Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Roses At The Nitty Gritty

Wow! Have the roses ever taken off this month.

My goal is always to try to get the roses blooming in time for Mother's Day ...  As the weather was a bit cool and grey leading up to the big day, I missed my goal by one week ; ) 

They are now making up for lost time!

Here are just some of the fabulous roses in bloom at the Nitty Gritty this year.... They are all simply and stunningly perfect! 

Sexy Rexy is a standard aka Tree Form Rose
Absolutely stunning! 
Good As Gold is a deep rich gold colour with a fabulous fragrance.
Rock and Roll has the strongest scent of all the roses here a the greenhouse.
Westerland is a climber, gorgeous colouring on this rose, hardy and fragrant... one of my all time favourites!         .    

Twilight Zone is the deepest purple of them all! Wow!
I had to grow this one as I am all about heirloom veggies... A rose called Heirloom fits right in. Great fragrance, huge blooms and looks stunning.
This one has caused a stir at the greenhouse this year... is huge, fabulous, fragrant, simply stunning.
The Scentimental is a standard rose this year..It also comes as a shrub rose but I went for the 3 foot tall tree form. Is truly a heavenly rose. 
This rose blew my mind. I had no great expectations from a rose with such a casual name ...  but it is this stunning in real life!
Such a looker this striped bi-colour purple and white rose is.
This is one of my favourites of the year, too! This mini rose stays compact, at about 18 to 24 inches tall and wide, but has these gorgeous huge orange-y terra cotta coloured blooms.
I cannot say enough about Blue Girl, she is simply stunning each and every year.
Secret is just about to unfurl in this photo, getting ready to give up the secret that she is a must have rose.
Just Joey has the largest blooms of any rose I have ever seen.
There are so many more great roses to choose from here at the greenhouse this year...

Happy Gardening! 


Thursday, 8 May 2014

May Garden Ramblings

Finally, the month of May!
Sometimes warm and sunny and sometimes cool and wet here on the Pacific North West coast.

Flowers and trees are coming to life .. cherries blooming, plums blooming, apples just about in bloom. Magnolias, forsythia, azaleas, rhodo's and more... Wonderful time to live here on the island!

By now, most of you likely have planted many of the cool weather crops in the garden ..
Your peas, onions, most of your cruciferous crops like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, etc.. Also lettuce, spinach, kale and the herbs like cilantro that tend to bolt in the heat.
You have either planted your potatoes already or are just about to plant them and might already be harvesting your first crop of radishes.
You can plant some more peas for succession cropping, so they are not all ready at the same time, and your carrots and radishes, too. 

Potatoes in the early stages at the nitty gritty potager.

The month of May is the month is when the warmer weather lovers get planted, though not necessarily your real heat lovers like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants...

Plant this month 
From seed...
Beans - wax, purple, green, French ... get planted towards the end of the month.
Spring onions

From Transplants
Brussels Sprouts
Spring onions

Other Tasks
Plant up your hanging baskets, pots and planters... place in a warm porch, greenhouse, or other sheltered area for a few weeks to let them settle in and start to fill out.
Plant perennials and summer flowering bulbs, such as lilies, glads, dahlias, crocosmia and more..
Plant fall flowering plants now, too, like echinacea, asters, zinnia's, mums, rudbeckia, etc... 
Plant annuals (bedding plants) from seed or from transplant... things like nasturtiums and zinnia's can go in from seed but most all others are likely best from transplant so that they have time to fill out and thrive in your gardens.
Don't forget that some of the best annuals for companion plants are Sweet Alyssum, Marigolds, and Nasturtiums. Others like Calendula, Scented Geraniums, Lavender and other strongly scented herbs are also very beneficial. See HERE and HERE for more info about companion plants.
Blue and purple flowers bring in bees and other pollinators.
Trumpet shaped flowers with bright colours bring in hummingbirds.
Flat flowers like dill, cilantro, Queen Anne's Lace, etc.. bring in lots and lots of the good bugs that eat the bad bugs.

 Gotta love the fabulous, juicy and huge beefsteak tomatoes!
Ludmilla's Red Plum grown at the Nitty Gritty Potager.
The Heat Lovers.. 
Regarding the real hot weather lovers like tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, cucumbers, squashes, corn and such...
They want the night time temps to be +10C before you plant outside. This ensures that the soil will be warm, too, so they simply thrive and take off like gangbusters. This means planting no earlier than during the May long week-end, or even sometime early June, depending on the weather...If you need a hoodie or sleeves to sit outside in the evening, it is too cold for the heat lovers.

If you were to plant earlier, you might well set your plants back by a month or more, as they sit and pout in the cold soil. They will also get stunted roots and thus be unable to take up nutrients from the soil.
Seeds that need heat to germinate, like corn, cukes, squash, will simply rot away if the soil is not warm enough at planting time.

Wall-O-Water ... perfect for starting your tomatoes several weeks early! 
If you want to plant sooner for earlier veggies or even planting on May long week-end, knowing that the weather can still be pretty iffy, here are some things you can do...

Plant your warm weather veggies into containers and bring them in for each night till things warm up... or grow them on in your greenhouse, heated or not, or in a hoop house or cold frame ..

The picture above is of the Wall-O-Water's. They work like mini greenhouses around your tender crops. Fill the pockets up with water a few days before planting to allow them time to warm the soil inside the walled teepee. The water in the pockets soaks up the heat all day long and then emits it all night long, keeping the tomato/cuke/pepper warm and toasty.
These Wall-O-Waters have been around for many years, even my parents have used them for several years already with great success ... I am trying them out for the very first time this year...

Don't forget that you can also lay black plastic or landscape fabric down in the tomato bed... to help soak up the heat and warm up the soil in the bed, so that when you plant, all is nice and toasty.

You can also make the tomato cage greenhouses by placing a clear leaf bag or stretch wrap around each tomato cage. 

 From therustedgarden.blogspot.ca

Heirloom tomato baskets in the greenhouse this spring.

Moving Thyme

Sadly, the Nitty Gritty Potager blog is no more... but the good news is that I can now be found at my new blog called the Olde Thyme F...