Bumble Bees and Buterflies

I recently went camping to Elkwater in the Cypress Hills and on a hike saw some beautiful wild butterflies and bees! Plant a butterfly garden and a few bee attracting plants and you too could have some nature photography to do. Let’s stay green so we don’t lose any more bees!!

Here is a local woman who makes delightful treats with the help of bees! Click Here!

And here is some nature photos! Enjoy!

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Planting Potatoes!

We have received our seed potatoes and onion sets at the Windmill Garden Centre!

We have a nice selection of specialty potatoes as well, like the Caribe which always goes quickly, so come down soon and pick up your bag today. If you aren’t sure how to plant potatoes but would like to start, here’s a little po-ta-to in-fo!

The first step to planting a high yielding potato patch is making sure you have fertile soil. Potatoes do well in a soil that is slightly acidic, loose, and sandy. There are certain things you must avoid with potatoes such as lime and fertilizers high in nitrogen as this can cause scabs on your potatoes. Use a fertilizer high in potash for nutrients, and add some aluminum sulphate if your soil is not acidic enough, just avoid getting any on your tubers.

To get the potatoes ready for planting, you have to let the eyes sprout, which is called “chitting”. To “chit” a potato simply means you are allowing the potato to grow a sprout. Just stand the potatoes with their eyes up in a tray, and in the company of some natural light. When the shoots are almost an inch long you may plant them outside! This is not necessary but apparently it helps.

Plant the potatoes outside when the soil has started to warm. This would be right away here in Medicine Hat. Be careful when you are planting not to break off the sprouts and make sure the sprouts are facing up. Lightly cover your potatoes with soil. As the sprouts grow taller, more soil should be added to the pile to keep the potatoes safe from the sun. Watering is essential especially in the hot summer months. For pesky bugs add nematodes to your garden. They will attack those pesky wireworms that like your potatoes as much as you do!
By June you should have enough potatoes to make some tasty French fries! Dig up the potatoes as you need them as they keep better in the ground, and most of all… have fun!!

It’s beautiful outside, and trees are started to bud. Some people might start to wonder “what do I prune?”
Pruning is an important part of maintaining a healthy and beautiful garden, but it is also very important to do it right. When pruning take care to do it at the right time, and to do it correctly.

Early flowering trees and shrubs should usually be pruned right after flowering (LATE SPRING). If early bloomers are pruned in early spring you will be cutting away the new blooms and have decreased flowering. These lovely plants have already been working on its new blooms since the previous summer, so taking a knife to them would just be rude. Instead prune immediately after flowering for a clean, healthy, and beautiful flowering plant next season.

If you have some late bloomers, you can prune most of these now. Late bloomers develop their bloom on new wood and can be pruned late winter to early spring. Trimming these now would be ok, and may help the look of your plant if it is old and a losing its lustre.

Always, always use nice sharp pruners. Trying to gnaw off a branch or two with a butter knife could just damage the plant! If you are unsure about when and how to prune a specific plant, do your research before you start. There is a bountiful supply of information on the internet and usually people at your local garden centres can give you some information too! Our perennial house ladies are very knowledgeable. 😀

Here’s a helpful how-to prune site.

And here are some pictures of the new growth here in Medicine Hat!

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Happy Spring Everyone!

Yesterday it was offically Spring! If you live in Medicine Hat that means snow, but that doesn’t mean we can’t start planning our summer gardens. The following websites will help you with composting tips and other cool ways to stay green this summer.

and Here!

Also check out Medicine Hat’s bedding plant of the year and see if you want it in your flower beds this year!
Medicine Hat’s bedding plant of the year is rudebeckia!

Rudebeckia is a great flower to plant in the prairies and it attracts butterflies!