Category Archives: Gardening

Do you have a green thumb? In this section you will find useful information about types of fresh herbs, gardening, sneak peak of my personal garden and more.

Yes We Install Them!!!

Don of All Trades installs Low-Flow Irrigation systems for your home or business. As more communities face water shortages, many people are noticing how simple and practical these low-flow irrigation systems can be. Once these systems are installed they not only conserve water, they save a lot of work. Tired of spending your time winding and unwinding hoses, attaching and moving sprinklers, and so on? Also known as micro-irrigation and low-flow watering systems these use much less later than conventional methods. They distribute water close to individual plants, so water goes only where it’s needed. There’s so many attachments to choose from to make this system work for you. Imagine enjoying your BBQ steak dinner outdoors while you’re watering your gardens at the same time! And YES we install them! Please visit http://www.donofalltrades.ca for more information on our services or call to book your complimentary assessment at 905-259-5249.

 

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Sneak Peak of Don’s Personal Spice Garden

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The May 24 weekend has come and gone. Along with other’s I have been working on cleaning up my yard over the last 3 weeks and taking advantage the warm weather we have had this month. Every year I purchase my vegetable plants from Vandermeer’s Nursery & Garden Centre a local business here in Durham Region. Vandermeer’s has been around since 1976 and I love their story and their huge selection of plants, knowledge and customer service.

“Peter Vandermeer sold his share of his greenhouse business in Holland and emigrated to Canada in 1974 with his wife and daughter. Two years later, he purchased 5 acres in Niagara on the Lake and started building.

He began growing commercial chrysanthemums under contract, but this was not working out to his satisfaction, so he changed over to spray chrysanthemums. Eventually he started selling directly to wholesalers, which now make up 95% of our customer base.” to read more about Peter Vandermeer’s story and to find their location please  check out:    http://www.vandermeergreenhouses.ca/.

 

Years ago, a friend of mine was  in the process of reconstructing a retaining wall at his home. I took the opportunity to take home some of that retaining wall and build a raised spice garden in my yard. Let me tell you, these blocks were heavy but well worth the hard work! I came up with a simple design with what materials I had to work with and below has been my end result. I absolutely love it!

 

I have planted my assortment of fresh basil, thyme, oregano, sage, rosemary, chives, parsley and many more! Here’s a glimpse of my spice garden. Hope you enjoy!

 

 

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Fresh Herb Gardening

 

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Every year I plant fresh herbs in my garden. Oregano, mint and chives are my “regulars” that keep coming back every year. This year I took the time to do some research  and paid a visit to  my local garden nursery. Every year I try to choose a new and exciting addition to add to  my  herb garden and these photos are just a few of this years selections. Keep in mind I have quite a large herb garden and I tend to dry  and store them to be used all through the winter months. Below is a description  along with some of their uses in cooking. There’s nothing more flavourful than cooking with fresh herbs and spices that you have grown in your garden. Fresh herbs just bring your meals to life.  Bonne Appetite!

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The African Basil Plant

Is one of a few types of basil that is perennial. The leaves of African blue basil start out purple when young, only growing green as the given leaf grows to its full size, and even then retaining purple veins.  Goes well with pesto dishes.

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The  Bay Laurel Plant

The By Laurel Plant is a small Mediterranean evergreen tree with small blackish berries and glossy aromatic leaves used for flavoring in cooking; also used by ancient Greeks to crown victors The unique scent is also known for its bug repelling properties. The Bay Laurel is the perfect seasoning roasts, soups, and stews.

 

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The Vietnamese Coriander Plant

The top of its leaf is dark green, with chestnut-colored spots while the leaf’s bottom is burgundy red. The stem is jointed at each leaf. This herb’s leaves are  commonly eaten fresh in salads, soups, stews, fish and beef.

 

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The Curry Plant

The Curry Plant  is a compact pant with silver foliage and yellow blooms. Pick leaves at any time and use for seasoning salads, soups, meat dishes and more.

 

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The Sage Plant 

A perennial with hairy aromatic foliage and attractive edible blue flowers. Pick leaves at any time and use for seasoning fish, shrimp, pork, chicken, corn on the cob and chicken.

 

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The Rosemary Plant

Rosemary is an aromatic evergreen shrub with  leaves that  can be picked anytime  and used for  flavoring in foods such as stuffing and roast lamb, pork, chicken and turkey.

 

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The Lavender Plant

 

The Lavender Plant beautiful purple-tone blooms atop foliage that oozes fragrance on a sunny afternoon. Pick and dry flowers for seasoning desserts, such as cookies, cakes, and ice cream, or use as an edible garnish on a salad or fresh berries. Lavender blends deliciously with mint and lemon to brew a refreshing tea.

 

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The Dark Opal Basil Plant

The Dark Opal Basil Plant has purple leaves with pink flowers Opal Basil is a very high quality basil perfect for culinary use in any dish. It’s used in fresh or dried form and can be frozen for later use. It works particularly well in salads and stir fry.

 

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Gardens By: Don Of All Trades Tips-Part 2

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Woodchips are basically a medium sized material made up of cut or chipped larger pieces of wood.  A machine called a wood chipper is used for transforming large pieces of wood into smaller pieces. Wood chipping has a variety of uses. This product can be used in landscaping and garden mulch. It’s used for playground surfaces, mulch and in some places even fuel.  Woodchips is a great way to keep weeds under control, water conservation, prevention of soil erosion and supporting the germination of seeds.

 

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Wood Chips  as shown in the figure above come in a multitude of colour, shapes and sizes.  Depending on what your next project requires, you can certainly bring any garden to life just by using this simple product. If you’re thinking of taking on the challenge of Dying Wood Chips yourself, here’s a great link that will take you step by step through the process. http://www.ehow.com/how_7726828_color-wood-chips.html

Personally, I like to purchase my woodchips from a local company called Durham Top Soil & Garden Supplies http://www.durhamtopsoil.com/ right here in the Durham  Region.

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I choose shades of black in wood chips. I like the way it brings out the colour and beauty  of my plants.

 

 

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You can save  some money by purchasing wood  chips and picking them up yourself from a garden centre  but I prefer to have them delivered due the large amounts my gardens require.

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If the weather isn’t cooperating. You can protect your woodchips by covering them with a large tarp until you are ready to begin working on transferring them into your gardens.

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I usually stick to the rule of putting a 3 inch layer of woodchips in my gardens.  This ensures that water will be retained, weeding will be kept to a minimum and a decent layer for plant protection is there to keep the plants warm in case of frost.  If you have a concern about  perennials below that haven’t come up or sprouted  yet, don’t. They should be fine. I haven’t had  any issues with my perennials.

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I love the way woodchips give off a character and curb appeal to any garden. It’s just another way to add a finish touch to your home or office. To me, wood chips are like a  base canvass for a multitude of colour and beauty that can be enjoyed and admired all summer long!


 

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Tips On Getting Your Gardens Ready For Spring

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Spring officially sets in on March 20th and although it may not seem like it, any true gardener will tell you that as soon as the holidays end, our minds are focused on that garden. Here are a few things any gardener can do to satisfy that “gardening” itch, in the bleak of mid winter.

Compost Set Up Area:

Composting is one the best things you can do as a gardener. Compost is the black gold of the gardener’s world and you can also create it yourself out of food and yard waste. You’ll be using that waste instead of dumping it in the trash can, you’ll be saving money, and you’ll be loving on your garden. There’s really no point in discussion.

So find a nice, flat area somewhere near the house or garden and enlist some help in setting up a very basic composting system, which doesn’t require much but air, fresh material, and something to hold it all in (an old trash can with holes poked in it, a three-sided structure of hay bales or cement blocks, a small area of mesh fencing).

Containers For Seedlings:

If you’ve always been a “last-minute gardener” – purchasing your leggy seedlings and popping them in the ground right before the weather shoots up to high heat – then this is your year to get a head start and enjoy every moment of spring gardening. Start saving small containers (egg cartons are superb) for those seedlings you can grow yourself; in many areas of the country, you’ll want to get those seeds growing in February so they will be ready to plant  in the ground by April or May. Check this planting calendar from The Old Farmer’s Almanac for the right planting dates for your area (just type your location in the box).

Ordering Seeds:

This may be every gardener’s favorite part: browsing the seed catalogs and websites and picking out which plants to grow this year. Make sure to order your seeds now so you’ll have them in time to start planting them indoors. There are several fabulous organic seed suppliers online. You can order from the website or request a catalog to browse at your leisure:

Preparing Your Soil:

Depending on your location, the only soil prep you may be able to do at this point is just say a little prayer for it. But in many part of the country, days of snow and ice will be interspersed with days of warmer weather and thawed ground. On those days, get out there and do as much work as possible to break up the soil. If you have a larger garden plot, getting a tiller in there on a good day can be extremely helpful. Just digging up the soil is good, as it aerates and loosens and prepares it for planting. But you can also work in compost (well-rotted), manure (well-cured), or other additives depending on the type of soil you have.

Prepare You Potting Area and Garden Tools:

  Claim a corner in the garage, workshop, or patio as your own. Pull out that old, dusty table from the attic or spare bedroom. Give it a bright, cheery coat of paint on a sunny day, set it up, and you’ve got a brand-new potting area ready. Next find all those garden tools and get them ready for spring-time use by scrubbing them down with something a bit abrasive like a scrubbing pad to remove any caked-on dirt or rust. Give them a light coat of oil on the metal parts, then store them in a bucket of sand to keep them rust-free and sharp until planting time comes.

Gardens By Don Of All Trades : Part 1

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You may or may not know this, but one of my most favourite personal interests is working and tending to my gardens. Although some people may not understand the concept of how gardening is a “relaxing” hobby, I absolutely love it and look forward once the Spring season arrives here in Canada so I can get started.

This may sound a little absurd, but I often refer to my plants as my “children” due the amount of care, careful nurturing, planning and daily maintenance involved from the beginning steps of preparation with the introduction of a new species all the way up to appreciating and enjoying them for years to come.

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Last year was a little disappointing to come home after working to notice some of the neglect as I was too busy to look after my “Children.” This year I plan on devoting more time to make sure my gardens are in “top-notch” shape as I do personally consider gardening to be a responsibility. There’s something deep inside that is upsetting, disturbing almost “heart breaking” to me to just cut the grass and just walk away knowing that my “Children” plants, shrubs, water features etc. need to be tended to.

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One key element to a successful and beautiful garden is to make sure you keep on top of the maintenance involved. If you’re planning on creating a garden in your home, remember that the investment of your time and commitment will show your efforts through the beauty or neglect of your plants. Regular weeding, watering, fertilizing, and pruning will make your garden easier to maintain and will keep your plants healthier, happier, and more enjoyable through the spring, summer and fall seasons.

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Everyone loves beautiful, well-kept, vibrant blooming gardens. What some people don’t see behind the picture is the amount of time and care involved in order to keep them looking their best. It’s not just about planting something in the ground and walking away. If your plans include designing a garden and you are a fist time gardener, planning, understanding your soil type, choosing the correct plants that work for your busy lifestyle are just a few things to consider. Think of it as a “custom” garden that suites you as an individual. Creating that backyard “oasis” is attainable and can give you a lifetime of enjoyment and beauty if it’s done right.

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I have included some of the photos of my garden for your enjoyment.

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