Big City, Little Homestead

Living rural in the city.

Category: Gardening (page 2 of 6)

Climbing vines on the shady side 

My house is almost famous for the green wall of vines I have growing on it – which you can see in the banner of our Facebook page. Of all the neighbours, the only others who have vines are those on the end on a row, with a big wall to cover.

My Virginia creeper is now about six years old, and for two years, I also  let one climb out back, on the  shady eastern side. At the same time, I nabbed a real ivy plant and planted it in the same place, but I suspect that Virginia creeper inhibits other plants, as it failed to thrive.

This year, out back, I dug out the creeper and planted a climbing hydrangea in its place, as I wanted the flowers, and a climber that thrived in the shade. Little did I know, but it also released the ivy, which has since taken off.

It’s inspiring me for next year, where I’m going to remove the creeper from the front of my house (except the garage wall) and plant ivy in its place, because it spreads nicely and is less rambunctious.

It is not true that climbing plants damage your bricks. They help shade your home so that it’s cooler, they look nice, and they also give wild birds a place to hang out, and berries and insects to eat. (I’ve had no problem with insects, other than fruit flies that go after my composter.)

Montreal’s big plant swap & gardening extravaganza, May 28 – 29

Due to the popularity of this post (the fact that you’re reading it), please set yourself an alert to check back at BLCH by the end of April. I’ll be doing an annual blog post as soon as the information is available on when the plant give-away weekends take place across various parts of Montreal. I’ll do my best to find out when it is at least by the first weekend in May — which is when you might want to go shopping for seedlings, anyway.

Jane, april 2019

If you like gardening, there’s always a weekend in May that’s our big weekend. There’s always a coördinated extravaganza to get people motivated to get their plants into the ground at the best possible time. Events, including native and ornamental plant sales, are happening all weekend long, notably at the Botanical Garden. This afternoon on the Plateau there’s another plant swap/ giveaway. Details for that can be seen on the PlantCatching website:

It’s also the weekend that some boroughs of the Ville are giving away plants to residents for their balconies and yards. I’m off this morning to collect flowers – it’s my borough’s weekend – but pretty much ALL of them give flowers and compost away every year. Call 311 for your area. The giveaway usually begins at 10 AM, with a few (3 – 4) locations for each borough. They are not well-advertised because even without advertising, they still draw a huge crowd. Bring a pail for your compost and a sturdy bin or bags for your plants. Arrive early; the line-ups are usually an hour long.

This is going to be the shortest blog post (aside from link shares) ever. In fact, here in October, I feel some chagrin for not posting this earlier, but if you still have tomatoes in the garden, they’re not going to ripen this season, unless you do this:

Pull up the plant in its entirety and hang it upside down in your garage or cold cellar. All the cherry tomatoes on this plant – and there were many more; I’ve harvested them regularly – were green when I pulled it up at the end of September. I’m getting a lot more than I thought possible – at least 40 off of 3 plants!

It’s not too late to start your native, urban garden!

If you’ve had a frustrating spring with all this rain and insufficient heat, don’t despair. You can still have a garden this summer. Here are some resources to help you – especially those of you in Montreal, Quebec, and eastern Ontario, where most of these resources can be reached.

If you’re francophone or able to read French, download the Guide potager urbain, written by the couple from Drummondville who were given a legal hassle in 2012 about having a front yard full of vegetables. This 240-page e-book is a handy guide to having a very attractive and productive garden.

While deciding what it is you want in your garden, double-check your zone (Montrealers: we are in Zone 5). See if it’s something that can be planted in the middle of June for a harvest in a short timeframe, up until October. Here are the next steps:Vegetable seedlings are now well past their prime at the greenhouses where they’re sold. You’ll be able to buy a few on sale. Get them into the ground or into wicking or standard pots as quickly as possible. Make sure that compost and peat are part of the soil mix, and water them every day if the rain doesn’t come.

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