Preparing our garden for winter

October is almost over and it keeps on getting cooler here in Toronto. Most of our trees still have their leaves, but I’m sure that won’t be for long!

We spent yet another weekend – Or rather at least one day this weekend doing some more yard work in order to prepare our garden for winter. This time we were busy putting away things like our solar lights, garden ornaments and trimming back some of the plants that had become overgrown. I also took some time inspecting my rose plants and I cut out any dead branches that I noticed.

When the trees finally start to drop their leaves we’ll gather up some of the leaves and put them on our garden beds as we normally do each year. A good layer of maple leaves on our plants seems to help protect them through the winter.

Most winters we don’t get a lot of snow. Oh we get snow, but it snows, then it melts and we have a week or two of deep cold but no snow cover .. so if the plants are bare and exposed to all that cold it can really hurt them – so at least the deep leaf cover helps. Then of course it will snow again and our garden will have a foot or two of snow on it for a week or two until it melts again and that will keep the plants and ground insulated for a short while .. but the temperature changes the garden goes through through the winter because of our lack of good snow cover yet fairly cold temperatures can be quite hard on the plants if they aren’t prepared in the fall.

Do you put mulch or leaves on your garden beds in late fall to protect your plants over the winter?






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A bad reaction to tomato plants

My garden is growing beautifully as usual this summer. It’s been quite hot, especially in July so the plants seem to have stopped growing, but that’s ok, they all seem to be healthy.

My tomatoes are growing like weeds. I have four Sweet 100’s tomato plants that are covered in tiny green tomatoes. I can’t wait for them to ripen so that we can have a taste.

I also have five regular sized tomato plants – a variety of patio tomatoes and Early Girl Tomatoes and each of them have several large tomatoes on them in various shades ranging from green to almost red. We’ve already had about four ripe red tomatoes from one of the plants already and they were lovely. Yum.

Unfortunately earlier this evening I seem to have had a reaction to the large tomato plants. I noticed that the tomato plant vines were flopping over so I got some bamboo stakes and some plastic green tape and started staking the tomato plants and within seconds my hands and arms were on fire – burning and itching.

I’ve never had a reaction like that to tomato plants before. I knew that the leaves and plants could be irritating to the skin but I’d never experienced any problems. I had been working with my roses earlier and I had some scratches on my hands and arms so maybe that’s why the reaction was so bad … but man … I can still feel some burning! I had to go inside and take a Benadryl in the hopes that it would calm the reaction down. If I’m still feeling the itching and burning on my skin at bedtime I’ll put some hydracortizone cream on my hands and arms. Luckily I happen to have some prescription cream.

Have any of you ever had a problem with touching tomato plants in the past? Is it an allergy or just a bad irritation? I have had tomatoes come up in allergy tests but I can still eat them most of the time.

BTW Don’t forget to also check out my other gardening blog Organic Gardening Tips. I’d love to have you come visit me over there too!

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We’ve been very busy in the garden the past two weeks

It feels like our garden is behind this year. It’s not because this year started out a lot rainier than most, no, it’s because our next door neighbors decided to replace their fence and thus the fence between our two properties had to be replaced, so we spent about two months waiting for it to be put in.

Our garden was on hold for a good part of that time. Oh I did regular garden maintenance on it, such as pruning the roses of dead branches after the long cold winter and making sure the garden beds weren’t full of weeds. However, I didn’t put in any new perennials or plant any annuals until after the fence went in. The shared fence didn’t start going in until the 6th of June so I’ve spent the last two weeks playing catch up with my garden … oh and giving the plants along the new fence tender loving care since new post holes and a big trench had to be dug which likely disturbed some of their roots.

I’m exhausted … but I have to say, here on this first day of Summer, that my garden is starting to look the way I want it to. I must admit that a few weeks ago I was certain that my garden would pretty much be a write off this year. Oh and when the fence was going in I thought that my roses were going to be damaged. I have some very special roses along that fence line – Prince Napoleon, Sympathy and my gigantic William Baffin. I’d hate to lose any of them, but of the eight roses along that fence line Prince Napoleon and Sympathy would have been the worst ones to lose. As it was, we had to lean a few of the roses over while the fence work was being done and Prince Napoleon was leaning right over onto other roses and plants. I thought it was a goner for sure. As it is, it has a terrible case of Black Spot right now because of lack of air circulation due to basically lying on other plants for a week.

Since we’re in Garden and Yard sprucing up mode we sanded off the old paint on the doors of our storage areas under our enclosed back porch and I spent several hours yesterday repainting them. Wow .. everything looks so nice and new now.

Perhaps by this weekend I’ll have slowed down from my outdoor activities and I’ll get around to moving some of my photos from my camera to my computer. If I do I’ll post some pictures of the new fence and how the garden looks now. It does look pretty good if I do say so myself.

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