Deer Gardener: Tips for gardeners as we head into the dry season

Grass clippings provide excellent mulch

The best garden planting weekend of the year has come and gone! It’s not too late… Ready set, STRETCH, then get to it. Stretching is getting more important to me prior to garden activities. It is possible to incapacitate myself in a single gardening session now. Things were ‘different’ then. Life gets better, as I age, provided care is taken of some physical and mental requirements. Lots of walks help me. Being in the Okanagan is not too shabby either.

I am writing part of this in Osoyoos tending my Momma’s garden and home that she enjoyed so much. The desert is a complete flip from coastal rainforest, and the difference is quite charming. As we tidy up and head for home the roses have just begun to bloom, and lovely they are. Their beauty is twofold because they are ‘old’ roses that have an exceptional scent, and have been growing for many years (we moved them from the orchard home when my mom moved). Osoyoos is prime climate for roses, they love the heat if adequate water is available. I do grow roses in Port too, but it’s a hard slog compared to here.

Whilst diligently perusing the buds and new growth for aphids each morning I came upon a ladybug doing the same thing and realized that God perfect plan working, I do not have to worry about it, but I like to fuss. Two different colours of aphids (green and brown) have shown up so far. The green ones are on three bushes, but the larger brown ones seem to prefer the largest rose bush. There are no roses with both types. Interesting huh? Who knows what that means, if anything?

READ MORE: Deer Gardener: Keeping the bloom on the rose

A drive along the back roads, where I learned to drive 54 years ago caused us to find wild asparagus, one each for the four of us, to munch on. Outstanding flavour that took me back to being a ‘kid’. Love it! It was our candy in May.

The forest fire you may have seen on the news in Keremeos area was very scary, and here comes another wildfire season. Fortunately, it was contained within a couple of days, but the land is tinder dry out here. A vehicle fire caused the whole thing.

There is no place like home….

As I arrived home to Port Clements, the dryness continued to be on my mind, it is very dry here also. These Islands on fire are our worst nightmare… please be super conservative with anything that could even remotely start a fire… especially cigarette butts and campfires. We did well last year to get through reasonably unscathed let’s do it again please.

One of the first things I noticed as I wandered around my yard upon settling into home, is that the deer ate my Bergenia… aren’t they cute! Grrr. I had netted over some things, but not those. We wait all year for a one shot bloom and Bambi eats it! Sheesh.

As we head into this dry season, let’s consider more mulching to provide retention of moisture in the garden beds. Grass clippings are readily available and provide excellent mulch. You must not place the green clippings right up to the new plants that pop through the ground, the mulch is ‘manure’ and will burn young plants. A liberal dose of nitrogen comes from the grass, and a good dose of heat as they compost, so be watchful for problems. Some plants do not want extra nitrogen. When you place them in the zones between the seedlings, they give the bugs something to eat other than your new seedlings.

Try to place an inch or two of clippings at a time then wait until they dry before adding more, next mowing.

Keep the soil by the seedlings stirred up, so any watering you do will go directly to the plants and not run off. Creating a well around the base of larger plants can also help conserve water.

Seaweed is my all-time favorite mulch for next to the seedlings. It doesn’t burn and as it breaks down some serious nutrition is added to the soil. If your clippings are especially weedy, place a couple layers of newspaper down first to keep the weed problem down.

So, for this session that’s it! Have a great June!

READ MORE: B.C. to be the ‘king of heat’ this summer: meteorologist

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