Writing for Reader’s Digest

Starting with the October issue, I’ve started writing gardening content for Reader’s Digest magazine. I’m not able to post the layout for copyright purposes, but I am allowed to post the text…

October 2012

Spring Forward
Get a gorgeous garden come the thaw with these bulb-planting tips

• Plant up until November or prior to the first freeze so bulbs can establish roots before
winter dormancy.
• Healthy bulbs are always firm, never mushy.
• Dig in bulbs as soon as you purchase them (or store them temporarily in a cool place).
• For robust blossoms, don’t go deeper than indicated on package.
• Place daffodils next to perennials, such as hostas. Once the flowers die, the hostas will start growing, covering the spent leaves.

Sidebar: For Great Garlic
• Choose a sunny spot and plant before the first frost in welldrainedsoil mixed with compost.
• Stick cloves—with papery skin intact—pointy end up in small holes about 5 cm deep and 15 cm apart.

Sidebar: Bulb Showstoppers
The sumptuous Ice Cream Tulip lives up to its name: light-pink outer petals topped with a scoop of vanilla.

A self-generating genius, the Antoinette Tulip produces at least four full-sized blooms per stem.

November 2012

Bed Time
Pack it in for the winter with these yard to-dos

● Begin by shaking soil and plant matter out of pots. Give them a good soak in a solution of water and bleach (nine parts to one), a scrub with a stiff brush and a thorough rinse. Ensure the containers are dry before bubble wrapping them and stacking them in a garage or shed.
● Use a sharpening stone to hone tool blades, or have it done professionally.
● Remove spent leaves from plants to avoid a mushy mess come spring. Leave the odd flower head to provide nourishment for birds and to add interest to a winter garden.
● Gather up large leaves, mulch them with your lawn mower and sprinkle around to nourish the soil.
● Pull out any remaining weeds and annuals.
● Turn off and empty any hoses; disconnect your rain barrel and cover it with a tarp.

Tool Tuck
1. Clean and dry metal trowels, weeding forks, etc.
2. Fill a 12-litre bucket to three centimetres from the top with sand.
3. Mix in ¼ cup (50 mL) of motor oil. The sand should be slightly moist.
4. Stick tools handle up in the sand and store indoors.

Reprinted with permission from the October 2012 and November 2012 issues of Reader’s Digest magazine.  Copyright (c) 2012 by Reader’s Digest Magazines Canada Limited. Further reproduction or distribution strictly prohibited.

Posted in: Gardening