Dunnville Horticulture Society

No More Spindly Plants!

Lester C. Fretz



Growing vegetable plants indoors has some limitations which can easily be overcome.  Probably growing one’s own tomato plants indoors is most common. With limited indoor lighting, preventing the plants from becoming spindly is a challenge, however it’s easy to prevent.


The accompanying photo illustrates how vigorous plants can be grown indoors.  The paper cup has been cut away solely to illustrate an easy and creative way to grow plants which will not be spindly.  In addition, this method also produces a much better root system than the plants one normally buys.


The cut-away shows how about an 3 cm. of soil is placed in the bottom of a cup.  A seed is then sown in the top 1 cm of the moist soil and then placed in a warm, well lit location. The third week of March is a good time to do this.


 As the seedling grows, keep adding soil up to its lower leaves.  This will not only keep the plant strong and sturdy but it will also induce roots along its entire stem.


As soil is added, compacting will make the removal of the rooted plant from its “pot” more suitable for transplanting.  Carefully remove the cup and place the plant and soil into a hole of comparable depth.  Remember also to put a handful of crushed egg shells in the hole to prevent blossom end rot while watering with a high phosphorous soluble  fertilizer.





March Program Evening

Debbie Thomas

-prepared by Debbie Thomas- in absence of Secretary


Program called to order 7pm by Pres Debbie Thomas. A warm welcome to everyone

attending and acknowledgment of  the many new faces that came out. A brief overview of

Housekeeping, importance of sign in sheet followed.

A surprise visit from Dunnville Councillor  Bernie Corbett, he was introduced and gave an

overview of past and ongoing projects DHS is partnering on with Haldimand County.He gave

Heartfelt  words of gratitude on behalf of himself and Haldimand County to DHS membership for all their community contributions, their hard work, the special projects and beautification of Dunnville.

Sharon Slack Pres. of Haldimand Horticultural Society was in attendance to night, and thanked for attending and bringing along information on their up – and -coming Seedy Saturday. It was mentioned that DHS and Hald Hort share some members, and the importance of sharing information and having a strong relationship as both societies represent Haldimand County residents.

 DHS business was kept to a minimum tonight, highlighting the Silent Auction for gardening books, Early Bird membership draw, Ways and Means table, Volunteering opportunities available within the society. Volunteer sign- up sheets were circulated..

Deb Zynormiski  thanked  Barb Whyte, Bev McLean, Marie Bak, Florence Zynomirski and Marlene Link for providing tonight’s delicious refreshments.  Deb Z requested volunteers for  April’s program. Thank you to Beth Powell, Jenny Elgersma, Susan Milligan, Sandra Gill and Joan King for volunteering.

7:20 Break was called for 10 minutes, giving everyone time to grab refreshments, and final opportunity for draws and book auction.

7:30 called to order.  VP Deb Zynomirski  introduced Adam Chamberlin, Project Manager Forestry for Haldimand County. Adam gave an overview of the tree canopy within Haldimand County. He discussed current tree health, importance of diversification going forward, the devastating effects such as the ash trees, the current high component of Maples within Haldimand towns in need of trimming and removing.They have currently documented 13,674 trees as of March 7th within Haldimand streetscapes and noted 80% of trees in good health. The hope is that all of Haldimand’s parks, cemeteries and public lands will be documented. So   going forward Haldimand will have a maintenance program in place for the trimming, cutting, replanting of appropriate species with an emphasis on native trees to ensure a strong healthy diversified canopy, providing health benefits, aesthetics and cost effective management.

A new memorial tree planting program will be available, contact Adam. 905 318 5932 ext 6512  achamberlin@haldimandcounty.on.ca    Q&A followed.

Following Adam,  Pres Debbie Thomas introduced DHS newest member Dan Mckay who will be leading DHS newest project for 2018. Dan gave an overview of his involvement with the Thompson Creek revitalization project that began in the 80’s along with plans to continue and complete some of the items that had been on the wish list.  Dan will be working closely with Adam Chamberlin identifying the Carolinian trees previously planted. DHS plans to have markers attached with QR codes, and establish paths throughout the Carolinian forest  along both sides of Thompson creek and through the tall grass area. This will  provide the public with a natural educational setting to walk and enjoy. This is a continuation of last year’s successful partnership with Hald County that saw improvements made to Centennial Park.  Improvements included pathways linking Lions Park and Centennial Park, infrastructure improvements and accessibility to the bridge over Thompson Creek which benefitted everyone. Dan will provide DHS membership with updates as project progresses. Q&A followed.

Next up, DHS member Nick Huitema made a surprise announcement. He acquired some very special tomato seeds that had been in space. A small quantity of seeds were given to 3 DHS members Beth Powell, Lester Fretz and Jan Loots. They have been asked to nurture & grow these very special seeds along with using a very special blend of nutrients and report back to our group on the progress. Maybe even a taste test?

Early bird draw was tabled till April, draw will include memberships purchased by March 15.

Silent Auction book winners were called, everyone thanked for participating.

Closing remarks included how DHS gets information out through website, emails, Facebook, bulletin board and acknowledged Tamara Botting from the Sachem for coming out tonight. The important role our local papers play, in helping us to get information out to public.  DHS member Sandi Marr writes a monthly gardening column in the Sachem. DHS member Lester Fretz has a monthly gardening column in the Haldimand Press and DHS Pres. Debbie Thomas has a monthly DHS Hort Udate in the Haldimand Press.

Everyone thanked for coming out and asked to please come again, always welcome.

April’s speaker is Jim Lounsbury of Vineland Nurseries, presenting on “The Art of Pruning”.

Meeting adjourned at 8:30

Ways & means followed.

Try Something Different: Grow Peanuts

Lester C. Fretz


Although few gardeners in Southern Ontario grow peanuts, they are an extremely easy,  productive and fun crop to grow if you follow a few simple suggestions. 


Peanuts are a legume and not a nut.  The nut forms at the end of its flower (the ovary) which bends over and the “peg” grows into the soil .  One plant can easily produce 30-50 peanuts.


Some varieties such as Jumbo Virginia, may take up 140 days to mature, Valencia , available from the Ontario Seed Company is the earliest and does well in Ontario maturing in less than 100 days. 


To speed up the growing process, plant nuts indoors in  4″ pots about April 1st  either in the shell or hulled.  If hulled, do not remove the pinkish/brown seed covering.  They may take up to 20 days to sprout


 When the soil warms to  60-70F, they can then be transplanted to the garden (10″ apart) in a rich, sandy loam with crushed egg shells for calcium.  Keep it watered and fertilize  with phosphate but no nitrogen.  Hill around its base when it reaches 1′ high. It may grow 3′ wide.  Fortunately, the plant has no pests.


When the leaves yellow, pull it leaving the nuts attached to the tendrils and hang it to dry in an airy space.


Of course, you’ll save a few before roasting (@ 3500F) for the following year’s seed.  Don’t be influenced by the myth that peanuts cannot be grown in your garden!






Dunnville Hort Update

Debbie Thomas
At February’s program, members and guests enjoyed a presentation given by guest speaker Kim Dickie.
Kim’s talk was very interactive as questions on everything from oasis types & uses, how to prolong the life of
fresh flowers, watering, cutting, best flower choices, the use of themes and everyday containers.
Most important, Kim emphasized the art of arranging is to be enjoyed, that anyone can learn the tricks of trade.
Kim donated two beautiful fresh rose arrangements, won by Steve Elgersma and Marilyn Sutor.
     Attendees as always enjoyed friendship, refreshments and draws. DHS member John Wilson donated a beautifully
delicious basket of goodies, Angela  Latham  was the lucky winner of this free draw.
     Next program Thursday March 15th. Guest speaker Adam Chamberlin Project Manager Forestry for Haldimand County will  be joining DHS to discuss Haldimand’s tree canopy. Adam’s position was created a little over 7 months ago.
 An opportunity to hear and ask questions on whats been happening, plans moving forward as well as programs.
DHS member  Dan Mckay will follow, providing an overview of  DHS plans for the Thompson Creek Area
adjoining Centennial Park. Dan was involved with the original rehabilitation over twenty years ago when over 33 species of Carolinian trees and shrubs were planted along both sides of the creek, class two wetlands were restored and tall grass habit was planted.  DHS in partnership with Haldimand County  plan to commence Phase two, a continuation of the successful project that saw improvements made to Centennial Park last year.
     Program begins 7pm, doors open  6:30pm. at the Optimist hall in Dunnville. A free public program, everyone welcome.
     For information  visit www.dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org or contact DHS Pres. Debbie Thomas  905 774 3064
picture taken by Deb Zynomirski
pictured guest speaker Kim Dickie demonstrating flower arranging do’s and don’ts

A Taste of Spring

Sandi Marr

By March, we’d all agree. We’re eager for winter to end. While we patiently wait for Mother nature to gift us with spring, let’s bring springtime to our homes. Forcing flowers indoors is the process of causing a plant to flower before its natural season.

     The first step in forcing flowers is to determine which plants are good candidates for the procedure. Early-blooming, woody plants are best to force. Begin with forsythia bushes and pussy willows.  February and March are the best months to force flowers inside. By the end of March and beginning of April, they are ready to burst open outdoors, naturally.

     With pruning shears in hand, pick a day that is above freezing. Cut forsythia stems in 2 foot lengths. Bring the stems inside and put them in a bucket of warm water. With your pruning shears, cut another inch off the bottoms of the submerged stems. This second cut, on an angle, performed underwater where air cannot act as a drying agent, will promote water intake. Allow the forsythia stems to soak up the warm water for several hours. 

   Change the water and add floral preservative, if you have it, in the warm water. Once again, re-cut the stems, on an angle, underwater. Place the stems in a high-humidity, sunny environment to speed up the process. (Warning: forcing flowers may become habit-forming as you bring a bit of springtime  to your house. Confession: it has become an annual rite of spring for me!)

     For more gardening tips, join us at the Optimist Hall, 7-9pm on March 15 to hear Adam Chamberlin, Haldimand County Project Manager Forestry “What is Happening to Our Tree Canopy in Haldimand.” As well, Dan McKay will provide a short update on the Thompson Creek Project undertaken by the Dunnville Horticultural Society & Garden Club (DHS). Doors open at 6:30 pm.  Refreshments are served and the evening is free to members and non-members. Contact Debbie Thomas, President (905) 774-3064 debbie.j.thomas@gmail.com or Vice-President Deb Zynomirski debzyn@gmail.com. Visit our Facebook page and website at: www.dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org.




February Program Evening

February Program Night. Thursday February 15 2018. Minutes by Petra Kruis-Daly
Debbie opened the meeting at 7:03 welcoming everyone.

1. Debbie announced the new Optimist hall sound system recently installed.. A $500 donation from the Dunnville Horticulture Society helped with the purchase. Everything should work and sound better, no more loose wires. Thanks to the Optimist club for doing this.
2. A reminder to please keep your email address updated as DHS Treas. Kim Christoff regularly sends monthly updates, meeting minutes, news or coming events not to be missed.
3. Check out our new brochure recently printed. Take note of all the wonderful things we will be doing this year. Some details on a few events yet to be finalized. TBA
4. Haldimand County has hired an Arborist, Adam Chamberlin, who is working on improving the tree canopy of Haldimand County. As well we have a new member Dan McKay, who is heading up our newest project. With these two knowledgeable gentlemen, our club has great plans to extend last year’s project at Centennial Park into the Thompson Creek wetlands, and Carolinian forested area. March program details to be announced.
5. Please sign up on our volunteer sheets such as:, The weeding crew (18 beds), Planting Day, Lions Home and Garden Show, Plant Sale, Judges for the fall flower show, Decorating town flower pots, Garden clean up. Volunteers greatly appreciated by board.
6. Deb Z spoke about challenging yourself to sign up for a volunteer position such as a summer weeder. Making the volunteering a social activity with a friend makes it more fun.
7. Thank you to Ellen Gunther, who has offered to collect all the recycled items at each program night and take it home to recycle.
8. Thank you to Ellen Gunther, Angela Lathen, Bev and Wray McLean, Marilyn Stavinga and Denise’s mother, for providing the delicious snacks for tonight. Thank you to Florence Zynomirski, Barb Whyte, Bev McLean and Marie Bak for volunteering for March.
9. Debbie reminded us that we need to always sign in every program night. This list is used if there is an emergency, but also it is used to give door prizes away during the night.
10. Debbie and Deb attended the recent Chamber of Commerce AGM and announced that Lorn Boyko was nominated as citizen of the year. Also that Dunnville Hort. is always recognized at events for our community activities and told our service is appreciated.
11. Debbie announced the break for snacks and purchasing ways and means tickets.

At 7:35 Deb introduced Kim Dickie, floral designer. Kim is a DHS member, a flower arranger and floral teacher. Her experience had earned her a position teaching flower arranging at Mohawk College for 15 years. The members enjoyed a lovely lesson on how to arrange many styles of floral arrangements. A question and answer session followed with some fantastic ideas and advise. Deb thanked Kim for her informative talk, and her generous donation of two beautiful arrangements. Steve Elgersma and Marilyn Sutor were the happy winners of the draw.

Finishing Business:
14. John Wilson donated a beautiful basket of goodies, prize winner was Angela Latham.
15. Debbie closed the meeting with a reminder of the next meeting. Please mark it on your calendar as it should prove to be a very interesting night.
16. Meeting was adjourned at 8:25 pm.
17. Ways and means followed.