Dunnville Horticulture Society

You can save your geraniums

Favourite summer plants can overwinter says Marlene Link

It’s not too late to save your geraniums. If you had geraniums in your summer containers or in your garden, you can save them for next spring.

Overwintering your geraniums can be done in different ways. Some people bring in the whole pot and place them in a south facing window. Leaf drop may occur and you should water them weekly. In mid-winter you can take cuttings (slips) and pot them up in fresh potting soil.

Another method is to pull the geranium out of the soil and hang them upside down in a cool dark corner of the basement. Roots will go dormant, then wait for spring and repot them in fresh soil. I have also stored them in a brown paper bag.

Larger pots can also be placed in the basement on the floor to dry out and go dormant. About February give them a bit of water and watch for new growth. Then in the spring repot them in fresh potting soil, trim back to the new growth. By May, they should look strong and healthy and ready to go outside to enjoy.

Due to Covid19 restrictions, the Dunnville Horticultural Society has suspended member meetings. If you have questions or comments, please contact DHS President Deb Zynomirski at debzyn@gmail.com.

Get Growing: tips from local gardeners

Drying tomato seeds

Introducing Brad and Susan Emery – avid gardeners and members of the Dunnville Horticultural Society. They will be taking over the Get Growing column and are sure to provide many insightful gardening tips. Many thanks to Lester Fretz who is passing the baton. Lester’s many informative articles provided readers with seasons of hearty gardens! Thank you Lester!

While most people are busy planting their fall garden, we are focusing on seed saving. We find it a rather addictive task of gardening, and due to the size of our garden, saving our seeds is a great benefit.

We let the herbs and other veggies such as radishes and fennel bolt (allow to flower and go to seed), to take their seeds for next season. Many other seeds such as tomatoes, peppers, and squash are collected while they are being prepared for dinner. Just don’t forget to label your seed collection! All squash seeds look alike once removed from the squash.

It’s not just your vegetable seeds either; I love my Gerbera daisies and would love a whole field of them. Collecting seed from them was a cinch, and next year I might just be able to start with a large bed of them.

Expand and diversify your garden by bringing your extra seeds to a Seedy Saturday event for trading. In February, the Wellandport Community Centre and the Dunnville Horticultural Society both host a seed exchange. This year we traded for some Chinese Long Beans and are so happy to have them as an addition to our garden.

Check out this resource for seed saving: seeds.ca/sw8/web/home.

Stay in touch with the Dunnville Horticultural Society via posts on Facebook, or visit  dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org.

Happy gardening!

Fall has arrived!

By Deb Zynomirski President, Dunnville Horticultural Society

The clocks are turning back, the leaves are turning colour, and the birds are turning south. All signs that autumn is well and truly upon us. While many welcome the cooler temperatures and beautiful fall colours, many others (myself included) will miss the warmth and sunny days of summer.

It’s time to start thinking of all the gardening activities that need to be done to prepare for winter.  Here is list of some of the things you may be doing over the coming weeks:

1) Raking leaves

2) Fertilizing your lawn

3) Pruning your late blooming shrubs

4) Pulling out the annuals

5) Planting spring bulbs

6) Raking leaves, again!

7) Dividing and replanting perennials

8) Disassembling water fountains and pumps

9) Putting away patio furniture

10) Emptying and cleaning hummingbird feeders

11) Relocating trees and shrubs as they enter dormancy

12) Emptying hanging baskets

13) Emptying and cleaning out birdhouses

14) Raking leaves, AGAIN!

So many leaves, so much raking! You can also use a mulching blade on your lawnmower to shred your leaves and add nutrients back into your lawn, thereby minimizing yard waste. Leaving wet leaves on your lawn over winter can promote mould and mildew growth.

As a rule, I always leave the leaf litter on my flower beds for the winter. They protect tender plants and provide many nutrients for the soil as they break down. In addition, they harbour worms and many beneficial insects (including ground nesting bees) over the winter.

The Dunnville Horticultural Society will be busy with our annual Clean Up Day on October 17, 2020.  We are looking for volunteers to assist in pulling the annuals and tidying up our public flower beds.  We will meet at 9 a.m. at the east bridge parking lot. Bring your gloves and mask; social distancing will be observed. For more information, contact me, Deb Zynomirski, at debzyn@gmail.com or phone 416-566-9337. Happy gardening!

Dunnville Horticultural Society has tips on what to do with that overgrown Christmas cactus

Marlene Link offers some tips on how to repot these plants

Many people wonder how and when to repot a Christmas cactus.

The Christmas cactus is a jungle cactus that prefers humidity and moisture. It’s not like its prickly cactus cousins that like warm and arid climates.

Usually a winter bloomer of different colours, they eventually require repotting.

So, when should you repot your cactus? In the spring when new growth begins and blooming ends. Never attempt to repot while it is blooming.

The Christmas cactus is happiest when its roots are slightly crowded. Usually every three to four years is adequate, or you can wait until the plant begins to look tired.

Use a lightweight potting mix, i.e. succulent soil. Repot in a slightly larger pot.

Remove the plant and gently loosen the roots and all the soil. Place in a new pot 2.5 centimetres (or 1 inch) below the rim and fill in with new soil. Pat lightly and water the plants to remove air pockets.

Place your plant in a shady spot for two to three days and then return to normal care.

Pink leaves indicate that your Christmas cactus has not received enough fertilizer, and unopened buds that dry up and fall off can be caused by changes in temperature and drafts. There are Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving cactus plants, and each one blooms when their names indicate.

Looking for a fun activity, or want to help out in your community? The Dunnville Horticultural Society is doing its annual Clean Up Day on Oct. 17. Join us by the east bridge parking lot at 9 a.m., when we will be removing all the annuals from our public flower beds in Dunnville.

Also, a quick shout out to all those weeders who assisted in keeping these gardens looking their best this summer – a big thank you!

More information about the Dunnville Horticultural Society is available on our website www.dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org or our Facebook page. Happy gardening!

Marlene Link is a member of the Dunnville Horticultural Society.