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What to Plant in Your Vegetable Garden in March

Categories:
27/03/2017
What-to-Plant-in-Your-Vegetable-Garden-in-March

With spring in the air, now is the time when gardeners get eager to start prepping and planting their gardens for the summer. But March can be a tricky month for planting. As the weather begins to slowly warm up, it still holds the potential for some harsh frost and snow. Knowing what will hold up to the elements before you start planting is a must.

In March you will want to plant a variety of cool weather vegetables and herbs that are hardy enough to survive any cold fronts.  Let’s explore some ideas about what you can start planting in March to be ready come summer.

Vegetables

When it comes to planting, it’s important to remember that it isn’t just the temperature of the air that affects how vegetables grow, it’s also the temperature of the soil beneath the surface that matters. Gardeners need to ensure they are choosing the right varieties for their garden that will sustain all the elements that can occur in March.

March is the perfect time to jump on planting some of your favourite vegetables, like: Beets, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Corn, Kale, Kohl Rabi, Leeks, Lettuce, Onion, Parsnips, Peas, Rhubarb, Spinach, and Swiss Chard. Just don’t forget to give them all the space they require and water them thoroughly to give them a good start.

Growing your own food can be very rewarding and, of course, delicious! Knowing what plants can tolerate the temperatures at the start of spring will guarantee that you’ll end up with lots to harvest throughout the summer and fall.

In March, you can begin to plant the following: Cucumbers, Bell Peppers, Melons, Strawberry, Squash, and Tomatoes. You’ll need plenty of sun, around 6 hours and well drained soil. Also, remember to leave enough space between each one as plants need a lot of room to grow.

Herbs

Growing herbs is so great for making herbal teas and adding flavor into your favourite recipes. Herbs are also easy to plant and will grow virtually anywhere. Plus, if weather hasn’t been the greatest you can always start planting them indoors in trays and, depending on the weather, begin to sow later that month.

In March you can try planting: Italian Parsley, Oregano, Sage, Dill, Thyme, Chives, and Coriander. Just remember that herbs prefer sun over shade and require adequately drained soil.

Getting a head start on planting once the first signs of spring and the warmer weather arrive can ensure you’ll have a beautiful and bountiful garden come summer. Ottawa gardeners trust Ritchie Feed & Seed for expert gardening advice and supplies.

7 Tips for Planting a Flower Bed

Categories:
13/03/2017
7-Tips-for-Planting-a-Flower-Bed

As the snow begins to melt and the ground thaws out, it’s time to gear up for the planting season! But when it’s time to select different plants to place throughout your flower bed, it can be challenging to decipher all the different variables that are necessary for attaining that beautiful, vibrant garden that you desire. Between the soil conditions and other requirements needed for successful growth, careful thought and consideration for the planning process is important before jumping right into the planting process.

If you don’t know where to begin, you can start here with some simple tips on planting a flower bed.

Research ahead of time

If you show up at the Ottawa garden centre unprepared, you may quickly feel flabbergasted by all the different colours and varieties available. Taking some time in advance to look at your neighbours’ gardens, flip through magazines, browse websites, or ask the garden experts at Ritchie Feed & Seed. You should also have a plan on what types of flowers you will want to plant – whether it’s annuals, perennials, shrubs or even a mix. Having a strategy in advance will make your trip to the garden centre much easier.

Purchase the right varietals

Many retailers have plants that are ready for purchase come the first signs of spring, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s time to put those into the ground. Make sure you purchase the right varietals at the right time or you may end up with withered plants.

Keep the containers moist

Nothing is worse than killing your plants before they even enter the ground. When you have purchased the right plants for your soil bed, make sure that you water each of the containers before planting since the plants are fragile and tend to dry up very quickly.

Read the instructions before planting

Different plants will have different requirements in regards to how close they should be placed next to others and so forth. And one species can be much more sensitive than another. Always read the instructions thoroughly before placing them into the flower bed. Also, read the instructions in regards to correct depth and width of the hole in which they should be planted. That way you won’t damage the roots.

Loosen the roots before planting

Once you are ready to place the plant into the hole, take the container and flip it upside down and gently slide out the plant. Once it is free, squeeze the soil to loosen the roots before and placing into the hole. Loosening the roots will help the plant grow and develop more easily.

Level the bed

Once your plants are in the hole you will want to push the surrounding dirt into any space so the plant roots are covered but not too tightly packed. Just make sure that you level the bed and pat the soil to remove any air pockets before watering.

Water thoroughly

Knowing how much water to add once planted can take practice. After you first plant, you will want to give the plants a thorough watering. Let the water soak in and then water again until the soil is moistened. For the first week ensure that you water directly on the plants, as the roots will need to absorb moisture from only a small area until they begin to grow out.

With a little preparation and planning, getting the perfect garden is easier than you think. Follow these tips to help you get started! Our Ottawa garden shop has everything you need for the perfect flower bed, from plant seeds to garden tools! Visit one of our convenient locations in Ottawa, Stittsville, Richmond, Brockville, or Winchester. Happy gardening!

What Plants are Best for Wet Soil?

Categories:
23/01/2017
What Plants are Best for Wet Soil?

If you have wet soil throughout your garden, it can be tough to know what plants can actually survive those conditions. Although wet soil appears to be better than dry soil, it can be every bit as challenging when selecting what can grow and thrive in that excessive moisture.

Here are a few suggestions for different plants to consider when you plan out your garden during the springtime.

White Cedar

Cedars love wet soil and they can thrive in it. Any areas that have excessive moisture or even swamp areas are great for cedars since they love those moist, nutrient-packed soils. It’s also one of the reasons why cedar is such a favourable wood to use since it’s resistant to water and bugs.

River Birch

River Birch trees are beautiful. They are similar to paper birch trees but have an almost pinkish hue to the bark that peels off in a stunning display, along with delicate small leaves as the foliage. They have a shallow root system so they are actually quite sensitive to the heat, and dry soils. Thus, they are perfect for placing in cool, moist soils.

Honey Baby Honeysuckle

This shrub is tolerant in most soil conditions and is winter hardy. It is a bush so it doesn’t grow high but it’s perfect for gardens or even planters, especially if you’re looking for something that smells great.

Elderberry

Elderberry is a shrub that is most commonly found in Southern Ontario and throughout North America. Many people love them for their berries, which can be used in a variety of ways, including in wines and pies. They are also hardy and love wet soil.

Cinnamon Ferns

Ferns are always a great addition to the garden. And the cinnamon fern prefer medium to wet soils that nutrient rich, with partial to full shade. So any of those darken, swampy spots are just the spot for these.

Siberian Iris

These are a popular plant for the long-lasting blooms and low maintenance that comes with them. They bloom small purple petals and have bright green stems that really brighten up any garden. They require lots of water, especially during the first year until they are well established.

Find a full list of plants for wet soil here

There are so many wonderful plants that simply love those excessively damp soils, so don’t feel limited if you have wet soil. Try adding in some of these plants to your garden and watch them thrive. Visit a Ritchie Feed & Seed garden store near you and one of our expert staff would be happy to make a seed recommendation for your specific needs. While you’re here, stock up on the best selection of garden tools, pond supplies, plant seeds, bird feeders, and much more!

The Best Native Plants for Ottawa Gardens

Categories:
09/01/2017
The Best Native Plants for Ottawa Gardens

Native plants are always an important addition to any garden. They are stronger, and usually much more resilient to various conditions regarding soil, climate, and even water consumption. Plus, they are less prone to infestations from insects.
It’s important to always incorporate some native species into your garden and softscaping. Here are a few plant species that are native to Eastern Ontario that can make a beautiful addition to your garden.

Chokeberry

These deciduous shrubs are generally found in damp soils since they tend to be more sensitive to dry soils. They are common shrubs that can be found scattered wildly, but are great for the garden as many people cultivate them for ornamental purposes, as well as for food and wine.

Staghorn Sumac

These shrubs are exceptionally strong and hardy, and for this reason can be found growing along roadsides, clearings and along the edge of forests. They grow well in most soil conditions and can even tolerate poor, dry soil. They are also resilient against pests and disease. They grow into tree-like sections with unique, twisting branches and foliage that turns into a bright red display during the autumn.

Hawthorn

Hawthorns are shrub-like trees that can grow up to 15 metres tall, similar to the sumac. But these are commonly used and trimmed as a hedge plant. These shrubs grow berries and usually have thorns throughout the stems. They are also a favourite for many pollinators and can grow in most soil conditions. And when placed in the sun, they produce beautiful scented flowers.

Bitternut Hickory

This is a strong and very sturdy tree with bark that is often used for making tool handles as well as sports equipment. It prefers conditions of low, moist and nutrient-rich soil. They also produce brown inedible nuts and have darker foliage with dainty pointed leaves.

Balsam Fir

These are one of the most common trees that you will find throughout Ontario and one that many people can easily recognize. They grow tall and narrow with short, firm needles and sticky sap. And they are of course, a favourite for Christmas trees since they have that beautiful great narrow shape and give off that wonderful fresh scent.

Find a full list of native plants here

Native species are always best to plant throughout your garden. They are much stronger and resilient against fluctuations of climate and soil conditions. When it comes time to plan out your garden in Ottawa, stick to some of these great native plants.

4 Hardy Shrubs for Next Planting Season

Categories:
19/12/2016
shrubs Ottawa

Shrubs are an essential part of every garden. They may not always stand front and centre like their neighbouring plants and flowers, but they are great for providing background structure, fill, and colour. They’re also generally hardy and can work well against harsh weather elements. So before you dismiss the idea of adding some shrubs to your garden, here are a four you should consider that can enhance your garden next year.

Northern Hi-Lights

Despite the great name, this is a shrub to plant if you’re looking for some fragrance. This is part of the Azalea family, so it’s a slow growth, but will reach about 4 feet high. You can look forward to early blooms around May and June, with blossoms that display creamy white and yellow flowers.

Amur Maple

If you’re looking for that bold addition of colour, then this is the shrub for you. Amur Maple displays stunning fiery yellowish-red colours during the autumn. So when all of your flowers have shed their petals, you can still have a vibrant display. This shrub grows large, reaching up to 20 feet high and grows wide and dense. It’s easy to prune and does well in moist, well-drained soils.

Boxwood

The Boxwood shrubs are good and hearty. They are slow growing and require minimal maintenance. They do well in sandy and clay soils, but should be placed in a location that shelters them a bit from harsh wind. They’re great for pruning and popular for adding along borders or used as a hedge way. They can provide a very polished look to the garden.

Barberry

Barberry shrubs are native to temperate and subtropical regions and do well in full sun to part shade. These are quite resilient to varying soil conditions and are great foundation or bordering plants. They are smaller and compact, and grow small colourful leaves, but have many varieties. They are great for placing at the front of the garden, especially since deer and rabbits don’t like to touch them due to the thorns.

Check out a full list of hardy shrubs, trees, and evergreens on our hardy shrub list. Or, visit us the pros and one of our Ottawa garden stores to discuss the best hardy shrubs for your garden.

Every garden should have some shrubbery within it to provide that hardiness, structure and colour once your annuals and other flowers have faded. So get your garden prepped next year by incorporating some of these shrubs into the mix and providing your garden with some hardy plants that will help protect your soil and keep your garden looking great even during the wintertime.

Understanding Trees & Power Lines

Categories:
05/12/2016
buying trees in Ottawa

Trees are a great addition to any yard. They not only make your property look great, but they can also benefit it in numerous ways, by providing shade, improving the quality of your lawn and soil, and even increasing the value of your home.

But when it comes to planting trees, it’s important to be mindful and diligent on where you place a tree. Power lines run just about everywhere and are often hard to avoid when choosing a location for your tree, especially if you live in an urban area of Ottawa. But there are a few factors to weigh and consider before committing to a location.

Choose Appropriate Species for Height

Before you decide on what species you want to plant, it’s always wise to consult with an expert planter or arborist if possible on what species is more preferable when it comes to their full growth. For example, an evergreen can be great as they come in a variety of shapes and heights and won’t branch out as much as others. Something like a Honey Locust can be favourable for height and shade, but it can also be cumbersome if power lines are located nearby. Find a full list of recommended trees such as Globe Maple, Showy Mountain Ash, and White Cedar on our blog post, Trees for Under Power Lines.

Choosing the Right Location

The location is just as important as the species and should be tailored accordingly. Hydro Ottawa has categorized the area surrounding power lines into three separate zones:

Low Zone – This area extends 4.5 metres (15 feet) on either side of the power line. Trees planted around this area should have the potential of growing no higher than 6 metres. These trees must be planted at least 1.5 metres (5 feet) from the base of an electric pole.

Medium Zone – Trees in this zone grow to a height of 6 to 12 metres (20 to 40 feet). Trees in this zone must be planted at minimum the length of the height of the tree at maturity. If the tree reaches 10 metres at maturity, it must be planted 10 feet back from the overhead power lines.

Tall Zone – Trees in this zone grow to a height of more than 12 metres (40+ feet). Trees planted in this zone must be at least the distance of the height of the tree at maturity from the overhead power lines. If a tree is planted too close to overhead power lines, it could cause problems when harsh storms and high winds occur, causing a greater chance of fallen branches and power outages.

Tree Trimming

If you happen to have a larger tree planted in a potentially precarious zone, it’s important to have it trimmed so that the branches can grow around power lines. There can be strict regulations when it comes to trimming trees, as it can conflict with certain bylaws. So always hire an arborist or professional tree trimming company to handle it.

If you’ve decided to add a tree to your property, make sure to take some time to consider the species and location that you select. Understanding the growth pattern in relation to nearby power lines is vital to avoid any potentially dangerous situations in the future.

If you have any questions, just ask the pros at Ritchie Feed & Seed! We’ll help you find a tree that enhances the look and feel of your property while making sure safety is a top priority.

How to Start a Vegetable Garden

Categories:
17/10/2016
diy veggie garden

The fresh smell of walking through a vegetable market is comparable to little else in the world. But we don’t all live within walking distance to fresh vegetable markets, so for those of us who want to create vegetable magic in our own backyards, follow these simple tips and tricks! But be warned that successfully growing a vegetable garden involves lots of commitment and tender love and care.

Proper Conditions

Ensure that you build your vegetable garden in an area that gets lots of sun. At least 6-8 hours a day of sunlight is ideal. Scope out the garden where you wish to plant your vegetables and make sure there is no shade cast from nearby buildings or trees.

Proper Soil

You will want to invest in soil with high organic and nutrient contents. Regular topsoil isn’t ideal for growing a vegetable garden as the growing vegetables require more nutrients in order to prosper. Fertilizer is a nice additive to help give your vegetables a good healthy start in life. If you compost, add that to your vegetable garden as an extra treat.

Constant Watering

It is vitally important that your garden gets frequent watering. Don’t simply rely on the rain, unless your area of town is having an unnaturally wet season! Be sure that your precious vegetables are provided with plenty of water so they can grow fast and strong.

Extra TLC

Be sure that you pay close attention to the level of weeds growing in your vegetable garden. Try to do frequent weeding because your vegetables need all of the nutrients and water they can get and weeds tend to be excellent at stealing both from the intended recipient.

Where to Begin

Some vegetables do best when they are started inside. Tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers can be planted indoors and stored in a heavily sunlit area over the winter. Once the springtime hits they can easily be transferred to the vegetable garden with a head start on their growth. Root vegetables can be planted directly from seeds into your garden. Vegetables such as carrots, turnips, and potatoes are popular picks.

Survival Tips

To help your garden thrive and grow you should ensure the vegetables have everything they need to succeed. For taller plants that tend to get top heavy, such as tomatoes, stakes or cages may be necessary to aid in healthy growth. It is also important that you pay attention to the removal of dead plants that may be impeding the growth of the healthy ones.

Get creative with your vegetable garden and plant lots of different varieties to give your garden the best chance at a big yield come harvest time. Start your garden the right way with gardening tools, gardening supplies, and seeds from Ritchie Feed & Seed!

An Easy Guide to Winterizing Your Pond

Categories:
03/10/2016
ponds in the winter

If you have a pond in your yard, there is no doubt that it is a source of relaxation and beauty for you and your family. Ottawa has some harsh winter conditions each year, and preserving the life of your pond is an important winterizing task. Here are four pointers to take for winterizing your pond.

Water Levels

If you choose to shut your pond down for winter, ensure that you leave about two feet of water in the bottom of your pond to keep any plants or fish alive that are to remain in the pond for the winter season.

The Water Pump

It’s very important not to lose track of your water pump over the winter months. The pump is an essential tool to provide oxygen to the plants and fish that live in your pond. Most models can survive the cold weather, but will typically need the help of a water heater to keep the water from freezing when January and February hit. If you choose to close your pond for the winter, be absolutely certain to take the water pump out of the pond and immediately immerse it in a bucket filled with water. Once a water pump has been used it cannot be allowed to dry out. The seals expand when the pump is covered in water and they will crack and break if they are allowed to dry. Keep the water pump in a bucket of water until it is time to return it to the pond in the spring.

Take Care of Plants

Some plants can survive the winter months, they just need a little trim. Water lilies, for example, can survive in the winter if they are trimmed down to about two feet. Other plants like annuals just need to be cleaned up around the pond and replanted the following year.

Take Care of any Fish

If you have Koi fish in your pond, there is a great chance they will survive the winter if you leave them in about two feet of water and with plenty of rocks and gravel at the bottom. To keep these fish alive over the winter you will need to provide them with a source of oxygen, so keeping your water pump and a water heater will be essential to their survival. It is also important to stop feeding your fish early on in the winter to allow their metabolism time to slow down. This is what keeps them alive over the winter months, and if you feed them too late into the winter they won’t be able to digest the food in time and it could end up killing them.

If you have any questions with respect to winterizing your backyard pond feel free to call Ritchie Feed & Seed for expert lawn & garden advice! Our garden supply stores are conveniently located throughout Eastern Ontario and the Ottawa region to better serve you.

Which Plants Are Best for Fall Colour?

Categories:
03/10/2016
fall colour

With that fresh autumn breeze just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about colour – and we don’t just mean the trees. When it comes to autumn, you’ve got to take full advantage of that palette of colours it provides us with. So get out that garden hoe, grab your gloves, and take your pick of these plants that will be your best options for magnifying those fall colours.

Arkansas Blue Star

This perennial plant offers you a variety of foliage to enjoy. In the springtime it blossoms into tiny blue star flowers atop willow-like foliage that you can enjoy all summer long. And come autumn, that foliage turns into a beautiful golden-yellow, all the while being able to withstand the winter.

It’s the perfect plant if you’re in search of something low-maintenance and resilient with a variety of colour to enjoy throughout each season.

Red Osier Dogwood

If you’re in search of a shrub that will provide you with vibrant colour throughout the fall and the wintertime – red osier is it. This shrub is hearty and strong. It’s the perfect shrub if you’re looking to plant a hedge, or simply add a splash of colour to the mix. Due to the fibrous roots, hardiness, and deep, vibrant red stems that last all throughout the winter – this shrub has become a favourite among many avid landscapers and gardeners.

Fragrant Viburnum

If sight and smell are what you seek, consider the fragrant viburnum. These shrubs are also a favourite among gardeners. If you’ve got a problem area – dry, wet, sunny or shady – viburnums will jump to the rescue. They can survive just about anywhere. Plus, they offer attractive foliage, burgundy hues and fresh fragrances. It’s the perfect bundled package to embrace those autumn colours.

Balloon Flower

Also known as a Chinese Bellflower, this plant is your show-stopper. If you’re looking for a plant that has that “wow factor” – this is it. This perennial is easy to grow and offers dazzling blue flowers that peak in mid-to late summer and into the fall. It can handle extreme cold and extreme heat, so you can get the benefits of vibrant blues, mixed with white and pink palettes to liven up your garden during those autumn months.

Embrace the beauty of autumn this year by adding a few splashes of colour to your garden. And if you’re look for plants that will put on a show, you can bet any of these will do just that.

Looking for more fall gardening ideas? The friendly staff at Ritchie Feed & Seed can help with everything you need: plant search, lawncare, seeds, bird feeders, pond supplies, garden tools, and much more! Browse online or visit our Ottawa garden stores to learn more.

Roses by Type

Categories:
19/09/2016
ottawa rose gardens

There’s something almost visceral about the nature of a rose – the beauty, the delicate petals, the aromatic scent and colours. For many avid gardeners, roses are that prized feature in a garden that stands out amongst the crowd. The downside however, can be the challenge in their fragility, as many gardeners struggle to grow and maintain them at full bloom. If you’re in search of a hearty rose that will deliver those attributes along with hardiness, here are a few for you to consider.

New Dawn

If you’re searching for a climber that will give you great covering for fences, walls or structures, the New Dawn rose can deliver. Known for being one of the best perpetual-flowering climbers, it’s also one of the most vigorous. These roses are a beautiful display of wild-like, soft pink petals that let off a sweet, fruity scent as they blossom.

Singing in the Rain

Aside from the captivating name, these apricot colour roses grow in clusters so they provide you with big, bold displays of stunning tea-shaped blooms. You can find plenty of blossoms, regardless of weather, with a scent that intensifies as the weather cools.

Christian Dior

If you’re after those traditional, piercing red rose petals, Christian Dior are the perfect match. Tall and long-stemmed, these Hybrid Tea roses are known for producing the most “show-stopping” blooms. Lots of sun, well-drained soil, and some rose food will ensure you have elegant blossoms to look forward to each year.

Sun Sprinkles

Whether it’s in the ground or in a pot, these miniature roses are perfect for adding that rose-touch to your garden bed or your patio. The deep yellow blooms are heat tolerant, resilient and give off a mild, spice fragrance.

Blanc de Coubert

Blanc de Coubert is a Rugosa rose, which means they are shrubs that grow upright with very prickly stems, and bear flowers in summer and autumn. It’s a medium-sized shrub that offers stunning displays of pure white flowers with lots of accompanying fragrance. They are both vigorous and elegant.

Whatever you’re looking for, there is a rose out there that will grow and thrive in your garden. All that’s required is a bit of research to find the perfect type to suit your garden bed. So if roses are what you desire, start by considering each of these five types that are most favorable not only for their beauty, but for their hardiness as well.

If you have any more questions about roses, or you are looking for gardening supplies to bring your roses to full bloom, Ritchie Feed & Seed can help. Contact us or visit us in-store!

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