Tips from the Gardens

Linda Petite

Hi Everyone, my name is Linda Petite and I have been Head Gardener since 2013. I knew when I first came here to volunteer in 2010 that the HCP was a special place that I wanted to be part of! I have always loved plants and decided to pursue horticulture after high school, taking a 2 year program in Plant Science at the NSAC in Truro, NS. I worked in a family run nursery and landscape company for many years where I learned about and shared the love of plants with colleagues and the public.

When I found out it was up for sale, I decided to head west to see what opportunities were out there and as they say, the rest is history.

We decided to offer a Q and A section on our new website. I get a lot of emails and of course many of them are questions asking when can I….

Here are some tips to help you water your garden effectively:

  • Irrigate close to the ground(soaker hose)to reduce evaporation and water loss to wind.
  • Water in the morning before heat from the sun begins to evaporate the water.
  • Add a good layer of mulch(3-4inches) to your beds-it holds the moisture, cools the plants roots and suppresses weeds.
  • Collect rain water and re-purpose used kitchen water instead of letting it go down the drain.
  • During prolonged drought, let your lawn go dormant and turn brown-not to worry – it will green up again when the rainfall and cooler temperatures return.
  • Remember that container plants dry out faster than those in the ground-check them twice a day in extreme heat and my best advice is to practice longer, infrequent waterings to encourage healthy deep-rooted plants.

Yes, all parts of Nasturtiums are edible-the leaves and stems have a peppery taste ,the flowers create a lovely garnish and the seed pods can be used as a caper substitute. They thrive in poor soil, self-seed everywhere and act as a trap crop for aphids. I always plant them throughout my veggie garden.

Now-about a week before crops begin to bloom and make sure the nest box is clean. As the sun warms the nest,the mason bees begin to emerge. It can take hours or several days.
Our native bee, Osmia lignaria,is commonly called the Mason Bee or Blue Orchard Bee. The Mason bee is a small solitary bee which lives in thin reeds or holes left behind by other insects. They are typically non-stinging, do not produce honey, do not have a queen or live in a hive or swarm, making them easy and fun to watch.
The mason bee emerges in the Spring when daytime temperatures rise to 10C consistently. This coincides with fruit tree bloom.
Mason bees are amazing pollinators, generally pollinating about 95% of the flowers they visit. Installing a solitary bee nest will provide a safe environment for them to lay their eggs. One nest has the potential to yield 100 new bees.

Yes it is best practice to always water in new plantings. A water soluble fertilizer can be used as well, like 10-52-10 which is high in phosphorous and helps promote root development.

As long as your soil is dry enough to handle, you can direct seed peas, brassicas, lettuce, mustard greens, turnip and radish. Plant potatoes and onion sets as well.