Wednesday, June 27, 2018

                                           Heat, Humidity and your Garden

Well here we are the beginning of summer and getting ready for our first heat wave. I have to say that although I love the summertime, I am not a big fan of very hot and humid weather.  Heat is ok, I mean it is summer after all, but when the humidity climbs, I find myself seeking refuge to a nice air conditioned place.

Unfortunately, our beautiful outdoor flowers, vegetable gardens and lawns can't escape it as easily.  Most of our gardens like a very warm temperatures, in fact the perfect temperature for optimum photosynthesis to take place is between - 25 degrees Celsius (77 Fahrenheit) - 28 degrees Celsius (82 Fahrenheit). But over the next week they are expecting higher temperatures and a high humidity as well. So here are some things you can do to help your plants through the heat spell.

If possible do your watering in the morning. This is always a good idea, even for your lawn (if you can). By doing so, it allows time for the water to seep in, and excess to dry off. This is important as it helps keep your soil from getting too damp and allows time for the plant to absorb the water while it is in a more active state. It also gives your soil a chance to dry out and thus keeping away fungus growth.

 Because it is also going to be very humid as well as hot, it is even more important to water in the early morning, as the humidity level should be a bit lower at this time. The more humid it is, the harder it is for water to evaporate as the air is already saturated  with water. Although  our plants require water, they also need to expel excess moisture, so they can properly "breath" and do their magic.  So water is important, but getting rid of unused water is too.

Unfortunately, with a prolonged heat and humidity, there is always a chance your flowers will be affected. it is important that you try not to stress them out more than they already are. The more often a plant wilts, then perks up, then wilts again, the more it weakens its system. Not only does it make them weak, but more they become more susceptible to disease and bugs. So try to keep all of them happy as you can.

 If we were only getting a heat wave, you could put mulch around your plants to help keep in the humidity between watering. This will help your plants to not dry out, which, if it's very hot, will happen more quickly.   But with the air already saturated, it wouldn't be as good an idea to add to an already damp condition. If, how ever, you already have mulch down around the your plants, you can still water in the morning, just don't over saturate the area so it can still dry out between waterings.

It is also important to note that when you water you garden, you also wash away the nutrients in the soil around its roots. So if possible, it is recommended that you fertilize your garden every 2 weeks or so. This will help keep your flowers and vegetables strong and healthy. If you are the forgetful type, you can always get slow release pellets. You simply scatter them around your plants and they will slowly dissolve over time. How ever, you should avoid feeding your plants during a heat wave as they may be stressed due to the weather. I know, I know, you'd think that would be the best time to perk them up, but it will do the exact opposite. So best to wait til the heat spell is over and things are back to "normal" before treating them with some extra vitamins.

Hope this helps all you gardeners out there!

Friday, December 29, 2017

New Year’s Celebrations

It’s almost New Year’s Eve, and many of us are getting ready to celebrate with our friends and/or family. There is no real “tradition” in Canada other than wishing each other all the best at the stroke of midnight. Maybe kissing those we love, or toasting good fortune with a glass of champagne. But that is simply not the case in other countries. So I thought it would be fun to see how other parts of the world celebrate the New Year’s Eve, and what traditions they may have.

Japan – They literally ring in the New Year by ringing their bells 108 times. In Buddhist beliefs this is the same number as are human sins, and it will cleanse them of the previous year’s sins.

Denmark – These people probably save all their unwanted dishes throughout the year so they can smash them on their friends/family and neighbour’s doorstep. The more broken dishes you find at your door, the better your luck for the coming year.  

Spain – In the 12 chimes of midnight of New Year’s Eve, Spanish people try to eat 12 grapes in unison with the bells. This will secure them a most happy year to come.

Brazil – Thousands of people throw white flowers into the ocean every year at New Year’s Eve. Hoping the Goddess of the sea will grant their wishes for the coming year.

Puerto Rico – It is believed that by throwing pails of water out their windows at the stroke of midnight, will ward off evil spirits.

Columbia – On December 31, you will see many Colombians carry around an empty suitcase. They believe by doing this, they will have a travel – filled year ahead

Peru – In one particular village, the people get together on December 31 for an old fashioned fist fight. They believe that by settling their differences they can start the New Year with a clean slate.

Chile – This is a relatively new tradition, where people, after a mass, enter in the New Year with their lost loved ones in the graveyard.

Ireland – It is tradition to bang bread against the wall to drive away evil spirits.  Or if you are a simple lady looking for love, some women will sleep with mistletoe under their pillows, in hopes it will bring them a husband

Netherlands – On New Year’s Eve, large bonfires of Christmas trees are lit, and fireworks are let off in order to purge the old and welcome the new.

Turkey – At the stroke of Midnight on New Year’s Eve, it is tradition to sprinkle salt on your outside doorstep. It is believed it will bring you peace and prosperity.

Romania – On New Year’s Eve the Romanian farmers try to communicate with their cows or sheep. If they are successful, it is believed they will have good luck in the New Year. (how would you know if it worked?)

Greece – An onion is hung on the front door on New Year’s Eve to signify rebirth and regrowth. 

Armenia – Pomegranates are thrown on the ground, the more pieces and seeds spread out on the ground, the more successful the New Year will be.

Estonia – It is considered good luck if a person eats, 7, 9 or 12 times on New Year's Eve (Those are considered lucky numbers). If they do, they will have the prosperity and strength of 7, 9 or 12 people

Italy – Red is the colour of love and fertility, so in Italy, both men and women wear red underwear on New Year’s Eve.

So maybe you found yourself a new tradition you would like to start here in Montreal, or perhaps you simply enjoyed reading about them. Either way, I hope you all have a great New Year’s Eve, and that 2018 will find you healthy, wealthy, happy and wise!!!!

Saturday, December 16, 2017

It’s almost Christmas time!!

Ho Ho Ho... Yep only a bit more than a week until Christmas! Are you ready, have you finished all your shopping? Got your tree all set up and decorated? Figured out the yummy menu yet? For those of you who celebrate Christmas, don’t you find there is always so much to do this time of year? It is quite astounding that we find ourselves in such a conundrum, because Christmas does arrive at the same time each and every year! But alas, most of us seem to enjoy the hustle and bustle of waiting until the last week to accomplish everything!  Yep that includes me.  Although my list is much smaller than it was when I first started, it seems that the hours in a day have somehow succeeded in going by faster than I would like.

I also believe that the reason we have a big turkey dinner at the holidays, is because most of us will not have eaten a proper dinner in the week leading up to Christmas. Especially those of us who work in the retail business, our days just get longer and busier as the big day approaches, and take out and frozen dinners seem to be the go to foods!

Now don’t get me wrong, I love this time of year, probably even a little bit more because of the craziness of it all! But there is something to be said about the holiday spirit. It’s a silent, happy and somewhat peaceful sound that you can’t hear, yet it manages to surround us and engulf our souls. It’s the reason that people seem a little bit nicer, they walk a little bit lighter, and smile a lot easier, and there almost seems to be an invisible  glow of  goodness that emanates from them. Think of it like watching a happy, sappy, romance movie, when the movie is over, it leaves you feeling all wonderful, warm and fuzzy!!  Yep that’s how Christmas makes you feel!!!

So I would like to wish everyone a most merry, happy and wonderfully sappy Christmas!!