Friday, February 26, 2016

Veseys newest flower variety


Have you ever suffered from a bad toothache?  I think we all have had this challenge at some point in our life.  Whether it was in our childhood or as an adult, it is never that enjoyable. Good news for all those who have experienced this type of ache as well as other types, introducing one of  Veseys newest flower/herb variety that will actually help combat that pain. This plant is otherwise known as the toothache plant with the Latin name being Spilanthes.


Yes its true...we have added this variety to our catalogue line up this year.  It has become a great conversation piece and seems quite peculiar looking, but at the same time very interesting. The name of this Spilanthes is Bull's Eye. This is a perfect name for it because as you can see by the picture above the flower has a very distinct eye in the center of the blossom. I know that you are likely thinking that the blossom is not very attractive or wouldn't even place it in the "thing of beauty" category, however like I say, it is quite interesting just the same. Bull's Eye really stands out and looks amazing when paired with other types of plants and grows quite well in any container or flower garden. The blossoms display an odd resemblance of popping eyeballs and are set on strong and sturdy stems. This low maintenance, disease resistant plant also benefits gardeners with its known healing properties. 

Spilanthes has such a unique flower as well as being classed as an edible herb that can be easily considered an ornamental edible. Gardeners love these types of plants because of their two very useful properties. Just like a buy one, get one free sale! As mentioned earlier, they can be grown quite successfully in a container or in any flower or vegetable garden. Bull's Eye is a tender perennial but is mostly grown as an annual especially here in the Maritime.  However, having said this, I'm sure you could try growing it on any window sill or sun room in your home. As mentioned it is in the herb group and displays cone-shaped petite, pretty yellow and red flowers. The attractive medium green foliage looks very similar to Echinacea leaves and are edible.  The leaves as well as the flowers are all edible and offer similar amounts of healing properties.

This ornamental edible as mentioned has healing properties that will be sure to intrigue you into either growing this plant or doing further research. This plant will not only enhance your immune system but it will also help improve your digestion or any nausea you may have. With many people being more mindful of healthy eating, this plant will also benefit individuals with weight management. Spilanthes increases salivation enzymes that will help break down the starches and fats in foods. These are all great reasons to give it a try.

We are proud to list this type of seed in our 2016 Vesey's Seed catalogue and can be ordered at any time.  If you do decide to grow this plant from seed you can sow the seed indoors in spring (6-8 weeks before frost)or you can direct sow in early summer after all risk of frost has passed in your region.  It is actually best to start indoors if you have the space as it will have more time to become established.

Sow the seeds in flats to begin,once first/second set of true leaves have developed, they can be transplanted into pots. Use good quality seeding mix and set seeds on top of soil surface after you have moistened soil. Do not cover seed as it needs light to germinate. This variety of plant will also benefit from bottom heat for a more even and efficient germination. Germination should take place in about 7-14 days at a temperature of 20-24 degrees Celsius. Lightly mist with a water bottle or small watering can that will give a light mist. Be sure not to over-water. Over-watering is the number one reason why seedlings don't succeed.You can increase watering regime slightly once seedlings emerge. As mentioned you can transplant your seedlings into larger cell trays or pots as they increase in vigour. Once you have transplanted your seedlings, they will benefit from an all purpose water soluble balanced fertilizer every 10 days to help them become established.

Set plants outdoors a week to 10 days prior to planting in permanent location,this process is known as hardening off.Once all risk of frost has passed they can be planted outdoors in full sun, 12 inches apart and water as needed. Spilanthes is a member of the daisy family and will begin to bloom from mid June through til September if grown as a transplant.  They will reach 12-15 inches tall with a spread of 18 inches.

Fresh leaves can be eaten sparingly once plant has matured and has started to bud with flowers. You can add the leaves to salads, sandwiches or use to flavour many types of recipes. It will keep as a dried plant for up to a year and still provide the medicinal benefits it is noted for.

With all these interesting facts, I would say that Bull's Eye Spilanthes is definitely another new variety that Vesey's now offers to give a try. Besides we all could use a little extra healing when early spring gardening chores are upon us! 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Vesey's newest beet

These topics can dawn on me when at the most random places or even when in the middle of a conversation.  I was downtown at Starbucks enjoying my usual coconut milk latte and decided that it would be a good idea to make mention of some new vegetable and flower varieties that I feel are top quality and worthy of an extra introduction for this upcoming gardening season. Sometimes I even sit at coffee shops with my laptop while writing these blogs and sip on a nice hot drink on a cold winters day.  I'm not sure why...but this setting is great therapy and inspires me while I think about gardening. And of course gardening is great therapy as well! It is my pleasure to highlight on some of the newest seed items that are so worthy of being included in this year's 2016 Vesey's Seeds catalogue.  I'm hoping that while reading this future introduction that it will provide you with new, as well as additional information, of this variety you may never thought about and also to help with making your selections easier.

With spring just around the corner... hopefully.  Now is a great time to plan your selections of varieties of different vegetables that you may like to grow as reliables or perhaps you may be adventurous and would like to try something more "non-traditional". I know and can appreciate that gardeners like to stay with what they know will be successful as they spend the money and time trying to grow their plants from year to year. It gives me great comfort in letting you know about some of the newest varieties of vegetables of the "future" that we are confident will work in your own home garden as we have grown them right here on site in our own trial garden's at Veseys.

The veggie variety that I'm happy to introduce is called Avalanche of the most unique changes in a beet since the golden ones were introduced. This new variety of beet is unique because of its colour. It is a beet that is white in colour and that will likely explain where the name came from. You may have already tried it in your own garden or know of someone who did, but I would like to share a little bit about why I think this vegetable is one that I can recommend for you to give a try if you are one of those more adventurous gardeners.

I can understand that if you only have a certain amount of space in your garden that trying something new may be a little harder to accommodate for, however this type of vegetable doesn't take up a whole lot of extra room. Even if you were to try a small area in your garden with this new variety, you could still grow your own reliable variety as well. This is what I will usually recommend to gardeners when they want to make a switch to something new, especially first time gardeners.

As I mentioned, Avalanche beet is named perfectly for its clean,white flesh. It won an award at the All America Selections trials in 2015!  It is a hybrid beet that we were so impressed with in our own trials as well. This made the decision easy for us to include in our 2016 newest line up.  It boasts a well rounded 3 inch uniform root, with upright light green leaves and has excellent disease resistance.  It's actually supposed to taste really good when eating raw as well, almost like a hint of sweetness. I know this may sound very odd to try eating it raw, but don't knock it before you try it! Eating this particular variety raw has actually turned "beet dislike-rs" into "beet lovers", OK well at least "beet likers".

The real highlight about this type of beet when compared to the red beet types, is that it is non-staining or bleeding when peeling or cooking, but still has the same great flavour.  Many people will grow all three types red, gold and white as they all pair well together. You can go onto our Vesey's YouTube channel by following this link so learn of the interesting comparisons of each type. This hybrid has a maturity date of only 55-60 days and is available for ordering now.

Beets are a cool season crop and can be sown in the spring as soon as the ground can be worked.  If you can't get them planted at this time, they will do well also when sown in late summer to early fall and this will suit you if you are one of the lucky ones that can guarantee a mild fall/early winter. Beets do tolerate somewhat cooler temperatures and that is why it is suggested as an early spring planting. You can also grow beets as a succession planting, this basically means that they can be sown every 3 to 4 weeks for a longer season of harvests.

There are so many ways you can can eat/prepare when it comes to beets.  Whether they are crushed,juiced, mashed with or without olive oil, pickled, salted or roasted.  They are simply delicious!  A new way to have beets is to slice them and then roast them to compliment a sandwich topped with goat cheese, yummy! You can shred them either into a risotto, soup or as a slaw in place of other vegetables or to accompany other types. They can be grilled on the BBQ this coming season or used in your fave hummus recipe in place of chickpeas as a low calorie alternative. Some have even made a salsa using beets as well as being found as a top ingredient in the famous red velvet cake.  So many uses and there are certainly more that I haven't even mentioned.

Our website has lots of information on how to grow beets, lists of beet varieties as well as any type of fertilizers and amendments that you feel you need to make this crop grow successful.  Feel free to contact us here at Veseys if you have any further questions about this beet or any other gardening inquiries you may have.  We love hearing from you at any time.  You can check out our Vesey's facebook page and go on and like us as you learn from all kinds of other gardeners and hear their stories as well.

You will be sure to beet any winter blues as you get excited about the spring!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Tips for prolonging cut flowers

This past weekend I was at one of my friend's Christa's home just having a nice relaxing evening with her and another friend April. During one of our many discussions of random topics she had asked me how she might be able to get her flowers to last longer that she sometimes receives from her hubby. They are always so beautiful when anyone receives them straight from the flower shop and that's when the following questions come to mind...

Were you one of the lucky ones to receive a bouquet of flowers, especially this past weekend?  With Valentines Day behind us now, there is help on the way to show you and your loved one exactly how much you valued their thoughtfulness by having the flowers last as long as you possibly can. When you go into your home, there is nothing nicer then seeing a fresh bouquet of flowers especially during the winter months.

A few very easy tips is all your flowers need to have them looking good for as long as you can and it only takes a few minutes each day or every other day.  Plus caring for your flowers is very therapeutic and satisfying. Just knowing that you are doing the best to make them last makes it worth the easy effort.

If you are going to have time or make time to have your flowers last then the most important thing you can do is simply change the water daily or even every second day and you could even go a little further with this and give the flower heads a light misting or shower as you are changing the water. Check out the pictures below to see how easy it can be. 


When you change the water you may prefer to add a water enhancer and flower booster to the water again.  If you don't have any of the flower powder left that came with your plants then you can use something at home that may work just as well.  I have a few suggestions below that I have used.These remedies have been known to be very successful.

Before you begin to make any ammendments to the water it is beneficial to give the flower stems a fresh new cut as well. By doing this it will encourage the stems to take up water more quickly and effectively resulting in a healthier longer lasting bloom time. If you are willing to take the time to do this use a very sharp edge knife or pruning scissors to make an even and clean cut.  If dull ones are used they will only end up crushing the stems and will prevent air flow from getting into the vein of the flower. This would also be a good time to take the leaves off of the stems, especially the ones that may be emerged under water.  It would actually be beneficial to do this process when receiving your flowers if you have time, even with all the excitement of getting them!

As mentioned, you can use your own home remedies to help your plants last longer by adding these simple ideas to your water that you mayalready have at home.  I used a 1/2-3/4 tablespoon bleach in a quart of water then added two tablespoons regular granulated sugar.  I mixed the two together then added to the water that the flowers will go into. The bleach will kill any bacteria in the water and the sugar will feed the flowers at the same time.  You can use many other remedies that work like this as well, however this is the one that I would use if my powder or fertilizer ran out.  You can see other types that are suggested in the pictures below.

Substitution of vinegar, white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar will all work the same when mixed with the sugar as bleach would if you didn't have the bleach or would prefer not to use it.
Other suggestions were left over sprite or seven up colas.  Using regular pop especially the clear types are beneficial when added as well. Add a few tablespoons to the water just like you would with the bleach solution. The clear pop is recommended over the dark pop as it doesn't make the water look dirty. Coins can be dropped in the water especially those discontinued pennies.  We finally found a new use for them!  You can add these to the vase as the copper or even nickel will give off properties that will make the plants last longer. I'm sure you all have heard of using aspirin or have even reverted to using it yourself. You can use one aspirin tablet or capsule dissolved in water by preparing ahead of time.  Allow the powder to dissolve in water just like you would with the flower powder. Then pop the plants back in the vase and see them continue to put on a show and last much longer because you took the time!

As mentioned removal of leaves will enable the plant to put more energy into the stem and bloom as well as cut down on any unnecessary debris in the vase. Fresh cut flowers such as tulips,that have thick stems and very thick leaves can sometimes have issues with becoming air-locked.  This means simply that air as well as water uptake is reduced when cut from the bulb stock. It is beneficial to simply take a needle and poke holes right through their stem from top to bottom. This will allow great water and air circulation to reach from the bottom of the vase right up to the blossom and will enable it to last longer. These fresh cut flowers will be found at stores very soon, and may even be available now. They make a lasting impression all late winter and into early spring. You can take this as a hint to go and pick some up if you would like!

If the air in your home is generally warm and dry you may even want to place the vase down on the floor during the night time.  Plants, especially fresh cut flowers enjoy a cooler temperature usually around 40-50 F. Place flowers in a setting that they will get noticed and enjoyed of course but be mindful that it will need to be a suitable temperature as well. Suggestions of keeping out of direct sunlight, heat, fans and drafts would certainly be a good idea and prevention of these areas will help them last longer. You may even notice that certain types of cut flowers will last longer then others. There are cut flowers such as Allium that do have a longer "shelf life in a vase" then other types, where as others may only last a week no matter what care you give them. Removal of any dead or dying plant material in your bouquet is very essential because not only does it look unsightly in the arrangement but the build up of ethylene gas that is emitted from decaying plant matter will cause other plants to mature and die back quicker then usual.

This is an actual bouquet that graces the table at my parent's home in Stratford.  I'm not sure if you have had the chance to read one of the Christmas blogs where my dad had purchased a Poinsetta for my mom at Christmas time, he does really well with buying plants or fresh flowers. Dad has an appreciation for their beauty as well as the enjoyment they bring to mom and anyone else who stops by.  There is nothing more cheerful then having something this beautiful to look at and care for each day, especially taking into consideration of the thoughtfulness that went behind it.  If you would like to consider to grow some of your own cut flowers this season, it is possible.  You can check our our newest as well as reliable selection at this link.
I hope that the winter will continue to be enjoyable as we look forward to our newest and exciting gardening season that 2016 will reward us with.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Alternating winter temperatures


If you are one of the fortunate ones that live in a more southern winter climate, like my brother and sister-in-law in Guelph, Ontario, then you may be experiencing some unusual winter temperatures. Just the other day when I was talking with him he mentioned  that he and his youngest son were going to play a game of badminton and that it was 14 degrees Celsius there.  I thought oh how lucky for them as we were just newly diagnosed with another heavy dose of snow!

Have you also been one of the fortunate ones that experienced weather such as they have? If so, it may have caused some of the same issues that this early growth from your garden that you would be concerned about, like he was when he called me. These odd fluctuating temperatures can indeed cause your plants some stress for sure, especially if they were planted too shallow or by chance heaved with changing temperatures.  Plants may have started to show signs of growth exposing just the tips and even been fully pushed out of the ground.

 No need to worry as there is an easy fix to this problem. These bulbs are just reacting to the weather around them and this is out of your control. If the warm weather stays, foliage may yellow and die back some but the bulb will return back to its dormancy period. This is completely normal and will happen from time to time. When you come to think about it, years ago when plants, similar to these, grew in the wild such as those "lovely ditch growing tiger lilies" they would have and still survive during the unusual winters.

You may have heard that having a mild spell and then a very cold spell will damage the bulb and it may not even grow the following season. This could be true, however if you take a walk around your yard on these mild days, before playing or after, you can prevent this from happening.  If this only happens a few times you can rest easy and still enjoy those warm spring-like days. 
As I mentioned, it's an easy fix and these little guys are more resilient than you think. You can use a heavy winter mulch of straw, leaves, evergreen boughs or even pile any extra mulch existing on your beds to help prevent them from coming up further and will protect them from frost damage. 

Once the weather gets colder again, as it always does...they will slow down in growth. If you do notice later on in the spring that they don't flower then that may have been the result of damage to your flower buds.  Your bulbs may still bloom even though the flower buds were damaged, but will occur later in the season or possibly not until next spring. This is the result of shallow planting, heaving, lack of proper mulch protection or temperatures fluctuating severely before bloom time.
You can ease your mind next year by applying a winter mulch in the fall just before the ground freezes.  You can use many different coverings as I mentioned earlier such as regular mulch, straw or even thick boughs from left over Christmas trees.  By doing this it will ensure your bulbs and any other perennials that you feel may surface in early spring are properly protected especially southern exposure plants that are close to building foundations. You can remove these extra layers once consistent spring weather arrives.

Once I had responded to my brother's inquiry, he emailed me back with some photos that I used to assist with in posting this blog.  I had copied his exact words after he had returned back outdoors on the beautiful day he was blessed with to take care of his plants.  

"That was pretty easy to get enough mulch to cover them, we had laid it on pretty thick. 
Thanks for the advice! Playing badminton in February...bizarre."

It is so neat how he has taken such an interest in growing these bulbs and I really can't blame him as I feel everyone should have at least a few of these early spring garden arrivals of beautiful colour every year.  Bring on the Spring!  You can now check out our newest spring line of bulbs, perennials, trees and shrubs by clicking the following link veseys spring bulbs.