Your Reading List

Daylilies, Planting Tips, And So Much More

Bob Yaremko of Parkland Perennials has dozens upon dozens of hardy daylilies ranging in height from compact to very tall and in some unbelievable colours. They bear such intriguing names as: Always a Pleasure, Blackberry Parfait, Chipped Ice, Doug’s Red Mercedes, Evening Gown, Hush Little Baby, Leprechaun’s Wealth, Pomp and Circumstance, Second Thoughts, Susanna’s Delight and Watermelon Man. (This last one tells me I should write about watermelons one day.)

Photos of numerous daylilies, hardy lily bulbs, Siberian iris, companion perennials and peonies can be seen at website www.parkland-perennials.com. You may also request a Parkland print catalogue by email at [email protected] or phone (780) 796- 2382.

DAYLILIES ARE

… extremely popular across the nation and Canadians love them because they’re tough as a wrestler in the ring, easy to grow and pretty well problem free. They are not bothered by insect pests either.

A rust fungus (Puccinia hemerocallidis) was identified in Siberia and eastern Asia about 10 years ago. It causes spots to form on foliage, ranging in colour from yellow to orange to dark brown and black. However, I can’t say whether or not it has ever been found in our country. As always, prevention is your best ally against plant diseases. Mulch your daylilies and water them below foliage level to prevent leaves from being constantly wet. Clean up and remove any debris at end of season.

HELLO NORTHEAST ONTARIO

An email from aGrainewssubscriber in Cochrane, Ontario prompted me to imagine taking a bit of a vacation via this page with the help of my map. I started from the high side of northeastern Ontario near the toe of James Bay and followed the Abitibi River. Then I headed straight south from Cochrane as the crow flies to the most southerly place in Canada on Pelee Island.

GARDENING WHERE WE LIVE

Percy McNabb of Cochrane writes: “We are a thumbprint below (south) of Moosonee (James Bay) 168 km via Polar Bear Express… I’ve been aGrainewssubscriber since early 1990s and read all your articles. I then pass this magazine on to a friend who also does some gardening. I do not think the grapes (Bluebell) will grow well here. Thank you.”

(Ted’s response. I checked Cochrane on the map. It’s in hardiness Zone 2, at about the 49th parallel which is actually farther south than where I am at the 50th parallel in Manitoba. For Cochrane and area gardeners, I would recommend trying self-pollinating Valiant grape. It is one of the hardiest cultivated varieties for Zone 2. This blue-purple grape offers earlier fruit maturity and superior winter hardiness. Berries are excellent for wine, juice and jelly. Many nurseries and garden centres throughout Canada sell Valiant grape plants including: Jeffries Nurseries, Portage la Prairie, Man., and T&T Seeds, Winnipeg. T&T also has dual-purpose Manitoba Native grape, suitable for both screening and fruit. Corn Hill Nursery, Corn Hill, N.B., also sells Valiant and has a self-pollinating Native River grape.) Beta, the grandfather of all hardy grapes is another one to try.

DID YOU KNOW

… that Pelee Island, Ontario in the western basin of Lake Erie is the most southerly place in our great nation of Canada? Throughout its 36 square miles are hundreds of acres of farms, parks, forest, beaches, recreation and wildlife refuge areas.

Sightseers find Pelee a terrific spot for butterflies, dragonflies, exotic plants and flowers, a bird sanctuary and birdwatching. The island is also a stopoff point for migratory birds and also boasts Point Pelee National Park. Since 1932, Pelee Island has hosted an annual pheasant hunt event from the end of October and into November.

By now, you may be tempted to visit Pelee one day. Why not this year? It’s about halfway between the 40th and 44th parallel and on the same latitude as great wine regions of the world, including Spain, Portugal, Italy and France. No wonder grape stands grow and flourish so well on Pelee. Vacationers also have an opportunity to take in winery touring and wine tasting. Accessible by plane and ferry, Pelee Island is a vacationer’s delight. (In my imagination, I should be working for tourism and recreation.)

A BIT OF THIS AND THAT ABOUT SPUDS

… starting with an email from Ted Mackenzie at Mountain View, Alta. He writes: “Here’s a tip that sometimes works quite well. After you pull up your potato vine to dig the new potatoes, put the vine back into the hole and tamp it in well, then water it well if you are in a dry area and new potatoes will grow. I am new at this experiment. Last summer is the first year that I tried it. We had a very wet year 2010 so I was amazed that they produced the second time at all. I did leave the little tiny potatoes attached to the roots and just sat the whole thing — root, vine etc. into the hole that I dug the first potatoes out of. I felt I didn’t have anything to lose if they didn’t grow. The area we live in is not fast producing and depending on the fall, we can get frost early. We don’t have much time for the new ones to grow, so they are small when you re-dig them, but that seems to be the popular size to have right now. They sell at premium prices so they are fun to have a few of. The variety that worked well for me last year was Red Norlands, but I’m sure others would work well also. Hope it works for you too. Thank you.” And from one Ted to another: Thanks for this suggestion.

What next follows is a suggested potato beetle control I received from another gardener. Mist tops and undersides of potato leaf foliage with a spray made up of two tablespoons of Epsom salts (magnesium sulphate) dissolved into four litres of quite warm water. Then stir in one tablespoonful of blackstrap molasses. Supposedly, the day after it’s applied, all munching potato bugs and beetles are said to disappear. I’ve yet to try it myself so cannot speak from personal experience whether it produced the intended effect.

Keep in mind you can plant potatoes about four weeks prior to the last average frost date for your region. In some areas of the country, frost can pinch our plants as late as time of the full moon in May. (This year it’s full moon on May 17 at 7:09 a.m. CDT in my region.) That tells me it’s OK to plant spuds between mid-April, through to the third week in April, especially during fruitful days of April 16, 17, 18, 19, 22, 23 and 24.

A SYMPATHETIC REMEDY

… once widely used in Siberia. Carrying a small raw potato in your pocket is absolute insurance against contracting winter colds, especially between September through May. The potato eventually becomes shrivelled up and hard as a stone but do not exchange for a fresh one. This may sound silly, but some Far East Asian doctors actually prescribed it to their cold-prone patients. One doctor is reported to have said: “It’s silly; but the silliest thing is that it works.” It requires no investment or time and you may wish to try it yourself.

GERMINATING CARROT SEEDS

Practically every year there are gardeners who tell me they had poor carrot germination and/ or had to replant more seed. So what’s the problem?

First and foremost… just like parsley and parsnip… it could be the seed. Carrot seed must be fresh, but sometimes there’s a merit of success if old seed is soaked for a day or longer in warm water that’s then drained off. The moist seeds are difficult to handle at first, so let them dry on wax paper or clear plastic wrap (not on paper towel).

Here’s a planting technique that produces good results. Mix the carrot seeds with some coarse sand. Loosen or till up the planting-site soil to a depth of a foot or so. Then, make a three-inch-deep trench with your hoe. Sow your carrot seeds thinly in the bottom and cover with one-quarter inch of soil. Firm lightly and cover with an inch or so of loose mulch such as dry grass clippings or chopped straw, but do not pack it down. Gently hand water by misting the planted trench and continue to keep it moist daily until seeds germinate in about a week to 10 days.

Instead of the mulch covering above, another approach is to apply two or three layers of landscaping row-cover cloth over the seeds. It’s available at garden centres. The porous cloth allows rain or hand-misted moisture to penetrate through the material and keeps soil surface from drying out until germination takes place.

ThisisTedMeseytontheSingingGardener andGrow-ItPoetfromPortagelaPrairie,Man. Ifyoukeepanopenmind,youwillquickly learnthattherearenumerouswaystohelp yourgardenandsupportyourbodyinkeeping wellwithoutanyrelianceonharshortoxic spraysandpowders.Shareyourproduce. Voiceyourexperience.Leaveyourmark!My emailaddressis [email protected]

———

Sue Armstrong

Love HearingFrom You

Do you have a story about a farm or home-based business? How about some household management tips? Does someone in the family have a special-diet need? Share some of your recipes and some meal ideas.

Send them to FarmLife, 1666 Dublin Ave., Winnipeg, Manitoba R3H 0H1. Phone 1-800- 665-0502 or email [email protected] Please remember we can no longer return photos or material. — Sue

About the author

Columnist

Ted Meseyton

This is Ted Meseyton the Singing Gardener and Grow-It Poet from Portage la Prairie, Man. I salute all gardeners and farmers who help make our world a little safer and more ecologically balanced, and who toil to provide health-giving produce to others who cannot produce their own. It takes all sorts to make a world. One half of the world doesn’t know how the other half lives. The best physicians are Dr. Diet, Dr. Quiet and Dr. Merryman.

Comments

explore

Stories from our other publications