Monday, May 30, 2016

Beautiful Bulbs and Perennials


Spring Time at Vesey's






Have a look at what is in full bloom here on site at Vesey's Seeds as well as many other yards. These beautiful bulbs are showing us an abundance of colour as spring starts to brighten everyone's yard and their spirits. The picture of the Viola below was sent to me from my brother's yard in Guelph, Ontario.  Spring has sprung all across Canada!


 




Gardening season is now in full gear and as gardeners are visiting our store or equipment department they will be graced with the beauty of the Vesey's grounds. These spring beauties were planted last fall and some even from previous fall seasons. If you can believe it, the fall bulb catalogue is now available. You can start placing your order to guarantee that you get the bulbs of your choice.



Pictured left is a new collection of Red Impression and White Hakuun Tulips.  This combination of tulip bulbs represent an international symbol of friendship and kindness and is called the 150 Celebration Garden.  This is exclusive to Vesey's and only 150 of these gardens will be planted. Now is a good time to plan this garden while these bulbs are available.  They make an excellent ground cover in a large full sun location.  For deepest impact plant in large groupings. These and many more themed gardens are found in our bulb catalogue as well as our Vesey's website.  You can find all the newest 2016 bulbs here.






We welcome you to take a walk around our grounds and themed gardens now and all during the gardening season. You will see beautiful flowers, trees and shrubs that truly compliment each of the gardens and give color all season long.  
              




You may also want to venture up in back of our equipment barn to where our vegetable trials are located.
 






 



 

Our trials gardens have all of our existing varieties of veggies growing from Artichoke to Zucchini along with new varieties to compare. Each variety is labeled to be sure we know which variety stands out the best so that we can offer you, our valued customer and gardening friend, the best there is! Even my nanny pictured left loves to get out and put her hands in the warm spring soil and maybe even pull a few weeds!




You can continue to check out our photos in our weekly blogs as well as on our Vesey's facebook page.  Now is the time to get out there and take pride and pictures in what you have been growing along with any new successes that you want to share.


All across Canada our gardens are shaping up and looking beautiful. Gardening adds such value to your property as well as value to your health.  It is an endless rewarding hobby to have and all during the season you are meet with priceless rewards.



 


 
                                           


    



 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

New Beet with White flesh




It's an avalanche! No, I'm not threatening that winter is coming back especially since spring is finally settling in.  I'm actually talking about a different kind of Avalanche, and I'm pleased to introduce our newest beet variety offered right here at Vesey's and is available for planting any time now.

The reason why this beet was so perfectly named, Avalanche is because of its unique white flesh and strong vigor in all types of soil and climates. It is reliable and can cover a wide area if you let it. These unique characteristics set it apart from all other beet varieties. I know and can appreciate that it is hard to consider trying something that is so different from the reliable red round beets such as Merlin or Detroit Dark Red, however you can still grow these as well. For the first year of trying this new variety, start with a small amount to see if you like them and how they compare in yield to other types that you have grown for years. Check out the above link to see all other beet varieties as it explains how each type compares.

The advantages of growing a white beet of this kind are endless.  I will share some of the real highlights of Avalanche from our trials over the past few years and why we decided to list it in our 2016 Vesey's Seeds catalogue. 



Aside from the unique white flesh that this new hybrid offers, it has excellent raw eating quality too.  I know what you are thinking...yuck, why would I eat a raw beet when I can eat so many other types of delicious veggies raw such as carrots or peas . Well now you can add beets to that list. If you are coming home from a busy day, craving the flavour that beets have to offer but don't have time to cook them, why not try serving your beets raw. This is especially refreshing in the summer. Eating these new white beets raw will really give you the true beet flavour that cooking can sometimes take away. It also has an even sweeter flavour when eaten raw.

This beet variety will stand up to many kinds of growing conditions but the ideal ones would be similar to growing all other beet types. The greens of this hybrid are grown up right and also offer a delicious eating quality.  The greens have excellent disease resistance and can be picked and topped through out the growing season. 

Another added benefit about this new beet variety is that because of its white flesh you won't get the staining when cooking or pickling like you would with a red beet. This is especially ideal if you have the misfortune of beets boiling over and I know that we all have experienced this from time to time.  Cleaning up the red mess and getting it all over your hands can be quite a challenge.  Now I'm not trying to sway you away from growing the red beet anymore, just simply encouraging you to try something new that we are very confident that we can stand behind as it showed us such great results and still continues to in our trials field.  

Many gardeners also would enjoy roasting these beets along with other veggies. Roasted beets are very delicious but when mixed with other veggies the colour runs and turns all other veggies with a tint of red, but not with Avalanche as mentioned earlier it is non-staining.   
                                                                



You can cook these beets as well as pickle them the exact same way as you would with the red and yellow types. They can also be chopped up and served raw with other veggies for a veggie tray.  

You grow these beets just like you would all other types.  Spacing, planting and thinning for all beet types are the same and you can find those tips and instructions right here

As your beets begin to grow they may need a little thinning. Beets will benefit from thinning from to time if there was an abundance of successful germination. After possible thinning and as the beets begin to form their roots, the root may start to surface above the soil. A good tip on how to keep the beet root completely white and prevent them from "green shoulders" is to hill them to where the tops meet the crown of the root.  This process is carried out the same as you would with carrots, parsnip and other root vegetable that this could occur with. 

Growing beets is so beneficial for your health as it is considered one of the super foods.  Whether its chopped raw, pickled, roasted or even just simply boiled...you can't BEET the flavour especially when its fresh from your own garden!
 
 

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Cucamelon

Introducing Cucamelon??? 




Yes...you read it right...Cucamelon!
  
      I think this is one of the neatest things I've ever seen grow, anywhere!  Cucamelon, also referred to as "Mouse Melon" or "Mexican Sour Gherkin", which is where it originated from.  Although it has a few other names, I prefer to use the term Cucamelon as this best describes it. Referring to it as a "mouse melon", I feel that I might get a little 'creeped' out thinking that something may dash out in front of me like all those little rodents are notorious for doing!  I can understand however, why it may have been Nick-named as "mouse melon", because it is small and the vine kind of resembles a long tail. The name Cucamelon also may best describe this tiny little fruit as it has a cucumber flavour complimented with a delicious and unique hint of lime.  The skin colour and texture is the same as regular cucumbers and if cut open the flesh and seeds would remind you of cutting into a mini or dill cucumberWhat also makes these "little guys" like a cucumber is how they are grown. Growing requirements are similar to that of cucumbers and melons only a bit easier. You will find detailed growing instructions followed below. I say "little guys" because the size of this fruit would be comparable to a small/grape tomato.

   
      If you own a market stand, you sure would be glad you added this new and ever popular heavy yield-er! These Cucamelons are so productive and have great pest and disease resistance and of course, not forgetting to mention the delicious flavour. Cucamelons are ideal for home gardeners as well. They are an ideal alternative if your space is limited. You can even grow them from a small apartment balcony by planting them in a container or grow bag Just think, all you have to do is reach out your door and you will instantly have a handful of fresh fruit ready to eat right off the plant!
     Creativity with this veggie is endless. There are many choices on how you can serve them or grow them. Cucamelons are perfect for snacking by themselves, pickling (especially with mint and dill), they compliment any tossed salad with veggies or fruit (namely olives drizzled with olive oil based dressings). You can chop them up in small pieces or cubes to add to a delicious, fancy ham sandwich or served as an easy appetizer with different kinds of cheeses and drinks,so refreshing in the summer time. You may have even seen or heard that TV chefs are using them! Has this made you feel hungry yet?
     Now that you are hungry and hopefully intrigued  to grow these "little cuties", you may wonder,"How do I get them to grow?" Some may think that any veggies that grow from a vine would take up a lot of room and be a bit challenging, but as I said earlier, they are very easily grown. The foliage of this plant is much smaller then regular cucumbers or melons and grows great on a trellis horizontally or vertically because the fruit isn't as heavy.  You can try growing them in our  tomato planter as well.


    Complete growing instructions for Cucamelons are below and you will also find this information on our Vesey's website under the learn tab. Under this learn tab you will find all other growing instructions for flowers and vegetables at any time.
    Cucamelons grow best if started indoors similar to a melon and transplanted outdoors after last frost. Start Cucamelons in fibre pots as they prefer not to have their roots disturbed.


Melothria scabra (Cucamelon) Growing instructions:

      When setting out to plant, sow indoors 4 weeks prior to the last frost in your region. Use 2 1/4" jiffy pots, sowing 2-3 seeds per pot at 1/2" deep. Provide with warm soil temperature of 20-24°C. Heat will encourage a faster germination time as they can be a bit slower to start then regular cucumbers or melons. Moisten soil before planting and after seeds have been planted at a proper depth, water in lightly with a fine mist for best germination results. You can thin by leaving the best 2 seedlings in each pot. Keep soil moist but not too wet and you can start fertilizing them with a balanced fertilizer once a week to every ten days after they have reached a one to two true leaf stage.
      Transplant outdoors after all risk of frost in rows 2-4' apart or can be grown in  Raised Beds 
or plant 1 transplant per a minimum 24" container or grow bag. These seeds can be directly seeded similar to cucumbers, but waiting until risk of frost has passed and soil has warmed is best. Prepare soil with compost and once planted they can be fed regularly during the growing season with a balanced fertilizer. Sow seed in rows and space evenly. You can choose to sow into mounded 1'x 2' hills, leaving 2 plants per hill, with hills spaced at 2-4'. Plant in full sun with a soil pH of 6.0-7.0 for best results.  Once plant has become established, you can surround with mulch to help eliminate weed competition. 
     Cucamelons are monoecious plants. What this means is that they produce both male and female blossoms enabling them to pollinate themselves. No worries if you have limited space and can only grow one plant, but the more you grow, the better the pollination will be resulting in healthy and more productive fruit set. 
     To extend the growing season, either early or late, you can protect with row covers or low tunnels. This will help plants mature quickly by providing an increase in heat that these plants enjoy. Please note that row covers will need to be removed once blossoms are set to enable ideal pollinating conditions. 

     Some gardeners may find it a bit of a challenge to know if their cucumbers,melons and now cucamelons are ready for harvest . With Cucamelons, it is a little easier to tell when they are mature by seeing that they reach grape size, still firm to touch as well as slip easily off the stem.

      Each gardening season is exciting as there is always something new to try.  I assure you that growing Cucamelons will become one of your new favourites to grow whether its just 1 plant this year or 100 next year. With any type of flower or plant there always comes the question...What would I ever use that for? Once you have an idea on how to cook or serve it with as well as how it is best grown, it will enable you to consider trying something new or new ways of using plants that you have been growing for years. There will always be new varieties to keep you guessing and enjoy the challenges gardening can sometimes test you with. Check out our website , facebook page or other garden blogs for many more new and exciting flowers or veggies to become your own expert at growing.

      Always remember to take your coffee breaks even if you don't drink coffee. :)





Monday, May 9, 2016

Spring is Awakening!






  A sure sign of spring awakening comes from many different reminders that intrigues your senses into knowing why this is one of the most favourite times of the year, especially for us gardening gurus. If it's the chirping of the birds, distant sounds of tractors plowing the fields or the infamous aroma of compost being spread, these are all positive signs that the gardening season is now in full gear.

So with all that being said... I recommend you get on your rubber boots, duckies or whatever your favourite springtime gear is, and get out in the fresh air.  I promise you, that you will feel wonderful and much more energized.  Gardening soothes the soul in so many ways, whether it's the sense of accomplishment or just being outdoors again to "smell the flowers", it makes your spirits rise and gives you the true spring fever feeling!
                                              


     Here at Vesey's, there sure are signs of spring and have been for quite awhile.  We are in full gear with supplying many products to all of our gardening friends new as well as returning customers. It is with great pleasure to advise and make new suggestions whether your garden is big or small. No matter what you are growing, it sure is one of the most rewarding hobbies or jobs you will ever set out to enjoy.

     Crocus, hyacinths and other early bulbs such as scilla are now all in full bloom.  Tips and tops of tulips and daffodils are starting to emerge along with many other perennials pushing through the soil. It's so exciting when taking a walk around the yard to get reacquainted with what was growing and new plants that may have been started last year.  This is a great time to take stock of what may need dividing or transplanting.  It may be very tempting to want to start doing it right now and you can if all frost has lifted and your night time temperatures aren't going to be a risk of injury for newly uprooted plants.  Many gardeners will wait until the month of May when warmer temperatures arrive before attempting this task. In the meantime, if you are looking for other things to do if you have to wait on transplanting, I'm sure you will find an endless list of chores.  Picking up twigs, pulling overwintered weeds before they start to spread, trimming broken limbs and raking are a few to get started with.
                                       
 
     Your garden really is your oasis, so don't get overwhelmed with too many chores to do, besides...Rome wasn't built in one day!, so your yard won't all get done in one day either. Be outside whatever time you can and just enjoy it.  It is your own yard so its up to you with what you can and want to do with it.  That is the part of gardening that is and should be the most enjoyable. Take risks of experimenting with new plants to grow or ways in growing whether its flowers, veggies, trees, fruit or all of the above.

     Other gardening jobs that can be done at this time are trimming old tops off perennials to unearth new growth, edging any or all flower, vegetable gardens as well as topping up with compost. You can use a flat spade to outline your beds in the spring if it wasn't done in the fall or if it just needs a little touch up.  This is a great way to reduce weeds from spreading into them and it also puts a nice finishing touch to give your garden a completed look.  Some gardeners will even trim their beds with different types of stone or rocks that are found in their yard or use plastic edging.  This will also give ease to the lucky one who has the job of cutting and trimming the grass during the season. 

     Many people have reverted to growing Raised Beds.  Raised beds simply just mean mounded soil that raises the garden on a slightly higher level then the sod whether its surrounded with wooden boards or even just edged leaving the soil naturally and neatly in place.  Raised beds are beneficial in so many ways with a few worth mentioning, they provide great drainage and warm up faster allowing an earlier and more even planting. Another benefit of a raised garden is that weeds have a harder time to grow in these types of beds. These beds can be prepared in the spring or fall and planted into as soon as its prepared.
              

     Gardeners can sometimes have a challenge or be stumped with difficulty in getting certain things to grow. If this has been the case for you, it may be a good idea to invest in a soil analysis. You also may want to check your pH level to find out what your soil pH is.  The pH scale runs from 0 – 14. The mid-point is 7.0 or neutral. The lower numbers are acidic, so you would need to add lime to reach a more desirable level. The higher numbers are alkaline; you would need to add sulfur to reach a more desirable level. Vegetable gardens enjoy soil a little on the acidic side which would be 6.0-6.8.  Best not to let it get too low or to high as performance would be affected. These tests are very simple to do and can be done by yourself with a soil testing kit . If you are unsure and not comfortable doing these tests yourself you can simply gather some soil, put in a sterile bag and transport it to your local soil lab for an analysis and a small fee.  This is actually best done in the fall, however you can do it early spring as well.  This soil report will define clearly what is needed to amend your garden making sure it is properly done. Peace of mind with the exact recommendations will take away from the guessing and deliberating as to what may have happened with your garden from previous years.
                                                     

              


  The enjoyable challenges of gardening at any time of the year are always very welcomed, but there is something that stands out in the springtime.  I think really it's the excitement in everyone's step as they have been so anxious during the cold months to get started.  It is great to take advantage of early warm spring days, but keep in mind that too early is not always going to get you ahead.  Waiting for the right growing conditions is worth its "Wait" in gold.  The most important thing to remember this spring is to enjoy your garden and be sure to take some time to sit back and watch it grow.