Guest Blog: Tips Shared from Rose's Garden

5:59 PM

Guest blogger: Rose Goertz, on the left

Part of the unwritten code of being a gardener is growing to share. And who doesn't like to share, right?... Somehow it makes us feel good, right down to the core, especially if it's something that we have produced or in this case grown ourselves.

We were involved in a seed share this year. I have heard others doing a plant swap. Either way once you have a piece of someone else's garden growing in your own, somehow that person is always with you, and a friend for life.  But there is a bit of work and a long path to get to the sharing part. 

There is just something about a well planned garden, the ability to maintain it and the joy of the harvest. So at this point in the season, most everything has germinated, established itself and is showing rigorous growth.  With the drought and high temperatures we have had in southwestern Ontario this season, it certain has presented its challenges. I will try to address some of these challenges from some of my own experiences and from some of the reading I have been doing. 

If you are anything like myself, a bit of a perfectionist by nature, watching the seedlings come up in neat little rows, is rather satisfying, and its easy to become fretful if some of your seeds have strayed to "far from the sidewalk". Don't be tempted to transplant strayed seedling to other areas just for visual purposes. Unless a plant cannot thrive where it is, leave it be, it will fair better if it isn't disturbed this late in the game.

Observe your garden and the growth that is happening. Grab a lawn chair an iced bevy and observe. Watch for yellowing leaves. For example if zucchini leaves become to large they may be shading something that needs more sunlight. Carefully bend back the offending leaf and allow sunlight in. Yellow leaves can indicate poor air circulation due to thick foliage.

While we are in the zucchini patch, remove any flower heads that have appeared without visible fruit production. Simply snip them off and throw away. Unless of course you prefer to stuff it with goat cheese and steam it... DELICIOUS. 

Encourage plants to climb on a trellis or on a pole rather than climb onto struggling plants. The exception of course are the three sisters: corn, beans and squash. I have never had a large enough garden to try this myself. 

With tomatoes, remove the suckers to encourage strong growth. Just remove the new growth in the Y of the main branches. And if there are any yellowed leaves remove them as well. This can be an indication of too much rain or overwatering.

When it comes to carrot plants it is good to know how to thin them. More isn't always better. To encourage a better yield don't allow them to get overcrowded, because it could come to the point that none will grow to a decent size. So simply grasp the young carrot plant, pull out some of the plants trying not to disturb or unearth the other plants. I like to leave my carrots in
the ground until after the first frost, since it just really develops the sugars and you end up with a much sweeter carrot.

I am not an expert on improving fertility in the garden, or profess to know anything about nitrogen, bone meal or mulching.

If you have herbs in your garden encourage continued growth, by snipping the tops off.  This will discourage flower production, otherwise your plant may go to seed and you will no longer see new growth.  Just think of all the pesto you can make to liven up your pasta dishes.

As well, I like to look for empty spots in the garden, where you can throw in some seed like fast growers arugula, lettuces and radish . 

Now is the time to add chicken wire or alternative fencing if you notice that your harvest is being enjoyed by critters. We discovered that our 2 foot high chicken wire fencing was no match to the deer looking longingly at my tomato plants.  So far installing a fishing twine barrier has proven to outwit these fine creatures.

Hope you are enjoying your garden as much as I am this year, and not only looking forward to the harvest, but are enjoying watching every bean plant cleverly twine itself onto a tomato cage for support. Or the amazing ability for flower blossoms to turn their sun-seeking heads towards the light.

So in the spirit of sharing, enjoy your garden, spend a little maintenance time and your garden will reward you. There's just something to be said about homegrown isn't there?

Rose Goertz grows more than just vegetables - she is a flower-whisperer, producing high quality floral arrangements for almost 30 years. She also grows delicious gluten-free treats for her gourmet custom gluten-free catering business - Rose loves herself an "iced bevy" and has 8 or more to choose from in her fridge at any given time. She plays piano (self-taught), volunteers in the community and even gets on the back on her husband's motorcycle some weekends. She also grew my sisters and I - she's my mama!

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