Archive for April, 2011

Don’t prune your lavender yet and 3 Good Gardening Books

April 11, 2011

The snow finally seems to be gone for good and my lavender plants are starting to “green up”. I’m having a hard time believing that spring is really here because this winter seemed so long. I heard on the radio the other day that the temperature today is supposed to be nearly 15C and the last time it was that warm was October! It is tempting to start pruning your lavender, but wait just a bit longer. It really is too early to tell what really has died. You really need to see quite a bit of green growth on the plant before you start pruing. At this time of year, it is easy to remove a plant you think has died, but it might just be slow to start.

If you are looking for a wonderful ‘fix’ of lavender, mark the Sequim Lavender Festival on your calendar. This year the dates are July 15-17. Sequim is located at the northern edge of Washington State (nearly directly south of Vancouver Island). The Olympic Mountains are nearby and give you lots to see in the area. The lavender farms put their best forward for the festival and the community gives it full support with lots of other events. For details check out the website:

Vegetable Gardening Books

I know my blog is about lavender, but it’s also about my garden and I do like to tuck in vegetables, especially tomatoes and pop out to the garden for something fresh. Here are some books for gardening in the city that I’m enjoying.

Incredible Edibles. 43 Fun Things to Grow.
Don’t let the title fool you, this easy to read book is full of serious advice. Sonia Day, who lives 1 1/2 hours north west of Toronto, writes from experience and recommends only what has worked for her. The book begins with “The Ten Commandments of Growing Food in the City”. This section contains all the basics; improving soil, keeping critters away. She suggests growing varieties that do well in the city – compact, dwarf and climbing varieties. She is not a fan of growing broccoli, cabbage and cauliflowers as they attract pests that are hard to get rid of. Most of the book gives a detailed look at her 43 suggestions. With good photos, taken of her own plants, and solid advice, it is easy to see why this is a best seller.

The Vegetable Gardeners Container Bible
I’ll confess I haven’t read the entire book, but have jumped around in it. I love this book. Everything is well explained and there are detailed step-by-step photo instructions where needed. Part one is about growing in containers, how to choose them and choose soil.

Part two is about buying plants and starting seeds. Part three is information about the plants. the author is a fan of “self-watering” containers and gives details on how to make your own and the importance of keeping plants well watered. I think this is where I have had trouble and why some of my veggies have not turned out as well as I expected. If you are new to vegetable container gardening, this is the book for you.

City Farmer
After reading an article about Toronto author Lorraine Johnson I decided to pick up this book. I thought it was more of a “how to” book, but in fact it examines ways urban residents in North America are embracing the concept of growing their own food. She examines projects in cities like Brooklyn, New York and Detroit, Michigan, where groups grow produce on either vacant land or in containers on asphalt as businesses, or for low income families. I had no idea there was a balcony gardening project in St. James area of Toronto that helps people grow food on their balconies. There is some practical advice such as how to keep chickens in the city, how to compost and how to plant your boulevard. I have to admit I had trouble putting this book down.

Next time “Munstead” Lavender – one of the most popular lavender varieties. I’ll tell you everything you need to know to grow this wonderful variety.