Month: October 2015

Time to Tidy Containers

Time to Tidy Containers

clip art flower potWell, with the frost now clipping the container plants, it’s probably time to tidy them up for winter. As many of us have observed, Sheila KM displays her award-winning containers to optimum effect. Let’s listen in as she describes her experiences dabbling in this unique gardening specialty.

“I started using pots to provide a barrier to keep people from inadvertently stepping off our patio. However, I may have also been influenced by my mother who always had pots on the doorsteps and lining the driveway, and I always enjoyed them.

“When we moved to Chester, I started planting in pots because I didn’t know anything about gardening. However, I could stick plants in pots and watch them grow. When I went to the nursery, the many beautiful plants were hard to resist.  I discovered that you don’t have to worry quite so much about bugs with pots. As well, I like putting different combinations of plants together and seeing what works colour-wise and condition-wise.   I can step onto my deck in the morning in summer and check my plants, pick off dead flowers, and just generally admire them.

“Potted plants can be fed more easily as you have to water them almost daily. I do feed with diluted fertilizer with every watering. That could be a down side, but I keep trying to devise a way to self-water for hot days or when I am not here. I am very fortunate to have kind friends to water when I am away.

“For a number of years, I’ve had between 50 and 60 containers, between hanging baskets, window boxes and pots [Can any of us beat that?]. I didn’t have quite so many this year, but, there is always next year!

“At the end of the season, I compost the container plants with their soil. When that compost is ready, I put it on my garden beds. In this way, I use fresh soil for the pots every year, and it is recycled to build up the soil in the beds, which do seem to expand just about every year.

“As for tips, I talk to fellow gardeners, read books and magazines, take pictures and just do it. I try to make notes about what works or not, but I could do better with that.”

Sheila finishes off with this comment, “As I am writing this, I realize again how much I enjoy my plants, gardening and the people I have met through it.” I know that our readers can easily reflect those sentiments as well. We continue to learn so much from each other. Yeah, garden clubs, right?

P.S. Before Sheila got down to business cleaning out her containers, she took the following pictures of her glorious late bloomers (mid-October). Enjoy.

Zucchini 101

Zucchini 101

Zucchini 101Remember back in the spring, when the pictures on the vegetable seed cases looked so appetizing? You spotted the zucchini seed packets stacked tightly into display stands. How could you resist? Come fall, however, your mature plants have traveled indiscriminately all over your garden and you know you have a problem: What shall I do with all this zucchini? Neighbors and friends with no gardens immediately come to mind. What are friends for anyway?

How about learning some facts about this prolific vegetable?

  • The word zucchini comes from the Italian zucchino, meaning a small squash.
  • Less than 30 years ago it was often referred to as green Italian squash.
  • Its popularity comes largely from its versatility as an ingredient in breads and desserts.
  • The French term for zucchini is courgette, often used interchangably for yellow squash.
  • The English also refer to a variety that is slightly larger and plumper as marrow.
  • Archaeologists have traced the origins of summer squashes (in the family of curcurbita) to Mexico, dating back from 7,000 to 5,500 BCE, when they were an integral part of the ancient diet of maize, beans, and squashes. That pre-Columbian food trio is still the mainstay of the Mexican cuisine and is known today as the “three sisters.”
  • George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were squash enthusiasts who enjoyed growing them.
  • If left on the vine or bush longer, the fruit becomes enormous, the seeds larger, tougher, and sometimes inedible, and the flavor less sweet.
  • Today’s farmers are developing attractive hybrids–some are round, yellow, a combination of green and yellow, and some are even across between zucchini and the fluted patty pan squash.
  • With their high water content (more than 95 percent), zucchini squashes are very low in calories. (now that’s a bonus!)
  • Nutritionally, zucchinis offer valuable antioxidants. They also provide some beta-carotene, trace quantities of the B vitamins, folic acid, small amounts of vitamin C and calcium, and a healthy content of potassium.

zucchini clip art

To top it off, zucchinis can be eaten raw, baked, stuffed or steamed. Recipes abound on the Internet. Now you’re ready for that abundant harvest. You’ll know what you’re talking about when you distribute them to your lucky friends and neighbors!




Information taken from: