Lifestyle

Burnett: Snowdrops bloom late this year, to columnist’s dismay

The snowdrops are blooming, the snowdrops are blooming. Why am I so excited?

Because it has been just too long coming this year. I looked up my blooming dates and noted that I have recorded seeing snowdrops in early March some years.

Regardless of when they come out, the early spring blooming bulbs herald the beginning of a new gardening year.

Crocus, Siberian iris, glory of the snow and species tulips are just a few of them.

The pussy willows are now looking good but according to my records a few years ago they were finished by March 20.

***

I’ve often had gardeners tell me they have trouble growing sweet peas in the Okanagan. I tend to agree that the show we get here is nothing to what can be accomplished on the Prairies.

The difference is our heat. May and June can be very hot months and sweet peas, like regular garden peas, like to grow cool.

In fact, some gardeners sow their peas in the fall so they go through the winter as two-inch seedlings, ready to start growing in the spring.

For most gardeners, however, getting sweet peas and garden variety peas in by early March is ideal, so if you haven’t planted your sweat peas yet you had better get busy.

Here are a few tips for success. Prepare the soil with well-rotted organic compost such as Natures Gold; peas love it.

Make your rows to run north and south for best exposure to the sun and improved air circulation.

Soak the seeds in water for an hour or two and dust them with an inoculant specially prepared for legumes such as peas and beans.

The members of the legume family have nitrogen producing nodules on their roots that are enhanced when the inoculant, which is a soil bacteria is applied.

This improves their ability to fix their own nitrogen from the air through a symbiotic relationship hence improving the crops growth and productivity.

Another good trick is to dig the seed furrow about four inches deep but only cover the seed about an inch.

As the little pea seedlings grow the furrow can then be filled in.

Space the seeds about two inches apart with the rows about 24 to 30 inches wide.

Sow seeds every two to three weeks for continual harvest with a sowing in late July for a fall crop.

***

On a sad note, we lost a very close friend of our family.

Grant Mitchell passed away this past week. My thoughts are with his dear sister Moira, who was by his side and helped him during these difficult times.

Moira has been a good friend of my sister Joan since childhood.

Grant was one of those great Kelowna folks who felt like a brother whenever we bumped into one another.

The conversation inevitably turned to our parents and the great times they had together as young people in the first United Church.

Tune in to The Don Burnett Garden Show on AM 1150 News Talk Sports Saturdays from 8 to 10 a.m.

 

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