Gardening tips that you might find helpful in your gardening. Have one to share? Send it to [email protected].

Roquet and Flea Bettles

If anyone wants to reap the benefits of rape, sai sai, roquet, etc. I suggest the investment in garlic and pepper spray as a natural/organic deterrent and a shade-cover system to send them packing. (They are not a flea at all but are named such for their jumping ability)

Harvesting Squash and Pumpkin

These are ripe when:
- you see a colour change
- they have a hard skin (can't puncture with fingernail)
- they sound jollow when knocked
- the stem is hard and dry

To harvest, cut off the vine leaving as much stem as possible. Wash them to remove bacteria that might cause them to rot (spray with peroxide if you don't want to use bleach). Store in a cool, dry area out of sun. If they are not quite ripe, but you have to pick them, you can let them cure / ripen in a dry, warm place (80F / 27C).

Powdery Mildew on plants in squash family

When there is lots of rain and high humidity squash, pumpkin and cucumber plants are susceptible to powdery mildew. You'll quickly see the white spots on the green leaves to know if you have it.

This will continue to spread, so take action as soon as you notice the signs:

1. Cut off the most diseased and dead leaves. These shouldn't go in the compost pile as they can infect next year's crop.

2. Spray the remaining leaves regularly with any of these:

Succession Planting

Some crops are harvested early, like peas and salad greens, which means you might have empty spaces in your garden mid-season.

What now? You can re-plant in that spot for a second harvest!

Beans are quick to mature and are an ideal choice. You can also put in cold weather and frost tolerant plants like cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower, as well as kale, which you'll be able to harvest into October.

Harvest and Pests

Tips on harvest dates for plants are pinned up in the shed

Natural pesticide & fungicide sprays are available in the shed, with instructions for use on the label.

Weeds to watch

So far, we've seen these weeds in the garden. If you see the, pull them out and put in the compost bins:

Harvesting in early June

Harvesting in early June

Lettuce, spinach: Cut leaves off and let the plant grow more - they come back! If you don't cut them, they'll go to seed and the leaves become bitter.

Peas: first of the season!

Also - time to stake your tomatoes!

Watering Tips

In order to give your plants the water they need and at the same time make the most of the water we have available, consider these tips:

Gardening Strategy

"Home Gardeners aren't farmers." This is what Mel Bartholomew writes in his book "Sqaure Foot Gardening". He encourages gardeners to plant a manageable amount so you don't get overwhelmed - with weeding, thinning, or even a bumper harvest. I use this method for my gardening. Want to know more? It is available from the Hamilton Public Library.

When to Plant

Planting dates vary by crop. The average last date of frost in Hamilton is this weekend - around April 29. So most things can go in the garden by then. There are even some hardier plants which could have been planted even three weeks ago. At the same time, there are some plants that need warm nights and days, not just absence of frost, and these shouldn't yet be planted.

Early crops:

  • Plants: Cabbage, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Onion (sets)
  • Seeds: Spinach, Peas, Beets, Lettuce

Late April / Early May: