There are half a dozen coffee shops in the hood, but if you are a gardener you can get an extra pick me up for your garden at some of them. Good Earth packages and gives away used grounds for your garden and compost pile.
In the compost, grounds are considered green materials, even though they are brown. Coffee grounds can also be dug directly into the soil, which is how I use them on the balcony, or used as a mulch. All good.
While easy access to water is still pending in the construction zone, I’m not setting up the ponds. But that doesn’t mean they are empty. The agaves from the window sill garden have been moved outside. To temporarily fill the void in two of the stone troughs.
And the other stone troughs have their rock perches in place, waiting.
With a second dump of snow this weekend, I’m happy that the balcony garden troughs are moved out of the winter sun and settled into their corner home for the winter. They have a light cover of snow on them right now, but aren’t frozen up. I’ll keep watering them until they are. Typically that’s into December, depending on Mother Nature.
I seem to have a large collection of clay containers – I know I have a few, but it still surprises me each year, especially when they all get cleaned up and stacked out of the way. They are out of the weather, so if I leave any soil in the larger ones, because I do re-use it, I just make sure that the soil is not packed in or wet. Knock on wood, I’ve yet to have anything break.
I really liked simplifying the containers on the balcony this year. So I think I will have a little purge next spring to move a few of these containers to another balcony gardener (or two). I think it’s time.
And speaking about time, one of the benefits of gardening on a balcony is fall clean-up. Here’s what it looked like this year. With help, of course, from the gardener’s helper.
Did a little maintenance today on the agave collection. Let the bloodletting begin. It doesn’t matter how careful I am, I always end up with bleeding fingertips when I repot these plants. But it occasionally has to be done. I grouped together some of plants into larger containers. And cleaned up, clipping dead leaves, potting up pups and topdressing with forestry grit. Good to go now for another year.
If you are looking for a gardening adventure tonight, look no further. The crew at Tinyplots is hosting their second workshop tonight. And if this one is anything like the one we hosted last week, you are in for a treat.
Tonight is a Compost Tea making workshop. Compost tea is an aerobic liquid made from your compost, certain plants in your yard or vermicastings to enrich the vitality of your garden soil, and as a result, the health of your plants. It is super simple and they’ll make sure you head home with a sample!
So sign up here and share another sweet gardening evening with Tinyplots.
Cloudy and cool today, but not waiting any longer. Ponds are filled up, ready for the summer.
Having water on the balcony helps attract insects. If you put water out too early, you might attract pigeons and or a Canada Goose. But we’ve had so much rain, that’s not going to happen.
The Calgary Rock and Alpine Garden Society will host their annual plant sale this Saturday, May 11. The sale takes place at the Lakeview Community Hall, 6110 – 34 Street SW and runs from 1-3PM. Look for local growers, like Stephanie and Ron, as well as specialty nurseries, like Rundle Wood Gardens and Beaver Creek Greenhouses – they all will be there with a great selection of plants suited for our local growing conditions.
And speaking of Rundle Wood, Rodney and Llyn have new hours this year for the garden that are worth noting. In May they are open Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Same days in June up until June 23. Then they are closed until July 18, 19, 20 and 21. Check the website for hours and location. This small nursery is worth a visit – the garden is impressive.
I continue to be amazed that saxifrage can overwinter in Calgary when it is planted into a tiny, shallow hole in hypertufa. It just doesn’t seem right. The plant itself is so tiny and the hypertufa rock sits in the trough, exposed to all of the elements, a pretty regular freeze and thaw cycle and our typical week of -40° that happens each winter.
But what a trooper, look at these little marvels. Two of three planted last year have settled in. The holes are drilled about a half inch wide and a couple of inches deep. The planting medium is sand with a little compost, top dressed with forestry grit. The roots of the plant are placed into the hole and the medium is gently added. I use tweezers and a thin metal rod to poke down the soil mix and nestle in the tiny plant. I water, cross my fingers and voila, it worked.
I haven’t started gardening outside yet because of our continuing cold spring. The result? It seems I just need to water something and my agaves, unfortunately, seem to be the unfortunate recipients of my need to nurture.
Now agave are succulents, and don’t actually need to be watered that often. All of mine, except for one new addition, are potted up in clay containers. The new one is still in its original plastic nursery container. So combine the plastic container with a bit too much water and before I realized it, the new agave was starting to die. My experience so far on agave death is that it can happen before you realize you are in trouble and then you get to watch as the plant quickly succumbs.
So far, and possibly lucky for me, I’ve just trimmed off a layer of leaves that have died. And the remaining plant seems to have stabilized – but only time will tell.
In death, the dried leaves are razor sharp but beautifully textured. I’ve saved a couple and will probably regret it because the dried leaves are razor sharp. But they’ll be a reminder to be a bit more regimented about my routine and look before I water.