The Gardener’s Corner

The Gardener’s Corner

Watering season is upon us: Dos and don’ts

Erik shares tips on watering and for building and using a cold frame

By now, so much is taking place in the garden, even during the night hours. It is very easy to miss something that needs instant attention, so keep up taking that daily garden walk to ensure everything is in order.

By now, the dahlia tubers should have been planted indoors to get a promising start in sending out the first leaves. Just make sure they don’t dry out.

Your bedding plants will soon be ready to move into an unheated room with lots of light or a cold frame. I went to the garden centre and chose some petunias for the hanging baskets and planted them right away.

In the daytime, the baskets are in my sunroom, where the temperature comes up to fourteen degrees in the middle of the day, but I’m not sure I can trust the nights so I will be moving them inside the house for now. They should be in bloom by June. When I need to water them, I will add some liquid fertilizer to the water, only one-fourth of the given rates.

The watering season is upon us again. This is the part of gardening I dislike the most. For some years, I made myself get up at 4 a.m. on our watering day, and each of the following hours, to turn the water off or on.

It took a toll on me. Then I installed an underground automatic sprinkler system. I don’t encourage anyone to attempt this because there are now automatic timers that can be fastened directly between the hose and the tap to make life easier.

Some of the sprinklers appear to cover a particular area evenly distributed but others do not. One example is the oscillating sprinkler. This sprinkler applies more water on each side than the middle. If you are only watering the lawn, it is not a big deal, but is in the vegetable garden.

If you are blessed with deep topsoil, it is better to do a “deep” watering once a week than short periods several times a day. This helps to force the roots to grow down. This does not apply to young plants.

So what is a cold frame? A cold frame is an unheated greenhouse. It can be a place to keep bedding plants before planting them outside. It is also the place to grow certain vegetables when the weather warms up.

A cold frame should be at least two feet high at the back and about eighteen inches at the front. The short sides should slope from back to front. The length can be your choice. The location should have southern exposure. The plastic cowering frame needs to be made to be lifted and held open in a safe manner. As the weather gets warmer, open the top.

If you have questions or suggestions for topics, please email me at

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