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Horticulture 101 - ÉcoloTrucs

July 3th 2013 3398 views

By Rock Giguère

Develop a rock garden


The construction of a rock garden allows us to use the rocks we emerged from our land during the construction of our house or when digging our flowerbeds. Often, neighbors are happy to provide us, not knowing what to do to get rid of their useless stones.


Get to know our allies


Predation plays a big role in keeping an overall balance that prevents insects from becoming too numerous and thus devastate our ornamentals. Two frogs, frog and toad eat many insect pests, such as slugs before our hostas, earwigs, cutworms, caterpillars number, etc.

We must therefore protect them if we have the chance to host one or more specimens. Although they inspire revulsion and disgust some people, they must be seen in a different look and keep them as allies. They in account the destruction of millions of insects per day. Many insects are also useful predators like ladybugs, spiders and centipedes. Get to know them and protect them.


Decorative trees


Clear a diameter of 60 to 90 cm in front of your shaft by removing the peat. Install a decorative border and cover the bare ground with a good mulch. These actions will allow a better development of your tree. Install a perforated shield (to allow air circulation) around the trunk to prevent injuries to the trunk caused by rodents, the mower or trimmer.


Before you plant your fruit trees


All fruit trees prefer to believe in soil that drains well. It is not enough, in the clay and heavy soil, dig the larger and deeper planting hole and fill it with good soil. The water always ends up accumulating in the hole and the tree withers and dies quietly, but not of cold water surplus.

Avoid heavy soils, and if possible, take advantage of a site on a slope where the water drains by gravity. If you have no choice but to plant fruit trees in clay soil, start by optimizing site drainage laying of underground drains or digging ditches. Then plant your trees on mounds, as is done for cucumbers. Add good soil in the planting hole, but also keep the homeland, for the tree to 'get used'. Use of mycorrhizae to help root development.


Although acclimate a gift plant


If the plant you bought at Mother's Day was inside a greenhouse or any building, it is not accustomed to the outside climate. It needs to adjust gradually to avoid injury may vary from stunted until sudden death.

First thing to do: Find out whether the plant in question is sensitive to frost or cool temperatures (eg gerbera, impatiens or begonia). If this is the case, delay the process described below a few weeks because it's too cold out in May for this type of plant. Meanwhile, treat it as a houseplant.

When acclimatizing a plant, you have to get used to three things: the cooler outdoor temperatures, the sun is stronger outside, and the wind, which does not exist in greenhouses. How to do? You just do gradually, avoiding exposure to extreme conditions. Start by letting the plants outside for a half-day, free and in good weather. The next day, on a nice day, lengthen the time spent outdoors and expose the plant to more sun. Two days later, if possible, add a freezing night without the stars. After three nights out, a plant that is not sensitive to frost is normally ready to face sub-zero temperatures. It is also ready to face the wind and in the sun without burning its leaves.




It is recommended to plant two to three different cultivars of blueberries for better pollination. It is also important to let 1 to 1.5 m between plants giant blueberries.




The buddleia attract butterflies - and humans - with their heady scent reminiscent of lilacs. Excellent as a cut flower, it must grow to full sun for good flowering. Hardy in zone 5, must be protected and cultivated as an annual in colder areas.




Soaking bulbs in a warm bath for about 12 hours before planting the bulbs rehydrates and stimulates bud. You can add an organic fertilizer to water as a fertilizer made from seaweed.

Conifers continued growth; Cedar (Thuja), junipers, yews and other


Make good choices, for the dimensions of some conifers can surprise us went to maturity. It is more pleasant to contemplate our growing conifers that to prune to control their invasion.


Conifers spontaneous growth; Pine, fir, spruce and other


To maintain or revive the color blue spruce, add aluminum sulfate to the ground. Make wise choice because the dimensions of some conifers can surprise us, made at maturity. It is more pleasant to contemplate our growing conifers that continually prune to control their invasion.


Of true frienIt is amusing to note that basil, which accompanies so the tomatoes in salads and sauces, is also a beneficial companion for tomato plants in the garden. The same goes for savory and beans, borage and cucumbers and dill and cucumbers. Try planting these partners close to each other, to get the maximum benefit from their mysterious synergy.


Blueberries galore, year after year


Blueberries have water needs are moderate but steady. If they suffer from lack of water during a warm period of the summer or fall, they may begin the winter on the wrong foot and they suffer winter damage. So, take a deep watering - even with established blueberry - during dry periods.

Early September is a good time to fertilize your blueberries with potassium-magnesium sulfate, sold under the name "K-Mag" or "Sul-Po-Mag." Blueberries are often deficient in magnesium, and potassium help to better withstand the rigors of winter.
If your blueberry plants have four or more years, put a note on your calendar to prune in early spring to eliminate, to the base, weak stems or unproductive.


Healthy tomato plants


When the summer is sunny and warm, tomato plants are generally healthy and full of fruit. But, as our weather is often cool and rainy, the following tips can ensure a good harvest still :

  • Do not transplant your seedlings out too fast. Better to wait another week to expose them to cool nights. (Down + 5 ° C, grelotteraient your plants if they could ...)
  • At planting into the soil mycorrhizae to strengthen the root system and a fertilizer rich in calcium to prevent blossom end rot, a physiological disorder that rots the fruit.
  • Fertilize regularly, especially during the formation of the first fruits.
  • Water preferably in the morning and the basis for the least wet the foliage.


Mulch everywhere


By reducing evaporation of water from the ground and keeping the soil cooler, mulch reduces the water requirements of 20-50% of plants, which is not insignificant. While it is common to see bark mulch or rocks in our perennial amenities and shrubs, we hesitate to use in the garden or in our plants in containers, despite the high water requirements of these crops.

In the garden, the straw is a mulch economic, relatively free of weeds (in contrast to the hay) and which decomposes fairly rapidly. By cons, if slugs are a problem, they will be even more with a straw mulch. For your cucumbers and melons, install black plastic sheets (which can be made of garbage bags) around the plants. In addition to conserving water and controlling weeds, the black plastic absorbs heat if necessary for fruit ripening.

Such as culture containers normally involves smaller areas, we can afford to use a commercial mulch bark, flakes or rocks. Once the mulch, you will find yourself reducing water needs of your plants in containers. Before watering, check below the mulch when the soil is dry. In the case of a container filled with plants foliage so dense you can not see the ground, adding mulch will have little impact.


Make Christmas cactus bloom


The ideal for a Christmas cactus bloom is to put it in the autumn, in a cool (10-18 ° C) where it will be in darkness from sunset to sunrise, without lighting artificial. When you observe the formation of flower buds on your cactus, you may transfer it to another room. Unlike Easter cactus, Christmas cactus does not need to undergo a drought to bloom.


Make Easter plants bloom


Most plants sold at Easter - the Easter lilies, blue hydrangeas, chrysanthemums, etc. - Are hard to keep from one year to another or difficult to bloom again. This does not detract from their beauty or their value as a gift. However, if you want to offer (or you buy) a plant that will come back and bloom again, choose pots of hardy bulbs (tulips, daffodils and crocus) you could be transplanted to the garden later in the spring. Azaleas sold at Easter are not hardy in Quebec, but they will bloom again if you put them outside.




In the fall, it is strongly recommended that annual plants in the ground to prevent frost penetrates deeper around other plants (perennials or other.) By cons, if you get your pelargoniums (geraniums) for cuttings, just fill the holes with planting soil enriched with compost and compacted.




Hibiscus blooms best when it feels cramped in its container. When watering, be sure to wet the entire soil ball.


House Plants


When watering, almost all houseplants like that their whole lump of earth is moistened. If possible, remove the plant from its pot after watering you deem sufficient, to check how far the water went. Do not rely on the fact that the water flows from the bottom of the pot! Where houseplants differ is how they like the earth be dry between waterings, and this is what determines the ideal watering frequency for each plant.


Soil testing


It is really necessary for the home gardener to do an analysis of a soil developed. Such an analysis is also expensive and difficult to interpret. By cons, it is sometimes good to check, for a simpler and less costly analysis, pH or acidity / alkalinity of the soil. Your garden center usually offers this service.

Why soil pH so important? This is because it determines, among all the nutrients that are present in the soil, the plant will actually able to absorb. In general, the availability of nutrients is optimal when the pH is more neutral, between 6.3 and 7.0. If the soil is too acid (pH 6.0 below) or too alkaline (pH above 7.0) the plant can cope with the shortcomings of certain elements, even if they are present in the soil.

In other words, it is not enough to add fertilizer, you also profitable with a properly adjusted pH. Fortunately, dolomitic lime (to raise pH) and peat moss or sulfur granules (to lower pH) are very affordable. These apply the following signs of soil analysis.
Make soil analysis from the garden and grass about three years. For flowerbeds, a departure analysis should suffice. Some plants are acid-loving and need a lower pH than normal. The best known are rhododendrons, potatoes and blueberries. A soil test helps adjust the pH well for them.


Applying a herbicide: salt


Can be made with hot water with salt added a highly effective herbicide. Generally used coarse salt. The more our magic potion contains salt, the more it is effective as a herbicide. However, it is necessary that the salt may dissolve in water. It is therefore necessary that the mixture is balanced to allow dissolution.


The lighting of seedlings indoors


Most flower and vegetable seeds will germinate well at room temperature (or slightly warmer for tomatoes and peppers). The seeds do not need light to this point, and can grow well on top of a refrigerator, for example. It is from germination than light becomes so important to get stocky plants and healthy. If possible, place them near a window facing south.


Spring fertilization in the fall ...


If it suits your schedule, you can spring fertilizing your shrubs and perennials in late autumn. At this time, the days are short and cold and the ground is cooled, so there is no danger of stimulating growth before winter. So we can pack the mulch, spread fertilizer and compost around plants, and replace the mulch. Upon the arrival of spring, fertilizers begin to act as soon as the soil warms.

Do not fertilize in the fall on a slope, because fertilizers can be washed away by runoff during heavy rain. Do not use soluble fertilizer or very fast-acting because they may seep deep into the ground before being absorbed by plant roots.


Compost is not miraculous


During the decomposition process, most home compost pile does not reach the high temperatures required to kill weed seeds, diseases or insects. So if you put leaves, stems or fruit infested in your compost, you may spread your problems with the application of compost that contains them.

It is true that certain diseases and insects are so ubiquitous that they will reappear anyway. It is not about to panic and stop compost. But to curb problems such as, for example, apples are bitten by worms or tomato plants or potato that scald, reduce the size of the enemy and especially not to spread them further. In these cases, it is better:
          1- collect all the plants or parts of plants infected

          2- do not put these materials in compost infectedget rid of those unwanted debris, either by burning them or burying them (near the garden), or by sending them to the landfill in a closed bag.

          3- get rid of those unwanted debris, either by burning them or burying them (near the garden), or by sending them to the landfill in a closed bag.



The newspaper, an ally


Adding a layer of newspaper, six to ten sheets, before applying a mulch, prevents the growth of several undesired plants while avoiding water losses in the ground. Thus using free materials and ecological solution because newsprint is biodegradable.


Hummingbirds at your service


Do you know that hummingbirds eat insects? These small energy-intensive ones, which require up to 6,000 calories a day to survive, feed mainly on nectar but also eat aphids, ants and other small insects. To attract them to the garden, plant the tubular flowers of plants that contain lots of nectar, such as columbine or weigelas, preferably (but not necessarily) red. You can also install hummingbird feeders.


Natural gardens


Grasses have become gradually very popular in recent years because they form a natural setting, strongly recalling the work of nature. Moreover, they are easy to grow, resistant to drought and above are not generally likely to insect attack and diseases. So these are ecological plants should replace some plants require irrigation with water from the aqueduct or use of pesticides.


Companion plants


Some companion plants some predators away or minimize their damage.

Thus, herbs and plants such as garlic, basil, lavender, thyme, guinea carnations mask the presence of the preferred food to the predator. Roses like garlic.


Rethought dormant oil



Dormant oil is used, often mixed with the sulfur slurry to stop some insects and diseases on the bark of trees and shrubs dormant, that is to say when they have no leaves (as these can damage the leaves). Usual, this oil is sprayed in spring before leafing.

The problem is that, for effective implementation, the temperature must be above 10 ° C at the time of spraying, and it must not have frost or rain in the following 24-48 hours. Unfortunately for Quebec gardeners, our spring are merrily sprinkled with rain and frost, and first news we know, trees and shrubs have blossomed and it's too late for oil.

Why not modernize our thinking? One could apply dormant oil in the fall, after the leaves fall. Thanks to climate change, this season is a better opportunity to gather meteorological conditions necessary for a good application, because the weather is more stable.

Other modernization: there are now insecticides oils (eg neem-based or canola) that can be applied when the foliage is present. These products are effective against a broad spectrum of pests and can often replace dormant oil.


No grass under my tree


When you plant a tree, keep an area of ​​about 60-90cm in diameter around its free base turf. To do this, you can install a round plastic border around the tree and ground cover mulch inside the circle. Another possibility is to install less complicated a collar mulching. This is a disc-shaped mat, often made of coconut fiber or recycled rubber, which penetrate into the water and air but prevents the growth of grass and weeds. The benefits of preventing the growth of grass beneath a tree are many. Your tree will take root more quickly without the competition of the grass, and it will be easier to fertilize the early years. It will also be easier to mow around the tree, and


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