Friday, June 19, 2015

3 Tips for Your Ottawa Summer Garden


This month's weather is almost perfect for gardeners - enough rain and sunshine lets the flowers flourish - but also the weeds : )   Here's a list how you can even more improve your summer garden:

1. Corn Gluten Meal is not only a great fertilizer, but also may suppress weeds.
I used corn gluten meal in the past to help my roses become healthy again, when they got black spots and fungus. Misted them first with water, and then sprinkled the corn gluten meal on it.
At least one point where gluten is useful  : ) just kidding.

How and when to apply it can be found on Ottawa’s website:
and also on

Important:  If you apply corn gluten meal anytime before or after that window, the product’s efficacy for weed control falls through the floor. Also: do it yourself on a day with no wind if you use it in powder form (cheaper than the pellets that are sold in Garden Centers.  You will also save lots of money on the so-called “lawn-care” companies, who do not even care for already existing weeds in your lawn, such as Plantains and Dandelions.
It can also be sprinkled on cracks in driveways and sidewalks without fear of harming children or pets.
I read that Corn Gluten Meal can be purchased at most livestock feed stores in powder form. It would probably be much cheaper than buying something with a label on it for weed control.  Another option is CostCo, who usually carries it in spring, or get it from Rona Home & Garden.


2. Mulch
Mulch, mulch and mulch more, if you haven’t already in spring.  It helps to retain moisture in the soil, suppresses many weeds, and keeps the soil cooler during summer heat.
Rona has great NATURAL CEDAR MULCH for only $2.99 for 56 litters.

3. Which - invasive - plants are not recommended in your garden
From Day Lilies to Lily-of-the-Valley … (both my pet peeves  : )
Many non-native invasive species have already reached Ottawa.  Garlic mustard, swallow-wort (also known as dog-strangling vine), common buckthorn and glossy buckthorn are common in many of our natural areas, crowding out the native species that should be there.



  • Don’t forget to water the soil (not over the flowers) when it hasn’t rained for three days.  
  • Cut all the faded flowers to avoid self-seeding on places you don’t want them and also to clean up your flowers beds.
  • Prune flowering shrubs after the blooms get ugly
  • Mulch if you haven’t already, it keeps the soil longer moist (water the soil well before applying the mulch!)
  • Dig out Dandelions and Plantains (with their roots)
  • Side dress flower beds with compost or manure or feed with fish emulsion
  • Give your houseplants a summer vacation outdoors (in the shade!)
  • Fill your bird bath regularly with fresh water - after cleaning it 

Enjoy your Summer garden and smell the Roses : )