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Q. Since moving to the coast, I’m delving into the cultivation of fall and winter vegetables. In particular, I’d like to know the best timing for sowing lettuces to harvest during cold weather seasons.
A. The first half of August has always worked well in my garden, which is partly shaded from morning sun. In more open, fully sunny and earlier gardens, the seeding could be done a little later.
Seed packets and catalogue descriptions indicate varieties suited for cold season harvesting. Often the variety name indicates its suitability. For fall and winter lettuces, West Coast Seeds recommends Rouge d’hiver, a romaine whose name means “red of winter,” and Winter Density, an award winning dark green romaine lettuce.
Seed into a space that will be convenient to cover with plastic tunnelling during periods of extreme cold and/or heavy snow. Thin the plants well to give each lettuce space to develop properly.
Transplants of lettuces for late summer planting are commonly available at local garden centres.
Q. The flowering dogwood tree we planted in a sunny site last year has begun to look very stressed this summer, with wilted and discoloured leaves. How do we revive it?
A. Though flowering dogwoods (Cornus florida) can, theoretically, be grown in sun or shade, they are susceptible to heat stress where they are exposed to the hottest summer afternoon sun.
A tree in part shade or light shade has some protection from heat stress, which has become a problem for many plants in the hot summers of recent years.
Another common cause of distress in flowering dogwoods is over-watering. This often happens to trees within the range of an automatic watering system. Once a tree is well established, that is after at least one year in a garden, it needs a slow, deep watering just once a week.
Following a deep watering with a generous layer of a nourishing compost over the root area helps to boost a tree’s health.
Seeds from certain poppy plants can be used in baking
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