Enjoy forcing spring flowering branches indoors
Certain spring flowering shrubs or trees can provide a visual of spring indoors. Plant material, such as forsythia, lilac, Nanking cherry, double flowering plum, flowering almond, spirea, birches, willows and a few others, can accentuate
the longer days and sunshine radiating through our windows.
Forcing plays games with the branches, breaking dormancy and hopefully, if conditions are right, provides you with a bit of spring inside.
The first step is to select young branches that have large plump flower buds located on them. You will want to prune out a few 12" branches being careful not to damage the buds or the form of the shrub/tree. Do this on a warm day if possible.
To assist in a speedier process of breaking dormancy and to keep well hydrated, the branches should be immersed in a bathtub overnight. Once they have been well watered, make a slit on the stem about 1" deep. Do this while holding the branch underwater.
This will help in preventing an air bubble blocking the absorption of the water into the branch.
Arrange in a vase or container with warm water. The water should be changed every 2-3 days and keep out of direct sunlight. The branches should flower anywhere between 1 week and 8 weeks. Keep the display in bright but not direct light. Once colour shows
on the bud, additional energy may be given in the form of cut flower food and move the branches to a cooler night time temperature for longer lasting blooms.
The Urban Garden
Space constraints are the biggest issue plaguing urban gardeners. The good news is you don’t need a lot of space to grow your own edible crops. You can grow a wide
assortment of edibles in pots so you may enjoy the fruits of your labour even when you only have a small balcony for your garden!
Crops suited for pots - beans, blueberries, cabbage, carrots, cucumber, herbs, kale, lettuce, peppers, potatoes, radish, rhubarb, spinach, strawberries, Swiss chard, tomatoes, zucchini. Note - peppers and tomato seeds should be started indoors in March.
Planting crops in pots:
- Choose a container - plastic, ceramic, clay, wooden, metal - make sure container has drainage holes. It is always beneficial to put a layer of gravel in the bottom of the pots so soil doesn’t wash out the drainage holes.
- Fill pot with a mixture of 2 parts potting soil and 1 part compost and moisten soil.
- If you are looking for peat moss alternatives we carry an amazing product that is made from coconut coir and seasoil - ready to go, just fill your pots!
- Plant your edibles and gently water soil.
- Fertilize and water regularly.
- Take your pots in at night if frost is in the air.