gabriola garden

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Iris Asters, Fall Pruning, Happy Hibernation

Those of you who are seasoned gardeners probably had a chuckle when reading my last posting. What I referred to as “irises” were actually “asters.” I asked Sara on the run, as usual, what those prolific bluish-purplish flowers were, and of course she said asters, but I heard “irises.”

So I’m including another picture of the asters, just to set the record straight. They’ve multiplied even more from last week, so they certainly are a welcome addition to our fall garden.

Some people consider fall to be a sad time of year for a garden, but there are other ways of looking at it. Here on Canada’s West Coast this is still the end of summer (we’ve had a number of gorgeous, sunny days in a row), so we can enjoy our gardens a bit longer than the rest of North America.

But eventually, even on Gabriola, the time comes to put our garden to bed. As our perennials finish their blooming, it is time to cut them back. Make sure your pruning sheers are well cleaned (using Advanced Nutrients Wipe Out) and that you don’t pass any diseases from one plant to another.

Sara is determined to prune her Butterfly Bush drastically soon, so it doesn’t take over her entire flower bed. All dying stems and leaves should be removed. The healthy debris can be put into the compost, but if there is any sign of mold or disease, the leaves and branches should be burned.

Spraying with Piranha is a great idea. Previously I referred to this very versatile product as a soil additive for the colonization of roots with beneficial fungi. Well, it can also be used as a spray.

Here’s what it does, when used as a foliar spray. It protects the plants from a whole array of pathogens, including Sclerotinia, Rhizoctania, Fusarium, and Phythium, as well as gray mold and mildew. The fall rainy season is an ideal time to protect your garden from all of these.

The wave of the future seems to be to mix synthetic and organic plant foods. In addition to the regular organic diet of Iguana Juice Grow and Bloom, I am starting to mix in Heavy Harvest Fall into my soil, in order to feed the roots through the dormant season, and make sure that our spring bulbs get enough nourishment through the winter.

Another great root strengthening product is Voodoo Juice. To give you a for instance, last summer I had a stringy, low-producing cucumber plant, that I was thinking of digging up and composting. But before I did something rash, I called the Advanced Nutrients tech line and talked to a very knowledgeable fellow. He suggested treating the roots of the plant with Voodoo Juice.

I did, and within a week the plant started getting bushier and bushier with a whole bunch of new buds on it. I couldn’t believe my eyes. The tech guy told me that the secret lay in something called Gibberlins, which create natural growth enhancing hormones.

The cucumber roots were massive and my harvest was astounding. The beneficial microbes in Voodoo Juice certainly did their job. I’m been sold and I’ve been using it on all my vegetables ever since. I can’t use it fast enough before Sara steals my container to use on her flowers!

This is a good time of year to apply Grandma Enggy’s Seaweed Extract to your garden, which is a 100% organic plant food that is easy to absorb and digest and results in better perennial wintering.

Of course, some plants either have to be brought indoors or the harsh cold will kill them. Once you’ve pruned your roses, you may want to wrap them in burlap before the winter cold sets in.

Sara wants to save her geraniums this year, since they are so beautiful. We’ll allow them to flower until we get the first below freezing forecast, then we’ll cut them back to three or four inches above the root line and put them into smaller pots. Not too small, since the Voodoo Juice that we mix with the soil, will make the geranium roots grow like crazy.

Before putting the pruned back geranium plants into our cool basement for winter dormancy, we spray them lightly with Protector to keep powdery mildew at bay. Then in the cool darkness of our basement we make sure that we don’t water them at all and let them sleep until spring.

Now that it gets darker earlier, Hedgehog is starting to go to bed by 9pm and she wishes that she could hibernate through the winter. She loves sleep and the cozy warmth of her bed. On hectic days like today, I’m beginning to see her point.

posted by Tim at 10:45 PM


  • I really enjoyed both the photos and what you wrote here. You have a very nice garden blog :-)

    I want to invite you to participate in our Green Thumb Sunday blogroll. It's for gardeners or gardener wanna be's, house plant enthusiasts, and nature lovers.

    All you need to do to participate is to post a picture on Sundays (at least once a month) of a plant in your yard or that you are growing, happened to see somewhere, a landscape or nature scene.

    And to put up the (blogroll) links to the other participants, not so many yet, on your blogs sidebar.

    Sounds easy doesn't it?

    Come on, it's a lot of fun and we're gonna LOVE your GTS posts :-)

    We would be thrilled to have you with us!

    You can have a look at one of my GTS posts here:
    (no need to write that much if you dont want to ;-)

    If you want to join, just follow the link "Join GTS" :-)

    Please let me know if you have any questions!

    By Anonymous Mrs Lifecruiser, at 3:46 PM  

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