Gardener's Notebook - Time to prepare for upcoming hort. show

Time marches on, and it’s only a few weeks until the Yorkton and District Horticultural Society Annual Fruit, Flower and Vegetable Show, Wednesday, August 7 from 1:00 till 5:00 p.m. at St. Gerard’s Parish Complex, 125 Third Avenue North, Yorkton.  This is a chance to see the best of the gardening season! Your admission includes coffee or tea and dainties, so bring a friend or two and enjoy a most pleasant gardening afternoon! Everyone is welcome!

The other day we were talking with a gardening friend who mentioned using grass clippings as mulch in the garden. It’s a method of recycling that has been around for a long time. Grass clippings are not only beneficial to leave on the lawn, but useful in the garden, too. They help to retain moisture in the soil, they help to cool the soil, and they return nitrogen and nutrients to the soil.

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Mom’s garden was always innovative: not only did Sweet Pea love to try new vegetables and flowers, but my dear parents enjoyed trying new methods of gardening as well. They both loved to read, and always had stacks of gardening magazine and books that they would read and discuss together. I remember with great nostalgia how they would sit at the kitchen table, enjoying a cuppa coffee, and say “So what should we plant in the garden this year?” And there was always something new to try! It was a wonderful and educational example and a very special family time for us. Working together in our garden was a treasured joy.

I told you about how Mom loved growing many kinds of tomatoes each year; well, I remember that she used to lay newspaper down between the neat rows of tomatoes, then Daddy would spread fresh grass clippings over the newspaper. Not only did this keep the weeds down, but it made a most attractive looking “green” path between the rows. By the end of the summer the clippings would be nice and dry, the newspaper would break down, and then the entire “path” could be worked back into the soil.

For an easier approach, grass clippings can be spread between your garden rows, but with some restraint. I read that fresh grass clippings should not be more than 1/4 inch deep, because they will take long to dry and break down, and we could run the risk of smelly mulch, and also the mulch might stay too damp and encourage mold or disease. Not a pleasant picture for our gardens! But dry grass clippings can be applied a little more thickly.  

And of course it goes without saying that if you have spread any chemicals on your lawn, you don’t want those clippings to end up on your garden.

Another gardening friend, who always has a beautiful garden, was also telling us about how she makes a kind of “grass-clipping tea” that her plants just love!  While this earthy mixture may not smell very fragrant, it offers up nutrients galore for the plants! They’ll be smiling after you give them this refreshing treat!

Speaking of trying something new, some members of our group recently got together to make hypertuffa planters. Some made “draped” planters, while some of us made more traditional containers and bowls. It was great fun, and the results were beautiful!  Thank you Allona for hosting this great event!  Gardeners, if you’d like to try a fun garden project, look up directions for hypertuffa planters and give them a try!

Visit us at www.yorktonhort.ca to see what’s happening with the hort society, have a great week, and be sure to wear a hat!

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