Need A Garden Buddy in Northern Ontario... February

Debbie_N_Ontario(zone 2)February 1, 2006

Hi there!

Ground Hog day will soon be here and I can't believe it! We have had a mild winter so far, only a few days of -30's so I'm not complaining! I could handle winter if it was like this every year.

We have gotten more snow though and had to have the guy come around and shovel the driveway out again, had about 4 inches or so. So that is about 8 inches since Sunday. Even though we get more snow with mild temps I still like the mild temps better *S*

I checked out Walmart again today for wave petunia seeds but no more varieties since last week. I wish they get a person who actually knows about gardening to work in the garden section of the store. Also picked up a bottle of No Damp, so I am getting ready for planting. Just haven't done it yet, still can't find where I put the soiless potting mix,,, I know it's around here somewhere... LOL

Marcia, when do u normally start your petunias? You'd think I'd remember after all these years but I forget. I am planning on starting the wave ones really early but don't want to start the regular kinds that early.

I'm still shredding up paper too so I'll have lots to use as mulch when spring comes around, to help keep the weeds down. I'm hoping that the guy who does our shovelling also does weeding. I know he cuts grass in the summer time so maybe he does yard work too. That would be great if he did, I'm going to need help this summer again. Even though I'm trying to exercise I don't seem to be losing any weight or getting stronger,,, maybe I'm just too impatient? *G*

Well take care and I hope Gale, Janet, Jak and everyone else are doing ok.

Debbie :-)

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Hi Deb and All:
To Deb: thanx for keeping this strand alive. I think we are an unique faction in the gardening "world" as our needs are very diversified based on our environment and isolation. Its not always easy to get the plants, info and supplies we need for gardening in NWO.

Here's my scope on shredders:
I also have a shredder that I use regularly. I shred every week and have a stockpile for the spring to use as mulch.
In fact I bought my shredder at Staples, and the sales clerk was amazed that I wanted to purchase a shredder for gardening purposes. I was the first customer that he had encountered w/ this specific need. BTW I didn't buy the cheapest shredder but one that shredded lots of sheets at one time and also cross shredded the sheets. (faster break down in MHO) More than $100.00 investment but I felt it was well worth it. Confidentiality is a plus for shredding personal papers etc, but mulch was my MAIN focus. As an additional plus I am also re-cycling. That is also a positive focus for the planet and for the soul!

However I did not like the "look" of the mulch(shredded paper)in my garden so I got my husband (in the fall) to gather up bagged leaves in the city. He got lots! These are also stockpiled for the spring. I plan to cover the shredded paper w/ the leaves so my gardens have a more organic look. I have lots of both kinds of mulch so it should not be a problem to block out weeds and give me the look I want.

My main focus is the flower gardens but we have soooo much mulch that it will also be used in our vegetable garden specifically our 60' aspargus bed.

Info on deals at Walmart, CTC etc. in NWO are also appreciated too. PLEASE SHARE THE DEALS OUT THERE.

Geo in NW Ontario

    Bookmark   February 1, 2006 at 7:23PM
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Debbie_N_Ontario(zone 2)

Hi Geo *waving*

I have been using shredded paper for years now, use to get huge bags of it from a business down the street, but a year or two ago I got a 20 dollar shredder from Walmart and started doing my own. It does get jammed up sometimes, but does a pretty good job. When a bag gets full I just throw it in the porch until spring. *S*

I also didn't like the look of the newspapers so I buy a few bags of wood mulch and sprinkle a thin layer on the top to hide the newspaper. I tried leaves for a few years, but found that weed seeds came in with the leaves so I stopped using them.
I still get people calling me in the fall to see if I need the leaves but I have to tell them no thanks.

I think this summer I'm going to sprinkle some lawn fertilizer in the beds to help break down the newspaper so it doesn't rob the soil of nitrogen. I love using the newspaper as I also like to recycle and love the fact that there are no weed seeds in that mulch. *S*

I have worm composting in the cellar but have almost completely stopped doing it as after 15 years. I have found it too hard to lift the heavy castings up the stairs and carry the buckets outside. So in the spring I will start "trying" to bring the last of the castings outside and that should help the plants too. I have six big rubbermaid containers that I have been using. The hostas and roses really seem to love the stuff.

Take care
Debbie :-)

    Bookmark   February 2, 2006 at 7:22AM
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marciaz3 Tropical 3 Northwestern Ontario

Hi there!

The frenzy is beginning, i see! It must be the mild winter, and the groundhogs' forecast, eh? I did all my winter sowing in January - well, all the perennials anyway. Forty-two containers! I'll probably start annuals around the end of March, beginning of April.

I've been going through catalogues and making lists, but haven't ordered anything yet. Oh wait, i lied. I forgot - i did a small order from Botanus because some of the things i wanted said "limited quantities". So, i've ordered Aster dumosus 'Schneekissen', Hemerocallis hybrida 'First Knight' (really pretty!), Heucherella 'Stoplight', Phlox subulata 'Candy Stripe', and 2 Trillium undulatum. I've always wanted some trilliums and finally succumbed! :)

Checking my notes, Debbie - i sowed impatiens and petunias on February 13 last year. This year i'm going to try to hold off until the end of February because i ended up with so much in the house after taking cuttings and then cuttings of the cuttings - it was a little crazy! And i'm hoping for a nicer May so that i can take things outside sooner. If the snow goes early enough, i may get a greenhouse, but i'm not holding my breath!

Here's a hint for avoiding damping off. Water your seedlings with chamomile tea. I did that last year and everything was fine. You can also sprinkle cinnamon on your soil and that's supposed to prevent it too.

Coincidentally, i just got myself a shredder today. It was on sale at Walmart for only $5, so if it calves out on me, i'm not out too much. I was reading on another forum where people shred junk mail and use it in compost, and i thought that was a heck of a good idea. There's always a lot of extra paper around here so i might as well make dirt as burn it!

Geo, you should check the discount aisle at Walmart. I don't know if Thunder Bay's store has one, but ours in Dryden has some gardening things on sale. Today i got a pretty wrought iron plant hook - not a huge discount, but a bit of a deal. There were quite a few others there, as well as some different containers. I haven't found any deals at Canadian Tire yet, but our Co-op had McKenzie seeds on for 33¢ each!

Back to the weather - it's -25° tonight! That's about as cold as it has been all winter! It isn't supposed to last. Good thing because that feels darn cold this year!!

I guess that means i should be off to snuggle under the duvet! Happy garden dreams, everyone!


    Bookmark   February 4, 2006 at 11:29PM
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Hi Marcia:
Thanx for the heads up re Walmart. If I have time this week I'll check it out.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2006 at 5:11PM
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den_vic(BC Canada Z8b)

Hello Debbie

My folks in the North Bay area are knee-deep in snow. After a rather mild winter, they've got all of the snow at once. I just saw a photo of sw Ontario with a bus half buried in snow while bulb season has started here. I've started gardening but most folks here usually wait until March. Strange year for most of us. Here are early prunus blooms.


Here is a link that might be useful: Feb prunus blooms

    Bookmark   February 9, 2006 at 12:00AM
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den_vic(BC Canada Z8b)

Here are some February tree blossoms in Victoria, BC. Same amount of winter daylight time as North Bay or Sudbury on average but totally different with seasons. Some prunus specimens are filled with flowers. Bulbs everywhere I look. If you can retire to Victoria, do so. It's amazing how many flowers blossom in Victoria from Feb to May.

Here is a link that might be useful: February Flowers in Victoria, BC

    Bookmark   February 10, 2006 at 8:49PM
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Debbie_N_Ontario(zone 2)

Marcia, sounds like you have been going crazy with the winter sowing again this year. I still haven't tried it, maybe one of these years I'll give it a try. I did start some wave petunias that I picked up at Walmart and some silver wave I had from last year, also some white impatiens as I didn't winter over any from last year. I still have geraniums in a bag in the basement I'll have to pot up soon. thanks for letting me know when u did yours. I think we have a bit of a shorter growing season than u do, so I should be ok, as long as I don't run outta space, though I have a lot of big window sills. Still have to get the amaryllis going again and they take up a lot of space! Thanks for the hint about the tea too, I'll have to try that. *S*

And 5 bucks for a shredder! Wow what a great deal!! We don't get deals like that in our Walmart, wish we did. I have started up another worm bin so a lot of my newspaper went in that. I have found that making compost here is too much work and takes way to long so that is why I have the worm bins, they are much faster! I like using the newspaper as mulch after shredding it up, then putting a thin layer of nice looking wood chips on top to make it look nice. Saves a lot of money doing it that way than using just the wood chips. *S*

hi den vic, yes North Bay got a lot of snow, we have gotten another 2 ft in about 3 or 4 days too, we are up to 4 ft now and growing! I don't think I'd want to retire to Victoria for the simple fact I don't think I could stand the rain all winter. We may get very cold temps but at least we do get sun. I have a g/f that lived outside of Vancouver for a couple of years and she couldn't stand it, they moved back to Alberta because the rain in the winter was too depressing she said. Plus u have black widow spiders and the brown recluse spiders and seeing as I have almost a phobia about spiders, never mind ones that can really harm a person, no thanks! Though going on vacation there for a week or two would be nice. LOL Love the pics, those blooms sure look pretty I bet they smell nice too! *S*

Take care
Debbie :-)

    Bookmark   February 10, 2006 at 10:00PM
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den_vic(BC Canada Z8b)

If the entire coast was as wet as the north coast, then their could not be tree blossoms in Victoria during February and March. We have long Canadian winter nights and we need sun to make things blossom. Victoria may suffer from drought in summer. Victoria is not Vancouver. They are mountains giving rain to Vancouver and Victoria is in a rainshadow created by WA State. Victoria is a little milder than Vancouver but it's the extra sun that makes us 2 to 3 weeks early in spring.

Some people think that northern Ontario has no summer but there's heat in summer. I've experienced hot summer weather in Sudbury and North Bay. The snow right now from the Soo to North Bay is a bit much right now -I know. But people as close as southern Ontario think that the current situation in North Bay is rather normal. I'd expect it in the snow belt but not North Bay on any regular winter.

If stereotypes were true then North Bay would never get hot, muggy days in summer and Victoria would never have an annual flower count before spring. Barrie gets more snow than Toronto. Vancouver gets more rain than Victoria. Both places are not that far apart but their are not identical. I moved from Ontario and realized how many stereotypes are made larger by people. It's like saying that Florida never gets frost. It does. And the Med never gets snow which it does. We have such black & white views of the world....


Here is a link that might be useful: Outflow Blossoms

    Bookmark   February 18, 2006 at 2:53PM
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