Container and Backyard Gardening

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  • 8/16/2019 Container and Backyard Gardening


    Container &BackyardGardeningHosted by Transition Toronto &

    sponsored by LEGS – LakeshoreEnvironmental Gardening Society

    Presented by: Monika Meulman

  • 8/16/2019 Container and Backyard Gardening


    Workshop Outline!  What’s in a container – starting basics

    !  To move or not to move – size matters

    Growing friends together – bioplannning!  Planning out your edible season

    !  Bug Off – the end…


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    What’s in a containerJust the basics please… plant, soil, water

    …is that it?

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    Plants will grow:


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    Any toolOr structure

    Will do…

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    Structure basics! selecting plants

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    Structure basics! selecting plants!


    selecting space

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    Structure basics! selecting plants!


    selecting space! selecting time

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    Selecting Plants !  Size?

    Sun loving?



    Care free?

    !  How much room do you have?

    Sun lovers need lots of water

    !  Edibles need replenishing

    !  High need plants need daily


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    Sun or shade

    PORTULACA GRANDIFLORASun plant - flowers bloom only whensun is shining

    Begonias & coleusGreat shade lovers

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    To eat or not to eat

    NasturtiumIs it a flower or a salad? Sedums can become succulent


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    Common use of flowers in salads.

    You can incorporate them into sauces, tarts, preserves, pickles,

    fritters and salads.Small delicate flowers can be eaten whole, or you can separatethe petals from larger varieties.

    Remove all the green parts, stems and leaves, and any white'heels' on petals.

    Pot Marigold (Calendula officinalis) : A common annual, in various

    shades of yellow to orange, with a quite definite flavour. Brightens

    up a salad.Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) : Striking yellow, orange and red

    flowers on an annual plant which grows rampant and easily self-seeds. Leaves and seeds can be eaten in salads along with the

    flowers, and the seeds can be pickled as a substitute for capers.

    Borage (Borago officinalis) : Beautiful blue flowers with a sweet

    flavour. Pull on the central part to pick the flower whole, andsprinkle on a salad or in Pimms.

    Daisy (Bellis perennis) : The smaller variety is common in the wildand on lawns,larger cultivated varieties are available. Pick justbefore they are to be used, to prevent flowers from closing up,

    and use small flowers whole or separate larger petals.

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    Geraniums (Pelargonium spp.) : A common perennial, coming ina variety of colours. As well as the flowers, the scented leaves ofsome varieties can be used in salads.

    Rose (Rosa spp.) : All rose varieties can be used in salads. Somevarieties could be too heavily scented.

    Pansy (Viola wittrockiana) : A common perennial garden flower,can be used in salads.

    Lavender (Lavandula spp.) : There are many varieties of

    lavender, and most are strongly flavoured – use sparingly, finelychopped, in salads.

    Primrose (Primula vulgaris) : Primroses are becoming rare in the

    wild, and so cultivated plants should be used. Use the flowerswhole in salads. Use liberally to impart a delicate flavour toapple pies.

    Cowslip (Primula veris) : Treat as Primroses.

    Violet (Viola odorata) : Delicately flavoured small flowers can beused whole in salads.

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    Everywhere!Balconies, Terraces & PatiosIndoors & Outdoors

    Fences & PostsWalls, Houses, Furniture

    Where can you plant?

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    How Much Space Do They Need?

    Some vegetable plants are vines (and will sprawl). Othersgrow underground.Each plant needs a certain amount of space.

    Shallow Rooters:




    LeeksLettuce (5 inches only!)



    Medium Rooters:Beans, snapBeetsCarrotsChardCucumbers



    Squash (summer)Turnips

    Deep Rooters AsparagusBeans, limaParsnipsPumpkinsSquash (winter)

    Sweet potatoes


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    What’s in a containerJust the basics please… plant, soil, water

    …is that it?

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    What is soil? -


    majority of food comes from soil-


    complex mix of minerals, organic matter, &life

    Types of soil we can grow up in:-  Clay


    -  Sand

    -  Loam

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    Did you know? 

    One cubic centimeter of soil can

    be the home to more than

    1,000,000 bacteria.

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    Soil type: clay

    -  Very fine particles

    -  Holds water very well

    Binds together

    -  Locks out oxygen & water

    -  Low rate of percolation

    -  Cause runoff

    Plants that love clay are…

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    CabbageCabbage will grow well in most soils, providing that it is well drained, so amend clay soils with lots of compost beforeplanting. Apply fish emulsion or compost tea about month after planting to provide extra nutrients. Cabbage likes coolersoil.


    Corn prefers deeply dug, well-manured soil, but will tolerate most soil textures. Corn does not do well in cold, wet soils, so besure to warm soil where corn will be planted with black plastic. Mulch to retain soil moisture.

    SquashBoth summer and winter squashes will do well in clay soils with lots of compost or rotted manure to aide drainage..Transplant winter varieties in soil that has been warmed by black plastic and mulch to retain soil moisture.

    PumpkinsPumpkins are not fussy about soil texture, but they do require fertility. Amend with compost when preparing soil, then add aspade full of compost or well rotted manure to each hill during planting.

    OkraOkra tolerates clay soils with high nutrients and good drainage. Add compost during soil preparation. Pre-warming the soilwith black plastic mulch will speed the germination process. Apply compost tea or fish emulsion once a month.

    Swiss ChardSwiss chard tolerates clay soils that are rich and well drained. Add lots of compost during soil preparation, but little furtheramendment is necessary.

    LettuceLettuce germinates poorly in warm soils, so cool clay soils may be welcomed. To ensure good germination, prechill seeds inthe refrigerator before sowing or start warmer, summer crops from transplants. Raised beds are recommended.

    GarlicGarlic will do well in well drained, fertile, humusy soil. Raised beds, amended with generous amounts of compost arerecommended. Encourage vigorous growth with applications of fish emulsion or compost tea.

    MelonsMelons do well in well manured, well drained soil that has been thoroughly warmed. Set out transplants into raised beds

    that have been pre-warmed with black plastic. Give weekly applications of compost tea or fish emulsion.

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    Soil type: Silt

    -  Larger particles than clay, irregularshape

    Still Holds water-  Usually where rivers used to flow

    -  Good base soil for mix

    -  Hold nutrients well - fertile

    -  Allows more water & oxygen in thanclay

    Plants that love silt are…

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    Brassicas continued…

    Broccoli – grow as either spring or fall cropRequire 6-8 weeks to mature, shorter in the fall

    Brussels sprouts – firmer heads in heavier soil

    Thrive in cool weather.

    Require pH 6.5

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    Soil type: Sand

    -  Very large particle size

    -  Percolates water quickly

    -  Lose nutrients easily

    Allow for great oxygencirculation

    Plants that love sand are…

    Carrots & lettuce & spinachTurnips & potatoes & garlic

    Strawberries, peppers, squash, zucchini,collard greens and tomatoes.

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    Soil type: Loam

    -  Highest concentration of organicmatter

    Very fertile-  Crumble easily when squeezed

    -  Black to dark brown in color

    -  Smells (rich musty odor)

    -  Contain humus

    -  Most Plants love loam!

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    Soil pHpH is the measure of a soil’s acidity or alkalinity. Most

    plants do well in soil with a neutral pH of 6.6 to 7.4, orin slightly acid soil with a pH of 6.0 to 6.5. Soil pH is

    important because it affects the availability ofnutrients to plants and the activity of microorganisms

    in the soil.

    Most garden crops prefer slightly acidic- slightly alkaline soil

    (6.5-7.5), but some crops like potatoes, tomatoes, raspberries,

     blueberries, cranberries prefer moderately acidic-very acidic

    conditions (5.5-4.5)

    How to use a soil tester kit:

    • Remove a small handful of soil.

    • Add distilled water to the soil, follow directions on

     package (adding soil-testing ingredient)

    • Compare the colour of the water with the colour


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    !  Compost (green bin)

    !  Compost (animal manures e.g. sheep, cow)

    !  Greensand- a great source of slow release potassium and trace elements for the soil.

    !  Kelp Meal-Provides the essential micro-nutrients needed for healthy plant growth.

    !  Blood meal- extremely high in nitrogen for green growth, deters small animals

    !  Bone meal- high in phosphorous which encourages root growth, essential for development of

    fruit, flowers and seeds.

    !  Carbonitite-supplies a broad spectrum of slow release essential mineral such as calcium,phosphorus, potassium, iron, sulphur, manganese, zinc, copper and boron. 

    !  Limestone- Calcium carbonate (CaCO3) and calcium magnesium carbonate (called dolomitic

    limestone) are natural forms of lime that are used to adjust pH and provide nutrients.

    !  Others: crushed eggshells, molasses (for calcium, iron, potassium). Tomatoes love them!

    Eco-Friendly Soil Amendments

    Here are some things you can add to your soil before andduring prep work, and on an on-going basis to improve the

    quality of your soil:

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    Take me with you!

    Full Sun= >6 hrs/day

    Partial Sun= 3-6hrs/day


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    Made in the Shade

    Blue Lake bush beansYellow wax bush beans

    Detroit Red BeetsEarly Girl tomato

    Indeterminate Roma tomatobeef steak tomato

    Any cold crop:

    lettuce, cabbage, onions, radishes, garlic, etc.they prefer cooler weather

    Look for varieties that say they are wilt / mold resistant.

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    What’s in a container

    !  Just the basics please… plant, soil, water

    !  …is that it?

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    Did you know?

    silt, and sand in a soildetermine its texture. Loam, the

    ideal garden soil, is a mixture of20 percent clay, 40 percent silt,and 40 percent sand.

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    Season of Eating

    One time crops

    Beans, Peas!




    Carrots, onions


    Multiple Crops

    Tomatoes, peppers!


    Herbs, flowers

    !  Lettuce, kale

    !  Chard, spinach

    Tip: single crop plants – plant every 2 weeks in spring

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    Let’s eat…

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    Growing friends together –bioplannning

    Plant Families Together

    !  Legumes: peas, beans, limas

    Brasiccas: cabbage, kale, broccoli,collards, cauliflowers, kohlrabi, brussels


    !  Curcubits: cucumber, melons, squash

    Nightshades: peppers, tomatoes,

    potatoes, eggplants, radishes,rutabagas, onions, garlic, leeks

    !  Corn

    Leafy greens: spinach, chard, lettuce

    Plant smellies together

    !  Asparagus helps tomatoes

    Alliums help fruit trees, nightshades(tomatoes, capsicum peppers,

    potatoes), brassicas (cabbage,broccoli, kohlrabi, etc.) carrots

    !  Beets help lettuce, kohlrabi, onions

    and brassicas

    !  Radishes help squash, peppers,lettuce, and cucumbers

    Tomatoes help roses, asparagus, andpeppers

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    Plants keep bugs away…

    Basil - asparagus beetle, mosquitos, thrips, fliesBorage – tons of pests

    Cilantro – aphids, spider mites, white flies, potato beetleChives – cabbage worms, carrot fly, aphids

    Dill – aphids, spider mites, squash bugs, cabbage looperGarlic - Aphids, cabbage looper, ants, rabbits, cabbage


    Peppermint - cabbage fly, ants, cabbage looperSage - cabbage flies, carrot fly, black flea beetle,

    cabbage looper, cabbage maggot

    Tansy - flying insects(Ichneumonid Wasps), Japanesebeetles, striped cucumber beetles, squash bugs and


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    Please don’t touch me…

    Geraniums don’t like tomatoes and eggplants

    Nasturtiums don’t like radishes and cauliflowers

    Apple trees don’t like cedars – cedar rust.

    Pepper fungus can seriously hurt Apricot trees.

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    I love you: Marigold

    Marigolds are a wonder-drug of thecompanion plant world, invoking the

    saying "plant them everywhere in yourgarden".

    French marigolds produce a pesticidal

    chemical from their roots, so strong it

    lasts years after they are gone.

    Mexican marigolds do the same, but

    are so strong they will inhibit thegrowth of some more tender herbs.

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    Troubleshooting: Common Plant

    Diseases and Garden Pests!  Most vegetables will have indications of some ailment (viral,

    fungal, bacterial or insect). Holes usually indicate insect

    damage, though some insects do not create visible damage to

    foliage.!  If a plant has a noticeable disease (spotting, discolouration),

    tend as best as possible, being careful not to touch otherplants after handling to avoid transferring fungi or bacteria to

    other plants.

    Many fungal diseases are exacerbated by moist, humidconditions- best remedy is sunlight and lots of airflow.

    !  If you experienced some diseases in previous years, tryrotating crops in different areas (some microorganisms cansurvive our winters).

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    How to Deal with other Garden

    Critters• Slugs and snails can be baited with beer traps, are

    repelled by coffee grounds, crushed eggshells,

    diatomaceous earth and tobacco.


    Powdered hot peppers keep squirrels at bay. Sprinkleliberally on freshly planted areas (after watering) and

    reapply after rain.

    • Raccoons can be kept out of your garden by stapling

     black plastic to your fence. They can’t climb the plastic,

    it’s too slippery, and as long as you encircle your gardenwithout gaps, they won’t dig underground.

    • Sprinkle cat fur (from brushing) if rabbits are your

    culprit, replacing after rain.

    • Put up bird netting around berries if necessary.

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    Question time

    I’ll tell you everything I know,

    but first who’s got cookies?