Sowing the seeds

At this time of year, we start to look out at our gardens and dream of all the beautiful and delicious things we are going to grow in them this year. For many of us, it's hard to wait for spring and so we get busy planting seeds in pots, and stick them in our windows with an abundance of hope. Unfortunately this often ends in disappointment as it is really neither bright enough nor warm for the little sprouts that pop up and many of them grow into weak, leggy little plants that never make it outside to the garden.

Because we are still months away from planting annuals and vegetables in our gardens, it is time to plan but not to plant. In upcoming issues of this newsletter, we will be bringing you some helpful information on starting plants from seeds. In the meantime, check out this page on the Farmer's Almanac website for a useful chart on when to sow seeds for different types of vegetables. Just enter your postal code and it's tailored to your area. You'll notice for our area, most seeds shouldn't be started until at least March.

Keep dreaming of spring and we will be there before you know it! And don't forget to to check out our facebook group "Rekker's and Friends" to discuss seeds, houseplants and all other types of gardening related things with us and other local gardeners!


The invaders:

Houseplant pests and what to do about them

One of the most asked questions from our plant parent customers is, “Where did they come from and how do I get rid of them?" They are referring to the common insects that can invade your collection: aphids, mealybugs, spider mites, fungus gnats and whitefly.

Where do they come from? They generally come in on newly acquired plants and the eggs can live in the soil for months before appearing so it can seem like they came out of nowhere. Frequent inspections of your plants, quick action, isolating an infested plant to limit the spread and removal of badly infested branches are a good start to getting rid of these pests. Here's some more detailed info about who they are and what to do if you find them.

The pests

Aphids - tiny yellow, green, brown, or black bumps on the stems, tips and undersides of leaves. Often leave a sticky substance behind.

Mealybugs - Fuzzy white spots or patches on leaves & stems, especially in notches, crevices and hard to reach places.

Whitefly - Very tiny white flying insects that look like dandruff and fly around your plants when disturbed.

Spider mites - fuzzy mats of webbing inside your plant, under leaves, etc. with tiny yellow or brown specks. Leaves will often turn yellow or develop a fine, speckled texture.

Fungus gnats - tiny black flies that do not harm the plant but are a nuisance as they emerge from the plant soil and swarm around your house.

The treatments

Aphids: Start by blasting the plant with hard spray of water to knock them off. Follow up with a spray of insecticidal soap on all parts of plant and soil. Check plant again every few days and repeat treatment as needed.

Mealybug: A bit harder to treat but the best way is to use rubbing alcohol on a cotton swab and wiping down the leaves. It is also a good idea to slide the plant out of it's pot and check the roots. Check plant every few days and repeat treatment as needed - it may take a few weeks to completely eradicate mealy.

Whitefly: To me, these are the worst pests! They are fast reproducers and are usually not noticed until they have invaded your plant(s) in large numbers. Same as with aphids, a blast of water can knock them off followed by insecticidal soap and repeat every few days until sure they are gone.

Spider mites: These are encouraged by dry warm conditions and dusty plants. Wipe your leaves down when needed and stay on top of watering. Placing a humidifier near your plants or very light misting can discourage them. Spraying spider mites with a miticide is typically recommended if infestation is severe and repeating every few days. Because these pests multiply quickly, this is where you may want to decide to cut your losses if the spray is not working.

Fungus Gnats: These annoying creatures drive everyone nuts! It is highly likely the larvae is in the soil, so you need to adjust your watering. They are attracted to moist soil, so do not water until the top 2 inches of soil is completely dry. There are fungus gnat sprays on the market or you can mix one part of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide with 2 parts water, then use the mixture as a soil drench, making sure it reaches the roots.

Remember, always maintain your plants to keep them healthy, this will make them less susceptible to pests.


Closed for winter.

Watch for our reopening date in March!

On Highway 2, just west of Bowmanville


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