Sunday, February 16th, 2020

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, May 15th, 2018

Grow: Our Top Five Tips for Growing Herbs in Containers

Fresh herbs are easy to grow and are so delicious and healthy! Let’s get started!

Fresh basil on homemade pizza, fresh oregano in a pasta sauce, fresh thyme on roasted chicken – when it comes to cooking, fresh herbs are the secret to taking your dish from good to mouthwatering! Luckily, herbs are also one of the easiest things to grow and will thrive in containers, which means that you can blow your dinner guests, or just your family, away with homegrown scents and flavours that totally transform your cooking.

Here are our five essential tips to growing a vibrant and lush potted herb garden!

1. Grow organic.

Herbs that are grown in organic soil and with organic fertilizer have much better flavour and potency. We recommend using a quality organic soil like this one to get the best results. Don’t forget that regular fertilization is an important step in caring for any plants! During the growing season, feed your herbs with a slow-release organic fertilizer, or a half-strength solution of organic liquid fertilizer such as Sea Magic every three to four weeks.

2. Provide good drainage.

Herbs thrive on good drainage, so make sure that your pot has sufficient drainage holes. Elevating pots on pottery feet, bricks, stones, or even another pot turned upside-down can also help to improve drainage. And it’s not just your container or your pot placement that matters – well-draining soil is KEY! Our favorite her growing medium is a mix of lava rock with organic soil. It allows perfect drainage and a rich medium in which your herbs will thrive!

3. Plant with the herb varieties’ needs in mind.

Chives are perennial and overwinter very well, so they are a great option for planting directly into the ground. Mint is an aggressive plant that will take over an entire area or container, so you’ll want to give it its very own pot. Watering needs will vary according to the variety of herb as well as the pot size and type that you should choose.  Be sure to consider all of these factors before planting.

4. Know when to water, and when to wait.

Drought-tolerant herbs such as rosemary, lavender, thyme, and oregano like soil that is on the dryer side, so let the potting soil dry slightly between waterings. For moisture lovers like basil and chives, keep the mix slightly moist – about as damp as a wrung-out sponge – at all times.  The best way to tell when it’s time to water is to let your finger be your guide. If the soil feels dry 1 to 2 inches below the surface, then it’s probably time to water. Be sure to water thoroughly until you see water flowing freely from the pot’s drainage holes.

5. Pinch and harvest!

The more you pinch off and use your herbs, the more they’ll be encouraged to leaf out. The result will be a bushier and more productive plant, so don’t be shy – snip those flavourful sprigs and get cooking! If you really want to get the most out of your herb garden, place your pots in close proximity to your kitchen; you’ll use them more often.

 

Now that you’re prepped and ready to grow, get started by scrolling through this lovely list of fresh herbs that are popping up weekly in our greenhouse. Then, browse this helpful collection of specific tips for your favourites. You can make your selections with total abandon, or have fun with a theme like Mexican or Italian!

Now… what’s for dinner?!  

Friday, December 8th, 2017

AT HOME: FESTIVE FRAGRANCING

The smell of a crackling fire, a fresh Christmas tree, or gingerbread cookies baking in the oven… the sure signs and scents of Christmas! Because our sense of smell is a trigger point for emotional memories, fragrances play an undeniably central role in the holidays. That’s why the scents associated with Christmas can instantly transport us back to the feeling of being a kid waiting in anticipation for Christmas morning.  Tapping into the powerful sense of smell by playing with holiday scents is a surefire way to get into the festive spirit.

Here are a few ideas to get your home smelling great this season.

Seasonal Simmer  One of the simplest ways to infuse your home with an intoxicating aroma is on the stove top. Grab a saucepan and add a few cups of water along with your favourite holiday ingredients. We love cedar or pine branches, sprigs of rosemary, and classic holiday mulling spices. Head to the pantry and get creative! Simmer on a low heat or in an open crockpot throughout the day, adding water as needed, or start your simmer just before your holiday guests arrive.

Citrus Garland  A citrus garland made from thin slices of home-dried oranges and grapefruits is a perfect DIY for the holidays. After slicing, drying and hanging, a citrus garland creates a beautiful stained-glass effect when hung in a window — and leaves a delectably fresh scent in the air!

How to: First, thinly slice oranges or grapefruits and pat dry each segment with a towel. Add a few drops of your favourite holiday-inspired essential oils to each disk — try eucalyptus, peppermint, citrus, frankincense or bergamot. Then, bake disks on a baking rack at 250 degrees for three or more hours, flipping occasionally. Allow the slices to dry in the open air for another day or more — you want the discs to be completely dry before stringing them up with your choice of twine or string.

 

Simple Scenting One of our favorite items this season is a simple yet intensely scented Cinnamon Wreath that can be hung from any door or wall in the home.  It adds instant warmth and aroma to your surroundings.  If you love the simplicity of this method, you’ll also enjoy using Frasier Fir Home Fragrance Mist to add a quick spritz of crisp, natural fir to the room.

Fragrant Candles  A tried and true way to bring warmth and aroma into your home is with scented candles. We love these hand-poured soy candles by Winnipeg candle maker Soy Harvest Candles. Some of our favourites include new holiday scents like Treetops, Sleigh Ride, and Grandma’s Cookies. It feels like Christmas already!

Have fun creating a warm and fragrantly festive home this holiday season!

Words + Photos by Sarah Carson @the.botanical

 

Monday, March 16th, 2015

Sugared Blossoms

Edible Flower

This week, fresh colorful pansies arrived at the greenhouse.  While we normally turn to pansies as the first flowers that we can plant outdoors in early spring, they are in fact an edible flower and serve as an elegant garnish.  With Easter coming up, these sugared blooms make a lovely accent for desserts and drinks well into spring. A sprinkling of sugar lends just a touch of sparkle to edible flowers– you can use dried violas, pansies, nasturtiums, or even rose petals. Atop baking, fresh fruit, or a favorite cocktail, these natural beauties make springtime sweets even more special.

What You’ll Need:
Edible dried flowers
1 egg white
1 teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
Superfine sugar
Parchment paper
Small, soft-bristle paintbrush
Clean tweezers

To dry the flowers, there are two methods.  You can hang them in a cool, dry place for 2-4 weeks, upside down and tied in a bundle.  Or, simply dry them in the microwave.  Arrange the flowers so they do not touch each other on a paper towel. Place the paper towel with the flowers in the microwave, and heat them on medium to high for one minute. If they are still not dry after this time, replace the used paper towel with a dry one and repeat the process. Once all the moisture has been taken out via the microwave, take them off the paper towel and leave them to cool off for at least ten minutes before proceeding.

To sugar the blossoms, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk egg white and lemon juice in a small bowl– since the egg whites won’t be cooked, be sure to use fresh eggs from a trusted source. Gently hold a single flower with clean tweezers and brush all surfaces with the egg and lemon wash. Sprinkle with superfine sugar, then transfer to the baking sheet. Once all your flowers are sugared, let them sit at room temperature overnight.

Bon Appetit!

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Shelmerdine Garden Centre Ltd.

7800 Roblin Boulevard
Headingley, MB R4H 1B6

Phone: 204.895.7203
Fax: 204.895.4372
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