What do you think of when you hear the word “buckwheat”? The first thing that comes to mind for me are the delicious buns that Mom used to make with buckwheat filling: served hot with golden butter melting into the steaming bun, they were ambrosia on a cold winter day! But setting aside my bib and fork, as a gardener, I think of buckwheat as a favorite cover crop mentioned often on that great TV program, “Victory Garden”. Gardening guru Roger Swain regularly used buckwheat as a rotational crop in empty spots in the garden. The buckwheat would keep down weeds, retain moisture in the soil, and when worked into the soil, would be a green manure crop, loaded with nitrogen.
But now I learned something else about buckwheat. Skimming through an old seed catalogue (I know many of you are like us and keep them for reference!) I saw something called “Kiss Me Over The Garden Gate”. How could you not notice a plant with a name like that? The amazing thing is, it’s a relative of buckwheat! Kiss Me Over The Garden Gate is an annual that grows quickly, and can reach heights of five or six feet. It likes rich, well-drained soil, full sun, and does not need a lot of fertilizer.
The plant has oval shaped leaves and hanging clusters of small pink flowers. If we were going to plant this lovely, easy-care plant in our gardens, we’d have to remember that the seeds need a period of cold before they will germinate, so setting them in the fridge for a while is important. (But I read that we should keep the seeds away from fruit and veggies in the fridge, because the gas given off by produce might damage the flower seeds. This can also apply to flower bulbs, so we should file that bit of information away for future reference).
It’s something new and easy-care for us to try: Kiss MeOver The Garden Gate. I’m sure it’s a name that we won’t forget!
If you’re feeling the spring gardening bug and you’re itching to do something garden-related, the Yorkton and District Horticultural Society is planning a one day trip to “Gardenscape” in Saskatoon on Saturday, March 31. It will be great: all you have to do is get on the bus, relax, and enjoy the company of fellow gardeners. Gardenscape has many ideas for us; it’s like a one day mini-getaway! Hort club members, please decide by March 19 if you are going and let Liz know (782-2830). After this date, if any seats are still available, they will be open to the general public.
Our next meeting is on Wednesday, March 21 at 7 p.m. in the Sunshine Room at SIGN, North Street. Our special guest speakers will be Frank Woloschuk and Glen Tymiak speaking on “Planning, Planting and Growing In A Greenhouse”. Both Glen and Frank and very knowledgeable gardeners, so I am sure that this will be a great session with a lot of practical information, even if we don’t have a greenhouse! At this time of year, isn’t it wonderful to hear about growing things? Even though the winter has been kind, it has still been a long prairie winter, and I’m sure we’re all ready to dig out our gardening gloves, haul out a few planters, and maybe toss a few seeds into the soil to watch the miracle of a new season unfold. We hope you can join us!
Have you sent away any orders for something from the seed catalogues? Even though we buy a lot of seeds and plants at our local greenhouses, there’s something about getting a package in the mail with a few seed packages! And somehow, it always arrives on a day that’s blustery or cold, just in time to make us remember that spring is, indeed, just around the corner!
Have a great week!