Canadian Online/Mail Order Seed Supplier List

I created this list for Alberta Gardening, the Facebook group I manage … and thought it might be super valuable here, as well! This list includes nursery stock, garlic, potatoes, and mushroom spawn suppliers.

ONLINE/MAIL ORDER SEED & PLANT SUPPLIERS – CANADA

2021

SEEDS – ALBERTA

A’BUNADH SEEDS – (Cherhill) – www.abunadhseeds.com

ALCLA NATIVE PLANTS – (Calgary ; seeds and plugs) – www.alclanativeplants.com

CASEY’S HEIRLOOM TOMATOES – (Airdrie) – www.caseysheirloomtomatoes.ca

DEB’S GREENHOUSE – (Morinville) – https://www.debsgreenhouse.com/

HANNA’S SEEDS – (Lacombe; specializes in grasses/lawn/forage seed) – www.hannasseeds.com

HARMONIC HERBS – (Barrhead) – www.harmonicherbs.com

HEIRLOOM SEED VAULT – (Southern Alberta) – www.heirloomseedvault.com

WILD ABOUT FLOWERS (Turner Valley; specializes in wildflower seeds and plugs) – www.wildaboutflowers.ca

WILDROSE HERITAGE SEED COMPANY (Lethbridge) – www.wildroseheritageseed.com

SEEDS – SASKATCHEWAN AND MANITOBA

BLAZING STAR WILDFLOWER SEED CO. (Saskatchewan) – www.Growwildflowers.ca

EARLY’S FARM & GARDEN – (Saskatchewan) – www.earlysgarden.com

HERITAGE HARVEST SEED – (Manitoba) – www.heritageharvestseed.com

LINDENBERG SEEDS – (Manitoba) – www.lindenbergseeds.ca

MANDY’S GREENHOUSE – (Manitoba) – www.mandysgreenhouse.com

MCKENZIE SEEDS – (Manitoba) – www.mckenzieseeds.com

MUMM’S SPROUTING SEEDS – (Saskatchewan) – www.sprouting.com

PRAIRIE GARDEN SEEDS – (Saskatchewan) – www.prseeds.ca

PRAIRIE ORIGINALS – (Manitoba) – www.prairieoriginals.com

SAGE GARDEN HERBS – (Manitoba) – www.herbs.mb.ca

T&T SEEDS – (Manitoba) – www.ttseeds.com

WINNIPEG SWEET POTATO – (Manitoba) – www.winnipegsweetpotato.com

SEEDS – REST OF CANADA

AGROHAITAI – (Ontario ; specialty: Asian vegetables) – www.agrohaitai.com

ANNAPOLIS SEEDS – (Nova Scotia) – www.annapolisseeds.com

ATLANTIC PEPPER SEEDS – (New Brunswick; specializes in chili peppers) – www.pepperseeds.ca

BERTON SEEDS – (Ontario) – www.bertonseeds.ca

B.C.’S WILD HERITAGE SEEDS – (British Columbia) – www.Bcwildheritage.com

B.C. ECO SEED COOP – (British Columbia) – www.bcecoseedcoop.com

BIRD AND BEE – (Ontario) – www.birdandbee.ca

BLUESTEM NURSERY – (British Columbia) – www.bluestem.ca

CHATHAM GARDEN SEEDS – (Ontario; specializes in seed kit for Canadian gardeners) – https://chathamgardensseeds.com/

CHOKED UP – (British Columbia; specializes in Jerusalem artichokes) – www.chokedup.ca

COCHRANE FAMILY FARM – (Nova Scotia) – www.cochranefamilyfarm.com

DE DELL SEEDS – (Ontario; specialty: corn) – www.dedellseeds.com

EAGLERIDGE SEEDS – (British Columbia) – www.eagleridgeseeds.com

ETERNAL SEED – (British Columbia) – www.eternalseed.ca

FLORABUNDA SEEDS – (Ontario) – www.florabundaseeds.com

FULL CIRCLE SEEDS – (British Columbia) – www.fullcircleseeds.com

GELERT GARDEN FARMS – (Ontario; specializes in sweet potato slips) – www.gelertgardenfarm.ca

GRETA’S ORGANIC GARDENS – (Ontario) – www.seeds-organic.com

HALIFAX SEEDS – (Nova Scotia) – www.halifaxseed.ca

HAWTHORN FARM ORGANIC SEEDS – (Ontario) – www.hawthornfarm.ca

HERITAGE SEED & PRODUCE – (Ontario) – www.heritageseedandproduce.com

HOMESTEAD ORGANICS – (Ontario) – www.homesteadorganics.ca

HOPE SEEDS AND PERENNIALS – (Nova Scotia) – www.hopeseed.com

HORIZON SEEDS – (Ontario; specialty: corn) – www.horizonseeds.ca

HOWARD DILL ENTERPRISES – (Nova Scotia; specialty: giant pumpkins and squash) www.howarddill.com

INCREDIBLE SEED COMPANY – (Nova Scotia) – www.incredibleseeds.ca

JARDIN DES VIE-LA-JOIE – (Quebec) – www.vielajoie.com

JARDINS DE LA GAILLARDE – (Quebec) – www.jardinsdelagaillarde.ca/fr/accueil

KITCHEN TABLE SEED HOUSE – (Ontario) – www.kitchentableseedhouse.ca

LA FINQUITA – (Nova Scotia) – www.lafinquita.ca

LA SOCIETE DES PLANTES – (Quebec) – www.lasocietedesplantes.com

LAUGHING SWAN FARM – (British Columbia) – www.laughingswanfarm.com

LE JARDIN DE JULIE – (Quebec) – www.jardindejulie.com

LE POTAGER ORNEMENTAL DE CATHERINE – (Quebec) – www.potagerornemental.com

LES JARDINS DE L’ÉCOUMÈNE – (Quebec) – www.ecoumene.com

LES SEMENCES DU BATTEUX – (Quebec) – www.lessemencesdubatteux.ca

MANHATTAN FARMS – (British Columbia) – www.manhattanfarms.ca

MAPPLE FARM – (New Brunswick) – www.mapplefarm.com

THE MARKET GARDEN – (Ontario) – www.themarketgarden.ca

MATCHBOX GARDEN & SEED CO. – (Ontario) – www.matchboxgarden.ca

METCHOSIN FARM – (British Columbia) – www.metchosinfarm.ca

MOUNTAIN GROVE SEED CO. – (Ontario) – www.mountaingroveseedcompany.com

MYCOFLOR – (Quebec) – www.mycoflor.ca

NARAMATA SEED COMPANY – (British Columbia) – www.naramataseedco.com

NORTON NATURALS – (Ontario) – www.nortonnaturals.com

OSC SEEDS – (Ontario) – www.oscseeds.com

PERFECTLY PERENNIAL HERBS AND SEEDS – (Newfoundland) – www.perfectlyperennial.ca

PIEBIRD SEEDS – (Ontario) – www.piebird.org

RAINBOW SEEDS – (New Brunswick) – www.rainbowseeds.ca

RAVENSONG SEEDS – (British Columbia) – www.ravensongseeds.com

RICHTER’S HERBS – (Ontario) – www.richters.com

SAANICH ORGANICS – (British Columbia) – www.saanichorganics.com/seeds

SAGE NORTH SEEDS – (Yukon) – www.yukonag.ca/listing/sage-north-seeds

SALT SPRING SEEDS – (British Columbia) – www.saltspringseeds.com

SEEDS FOR FOOD – (Quebec) – www.seedsforfood.net

SEEDS OF CREATION – (Ontario) – www.seedsofcreation.ca

THE SEED COMPANY (BY E.W. GAZE) – (Newfoundland) – www.theseedcompany.ca

SOGGY CREEK SEED COMPANY – (Ontario) – www.seeds.soggycreek.com

SOLANA SEEDS – (Quebec) – www.solanaseeds.netfirms.com/welcome.html

STOKES SEEDS– (Ontario) – www.stokeseeds.com

SUNSHINE FARM – (British Columbia) – www.sunshinefarm.net

TERRA EDIBLES – (Ontario) – www.terraedibles.ca

TERRE PROMISE – (Quebec) – www.terrepromise.ca

TOURNE-SOL COOPERATIVE FARM aka LA FERME COOPÉRATIVE TOURNE-SOL – (Quebec) – www.en.boutique.fermetournesol.qc.ca

URBAN HARVEST ORGANIC SEEDS – (Ontario) – www.Uharvest.ca

URBAN TOMATO – (Ontario) – www.urbantomato.ca

VESEYS – (Prince Edward Island) – www.veseys.com

WEST COAST SEEDS – (British Columbia) – www.westcoastseeds.com

W.H. PERRON (DOMINION) – (Quebec) – www.dominion-seed-house.com/en

WILLIAM DAM SEEDS – (Ontario) – www.damseeds.com

YONDER HILL FARM – (Nova Scotia) – www.yonderhillfarm.ca

SEED EXCHANGES

SEEDS OF DIVERSITY CANADA – (Ontario) – www.seeds.ca

GARLIC & POTATOES (ALBERTA & PRAIRIES)

DEEP ROOTS FARM (Lacombe) – www.facebook.com/visscherfarm/(Facebook)

EAGLE CREEK SEED POTATOES (Bowden) – www.seedpotatoes.ca

EARTH APPLES SEED POTATOES (Stony Plain) – www.earthapples.com

THE GARLIC RANCH (Sundre) – www.thegarlicranch.com

SASK GARLIC FARM – (Saskatchewan) – www.saskgarlic.ca

GARLIC AND POTATOES (REST OF CANADA)

ACROSS THE CREEK ORGANICS – (British Columbia; specializes in potatoes) – www.facebook.com/Across-the-Creek-Organics-108619199237183/(Facebook)

AUGUST’S HARVEST – (Ontario; specializes in garlic and onions) – www.augustsharvest.com

BOUNDARY GARLIC – (British Columbia) – www.garlicfarm.ca

THE CUTTING VEG – (Ontario; specializes in garlic) – www.thecuttingveg.com

D & H NEWMAN – (Ontario; specializes in garlic) – www.dandhnewman.ca

ELLENBERGER ORGANIC FARM – (Ontario; specializes in potatoes) – www.ellenbergerorganicfarm.com

EUREKA GARLIC – (Prince Edward Island) – www.facebook.com/Eureka-Garlic-121648878449492/(Facebook)

HELMER’S ORGANIC FARM (British Columbia; specializes in potatoes) – www.helmersorganic.com

NORWEGIAN CREEK FARM – (British Columbia; specializes in garlic) – www.norwegiancreekfarm.ca

RASA CREEK FARM – (British Columbia; specializes in garlic) – www.rasacreekfarm.com

RED LION ORGANIC FARMS – (British Columbia; specializes in garlic) – www.redlionorganic.com

TREES & SHRUBS/PERENNIALS (ALBERTA & PRAIRIES) – ONLINE ORDERING

DNA GARDENS – (Elnora, Alberta) – www.dnagardens.com

SHERWOOD’S FORESTS – (Warburg, Alberta; does not ship, pick-up only) – www.sherwoods-forests.com

TREE TIME – (Edmonton, Alberta) – http://treetime.ca

TREES & SHRUBS/PERENNIALS (REST OF CANADA) – ONLINE ORDERING

ARBORNAUT NURSERY – (British Columbia) – www.arbornautnursery.com

APPLE LUSCIOUS ORGANIC ORCHARD – (British Columbia) – www.appleluscious.com

CORN HILL NURSERY – (New Brunswick) – www.cornhillnursery.com

DENMAN ISLAND HERITAGE APPLE TREES – (British Columbia) – http://denmanapple.ca

FIGS FOR LIFE- (British Columbia) – www.figsforlife.ca

FRASER’S THIMBLE FARMS – (British Columbia) – www.thimblefarms.com

GOLDEN BOUGH TREE FARM – (Ontario) – www.goldenboughtrees.ca

GREEN BARN FARM – (Quebec) – www.greenbarnnursery.ca

GRIMO NUT NURSERY – (Ontario) – www.grimonut.com

HARDY FRUIT TREES NURSERY – (Quebec) – www.hardyfruittrees.ca

MOUNT ROYAL SEEDS – (Quebec; specializes in tree and shrub seeds) – www.mountroyalseeds.com

NUTCRACKER NURSERY & TREE FARM – (Quebec) – www.nutcrackernursery.com

PÉPINIÈRE ANCESTRALE – (Quebec) – www.pepiniereancestrale.com

RHORA’S NUT FARM & NURSERY – (Ontario) – www.nuttrees.com

SALT SPRING APPLE CO. – (British Columbia) – www.saltspringapplecompany.com

SILVER CREEK NURSERY – (Ontario) – www.silvercreeknursery.ca

TROPIC TO TROPIC PLANTS (British Columbia; specializes in tropical plants such as bananas, citrus) – www.tropic.ca

WHIFFLETREE FARM & NURSERY – (Ontario) – www.whiffletreefarmandnursery.ca

MUSHROOM SPAWN

ALL THE MUSHROOMS – (British Columbia) – www.facebook.com/allthemushrooms/ (Facebook)

FUNGI AKUAFO – (Calgary) – www.fungiakuafo.com/

FUNGI SUPPLY – www.fungisupply.ca/home

GROW MUSHROOMS CANADA – www.growmushroomscanada.ca

Please note: While I do use some of these seed suppliers, their presence on the list doesn’t imply or express any endorsement on my part.

And – if you have anything to add to the list, please drop me a line in the comments and I’ll make an update!

Photo by Akil Mazumder on Pexels.com

Cover reveal! The next two books of The Guides for the Prairie Gardener series are almost here …

Yesterday’s post about sowing seeds in a small space (indoor) garden is an excellent lead-in to my post today … in which I reveal the covers of the two latest books in The Guides for the Prairie Gardener series! (It’s almost as if I had planned it!) 😉 Janet Melrose and I spent the bulk of this year working hard on these two titles, which we are thrilled to add to the lineup consisting of The Prairie Gardener’s Go-To for Vegetables and The Prairie Gardener’s Go-To for Pests and Diseases. Once again, our publisher TouchWood Editions and our incredible editorial team have been crafting these books into something amazing and we’re super proud of the results!

Without further ado, here is The Prairie Gardener’s Go-To for Seeds!

And The Prairie Gardener’s Go-To for Small Spaces!

The books are set for release in early March. Of course, we’ll have a lot more details to share with you over the next few months, but we couldn’t wait any longer for you to feast your eyes on the covers! (A massive shout-out to Tree Abraham, our illustrator and designer, for the stellar work on these!). We are giddy with excitement!

Book News: The Guides for the Prairie Gardener

Book News and Events – November 2020

Exciting news! The next two books in The Guides for the Prairie Gardener series were sent off to the printers last week! A couple of weekends ago, Janet Melrose and I reviewed the final proofs and had our first looks at the full jackets for The Prairie Gardener’s Go-To for Seeds and The Prairie Gardener’s Go-To for Small Spaces. Our designer, Tree Abraham, has once again done an incredible job of the cover illustrations and exterior/interior design! We will be revealing the covers very soon – stay tuned!

And … we have some more thrilling news! We will be spending the winter working on books #5 and #6 in the series! They will be published in spring 2022. We will reveal more details over the next few months. In the meantime, we’re over here doing a happy dance!

Request for reviews!

Do you have a copy of either of (or both of!) our books, The Prairie Gardener’s Go-To for Vegetables and The Prairie Gardener’s Go-To for Pests and Diseases? If you do, can you please help us out and take a couple of minutes to give us a rating and review on Amazon.ca/Amazon.com?  Don’t worry about leaving a lengthy review…two or three words is honestly all Amazon requires.  If you’re on GoodReads, leaving a rating over there would be wonderful, as well!  Thank you so much! We are so grateful for your support and encouragement and we hope you are finding the books informative, useful, and fun!

And the Winner Is …

In conjunction with our publisher TouchWood Editions, Janet and I recently held a contest in the Alberta Gardening Group on Facebook, with a set of The Prairie Gardener’s Go-To for Vegetables and The Prairie Gardener’s Go-To for Pests and Diseases as a prize.  Congratulations to Kendra Victoria, who was the lucky winner of the books!  Thank you to TouchWood Editions for supplying the prize!  

Get Social with Us! 

Sheryl: 

Facebook: @FloweryProse

Twitter: @Flowery_Prose

Instagram: @flowery_prose

Janet:

Facebook: calgaryscottagegardener

Twitter: @calcottagegdnr

Instagram: calgaryscottagegardener

(Image of fountain pen courtesy Pexels Free Photos)

The Guides for the Prairie Gardener Newsletter – September 2020.

The Guides for the Prairie Gardener Newsletter

September 2020

Welcome to the fifth issue of The Guides for the Prairie Gardener Newsletter! Janet Melrose and I are keeping you up-to-date on everything related to our book series Guides for the Prairie Gardener, letting you know about what other Prairie gardening-related projects we’re working on, and throwing in some gardening trivia and newsy tidbits, just for fun!  If you like what you see, please follow us on our social media and hit the subscribe button on Flowery Prose.

Book News and Events

Janet’s chat on CBC Radio’s Daybreak

On August 15, Janet did an amazing interview with Russell Bowers on CBC Radio’s Daybreak programme, talking about our books in the Guides for the Prairie Gardener series and what to watch out for in the garden in late summer! Take a listen to the interview here! 

Request for reviews!

Do you have a copy of either of (or both of!) our books, The Prairie Gardener’s Go-To for Vegetables and The Prairie Gardener’s Go-To for Pests and Diseases? If you do, can you please help us out and take a couple of minutes to give us a rating and review on Amazon.ca/Amazon.com?  Don’t worry about leaving a lengthy review…two or three words is honestly all Amazon requires.  If you’re on GoodReads, leaving a rating over there would be wonderful, as well!  Thank you so much! We are so grateful for your support and encouragement and we hope you are finding the books informative, useful, and fun!

In Our Gardens

Sheryl:

Well, the first frost has already happened here in Calgary and so I’ve been watching the forecast like a hawk and covering the tomatoes as required. I swear, my tomatoes have been covered nearly the whole growing season – first, to protect them against the threat of multiple hailstorms, and now this!  I have already harvested a pleasantly sizeable yield of ripe and ready currant tomatoes and my husband and I have been enjoying them in salads and I’ve been taking them to work just to snack on.  I’m still waiting on my precious ‘Black Krim’ tomatoes, though…they are still green and I’m waiting on a bit of a blush to happen.  If you pick them when they are TOO green, they won’t ripen indoors…you have to reach that special threshold.

‘Candyland Red’ currant tomatoes (photo by Sheryl)

I have picked quite a few lovely zucchinis over the past several weeks and they’ve been cooked up in various ways in my kitchen.  Did you know that you can shred zucchini, drain the excess water from it, then pack it into bags and freeze it for later use?  It’s a good solution if you’re swimming in summer squash! I saw a great tip in the Alberta Gardening group on Facebook last week from a gardener who goes one step further and freezes the shredded zucchini after packing it into the cups of a muffin tin. When it’s ready, she just snaps out the iced zuke pops, bags them individually, and puts them back in the freezer. Nice and tidy and ready for that chocolate zucchini cake at a moment’s notice!

And I’ve been saving seeds…calendula, dill, nasturtiums, beans, and sweet peas so far.  I can’t stress enough the importance of labelling the plants that you want to save seed from so that you can easily locate them later on when they’ve stopped blooming. This year, I just tucked in some old wooden skewers I had kicking around and fashioned a tag with a piece of coloured tape.  I wrote the colour of the flowers on the tape – for example: a calendula with DBL (double flowers) with BRN CENT (brown centres).  I planted several types of calendula this year and wanted to differentiate the doubles from the singles, and identify the colours.  I also had several colours of nasturtiums, so I tagged them to remind myself where the red ones were in the sea of cream-coloured ones.  You’ll be sure to come up with a labelling system of your own – just remember to do it in advance, as it makes seed saving much easier.  I always think I am going to remember the exact location of everything but I never do….

One of the double-flowered calendula plants I am keen to save seed from … (photo by Sheryl)

If you’re planning to save seed from your sweet peas, I’ve done up a little video with some tips – check it out: 

And I’m talking about saving dill seed here:

Floral Miscellany

Sheryl:

Did you know…that hawthorn berries are not really berries at all? They are pomes. (Apples and pears are pomes, too).  Hawthorn berries are commonly called “haws”; rather reminiscent of the ‘’hips” from roses. (And, in fact, hawthorns are related to both apples and roses – they’re in the same family). Right now, you’ll be seeing the bright red fruit on hawthorn trees growing on the prairies – they look a bit like tiny ornamental crabapples or indeed, like oversized rose hips.  I’ve been experimenting with making jelly from hawthorn berries…stay tuned for a blog post containing the recipe! 

Hawthorn “haws” (photo by Sheryl)

Get Social with Us! 

Sheryl: 

Facebook: @FloweryProse

Twitter: @Flowery_Prose

Instagram: @flowery_prose

Janet:

Facebook: calgaryscottagegardener

Twitter: @calcottagegdnr

Instagram: calgaryscottagegardener

‘Til later!  ♥Sheryl and Janet

Community garden theft.

My onion harvest was grossly truncated by theft this year – aside from an earlier picking of smaller bulbs, the remainder of my onions (somewhere between 20 and 30 of them) were stolen from one of my community garden beds just over a week ago.  The garden coordinator said that theft had been a huge issue this year (perhaps understandably, given our current global health crisis and high unemployment rates) and she was taking measures to try to mitigate the problem.  Installing a trail cam to try to catch night-time prowlers was one first step, and she was considering new signage.  I have had some minor theft from my beds in previous years (a few carrots there, an onion or garlic bulb or two), but this was the first time that an entire crop had been taken.  I am always happy to help out anyone in need, so hopefully the thieves enjoyed some good meals from the plants.  It made me chuckle a little when I noticed that they left my beets and kohlrabi alone – it appears the culprits had a refined palate and only wanted onions!

Our community garden actually has several beds in the garden that have been set aside and planted by students from one of the schools in the area for anyone in the community (not garden members) to harvest whenever they want to, but our garden coordinator noted that these aren’t the beds that are mysteriously losing produce in the middle of the night.

If you’re on Facebook, the Calgary Horticultural Society held a Facebook Live session earlier in the year to discuss theft and vandalism in community gardens – you can view the archived video here. (It’s public, so you don’t have to be a member of the page to watch it). This sort of thing is fairly common in community gardens and you just have to be aware of it and try not to get too upset when you’re at the receiving end.  Gardeners do love to share, after all…I just kind of wish that the thieves would have left me a couple of onions.  🙂

*IMAGE courtesy Clipart Panda.

Prairie gardening tip: What to plant in place of a tree infected with fire blight.

A few weeks ago, I was sent a question about fire blight – a gardener had a seriously infected hawthorn tree cut down in her yard and the arborist left the chips on the ground. She wanted to know if she should remove the chips or keep them; her second query was what types of trees she should plant in the hawthorn’s place. Fire blight is caused by a bacterium called Erwinia amylovora. It is spread by insects, birds, wind, and water, so it is likely to have traveled from another infected plant nearby.

My recommendation was to remove the chips and dispose of them at a landfill. As for the trees, fire blight affects members of the rose family, so I advised her to avoid those, or at the very least, look for cultivars within those genera that are fire blight resistant. Trees that are susceptible to fire blight include:

Apples

Crabapples

Pears

Mountain ash

Hawthorns

Saskatoons (serviceberries)

Plums

There are a few shrubs to avoid as well, including roses, spirea, and cotoneaster. Raspberries can also get fire blight but it is a different strain than the other plants mentioned can contract. By knowing which plants to avoid, better choices can be made about the new selection.

Janet Melrose and I have written more about fire blight – including how to ID and attempt to control and prevent it – in our book The Prairie Gardener’s Go-To for Pests and Diseases.

Do you grow any members of the rose family? Have you ever had an issue with fire blight?

The Guides for the Prairie Gardener Newsletter – July/August 2020.

The Guides for the Prairie Gardener Newsletter

July/August 2020

Welcome to the fourth issue of The Guides for the Prairie Gardener Newsletter! Janet Melrose and I are keeping you up-to-date on everything related to our book series Guides for the Prairie Gardener, letting you know about what other Prairie gardening-related projects we’re working on, and throwing in some gardening trivia and newsy tidbits, just for fun!  If you like what you see, please follow us on our social media and hit the subscribe button on Flowery Prose. 

Book News and Events

Request for book reviews!

Do you have a copy of either of (or both of!) our books, The Prairie Gardener’s Go-To for Vegetables and The Prairie Gardener’s Go-To for Pests and Diseases? If you do, can you please help us out and take a couple of minutes to give us a rating and review on Amazon.ca/Amazon.com?  Don’t worry about leaving a lengthy review…two or three words is honestly all Amazon requires.  If you’re on GoodReads, leaving a rating over there would be wonderful, as well!  Thank you so much! We are so grateful for your support and encouragement and we hope you are finding the books informative, useful, and fun!

We’ve been on a podcast! 

Janet and I had the pleasure and honour of being guests on Agriculture for Life’s Know Your Food podcast, for not one, but TWO episodes! We talked about growing veggies and other edibles, encouraging children to catch the gardening bug, and the connection between the coronavirus pandemic, self-sustainability, and growing your own food…and a few other topics, besides!  Go to Ag for Life’s website to listen.

EPISODE ONE – click here!
EPISODE TWO – click here!

Winners of Flowery Prose blog contest

Congratulations to Sherryl H. and Linda H., who each won a set of The Prairie Gardener’s Go-To for Vegetables and The Prairie Gardener’s Go-To for Pests and Diseases by participating in a contest run here on the blog earlier this month.  A huge thank you to our publisher, TouchWood Editions, for supporting the contest and providing the prizes for the winners!

Out and About

Sheryl:

After being laid off for nearly four months, I am back to work at the library and, combined with my writing schedule and gardening and the need to eke out a few fun summer activities while there is still time, I’m a wee bit swamped. I have an ever-accumulating load of articles to write, questions to answer for curious (and occasionally desperate and fed up) gardeners, thunderstorms to dodge (my tomatoes have spent half of their lives covered up with sheets to prevent hailstones from destroying them), and So. Much. Weeding.  The weed du jour (besides quackgrass, which is actually the bane of my existence): stinkweed (Thlapsi arvense).  At least stinkweed is an annual, and it spreads via seeds instead of rhizomes (or seeds AND rhizomes – shudder).  It’s easy to pull but there seems to be an incredible amount of it this year.  Stinkweed has the glorious distinction that if it is allowed to set seed, one plant can produce 15,000 seeds.  I’m pretty sure all of those germinated in my raised beds this year, alongside a zillion annual chickweed plants (Stellaria media), which are another story altogether.

A few articles that I wrote earlier in the year have made it to publication – check out “Harvesting Rain’’ in the Summer 2020 issue of The Gardener for Canadian Climates and “Superb Serviceberries” in Mother Earth Gardener.  Both of these are available on newsstands across Canada – and in the case of Mother Earth Gardener, you can find it anywhere in the United States, as well. (You can also read the article online here!). I also went a little farther afield than usual and wrote an article called “Opossums as Pollinators in Brazil” for the April 2020 issue of 2 Million Blossoms.  As you can imagine, that one was fascinating to research! This is a beautifully-produced, brand-new publication out of Arizona, dedicated to celebrating and “protecting our pollinators.” (If interested, you can order a subscription from their website).

I also had a chance to do a story about houseplants, for a change – my article “Devil’s Ivy vs. Philodendron: Which is Which?” can be found online at Farmers’ Almanac Check it out here! And, finally, “Using Colour in the Garden” was published in the July 4, 2020 issue of the newspaper The Calgary HeraldYou can read it here

Janet:

Unlike Sheryl I have been taking a hiatus from writing and workshops since the middle of June, although my article ‘Attracting Butterflies with Annuals’ is in the Summer issue of The Gardener for Canadian Climates. It was a joy to research, write and photograph and I hope any of you that take in this magazine enjoys it too.

My Horticultural Therapy programs are all in abeyance too, except for one that is online!

So, my days have been filled with planting, sowing and weeding all the gardens that folks in the programs usually do. Plus, every so often, getting into my own garden.

One thing I haven’t had to much at all is watering, seeing as the sky has repeatedly provided ample moisture. Apparently, Alberta is experiencing La Nina like conditions in the atmosphere which have been contributing to our cooler and wetter weather lately. There is also a 50/50 chance of a full blown La Nina for this winter. Can we say cold and snowy?

I have been loving the chance to get out into the wild where the wildflowers have been stunning along with the insects and birds.  Usually my days are filled in the summer months and I seldom get the chance to go out and about. If there is a silver lining to this year, it is the joy we Albertans are getting from relearning our own backyards and wild spaces!

Mountain bluebell – Jasper, Alberta (photo by Janet Melrose)
Western lily – Jasper, Alberta (photo by Janet Melrose)
Lady’s slipper orchid – Jasper, Alberta (photo by Janet Melrose)

In Our Gardens

Sheryl:

As I already mentioned, weeds are what’s happening.  We have had a lot of rain and now there are weeds everywhere.  I’m a bit weird in that I don’t mind weeding: I like to relax in the sun and pull and dig them up by hand.  Weeding is just a really nice opportunity to turn the ol’ brain off and listen to the birds sing and the bees buzz in the garden.  More importantly, it’s a way to get really up close with your plants and see what’s going on almost at soil level.  Sometimes you get in a rush and you run to the garden to grab a handful of lettuce for a supper salad, or you sprinkle some water over everything before you dash out to work in the morning and you don’t really SEE what’s going on out there.  You need to sit and go slow to do that.  If you take a look at our pests and diseases book, you’ll notice that we talk about Integrated Pest (Plant) Management.  One of the tenets of that practice is monitoring.  That’s one of the things you can be doing while you weed: monitor your cultivated crops and ensure they are healthy and stress-free. If they aren’t, maybe you can see what the problem is while you’re out there weeding.

In July and August, everything is up in the garden and you’re just taking it all in, harvesting a few crops here and there and waiting on others to get larger or to produce more.  We’ve been enjoying spinach, lettuce, Swiss chard, scallions, garlic scapes, kohlrabi, and various herbs – and, of course, potatoes (which are honestly the real reason I grow vegetables, LOL). And now the beans are coming along as well and the zucchini (which is seriously late for me this year).   

A bit of hail damage isn’t stopping those nasturtiums and calendula! I always mix edible flowers into my veggie beds. (Photo by Sheryl Normandeau)

Janet:

I have been having so much fun working in my bed at Inglewood Community Garden. It is a 10’ x 4’ bed so I have taken our Victory Garden plan (which you can see here) and used it in this bed using the square foot gardening technique to control my urge to just add a bit more into it.

Bumper harvest – Inglewood Community Garden (photo by Janet Melrose)

It is producing magnificently with my four kale plants in full production, along with lettuce and chard galore. This year with all the rain our radishes were wonderful….mild tasting, beautiful round orbs and nary a radish maggot to be found. Soon it will be the turn of the pole beans, garlic and tomatoes as they all come into their own. And I grew the best cilantro I have ever done, with it tucked in the shadow of the tomatoes and under floating row cover the entire time. A testimony to the benefits of using this ‘gardeners’ best friend’, not to mention the value it provides as hail protection!

Best cilantro ever! (Photo by Janet Melrose)

As I love to get as much as I can from a space I have already sown more radishes where the cilantro was in the hopes that the conditions there will good enough to get a second delicious crop. While the first lettuces are being harvested using ‘crop and come again’ I have sown more seed to germinate while I munch through the first round of delicious leaves. When the garlic come out in a few weeks I have more seedlings growing in wintersowing jugs to take that space to continue the bounty!

Fantastic radishes! (Photo by Janet Melrose)

Floral Miscellany

Sheryl:

A couple of the questions that keep cropping up (pun intended) on the Alberta Gardening group on Facebook concern the topic of growing onions.  If you’re waiting on your onion bulbs to plump up and you know it’s going to be a few more weeks, what do you do if flowers suddenly show up?  Do you cut them off?  Do you leave them?  And some gardeners stomp down the tops of their onions at this point in the growing season because they think it will promote fatter bulbs – is that something that should be done?  (I’ve seen people recommend this for potatoes, as well).  Let’s get down to the bottom of this! 

Janet:

Continuing on with the Allium family, garlic (Allium sativum) is taking centre stage now. Our late and cool start to the growing season has meant that they are only now developing the distinctive curl to the scapes, but now is the time to snip those scapes back to the first set of leaves. A gourmet delight and expensive in stores, use them just as you would the cloves for your summer cuisine. They pickle and pesto perfectly too if you have too many to use fresh!

Then watch for the leaves to turn yellow and die back in the next few weeks. Once they are about one third brown harvest one to see if the bulb is big and well formed. If it is, then harvest the lot as left too long after that the quality starts to degrade. Cure for three weeks in a dry and warm spot and we have fantastic garlic for the winter months plus using the best bulbs our stock for planting come fall when the cycle begins again!

If you love growing garlic like I do check out Ron L. Engleland’s iconic book ‘Growing Great Garlic’.

Get Social with Us! 

Sheryl: 

Facebook: @FloweryProse

Twitter: @Flowery_Prose

Instagram: @flowery_prose

Janet:

Facebook: calgaryscottagegardener

Twitter: @calcottagegdnr

Instagram: calgaryscottagegardener

‘Til later!  ♥Sheryl and Janet

Prairie gardening tip: How to troubleshoot common radish problems (bolting and a lack of root development).

Someone recently sent me a question about radishes, and then I had a bit of a chuckle because the same thing she was complaining about happened to me this week: they bolted. To add insult to injury, when I pulled them, there were no beautiful globular roots, just some lovely greens and the start of a bloom. While radishes are often excitably touted as one of the easiest and quickest edible crops to grow, things do go wrong sometimes. So, let’s troubleshoot this:

About the bolting:

Heat usually is the cause. Radishes are a cool season crop and tend to freak out when the temperatures tip into summertime territory. Plant them early in the season (or late in the season, if you have that luxury) and you’ll have a better chance of success.

About the sumptuous tops and lack of bottoms:

Did you space them sufficiently apart in the container or bed? They need room for the roots to properly develop.

Did you add too much nitrogen-based fertilizer? That’s not going to produce generous roots.

Is your soil compacted? If so, you might end up with misshapen roots or none at all.

Too many cold, cloudy days. Radishes may be a cool-season crop, but they do need adequate sunlight for production.

That bolting thing. It all comes full circle…when the temperatures soar, the radishes think it’s flower and seed time and completely forget about their roots.

So, my radish problem? The seeds were sown just over two months ago, so late seeding isn’t a likely candidate. I can eliminate the compacted soil and the overabundance of fertilizer, as I know those are not the culprits. Spacing was more than adequate for the variety I planted. That leaves me blaming the weather, which – you have to admit – seems both plausible AND satisfyingly convenient. 😉

*

Janet Melrose and I wrote more about radishes (and many other veggies) in The Prairie Gardener’s Go-To for Vegetables.

Do you grow radishes? Which cultivars are your favourites? Do you ever have problems with them?

Plant profile: Mugo pine.

Pinus mugo

Particularly at this time of year, when the new candles are formed, mugo pines may appear to be the angriest shrub of the plant world, looking for all the world like they are furiously gesturing to the idiot that cut them off in traffic. (Now you’ll never see them the same way again. You’re welcome). 😉

Mugos have shorter needles than most pines, but they’re still fairly long (up to two inches), elegant as befitting pine trees, and clustered in pairs. If you touch the needles, they’re not particularly soft like some other pines. Again, that sort of fits with the whole angry thing.

On the larger cultivars, the branches are supposed to sweep upwards in stiff arcs, but the shrubs themselves sometimes acquire a sprawling habit as they age (I completely understand this as I have, too), so this isn’t always accomplished as well as it should be. When left unkempt, unattractive bare spots often open up in the centre of the shrub. (You can – carefully and judiciously – prune the shrubs every few years to maintain a more tidy, compact shape). Smaller cultivars, such as the lovely ‘Mops’ (which really does look like a ploofy green mop turned upside down and stuffed into the ground), tend to be a tad more well-behaved.

Once you’ve got the ID down pat on these, you’ll start to realize how common they are, at least in urban areas here on the prairies. Their hardiness and compact size (small and smaller) make them tough to beat as landscape specimens. They’re pretty much a go-to for residential and commercial foundation plantings. Although it does occur in particularly harsh years, mugos tend to resist winter desiccation a bit better than many other conifers, and that’s a big deal around here.

This article that was published in the Calgary Herald in 2010 has some great tips for pruning and candling mugos to maintain a compact form.

What are your favourite conifers (small or large) in the garden? (It doesn’t matter where you live, I’d love to hear about them! They don’t have to be suitable for the Canadian prairies).