A: Generally we plant out at the end of May, beginning of June, depending on weather

  • Start with frost tolerant plants such as Pansies, Snapdragons, Swiss Chard, Viola, Calendula
  • Do not plant sensitive plants outdoors until the nights are well above freezing. These include Ipomoea (potato vine), Coleus, Marigolds and Basil
  • Plant frost sensitive plants in containers early to mid-May and put out during warm days
  • Put pots in garage at night if the temperature might dip below 5oC (just to be safe!)
  • Listen to the weather forecasts daily – call Environment Canada’s weather info line: 780-468-7940
  • If there is a risk of frost after you have planted in the ground, cover your plants with an old sheet to prevent frost damage

A: In the Edmonton region, your window to plant a garden is from late April to early June.

  • Seed cool season veggies like peas, beets, spinach, swiss chard, lettuce, carrots, broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower as soon as you can work the soil – late April to early May.
  • If you seed several times through the spring every 10 days, you will prolong your harvest of baby vegetables and tender greens.
  • Warm season veggies like corn, beans, cucumbers, squash and pumpkins should be seeded by May 20th.
  • Transplant tomatoes, basil and pumpkins out the first week of June (check the forecast).

A: Beautiful flowers fresh from the greenhouse need sunshine, water and fertilizer to keep them nice!

  •  To get them used to being outdoors, (hardened-off) set them outdoors during the day, and bring them in at night if the forecast is for 5 C or less.
  • There is not enough light indoors. Do not leave them in the garage or in the house unless it is below freezing when you head out the door to work.  They need light to grow!  Yellowing leaves are a sign of insufficient sunshine.
  • Water them when the soil is dry to the touch.  This will vary on cloud cover and temperature.  Water them so that the pots feel heavy.  I usually count – “one thousand, two thousand, three thouand, four thousand” if I’m using a garden hose.
  • Fertilize them with 20-20-20 at 1 tsp /L or a tablespoon per gallon (4L) ideally 3 times a week.  Minimum of once a week.
  • Pinch back growing tips to make them branch out, and remove spent blossoms (deadhead) as requried.  A pinch to grow an inch really applies well to flowers!

A: Rabbits (and mice) seem to especially like to eat the bark off Apples and cherries. We use a plastic barrier (trunk guard) to physically stop them from eating the bark.  Wild rabbits are very hard to convince not to eat tasty garden plants; planting rabbit resistant plants means that you may be able to control the damage done to your garden.  Here’s a short list of plants they don’t like so much!

Rabbit Resistant Perennials:Monks Hood, Lady’s Mantle, Columbine, Wormwood, Astilbe, Elephant Ears (Bergenia), Cimicifuga, Cushion Spurge, Cranesbill, Siberian Iris, Catnip, Poppy, Lungwort, Rudbeckia, Meadow Sage (Salvia), Stonecrop, Hen’s & Chicks, Lamb’s Ear

Rabbit Resistant Annuals:Snapdragons, Chives, Onions, Eucalyptus

A: Here are a few examples and solutions to evergreen damage in our Edmonton climate:

  • WINTER DAMAGE – Newly planted evergreens are often victims of dehydration over the winter, caused by drying chinook winds and sunburn on sunny March days while the snow is still around. Prevention is provided by fall watering, wrapping in burlap, or spraying with Wilt-Pruf. If there are some burned needles in spring, trim them off neatly. Once the tree has become acclimated, you should have no more problems. CEDARS are particulary succeptible when planted in south and west exposures.
  • SPRUCE SAWFLY LARVA – A small green caterpillar which eats young spruce needles. Well camouflaged, they are hard to spot, but appear in early June. Dust trees with rotenone when caterpillars are seen.
  • SPIDER MITES – Attacks spruce and junipers. Barely visible to the naked eye, it sucks tree juices and causes brown dead patches, usually from the center of the tree. A strong blast of cold water is usually the best method of removal.
  • PINE WEEVIL – This larva causes die-back of the lead shoot on spruce trees. Once the damage is done, no control is effective as the insect has hatched and gone. If damage is evident in your area, use a preventative spray for boring insects in early May. (Always read and follow lable instructions.)
  • DOG DAMAGE – Dogs often use low growing evergreens as a urinal. Branches will yellow, then turn brown. Often a deep watering or an animal repellant will work.
  • PINE TREE NEEDLE DROP – It is natural for Lodgepole, Mugho & Jack Pines to drop some brown needles in the late summer or fall.  Needles have a lifespan of 3-4 years, and are no longer regquired by the tree, so they shed them.  Don’t worry!
  • SPRUCE GALL APHID – This causes unsightly pine-cone like galls on the tips of spruce branches. Once the gall has turned brown, the insect has gone and spraying is useless. Best prevention is to snip off any green galls you can find while the aphid is still inside and spray in early May with Borer Spray.