Thursday, February 24th, 2022

GROW: SQUEEZE IN SOME CITRUS

Hundreds of citrus plants have just arrived!

Picture it; you walk by the kitchen window, lean over, and pluck a ripe lemon from your very own tree. It’s possible! If you have a bright enough space, you could be squeezing your own citrus. A few mouth-watering windowsill kumquats, oranges, or lemons could be in your cards – even in Manitoba. Growing citrus is mildly challenging, but the rewards are worth it, so we encourage you to challenge your green thumb!

Read on for our tips on how to successfully grow citrus indoors . . .

 

You GOT this!  Just have patience . . . and faith!

First comes flowers, then comes fruit. The fragrance of citrus flowers is a perfume beyond anything you can imagine! The flower is the part of the plant which develop into fruit, so a citrus tree needs to be of sufficient size to be able to successfully support a crop of fruit on its branches. This is a natural process that takes time, but when that fruit finally appears, you’ll be beaming with gardeners pride, not to mention boasting rites!  Fun fact; the average lifespan of a citrus tree is approximately 50 years, so when you take home a citrus plant, you can consider it a new friend for life.

HOW TO GROW CITRUS INDOORS

Here are our top tips on how to grow citrus plants. For even more information, visit our friends down in Florida!

LIGHT  What citrus really requires is a bright window that has generous dimensions. A south-facing window or sliding glass doors are ideal, but a well-lit east or west-facing window can do the job. Do NOT invest in a citrus plant if you don’t have enough light. To achieve a citrus plant that’s laden with flowers and fruit, ample indoor light and space are essential, and to make your citrus even happier, bring it outdoors in the summer!

POTTING  Citrus like to be slightly root-bound in their pots.  If it becomes overly root-bound or its pot cracks, repot the plant in the springtime only.  Transplant 2” (up one pot size at a time) or you may run the risk of rutting the roots with too much soil.

TEMPERATURE  Citrus thrive in the same temperatures as humans. If temperatures drop below 10°C , your citrus plant will fail to absorb the nutrients that it needs in order to set flowers.

NUTRITION  Citrus are hungry plants, and they react quickly when you fail to serve up sufficient food. Yellow leaves are the telltale sign of a starving citrus. Although most houseplants do not require fertilizing in late autumn and winter, citrus are the exception. If you go organic, deliver diluted fish emulsion throughout the year – once every two to three weeks seems to work well. Winter light levels are low, so dilute the fertilizer more than the recommended dose.

WATERING  Citrus are thirsty plants! When the furnace or air conditioner is running and the sun is shining, they might need water daily, and when citrus plants are in bloom or actively growing, their watering needs increase. We suggest using a moisture meter to monitor the soil. Water when the soil is slightly dry, but not bone dry. If your citrus plant gets too dry, it will drop its flowers before developing fruit. If your home is very dry, your citrus will demonstrate its discomfort by dropping leaves. You can combat this by running a humidifier. Yellow leaves are a sign that you are over-watering.  During winter months, sunlight levels lessen, so you will need to reduce and change your watering schedule accordingly.

Life is juicy!

Tuesday, February 15th, 2022

GROW YOUR MINDSET!

THE BEST THINGS YOU CAN GROW IS YOUR MINDSET!

Ideas for inspired, intentional gardening in 2022, by Nicole Bent

A new year is here and while nothing has gone as planned for the past two years, the one thing that we can plan is our vegetable gardens! I can’t think of anything more hopeful (and fun!) than that.  Over the past few months, I’ve been pouring through beautiful, colourful seed catalogs which has made me explore how I want to approach my own garden this year.

Rather than thinking of my vegetable garden simply as a food source, I’m approaching each row I grow with more intention in 2022. For instance, one of my gardening goals includes planting to attract beneficial insects. This will keep predatorial insects at bay, plus I absolutely love seeing bees and butterflies at work. Also growing vegetables that will nourish me and my team in the fall and winter (fun fact – I make fresh soup for the Shelmerdine team every Tuesday). I plan to focus on organically growing the foods that I eat the most of – in succession – so that I don’t run out and can rely on my own supply.

Here’s what I’m excited to grow this year, and why. Hopefully it will spark a new gardening mindset for you as well!

Tricolour Bush Bean Blend – I love colourful foods! This beautiful blend of green, yellow and purple bush beans have been combined in one package to offer a rainbow of colours and a long harvest window. I like to freeze fresh beans and toss them into hearty soups.

Purple Peacock Pole Beans – It makes a fast-growing privacy screen, even if you don’t intend to eat the beans. A beautiful plant with dark purple leaves and light purple flowers. Give it a trellis and a try if you need some privacy quickly. The beans turn green when cooked.

Nutri-Red Carrots – These flavourful, striking red carrots are meant to be cooked rather than eaten raw. Their colour intensifies when cooked and the properties of the antioxidant lycopene become more accessible to the body.

Rainbow Blend – A blend of premium carrots varieties purple, white, orange, red, yellow. Packed with vitamins C, E and K, plus folate and the antioxidant lutein. I guess I just love colourful, healthy veggies!

Alfresco Salad BlendA mix that has a Mediterranean flavour, so I’ll get my travel ‘fix’ through my food. Why grow one lettuce variety when you can grow a mix of red and green lettuce, arugula, endive, and radicchio?

Apache ScallionsThis award-winning green onion features deep red skin on the bulbs, and I’m all about colourful salads! It has a mild flavour and crisp texture, and is also great as a topping for baked potatoes.

Yukon SpinachReady in just 38 days, it grows so fast that I plan to seed in succession so that I don’t have to buy spinach all season long. It grows especially well in cooler temps like early spring and early fall, which adds shoulder seasons to my lettuce crops.

Sweet Million Cherry TomatoSimply the sweetest, most vigorous producing cherry tomato that has excellent disease resistance. It needs lots of space but it’s worth the square footage in my garden!

Starbor KaleI like to freeze my kale so it’s ready to enjoy come soup season as it adds so much nutritional value. This award-winning variety is uniform and compact with densely curled leaves.

Touchstone Gold BeetsThe ultimate golden beet! I plan to roast them to add vibrant color to my summer salads, and then pickle them in the fall as a garnish.

Yellowfin ZucchiniI always seem to end up with enough green zucchini from friends and family, so I’ll grow these small, vibrant yellow fruits for soups and salads. This variety is highly resistant to powdery mildew.

Tadorna Leek – I love leeks! Either sauteed as a side dish or in soups, their flavour is so delicate, like an elevated onion. This will be my first time growing leeks, but my dad uses 6” sections of plumbing pipe around each stock to keep soil out of the stalks and to keep them growing upright.

Wasabi RadishThis one is just for fun and is a Shelmerdine bestseller! A Japanese heirloom variety has a strong heat, but you can soak the radish in salted water to reduce the heat.

Pink PopcornI plan to grow and dry these to pop the biggest bowls of fluffy white popcorn come winter and Netflix season! I’ll also use the corn stalks at my front door to decorate for fall.

Black Beauty Mini WatermelonPersonal sized, sweet, and juicy watermelons! These compact plants can be container grown so you don’t need a large garden to grow sweet, delicious watermelon.

Selma Fino Fennel – I love to shave fennel finely into a citrus salad or to grill it whole on the barbeque. Either way it’s a delicious treat to the summer meal, with a delicate licorice flavour.

Mammoth Sweet Pea – I’m excited to trellis this climber and cut the flowers into sweet-scented bouquets, as well as to attract more pollinators to my garden.

Dill Bouquet – Perfect for planting in between rows to attract predatory insects away from your other vegetables. It’s great for pickling and canning and goes well in summer bouquets.

Wild Bergamot – Intensely attractive to pollinators and beneficial insects, as well as to enjoy as an herbal tea and to experiment with its numerous medicinal properties.

Sunrich Orange Sunflower – Sunflowers don’t take up any real estate in the garden, so they’re great to plant on the outskirts. Bees will flock to them, and I can enjoy them as cut flowers in the late fall. The blooms are 4” – 6”.

Butterfly Wildflower Blend – After hearing how happy our customers have been with the success for this blend, and how many butterflies they attract, I can’t help myself. Made of twenty species, I plan to sprinkle it everywhere I can find a free corner.

WHAT WILL YOUR GARDENING MINDSET BE THIS YEAR?

Read on for some further thought provocations to guide your gardening mindset in 2022!

THIS YEAR I WILL . . . .

  • ‘Spend as much time in my garden as possible, as my me time and my solace from .’
  • ‘Reduce my grocery bill as much as I can so that I can save more money for experiences and things that are meaningful to me.’
  • ‘Grow for others and donate my bounty to those in need’
  • ‘Help the pollinators as much as I can and want to see my garden abuzz with bees and butterflies’.
  • ‘Connect with nature more’
  • ‘Never buy lettuce again!’
  • ‘Grow my own herbs, dry them, and create a winter filled with soothing, delicious, organic herbal teas’
  • ‘Incorporate cut flowers like zinnias, sweetpeas and give myself a weekly bouquet of flowers, or give them to someone who needs a smile.’
  • ‘Grow a fall and winter’s worth of nutritious and delicious frozen soups.’
  • ‘Use my garden as a way to learn from and spend time with my parents and grandparents.’
  • ‘Teach my kids to grow their own vegetables – which they will learn to love to eat.’

SHOP SEEDS

Ready? Let’s Grow! →

Monday, February 7th, 2022

PETS AND PLANTS

One of the most frequently asked questions that we get is “what plants are safe for my pets?”

While we don’t recommend that your dog or cats make a meal out of any of these varieties, choosing pet-safe plants is a smart precaution to take.  Many plants contain naturally-occurring toxins that can cause allergic reactions or irritation. The plants listed here will not harm your cat or dog, but may still cause adverse reactions if your pet is allergic to the plant.

If you’re still unsure, visit www.petpoisonhelpline.com which contains a wealth of tips and information!

NON-TOXIC PLANTS

  • African Violet
  • Bromeliads
  • Burrow’s Tail
  • Cast Iron Plant
  • Christmas Cactus
  • Boston Fern
  • Staghorn Fern
  • Haworthia
  • Hibiscus
  • Money Tree
  • Areca Palm
  • Bamboo Palm
  • Parlour Palm
  • Pony Tail Palm
  • Spider Plant
  • Prayer Plant
  • Peperomia
  • Tillandsia

TOXIC PLANTS

  • Begonia
  • Dieffenbachia
  • Dracaena
  • English Ivy
  • Eucalyptus
  • Ficus
  • Kalanchoe
  • Lavender
  • Monstera
  • Peace Lily
  • Philodendron
  • Pothos
  • Sago Palm
  • Schefflera
  • Snake Plant
Monday, February 7th, 2022

SEED STARTING BASICS

Starting seeds inside is a great way to get exactly the plant varieties that you want. Many people think that seed starting is just for seasoned gardeners, but it is not hard to get the basics down. Successfully starting seeds indoors will require a few things:

 

CONTAINERS

You can choose to start your seeds in plugs, flats, or peat pots. Ideally you should not start your seeds in any container that is too large. Larger pots hold more water than the seedling can use and this will stress the plant.

 

POTTING MIX

Use a high-quality, soil free potting mix for seeding. Potting mix retains water as well as drains well. Soil tends to compact and crack and does not retain moisture.

 

HEAT & LIGHT

If you don’t have the luxury of a greenhouse, artificial light and heat are almost always necessary. Heat is required to begin germination. Regular fluorescent lights will work just fine. Lights should be placed as close as possible to the top of the sprouts, approximately ½ inch. It’s almost impossible to have too much light. It is possible to start seeds in a room or on a windowsill that receives a full day (at least 8 hours) of bright light; however the seedlings may not grow as fast or as strong.

WATER

Water before you plant. Allow the potting mix to absorb the moisture. After that, keep potting mix moist, but not soggy. Room temperature water is best.

 

SEEDS

Choose only the highest quality seeds with excellent germination rates. Refer to the seed package as to when to sow. Also, see our section on When to Sow Seeds to determine the best planting times. What you choose to plant is completely up to you! You may want to grow plants that are not easy to find at your local nursery. Always refer to the package; it will have information on timing, lighting requirements, sowing depth, and optimal germination and growing temperatures.

FERTILIZER

When seedlings have two sets of true leaves start feeding once a week with a balanced (20-20-20) water-soluble fertilizer at half-strength, working up to full strength after a few weeks.

With these Seed Starting Basics you’ll have the start of your garden growing in no time!

Monday, February 7th, 2022

TERRARIUMS

TERRARIUMS

Have you ever admired a terrarium, but were not sure how to create your own? This section will tell you how to create and maintain your own terrarium,

one of the most unique floral arrangements available to home gardeners. It is actually quite easy!

Terrariums are wonderful, magical environments.

 

Terrariums are decorative, attractive, and easy to care for: you just plant and forget. Because terrariums recycle their moisture, they need very little attention. A closed terrarium can often go a month or more between watering. They actually thrive on neglect! So, if you are forgetful about watering or often travel, a terrarium may be the perfect answer for you.

The following instructions show you how easy it is to create and enjoy these miniature eco-systems. Making a terrarium is also a wonderful way for children to learn about nature.Any clear container can be made into a terrarium. The main requirement is that it be watertight. Choose something that is large enough to accommodate the plants you desire and that has a cover, lid, or door to keep the moisture from escaping. If you find a beautiful glass container that you’d like to use, but has no cover, you can cover the top with plastic wrap. Jars, bottles, and aquariums are some of the most common containers used. More elaborate designs made from acrylic plastic, stained glass, and glass block can add an elegant touch to your home decor. Whatever the container, you can bring an easy to care for touch of nature into your home with a terrarium.

Many plants do well in terrariums. It is best to choose plants that will fit the size of the container. Slower growing plants require less trimming and are less likely to take over. If you are willing to spend more time maintaining them, you can experiment with more aggressive plants. They require more frequent trimming, but will allow you to have more variety in your terrarium.

Materials

  • Enclosed glass container
  • Small pebbles or coarse sand
  • Activated charcoal
  • Sphagnum moss
  • Potting soil
  • Plants
  • Decorations (optional)

Planting Instructions

  1. Place approximately 1/2″ layer of small pebbles or coarse sand in bottom. This allows for drainage of water.
  2. Add a layer of activated charcoal on top. In a closed terrarium this filters the air and keeps it fresh.
  3. Add a layer of sphagnum moss on top of the charcoal. This prevents the soil from settling down into the pebbles.
  4. Fill to proper height with a good draining potting soil. The amount you need depends on the size of your terrarium and the size of your plants.
  5. Install plants. The number will depend on the size of the plants, and the container. Don’t overplant so there is room to grow. Push the soil aside, place a plant in the depression, and firm the soil around it. Repeat for each plant.
  6. Water lightly.
  7. Add any decorations that you want at this time.
  8. Cover with the lid

Care

Your terrarium will not need a lot of care. Water lightly only after it gets dry once every few weeks, depending on conditions. NEVER OVERWATER! If you have over-watered remove the lid temporarily to allow some moisture to evaporate. Place in a bright area, but not in direct sunlight. When the plants get as big as you want, pinch off the newest growth to encourage bushier growth. Do not fertilize. Over time the soil can be “refreshed” by scraping off the top layer of soil, and adding some fresh potting soil. This will add a small amount of nutrients, as well as freshening up its appearance.

Plants

Here is a list of plants suitable for terrariums to get you started:

  • Air plants (Tillandsia)
  • Baby’s Tears- aggressive grower
  • Bromeliads
  • Clubmoss
  • Creeping Fig- aggressive grower
  • Ferns
  • Neanthebella Palm
  • Parlor Palm
  • Peperomia
  • Polka Dot Plant
  • Rex Begonia
  • Tradescantia- aggressive grower

Keep in mind that almost any houseplant will work in a terrarium, but try to keep plants with similar light and moisture requirements together. Experiment with whichever ones you like to achieve the desired look and effect.

Hours of Inspiration

Monday-Friday 10am-5pm
Saturday 9am-5pm
Sunday 12pm-5pm

Shelmerdine Garden Centre Ltd.

7800 Roblin Boulevard
Headingley, MB R4H 1B6

Phone: 204.895.7203
Toll Free: 1.888.895.0032
Fax: 204.895.4372
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