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"Hardening Off" Explained

It’s pretty hard to beat a juicy summer tomato or sweet strawberry from your own garden and the benefits of homegrown vegetables and fruits are countless. More and more people are considering quality and taste, organic options, continuous harvest, room to grow and how much time they have available and they are ready to take the plunge and sow their own. Hardening off seedlings is the most important concept that new gardeners will learn to improve successful transplants. Those young, pampered seedlings that were grown either indoors or in a greenhouse will need an adjustment period to acclimate to outdoor conditions before being planted in the garden.

Garage Syndrome is Very Real
Garage Syndrome is Very Real

Many of us have been there. Had a week of warm weather at the beginning of May, and couldn’t resist “just looking” at the greenhouse, and returned home with some plants tucked under your arm. Now what? You put them in the garage until it was warm enough to plant. When you planted them in the soil, you noticed they didn’t look the same as they did in the greenhouse, but they still seemed all right. Then you waited for them to bloom. Three weeks to a month later and finally a flower appeared. Then your plants started to return to normal and bloom like they were supposed to. What happened?

"Cutting Back" Perennials

Long-time gardeners sometimes forget that new gardeners might not yet know the nuances of some phrases. There are still some of my grandmother’s gardening phrases floating around in my head that I have yet to decipher, however the last few years in my own garden have provided me with several “aha moments”. Imagine my disappointment learning what “bolt” (describing a plant that has gone to seed prematurely) actually meant.

Blossom End Rot

This is a common challenge for many gardeners and one I’ve heard many a curse about over the years. Those curses tend to be heard around this time of year, with the first tomatoes of the season when they are approximately half of their full size.

Common Gardening Challenges and Solutions
Common Gardening Challenges and Solutions

Even the most careful and experienced gardener will occasionally find plants that are weakening or a crop teeming with a troublesome pest. No garden is immune from pests and diseases, and learning to recognize the symptoms and determining appropriate controls is your best defense.

If you are struggling with any of these challenges, don’t let it discourage you from trying again. You are not alone in this, we are all gardeners and we are all learning all the time. These are some of the most common challenges that all of us face:

What Plants Need
What Plants Need

Last year at the end of summer, we picked our first ear of corn that we grew ourselves! Unfortunately, that ear of corn was at most 4 inches long. Failure is part of the deal when gardening AND garden failures happen even to the most experienced of gardeners as well as beginners alike. You will have resounding successes with some plants, and experience colossal failures with others. Try to remember that gardening is about learning and experimenting as part of the experience. Every failure teaches you how to be successful next time.

Something that really clicked for me, was remembering how my grandmother called her plants her “babies”. At the time, I thought it quite strange and it made me feel slightly jealous. Now, many years later, it’s as if a light bulb went on in my head. I have a new understanding of “hardening off” and a new perspective about a plant’s needs.

How to Deal with a Hollyhock Rust Infection
How to Deal with a Hollyhock Rust Infection

Have you ever looked at your Hollyhocks only to find unsightly spots and lacey or dying leaves and asked yourself, “what is wrong with my Hollyhocks?” These different kinds of deterioration are likely the handiwork of Hollyhock Rust.

 

What Growing Zone is Edmonton?
What Growing Zone is Edmonton?

Explore the history of horticultural zones, what horticultural zone Alberta is, what growing zone Edmonton is, how horticultural zones benefit the home gardener, and some hardy perennials for Edmonton’s horticultural zone with us in this blog.

How To Grow Tomatoes in Alberta
How To Grow Tomatoes in Alberta

Tomatoes are probably the strongest draw for the non-gardener to venture into trying to grow something because there really is nothing like a fresh tomato.  Tomatoes are originally native to the tropics, producing smaller berry-like fruit than we know today. Here are a few tips on the environment of their choice and care.