb applies to a large class of flowering and ornamental bulbous-like plants in their dormant condition such as corms, tubers, and rhizomes. Examples: lilies, onions. Corm A corm is an underground bulb-like portion of the stem of a plant consisting of fleshy tissue with a bud at the top. Examples: crocus, gladiolus. Tuber A short, thickened, fleshy part of an underground stem, where new plants develop from buds or eyes. Examples: dahlia, potato   Some examples of what you may receive:              

By |2021-10-19T09:12:20-05:00September 21st, 2021|Information, Information|

Preparing Your Garden For Fall

There are so many things to take into consideration as you are preparing your garden for fall. As first frost comes near, you need to decide if you will be covering your plants and letting them grow, or pulling everything. If you decide to cover everything, you’ll want old sheets and blankets or a row cover- they will protect your vegetables from 2 °C to -2 or -3°C. A hard frost or killing frost happens when the temperature reaches -5° C or lower. All plants have varying levels of frost tolerance so it is important to know which can, and which cannot withstand cold temperatures. Frost Tolerant Vegetables: arugula collard greens pumpkins lettuce parsnips Swiss chard turnip spinach asian greens (bok choi, pak choi, etc.) beet carrot broccoli cabbage cauliflower Brussel sprout kale NOTE: Generally, anything underground, will tolerate up to heavy frost(exception sweet potatoes) Fall Seed Starting: It’s never too late to plant seeds in the garden – except when it is covered by snow! Sowing seeds between first killing frost and total snow cover is a great way to get an early start in the spring. Sow the seeds once the risk of germination has passed (temperatures consistently below 5°C). When you pre-seed your garden, you are allowing Mother Nature to have control over when the seeds germinate. This results [...]

By |2021-10-20T09:08:36-05:00September 20th, 2021|Information, Uncategorised|

Preparing Your New Trees For Winter

So you got dormant stock this spring and you aren't sure what to do to ensure it is ready for our cold Canadian winters? In the fall, the nutrients and energy produced by the leaves begins to push back into the roots for winter storage. This is what will help put the tree into dormancy and keep the tree alive until spring. Trees:  Stop fertilizing in late August so the tree isn't actively trying to shoot new growth as first frost closes in. Water trees well throughout the autumn up until the ground freezes. Newly planted trees will need more water than mature trees. Water acts as an insulator making plant cells stronger against cold damage. Above ground, consider applying mulch around your new trees. You'll want to focus on keeping the circumference within the trees drip-line while avoiding piling the mulch against the trunk. Mulch helps insulate the roots during the cold winter and it also slows water loss from the soil. If you live in an especially cold zone(2-4) consider waiting until the ground is frozen solid before mulch application. If your area is particularly snowy, you can wrap the tree for additional protection through the first few winters. Perennials Stop fertilizing in late August so it isn't actively trying to shoot new growth or flowers as first frost closes [...]

By |2021-10-19T09:12:22-05:00August 26th, 2021|Information|

Dormant Root Stock 101

What is root stock?? Root stock is a section of a plant, often retrieved from underground, that has been put into dormancy and will produce new growth once planted. We purchase our dormant stock from all over the world. All the stock is shipped into our Headingley ware­house, packed and stored at controlled tem­per­a­tures. This ensures the stock is kept dormant and fresh, right until we ship your order. We buy stock that is har­dy to zones 2 and 3. What is dormancy?? A plant, bud, or seed that is “dormant” is not actively growing. It is in a waiting state until conditions are right for active growth. Often when a plant is dormant it looks dead, but it is alive. If you were to cut into it, you would find at least a small amount of living green tissue, called the cambium. Dormant stock comes in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and varies in appearance at time of shipping. The products you receive may range from as small as a few inches up to four feet. This is a photo of Russian Olives in our cooler waiting to be shipped. As you can see, there is no leaves, or buds. If you prune back the branch by a few inches, the cambium will be visible.             [...]

By |2021-11-09T14:08:57-06:00August 26th, 2021|Information, Information|

Companion Planting

What is companion planting? It is the close planting of different plants that enhance each other’s growth or protect each other from pests. Companion planting will boost growth, repel pests, and improve flavors. Aside from the benefits to your plants, companion planting uses your garden space more efficiently, letting you harvest more. The diversity that companion planting provides is also good for pollinators, wildlife, and soil health. Companion planting is one of the easiest ways to mimic a natural ecosystem more closely. There are many benefits you’ll see in your garden if you use companion planting.   Alyssum – Very attractive to pollinators, and useful as a mulch to keep weeds down between rows. Agastache – Very attractive to bees. Plant a row away from the garden to lure cabbage moths away from Brassica crops. Do not plant near radishes. […]

By |2021-10-19T09:12:24-05:00January 14th, 2020|Information, Information, Uncategorised|

10 Essential Spring Gardening Tips

10 Essential Spring Gardening Tips Follow the 10 tips outlined below for a welcoming garden that’s filled with color and fragrance. 1. Survey the Yard Make note of any tree limbs that should be removed, especially those that overhang structures. Hire an arborist to maintain large trees. Cut down last year’s perennial foliage, and toss it into the compost pile. Rake mulch from beds planted with bulbs before foliage appears, and refresh mulch in other planting areas after soil warms. Check fences, steps, and pathways for disrepair caused by freezing and thawing. 2. Order Tools and Plants Tune up tools so everything is ready when things start growing. Make note of what is missing, and order tools for the new growing season. Choose new plants for the garden. Order perennials, trees, and shrubs for spring planting. 3. Get Ready to Mow Send the mower and leaf blower for servicing, or if you have the right tools, sharpen the mower blades yourself. Refill your mower with oil, install fresh spark plugs, and lubricate moving parts if necessary. Clear the lawn of winter debris, and look for areas that need reseeding before mowing. 4. Prune Trees and Shrubs Remove dead, damaged, and diseased branches from woody plants. Thin and trim summer-blooming shrubs such as butterfly bush, hydrangea, and most roses, except for old-fashioned once [...]

By |2021-10-19T09:12:25-05:00April 13th, 2019|Information, Information|

Seeds – Hybrid, Open Pollinated & Heirloom

Hybrids A hybrid results from the controlled pollination of one genetically uniform variety with the pollen from another genetically uniform variety. A grower (seed company or hybridizer) chooses male and female parents with specific traits and characteristics to produce a brand new offspring variety. Parents may be selected for disease resistance, earliness, unformity, color or flavour depending on the qualities sought after for the new variety. The pollination is done by hand, and it is very labor intensive to produce the quantities of seed needed for mass marketing. That is one reason that hybrid seed is usually more expensive than open-pollinated varieties. […]

By |2021-10-19T09:12:26-05:00April 4th, 2019|Information, Information|

Seeds you should be starting now (or soon) & Tips for Success

It’s not too early to begin thinking about spring planting. Starting certain seeds indoors will help encourage a strong, healthy plant when it’s time to move them outside and to get a jump on the season. Keep in mind; seed starting is not an easy process, it will take patience and trial and error to get it right. However, the results are well worth the time and effort, and once you get the hang of sowing seedlings indoors, your garden is sure to flourish. […]

By |2021-10-19T09:12:28-05:00January 31st, 2019|Information, Information|

Gardening Terms – what does that even mean?

If you are new to gardening, don’t let these words intimidate you! As you grow and read more and get experience, these words will be integrated seamlessly into your own vocabulary. If you’ve been teetering getting started, let me tell you something: experience is your best teacher Good luck! Failure teaches you and success encourages you! […]

By |2021-10-19T09:12:31-05:00August 13th, 2018|Information, Information|

Open Pollinated, Heirloom or Hybrid, What is the difference?

Open-pollination is when pollination occurs by insect, bird, wind, humans, or other natural mechanisms. Because there are no restrictions on the flow of pollen between individuals, open-pollinated plants are more genetically diverse. This can cause a greater amount of variation within plant populations, which allows plants to slowly adapt to local growing conditions and climate year-to-year. As long as pollen is not shared between different varieties within the same species, then the seed produced will remain true-to-type year after year. […]

By |2018-11-29T15:19:46-06:00August 10th, 2018|Information|

Tomato Plant Problems Explained

TOMATO PLANT PROBLEMS AND HOW TO FIX If you had any issues with your Tomatoes during this last season, or having any problems now, this info and chart might be helpful. It is important to be able to identify and treat the common Tomato plant ailments that might crop up. […]

By |2019-07-09T14:07:41-05:00July 26th, 2018|Information|

Fertilizing made simple

Fertilizing Biweekly is one of the most important things you can do to help ensure a successful gardening season! And our sprayer makes it easier than ever! Add 3 scoops of any of our fertilizers to the sprayer. Add 6 scoops liquid seaweed and fill with water to top line of sprayer. Add 1 scoop wetting agent. Attach hose and spray till empty. You've fertilized! Watering Can Instructions

By |2018-11-29T15:26:49-06:00July 24th, 2018|Fertilizing, Information|

What Causes Twisted Carrots

Carrots are a root vegetable with a characteristic long-pointed edible root. Deformed carrots can be caused by a variety of problems and may be forked, bumpy or otherwise misshapen. These carrots are usually edible, although the core may become woody and slightly bitter. In fact, many of the baby carrots you purchase as snacks are just whittled down deformed carrots. When you find carrots forked and deformed, it may be cultural, insect or even disease related. Learn what causes these deformities in carrots and what easy controls to apply for healthy, sweet vegetables. […]

By |2020-08-19T09:11:01-05:00March 28th, 2018|Information|