The Greenhouse Column

The Greenhouse Columnist Ingrid Wilcox is the former owner of Lubbock Valley Flowers. She followed her semi-retirement with gardening consulting services.

Help Your Plants Find the Light

Light is the main requirement for your seedlings once they have emerged from the soil whether they are flowers, vegetables or herbs. Having a sunny south bay window may not be enough intense light to prevent the seedlings from growing tall and spindly. Although it is too early to plant in your greenhouse, unless you …

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Pollination: Let the Bees Do It

With the days getting longer and nights warmer, the plants in your greenhouse should be thriving. Your greenhouse plants, tomatoes, cucumbers or squash, may start to send out their first flush of flowers. If you’ve bought plants locally, you may have bought plants with flowers or even little tomatoes already on the vine. If this …

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Veggies Like a Warm Bed

If you haven’t planted your garden, now is definitely the time to get growing. Remember to plant your seeds — such as carrots, beets and lettuce — fairly shallow. The depth of the seed bed that is required for root vegetables should be fairly deep (eight to 10″) for the development of the vegetable, but …

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Rumble in the Greenhouse: Ladybug Vs. Aphid

With warmer weather, your greenhouse could be growing more than just your vegetable plants. Insects thrive in the warm humid environment and it usually takes a few weeks before it is noticeable to the average gardener. Most people are aware that aphids are attracted to pepper plants. I’ve always maintained that if you grow your …

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Getting Your Greenhouse In Order

At this point in the season, maintenance is the goal for keeping your greenhouse productive now and in the coming month. Despite the snow at the beginning of June, the plants in your greenhouse should be growing rapidly. I would recommend keeping an eye on the following potential trouble spots: air circulation and fungal problems. …

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Strawberry Fields Forthcoming

With visions of Strawberry Shortcake, Strawberry Milkshakes — in fact, with strawberries of any shape and size — I got bamboozled into our strawberry escapade on our greenhouse operation. I didn’t know much about growing strawberries, but my husband insisted that they could be grown here, so trustingly I went along with the concept. The …

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Plants Helping Plants

One of the more interesting characteristics of plants is that plants are affected chemically by the aroma from leaves, roots and by soil micro-organisms. Knowing which plants like each other and which don’t, and planting these together, is what is known as companion planting. Companion planting is the planting of different crops in close proximity …

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Tomatoes: The Needs of the Many Outweigh the Needs of the Few

One sunny August afternoon, I walked into our “Tomato” greenhouse only to find my husband, Frank, yielding a machete (OK, a large knife) chopping off the tops of all the tomato plants. Positive that the heat finally got to him and he’s gone berserk, I yelled: “What the heck are you doing?” The long rows …

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Salvaging a Short Growing Season

It’s been obvious to gardeners for some time that this summer has not been favourable for vegetable gardening. The lack of sunny days combined with cool nights is just not the best for ripening of tomatoes. Outdoor vegetables such as cabbage and cauliflower are also very late in forming heads. The hope for these crops …

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The Plant of the King’s Fragrance

Not everyone grows the standard tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers in the greenhouse … There are gardeners who love to grow exotic flowers, and orchids are one of many plants that fall into this category. Your greenhouse is an ideal place to grow orchids because of the special conditions of temperature, humidity and light that can …

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They’re Not Just Pretty (They taste great, too!)

One of the delights of owning a hobby greenhouse is that that there are many varieties of plants that can be grown in its warm, humid climate. Often we tend to think of growing mostly tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and that certainly was the case when we grew vegetables commercially. There are greenhouses that are dedicated …

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Pass the mint, please …

If you have just one little empty spot in your greenhouse, I would consider planting just one or two peppermint plants. Peppermint does grow outdoors, this is true, but it grows profusely in the greenhouse. I learned this by accident as for years I had planted peppermint outdoors and it did so-so. Mind you, our …

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Time to Reap What You Sow

I have a few heads of cabbage and broccoli amongst my flower beds, and I check their progress almost daily. One day, recently, I noticed the telltale signs of yellow on the broccoli florets and thought, Uh oh, better harvest these right now before they get over- mature. The next day, one of the cabbage …

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Save Those Seeds!

A few years ago I received a delightful gift consisting of an assortment of home-grown, home-dried tomato and pepper seeds. What a delightful gift, I thought, and with Christmas only around four months away, now is the time to try saving seeds from your own plants to share, give as gifts or keep for next …

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Growing Sweet Trees in the North

After a great deal of research, the University of Saskatchewan has developed cherry trees that are cold tolerant to -45. Ingrid Wilcox describes several of these varieties, the best known and most successful of which is the Evans Cherry Tree.

Herbal Flavour Well-Preserved

With harvest in full swing, I am often asked for suggested uses of herbs other than drying or freezing. To enjoy your herbal harvest year-round, I like to keep a selection of herbal vinegars on hand. To make herbal vinegar, gather herbs early in the day before the sun has a chance to bake the …

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Surviving and Thriving in Winter

Northern gardeners understanding the concept of winter hardiness. “Will my perennial plants or bushes survive the winter?” is no easy task.

Unleash the Ladybugs

Last week, I spotted a ladybug while visiting a garden in Dawson City. It was rather exciting to see a ladybug that far North and, not being a resident there, I asked whether sighting ladybugs is a frequent occurrence or rather something unusual. No one seemed to know, but it does seem to indicate that …

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A Pre-Harvest Harvest

Whenever the beginning of August rolls around, I think more of harvesting the fruits of my gardening than the actual gardening. And harvesting has been the in progress for a couple of weeks already. The Swiss Chard has been cut and has re-grown twice now. I just trim the upper leaves leaving about 15 centimetres …

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Maintain Your Greenhouse Well

Understanding good greenhouse techniques encourages healthy plant growth and, as the growing season is well on its way, it would be a good time to reassess your plants’ performance to see if there are areas which can be tweaked for better results. Consistent care and monitoring the plants’ growth contributes to good cultural practices. If …

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Know Your Tomato

Did you know that banana peels and eggshells help to make your tomatoes grow? When buried in the bottom of a planter or spread around the roots of your tomato plants as you transplant them into the greenhouse, fresh banana peels act as slow-release fertilizer providing potassium and trace elements. The peels should be cut …

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Winterize Your Greenhouse

Getting your greenhouse ready for winter could be a matter of just closing the door and walking away, something to worry about next spring. But you will be much better prepared for the next gardening season if you spend a few minutes winterizing the greenhouse now. Removing all plant residues from the greenhouse is one …

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Taking Note of Good Peas

If you like peas, and many Yukon gardeners must for they can be found in most gardens, you’ve had lots of company throughout history. Dried peas found at an archeological site near Thailand have been carbon-dated to 9750 BC according to the Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development Information pamphlet regarding fresh produce. Eating fresh peas …

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Next Year’s Garden Season Begins Now

Although this year’s gardening season is winding down, next year’s season is just beginning. I heard quite a few years ago, that someone was experimenting with planting crops such as carrots and beets in the fall with the expectation that they would be much further ahead in harvesting than spring-planted carrots. I was too busy …

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Get Your Greenhouse Ready

Hey, Yukon! It’s gardening time! Time to get that greenhouse ready! If your greenhouse has a supplementary heating system, chances are you’ve already begun planting, and your greenhouse is up and running. For those people whose greenhouses lack a heating unit, now is the time to prepare the greenhouse and get it ready for those …

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Eat Your (Northern) Broccoli!

This past September, I was privileged to attend the seventh annual Circumpolar Agricultural Conference in Alta, Norway. Alta lies just below the 70°N latitude, which makes it a bit farther north than Old Crow. The Circumpolar Agricultural Association (CAA) was founded in 1995 in response to the ideas created at the first Circumpolar Agricultural Conference, …

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H2O 101

Now that we are almost at the end of June, I find my plants are growing very fast. I’ve already harvested the first of my Tumbler tomatoes at the end of May, as well as some of the chili peppers. Regarding peppers and cucumbers, I am harvesting the fruit on the smaller side thus giving …

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Hot Fun in the Summertime

Due to some travelling adventures in Latin and South America, I was introduced to chili peppers in the last 10 years or so. Approaching the use of chili peppers cautiously, I did acquire a taste for them, enjoying their legendary heat as they added a jolt of stimulating flavour to food. Peppers range from spicy …

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The Right Time, The Right Place

With the hot weather this past Victoria Day weekend, I planted all my vegetable seeds. But my vegetable transplants are still getting the deluxe care treatment, kept in a cold frame or the greenhouse until I’m sure the last of the frost is past. In some of the Yukon’s outlying areas, this could be as …

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Water and Warm Soil Keep Cukes Sweet and Refreshing for Summer

When I think of cucumbers, I think of the idiom “cool as a cucumber” , which may be based on the fact that even in hot weather, the insides of cucumbers remain cooler than the air. Cucumbers, the second most popular greenhouse crop after tomatoes, certainly do not like cool weather. In fact, they thrive …

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