Plenty of gardening tips to occupy your time and keep your mind off COVID crisis

We Dig Chemainus August 2020

Summer time and the livin’ is COVID!

Our flowers are bloomin’ and the tourists are few, lifestyles are a changin’ and our attitudes calm, so, mask up, you locals, be safe and smile.

Lots of fun events to celebrate: Aug. 4 starts Farmers’ Market Week, Aug. 8 is sneak some zucchini onto your neighbour’s porch day (who knew?), Aug. 13 is International Lefthanders Day, Aug. 17 is Cat Night and World Honey Bee Day, just to name a few.

Most importantly, Aug. 3 is National Watermelon Day, eat and enjoy.

We Dig – Do It Now Tips

• Keep deadheading

• Keep baskets and planters well fed, watered and deadheaded

• Fertilize broccoli and cucumbers

• Keep water from shrub leaves while hot sun is out

• Divide iris

• Prune climbing roses and fertilize with fish fertilizer spray

• Trim evergreen hedges, including laurel

• Trim conifers to maintain shape

• To toughen trees, shrubs and perennials for winter, stop fertilizing!

• Remove finished annuals, such as nemesia and schizanthus

• When cane plants such as raspberries are finished, cut the old canes to the ground

• For winter harvesting plant kale, broccoli, kohlrabi spinach and Brussels sprouts

• Brush the soil away from the tops of onions to assist in maturity

• Cut back stems of pumpkins and trailing winter squash. Make the cut just above the leaf growing beyond the last formed fruit

Did you know…

… the flower of the month is the gladiola, meaning ‘give me a break’?

… dahlias are named for Dr. Anders Dahl, a Swedish botanist of the 18th Century?

… sunflowers can remove toxins such as lead, arsenic and uranium from contaminated soil?

… the hanging gardens of Babylon are part of the 7 wonders of the world?

… the month of August is named in honour of the first Roman emperor Augustus Caesar, 63 BC-14 AD?

Pick of the Month – Arbutus

Canada’s only Native broad-leafed evergreen tree!

Also known as Pacific Madrone, it grows along B.C.’s West Coast. Arbutus menzeisii is found in the dry southeast regions of Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. Very distinctive trees clinging to rocks and withstanding gale force winds. It grows up to 30 metres tall, usually with a leaning trunk that divides into several upright branches. It tolerates summer drought and prefers dry, nutrient poor soil. Likes sunshine. It produces small, bell shaped, fragrant flowers and their red berries are edible. It has long thick, dark and glossy leaves with a leathery texture. The bark is reddish brown, peeling in strips to show young greenish bark underneath. It restricts its growth to a narrow strip along the coast to as far south as Mexico and occurs within eight kilometres of the Pacific Ocean.

AND … has anyone else’s gardening skills improved during this quarantine like mine have? I planted myself on the couch in March and I’ve grown significantly since.

Our next work bee is Thursday, Aug. 6 at 3 p.m. at the Henry Road traffic circle if you would like to join us. Always happy to have more hands.

Visit our blog at www.wedigchemainus.ca.

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