Thursday, March 30, 2017

Receiving your Bulb Order



     By now most of you would have received your spring bulb catalogue and may have already placed your order.  There still is time if you haven't placed an order yet or you may think of adding a few extras to the existing list as the season gets warmer.  There are some important things to keep in mind when you set out to purchase or plant bulbs or perennial roots. You will find some helpful hints listed below.  The most important component in growing these plants successfully other then purchasing them from Veseys, is the soil. 

     Applying fertile, well drained soil will provide the best growing conditions no matter what you choose to grow. If soil is too damp, bulbs/roots will rot or deteriorate quickly especially over winter. You can test your drainage in each garden if you are in doubt. Dig a hole that is 1 foot wide and fill the hole completely with water recording how long it takes for the water to completely drain. Ideal time is between 10-20 minutes. If the soil takes less time then 10 minutes it is better suited for drought tolerant plants.  If the soil takes more then 30 minutes then the plants best suited in this area would be for damp conditions. You may already have an idea without experimenting with this process and doesn't have to be done in order for the plants to succeed.

      Another important tip is to be sure you plant these roots or bulbs in the proper growing conditions. For example if a plant enjoys part sun, be sure that this plant will receive at least half of the day in sun and half in shade.  If the plant likes full sun then be sure to plant in an area where it will receive at least 6 hours of direct light each day.  Providing the proper growing conditions will enable the plant to reach its full potential and you will have a much better, healthier landscape as a result. You can refer to our growing guide for more detailed information on how to grow each individual plant root or bulb. Check out our Veseys YouTube channel as well. The channel has lots of updated information on gardening topics and tips including how to plant perennial roots and bulbs.

     When you refer to our website or our catalogue for ordering, you will note that each plant/item has their own individual attribute directly below the photo. This indicates all of the benefits, heights, light requirements as well as plant hardiness zones.  When we refer to a plant hardiness zone or map, it simply indicates insights on what plants can thrive during the most extreme temperatures in your region. If you are unsure of what region you live in please refer to our zone map on our Veseys website. For example: PEI is considered to be between a zone of 5-6.

     Once you decide on what you want to plant in your own landscape and place your order, then all you have to do is wait for spring to come, hopefully sooner then later.

     You will see pictured and described below, some of the more common types of bulbs that are typically planted in the spring. This will give you an idea on what you can expect to receive when your shipment arrives. 

      Pictured to the left is a true bulb.  It has a thickened, fleshy bud usually emitting roots from its underside and stems, flowers and foliage from its crown.  Sometimes these bulbs as well as many others may show a slight hint of surface mold on the exterior but this is usually not a problem as long as the bulb still feels firm.  Examples of these types of bulbs for growing in the spring are Lilies, or Onions. See how beautiful they become! 


           An example of these types of bulbs which are pictured to the right are Gladioli and Crocosmia . These are ideal for spring planting. Corms are underground bulb-like fleshy tissue that have buds on the top.  You can really show your creativity with these stunning blooms!                                                                                                                                                                                                      

           Mainly consists of thread-like, profusely branched roots with no main or tap root development. Examples of these types of roots are Coreopsis and Clematis.


     Most likely if you grow dahlias, you would have seen these types of roots. These are called Tubers, similar to a potato tuber but I wouldn't recommend cooking these to have with your dinner.  These short and thick stems are planted underground with the crown either sticking out of the soil slightly or lightly covered. These roots are where new eyes or plants develop.

     This type of root that also has eyes is usually in the form of an 
Astilbe, Hosta, Bleeding heart(dicentra) or Peony. If you plant this type of root on its side or upright as pictured to the left, the sprouts will naturally find their way through the soil.

      Whatever bulb/root item that you receive, it is always best to allow the roots to soak for at least an hour as soon as you receive them.  You can either choose to plant them directly in the ground if your conditions are favourable or you can choose to allow them to form a more mature root system by potting them temporarily then transplant to your preferred location.  Some gardeners find, potting the rooted items to become more established before planting, quite successful in helping them to a good start. When you receive some of these plants or bulbs  you may notice that some may have already sprouted.  These types of plants should also be immersed in water once they arrive and allow them to go through a process known as "hardening off" before planting outside. "Hardened off" simply means, a period of time for plants to be gradually introduced to cooler temperatures allowing for time to acclimate before being planted in a permanent location. This will reduce shock or set back resulting in a much more successful establishment. Once bulbs or roots are planted, they are very easy to care for. Most bulbs will multiply and bloom for years to come.

     Feel free to contact us at any time for any type of gardening inquiry either through our website, facebook or by calling us at 1-800-363-7333.


Friday, March 24, 2017

Growing Microgreens

     Microgreens ...tiny, delicate salad greens that are full of flavour, easy to grow and economical way to enjoy your own vitamin packed freshness year round!
You would find these greens served with gourmet meals at high end restaurants as fancy toppings or garnishes. Just think...if you become a pro at growing these you could possibly supply these restaurants as a part time job!
    As mentioned, growing these greens is easy and doesn't require much equipment to get started either. The first successful tip in growing these seeds is to purchase them from Veseys!

For planting and growing Microgreens sow seeds in a shallow tray as shown below:
You will notice a cover on the tray above.  You can put a clear cover over the top of the tray until seeds germinate, however its not necessary. By using these covers, they will naturally enable a build up of condensation which is beneficial in creating an ideal effect and temperature similar to what it would be like growing in a greenhouse.  The positive side of this condensation is that watering may not even be necessary at least until the seeds start to germinate. That will eliminate the worry on whether they are watered too much or too little starting off. Be sure to remove this cover once the seeds have germinated to allow for air circulation. Before applying potting mix, be sure that there are small holes at the bottom of the tray to provide proper drainage if the tray doesn't already have them. You can simply make small holes if needed.

Add potting mix to the tray at least an inch to inch and half. It is recommended to wet the soil before adding to the tray.  This will ensure that there is an even amount of moisture throughout the trayThese seeds are so tiny and if they were planted in dry potting mix with any amount of water added at this stage, seeds could possibly get buried deep under the soil resulting in little to no germination.  

Sow seeds on top of moistened potting mix and lightly cover. Apply about 8 to 9 grams of seed per 11"x 21" tray. You can reduce this amount as well as the size of the tray in half if you can't consume that much all at once. Keep the soil moist but not too wet.  Seedlings should be grown in full light to keep them from becoming too leggy or stretched. Since these seedlings are harvested at a young age, applying fertilizer is not necessary.

Once seedlings have 1-2 true leaves they are ready for harvest.  This can range from 10-20 days depending on the growing conditions and the type of microgreen seed you choose. To harvest cut the seedlings off just above ground level with a sharp knife or scissors.  The plants will not regrow, so discard the left over soil and start a new batch. This will also prevent any risk of "dampening off" issues. Microgreens very rarely have any pest or disease issues. The only concern would be "dampening off" as I have mentioned above. Dampening off simply means that the stems of the tiny microgreens develop a fungus that can cause them to collapse very quickly. This is prevented by providing proper air circulation as well as overheard and over watering.

There are many types of micro green varieties that you can choose from: Bulls Blood Beet, Red Cabbage, Tatsoi, Mizuna, Blue Curled Kale, Purple Vienna Kohlrabi, Red Russian Kale, Radish, Nasturtium, Scarlet Frills Mustard, Deep Purple Mustard and our famous Veseys Micro Mix

You can check out our website for individual descriptions of each one of these varieties. We also have a growing microgreens You Tube video for those of you who are more "visual growers."

As mentioned, these types of greens can be harvested or continue to grow as needed.  The recommended harvest stage is when seedlings have produced at least one to two sets of true leaves as pictured below. This is the point at which they will be richest in nutrients as well as have the best flavour. Once harvested, left over micro greens store best if lightly sprinkled with cool water, and being sure they don't get too wet. Avoid wrapping them in plastic, instead wrap them lightly in paper towel and store in the fridge. 

So as you can see growing these fresh and tasty micro greens is so easy and inexpensive. Be creative, try them all or make your own mixes with your favourites!