Dunnville Horticulture Society

Get Growing—Tips from local gardeners

Since this is the time to get those gardens in, let’s talk a little about companion planting. This is something we started to experiment with a few years ago after looking into the Three Sisters Method of gardening; the three sisters being corn, squash, and beans. The general concept of companion planting is to grow plants symbiotically to deter weeds and pests, enrich the soil, and support each other.

For instance, the corn offers the beans necessary support and the pole beans, considered the giving sister, pulls nitrogen from the air and brings it to the soil for the benefit of all three. Then the large leaves of the sprawling squash protect the threesome by creating living mulch that shades the soil, keeping it cool and moist and preventing weeds. The prickly squash leaves also keep away raccoons and other pests, which don’t like to step on them. Together, the three sisters provide a sustainable soil fertility.

Although we grow all three of these plants, we are not growing them together because we don’t have the room in our garden for the squash, so we grow it elsewhere on our property. We use companion planting because we really don’t wish to use pesticides and any chemical assistants unless necessary. Let’s not forget though that companion planting isn’t just about pairing vegetables together. Herbs and flowering plants are also part of this mix, which will bring in those pollinators and also deter pests. Some flowering plants such as nasturtiums are also edible. I’m hoping this year we get enough to make some nasturtium hot sauce. Also, did you know that growing basil with your tomatoes may make them sweeter?

What will you pair together?

Brad and Susan Emery are members of the Dunnville Horticultural Society (DHS). Due to COVID-19 restrictions, DHS has suspended member meetings.

            If you have questions or comments, please contact DHS President Deb Zynomirski at debzyn@gmail.com or check out     dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org. Note that 2021 DHS memberships are currently available through mail. Send a cheque or money order ($10 single, $15 couple) to Dunnville Horticultural Society, P.O. Box 274, Dunnville, Ontario N1A 2X5.

Dunnville Horticultural Society: Prairie smoke an attractive plant native to the area

Marlene Link encourages gardeners to plant more of these early bloomers

Geum triflorum (prairie smoke) is also known as old man’s whiskers, due to its appearance, with its long, pinkish, hairy seed heads. It also resembles smoke hovering over the plant, hence the name.

Some people may think they look like little Troll dolls, which I’m sure some remember from earlier years.

It flowers in the spring, and the reddish flower remains attractive for two to three months, then the seed plumes appear.

It prefers well-drained soil in full to partial sun, making it suitable for rock gardens.

Divide them in spring after flowering, or in the fall.

Prairie smoke is one of the first prairie flowers to bloom in the spring; a sure sign that the growing season has begun.

This native wildflower is an attractive little plant that should be utilized in our gardens more often.

They grow 30 centimetres (or one foot) tall and attract butterflies, bees and hummingbirds.

If you like different looking flowers like me, then this is the plant for you.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Dunnville Horticultural Society has suspended member meetings. If you have questions or comments, please contact president Deb Zynomirski at debzyn@gmail.com or check out our website at www.dunnvillehortandgardenclub.org.