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Gardener's Notebook: Try something new this year

The Yorkton and District Horticultural Society's next meeting May 17 at 7 p.m. at the Yorkton Public Library.
Just for fun, make a cup of tea and look up “winter-sowing” in Google. You’ll be amazed at the possibility of this interesting experiment, which is based on using seeds that need. (File Photo)

YORKTON - One of the most exciting things about gardening is trying something new; how will it turn out? Will it measure up to the description on the package? Maybe it will do better!

You know that I always like to give a gentle nudge to try some new plant in the garden or in our containers. And now with planting this year’s garden in approaching in the very near future, it’s time to keep that in mind!

First, I’ll tell you about an interesting experiment that a dear friend has tried in her garden; she will be way ahead of us, because she planted a few things last fall! One thing that this industrious gardener does is let her lettuce self-seed. The result is that the plants come up very early and imagine how lovely that would be to have a few tender leaves of lettuce right from the garden when the rest of us are just thinking about getting out there!

Another experiment that she has had success with is planting carrots in the fall. Last fall she also planted a row of peas; when we talked the other day, they still weren’t up, but that was just shortly after our April blizzard. So I will keep you posted about how these things turn out! I love the idea of planting ahead of time!

We all know that some plants that have sown themselves in the fall do very well when spring arrives. In our own garden, we let a portion of certain flowers like poppies, cosmos and calendula mature and drop seeds. These have been wonderful plants to attract pollinators in our garden, so we let them be.

I have read that certain seeds need to be chilled before they will germinate. Guess what this is called? It is called “stratification”, and the cold is needed for some seeds so that they will sprout properly. Stratification, going through that cold spell, takes some seeds out of a dormant state. For other seeds, the cold helps the seed coat to soften or break. (nature has interesting cases like this, where seed germination needs specific situations. For example, fireweed, which often comes up when soil is disturbed by something like, you guessed it, forest fires).

Just for fun, make a cup of tea and look up “winter-sowing” in Google. You’ll be amazed at the possibility of this interesting experiment, which is based on using seeds that need

stratification. Maybe we’ll be trying it this fall!

This weekend is Mother’s Day weekend. For those of us who have lost our mothers, it is a time of remembering. My dear Mom was a true gardener; I learned at her elbow as soon as I was able to walk, and I’m so grateful for those wonderful gardening times we always had together. It wasn’t even all about the gardening, it was about being together, working and talking and laughing. Gardening does that. I have to work at all the knowledge that came so naturally to Mom, but I was blessed to have such a terrific teacher. I will savor every memory like the scent of an exotic rose. Thank you for everything, Mom, I love you!

The Yorkton and District Horticultural Society invites you to our next meeting on May 17 at 7PM at the Yorkton Public Library. Our special guest will be a wonderful gardener, Frank Woloschuk, who will be talking to us about perennials that will give us three season color in our gardens. Everyone is welcome, you don’t have to be a member to attend.

Thank you to our friends at YTW for their great work. Visit the Hort society at and have a great week!

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