Although it threatens to snow any day, there are still some preparations that we can make now for our spring and summer garden. First, it's a great time to catch up on some reading. I check out quite a few garden blogs, but my favourites are the Garden Professors and anything that Linda Chalker Scott posts. I highly recommend having a look at her page on horticultural myths. Especially pertinent at this time is her information about soil.
Check out --> The Informed Gardener
also, of interest . . .
The Garden Professors Blog
There are almost 8 years' worth of archives in this science-based forum. Simply search the site using the search box in the upper right hand corner.
The Garden Professors Facebook Group
If you join this group (you must have a Facebook account) you can post your question, which will be more quickly answered by one of the hundreds of participants. There is also a search function (the little magnifying glass in the upper right hand corner).
WSU's Gardening in Washington Website
This resource has only current, peer-reviewed publications, most of them as free downloads. Much of this information is useful to us in BC as we have similar growing conditions.
BACKYARD APPLE BRANDY TODDY
Here’s a great recipe from SSGC member Roger Phillips. Gather some apples from your backyard and give them a bit of a scrub (discarding apples with too much worm content or critter nibbles). Quarter the apples and put them in a juicer (Breville makes a nice one). Then, put your juice on simmer with a cinnamon stick and cloves. Pour into mugs and add the honey, lemon, brandy, and garnish. À votre santé!
✦ apple juice for two to four people
✦ cinnamon stick and three cloves
✦ teaspoon honey in each mug
✦ squeeze the juice of half a lemon, saving a thin slice for garnish, in each mug
✦ VSOP brandy to taste
Watch Roger and his granddaughter’s video for a how-to so you can obtain the maximum quantity of juice and perfect your mixology skills.
✦ kitchen scraps (no meat, fish, cheese)
✦ water to mix
Throw the ingredients into a bargain blender and pulverize until it’s a nice thick slurpy mixture. Pour this mixture into the compost bin and cover it with a bit of composted soil, dry leaves, etc. The worms will come up for a sip and you will increase the nutrients in your compost.
Check out Gwen and Paul's list of perennials to pot up now and join us this evening to watch a demonstration of how to do it!
A sample of perennials to divide in September – October
Watch the Video
How to divide plants from Gardeners' World
For the Fall, we're thinking about trees! Let's read about trees, learn about trees, and go on an explore to find some of the interesting trees in the Lower Mainland.
Here are some resources to get us started:
Find out more about Surrey's trees --> website link
A Walking Tour of Vancouver Trees --> download a pdf
Douglas Justice's Vancouver Tree App --> read more here
City of Surrey Great Trees Resources --> download a pdf
Earlier this year, the SSGC Executive developed a COVID-19 Safety Procedure Plan for our open gardens. The plan is still in place as we move forward into fall and winter activities. You may want to refresh your memory, so have a look!
The berries in my backyard continue to be plentiful with raspberries, blueberries, goji berries, and of course invasive blackberries creeping up from the bluff. Read about the many health benefits of berries here:
UC Berkeley Wellness News
One of my favourite resources is the book, Wild Berries of British Columbia. Let me know if you are interested in taking a peek at it. Until our library is available to us, our new library team will be lending out our own books to members.
Do you have apple or other fruit trees? Here are some good resources which you may want to consult.
SSGC member Derry Walsh has a helpful website about apples, trees, pollinators, pruning and more. Derry is also more than happy to answer your questions about fruit trees.
In this video, South Surrey Garden Club member Roger Phillips demonstrates how to use the Lee Valley Diamond Sharpening Stick and provides suggestions on how to keep your pruners in good working condition.
Recently a question was posed to our discussion list regarding disinfecting pruners. Roger and Mary Dunn answered the question and both also suggested looking at Linda Chalker Scott's website.
Main Site: https://puyallup.wsu.edu/lcs/
Specific Pages: The Myth of Cloroxed Clippers and
Sterilized Pruning Tools: Nuisance or Necessity?
Mary Dunn' s advice:
Probably the best disinfectant for pruners is a Lysol or Dettol solution, 1 part lysol to 9 parts water. A jar is useful so you can put the pruners right into it. 70% Isopropanol is also effective, and evaporates quickly. Bleach (1:9 with water ) is sometimes recommended, but is corrosive and causes damage to the blades (oil after using it, but Lysol is a better choice). Always clean off any dirt or sap before disinfecting.
Here's Roger's advice:
Here in South Surrey, the plants that need the greatest care are roses (the dreaded black spot) and fruit trees (black knot on plums, canker on apples).
1) Check the state of the pruners. They should be clean, sharp, and free of any pitted surfaces where bacteria can build up.
2) Avoid cleaners like bleach or TSP--these are corrosives and will lead to pitting the surfaces of your pruner blades.
3) Hand sanitizers that contain alcohol are good but expensive. Rubbing alcohol is cheaper.
4) Household cleaners like Lysol, Listerine, Pine-Sol, are effective. Lysol comes in a spray can, very convenient to pack around the garden (but it's an aerosol, so not too environmentally friendly). Put enough fluid to cover the pruner blades in a canning jar with a tight lid.
5) Wipe off any excess cleaner after disinfecting so that the next plant gets pruned with a dry blade.
6) After finishing the pruning, wash the pruners in warm soapy water, scrub off any sticky deposits from plant sap, rinse, drain, and dry. *** (now is a good time to get the file or kitchen steel and sharpen the cutting edge of the pruners).
7) To get those unreachable surfaces where the blades hinge, add a couple of drops of sewing machine or other light oil and open and close the pruners a few times to smear all metal surfaces.
Lorna Fraser, our current Treasurer has recently been virtually attending Ali's health and fitness classes and suggested that we share this resource with our members. As Lorna describes her experience,
“I have been stretching / strengthening regularly with Ali since late April when her Zoom classes were recommended to me by a Vancouver friend. Her hour stretch classes are wonderful--she has a light, friendly manner with good explanations and lots of accommodation for various levels of stretchability and balance.”
Here's a short breathing and stretching video that Ali made just for us. If you are interested in taking virtual classes with Ali, go to her website at:
To read her blog, visit https://fitnessali.wordpress.com/