Sunday, October 30, 2011


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Brewing up some comfrey 'tea'

Saturday, October 29, 2011

'Don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today'

Dig agricultural lime into empty beds where vegetables will be planted next spring.  This gives the lime more time to start working.  (This can be done in the spring as well). 

(from Linda Gilkeson, 'Backyard Bounty:  The Complete Guide to Year-Round Organic Gardening in the Pacific Northwest')

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Dirt on...

...Camellia flower buds are developing now, so keep plants well watered, otherwise their flowering performance next spring may be stunted.  Lack of water weakens the tissue between the shoots and flower buds, causing buds to drop before they have opened. 

Camellia buds forming

If it's dry, give plant a good soaking, ideally using rainwater, and add a liquid ericaceous (acid-loving) plant food if foliage looks paler than its usual deep green.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Dirt on...

...Glorious, Wonderful, Leaves

Carolyn Herriot, respected BC Master Gardener, photographer, and lecturer, dedicates a page in her book, 'A Year On The Garden Path:  A 52-Week Organic Gardening Guide' to leaves.  Here are some of her 'Leafy Tips'. 
  • Large trees such as oaks, maples, sycamores and chestnuts are wonderful sources of nutrient-rich leaves.
  • Store leaves in fall for layering into compost throughout the year.  TIP:  A circular cage of fencing wire, or four posts wrapped with chicken wire, is a simple space-saving way to store leaves.
  • A heap of leaves will break down into a pile of rich, crumbly leaf mulch in one year (faster if you turn the pile).  Shallow-rooted plants such as rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias, hydrangeas, pieris, skimmia and heathers just LOVE leaf mulch.
  • Don't position leaf piles under trees or hedges where fibrous roots will grow into the pile.  TIP:  If you must, put landscape fabric down first as a barrier. 
  • To reduce a pile of leaves, spread them out on a driveway and run a lawn mower over the pile.  It will reduce to a 1/10th of its volume, and can then be sprinkled onto beds, where leaves will quickly break down into the soil. 
  • If you have pine trees, compost the pine needles separately.  they take up to three years to rot down, but produce an acidic leaf mould that is excellent for ericaceous (acid-loving) plants such as azaleas, rhododendrons, pieris, hydrangeas, blueberries, heathers, and camellias. 
  • Don't save leaves showing signs of disease, such as rust, black spot or mildew, since pathogens present may survive.  Dig a hole and bury them in the garden, where microbes will get to work destroying them. 
  • Avoid shiny, waxy leaves, such as arbutus.  They are slow to break down due to a waxy cuticle. 
Great, timely advice! 
caged leaves
image from The Modern Victory Garden

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Dirt on...

...Autumn is a good time for planting evergreen trees and shrubs. The evergreen's root system pumps water all winter, so be sure to water them well before the ground freezes. And don't hesitate to purchase deciduous flowering shrubs at discounted prices. Even after a summer in containers, they'll adapt and make strong root growth in cool autumn soil.

Personally, I want one of these...
Self-pruning tree

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Dirt on...

...Bring all vacationing houseplants indoors. 
"Have suitcase, will travel"

Plant vacationing at resort
In fact, it's time to treat your hard, working geraniums in the garden to a vacation....send them somewhere warm and dry...inside!  For three options on over-wintering geraniums, click here.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Dirt on....

...Plant your spring bulbs now.  Outdoors in the garden...yes, of course but why not in containers? 
Bulbs that are comfortable in containers include:
  • Anemone blanda (windflower): whites, pinks, purples, magentas 

  • Chionodoxa (glory of the snow): blues, pinks 

  • Crocus (all species and Dutch crocus cultivars): purples, blues, whites, yellows, two tones

  • Galanthus (snowdrop): white 

  • Hyacinthus (hyacinth): whites, purples, blues, pinks, salmon, yellows 

  • Iris danfordiae , Iris reticulata (miniature irises): purples, blues
  • Muscari (grape hyacinth): purples, blues, whites, two-tones

  • Narcissus (daffodil): whites, yellows, salmon, orange, as well as combinations of these

  • Puschkinia (puschkinia): whites, light blue 

  • Tulipa (tulip): endless color choices – from white to nearly black
Check out Eternal Seed, Springtime Nursery, and Mother Nature for your spring bulb selection now and then get planting. 

Need inspiration?...

tulips in ceramic container

spring bulb container by Lou Paun
spring bulb grouping in terracotta pots
colourful spring bulb grouping

spring bulb container from Canadian Gardening

For an informative article on spring bulbs in containers, click here.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

PRGC Calendar

The Edible Landscape

"What permaculturists are doing is the most important activity that any group is doing on the planet. We don't know what details of a truly sustainable future are going to be like, but we need options, we need people experimenting in all kinds of ways and permaculturists are one of the critical gangs that are doing that."
Dr. David Suzuki, geneticist, broadcaster and international environmental advocate

Ron Berezan, Guest Speaker at Powell River Garden Club's (PRGC) first meeting of the 2011-2012 season and an enthusiastic teacher of permaculture and organic gardening methods, is a member of that 'critical gang' mentioned by Dr. Suzuki.  Ron's presentation, The Edible Landscape, captivated the interest of the 70 Club members present at the September 27th meeting. 

Ron is offering the first ever Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) to the community of Powell River called, "Creating Community Abundance ." 
Based on the international 72 hour permaculture design curriculum, this course will be spread out over four seasons, with four 3 day weekends beginning November 18 - 20, 2011. This intense and inspiring program will provide the knowledge and tools for you, your family and your community to move boldly down the path towards self-sufficiency, resilience and community abundance.   Included in this adventure of discovery will be:
  • Permaculture design ethics and principles
  • Methods of design and ecological patterns
  • Annual and perennial food growing and preserving strategies
  • Animals in rural and urban areas
  • Soil, water and energy systems
  • Appropriate technologies and green building
  • Ecosystems and ecological restoration
  • Settlement design and community strategies
  • Alternative economies and resilience
  • And much more...!
For more information, contact Ron Berezan,, 604.223.4800 or Erin Innes,, 778.707.4848.