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Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Posted By: Rebecca van der Zalm in Small Fruits and Berries

If you ask people what their favourite summertime berry is… odds are they will say Strawberry. These delightful tasty berries are easy to grow and are small enough that they can be grown in pots, gardens or even hanging baskets. In this short article, we’ll introduce you to Strawberries and some of the many varieties available at Art’s Nursery.
Bowl of Strawberries

Strawberries belong to the Fragraria genus of plants and are one of the most popular fruits for fresh eating, cooking, jams, jellies and desserts. They grow to about 6 inches high and have semi-evergreen leaves comprised of three leaflets with serrated edges.

Types of Strawberries

There are three different groups of Strawberries:

  • June Bearing Strawberries
  • Ever Bearing Strawberries
  • Alpine/Wild Strawberries

June-Bearing Strawberries

June Bearing Strawberries are also called Spring Bearing varieties. They respond to increasing amount of daylight and shortening nights by producing flowers and setting a large heavy crop of berries in late spring to early summer depending on your location. June Bearing varieties tend to be much sweeter than other varieties. They may also produce a small crop in the fall when days begin to shorten and nights get longer. These types tend to send out more runners than do ever-bearing varieties.

Ever-Bearing Strawberries

Ever bearing Strawberries, also called “Day Neutral” varieties, produce a smaller, steady stream of berries in Summer through to the Fall. As long as temperatures are between 35-85F (basically above freezing and below 30C), they will continue to produce flowers and fruit. Ever bearing varieties tend to produce the most in the first year. Their disadvantage is that they don’t ripen as many fruits at one time and while they may be juicier, they may not be as sweet as June-Bearing types.

Alpine Strawberries (Fragraria vesca)

Alpine Strawberries, Fragraria vesca, is also called Fraise de Bois. These plants tend to produce much smaller berries, but are packed with incredible flavor. They are day-neutral and produce most heavily in late summer. Some varieties are available as seed or ornamental types may be sold as groundcovers. Alpine strawberries do not normally produce runners, but will self-seed. Generally speaking, Alpines are easier to grow and need less fertile soil and moisture than do other types of strawberries.
Alpine Strawberries

Growing Strawberries

Strawberries need a location with full sun, but most do not do well in hot, dry conditions. Excessive heat and dryness also encourages Spider Mites. Strawberries thrive in very rich, moist, but well drained soil. Elevated, well drained loam or sandy loam is preferable. Amend the soil with well rotted manure or compost for added benefit.

Air circulation is also important. Give plants more space between plantings and the better they will do. 12-24 inches between plants is ideal.

Fertilizing Strawberries

All Strawberries benefit from a healthy application of bonemeal at planting time. For June Bearing varieties, apply a balanced all purpose or fruit tree/berry food a few weeks after planting, but before flower and berries begin to form. For Ever-bearing types, fertilize more often up until mid-summer to encourage a steady stream of fruit. We’ve seen lots of good results from using Kelp as a foliar feed throughout the season.

Strawberry Care

Strawberries are short lived. They decline in production after 3-4 years. For a continuous crop, plant a few new ones every year and remove old ones from your garden. Most varieties will renew themselves on their own by sending out long thin “runners” that will root and create new strawberry plants for you. Just sever the stem once the new plants are rooted, and enjoy them in place, or dig and re-locate them.

June bearing varieties also benefit from pinching first year blooms to ensure a better crop in the second year.

As mentioned, strawberries need a fair amount of moisture, about an inch a week is common. However, avoid getting the leaves wet as this can lead to mold and disease. Mold is one of the most common problems facing strawberry growers. Good hygiene is the key to prevention. Provide good air circulation, avoid excess moisture on the leaves and remove any overripe or moldy fruits as soon as you can.

Winter Strawberry Care

In the Fall, tidy up the area and remove old leaves to prevent pests and disease. Discard excess or unwanted runners. Cover your strawberry plants with straw just before frost. This helps prevent injury from low temperatures. Remove the mulch in Spring as growth begins and the chances of frost have declined.

Common Strawberry Varieties

June Bearing Varieties

All Star

AllStar Strawberries produce a very large, light orange to red berry with sweet red flesh. It’s a large, vigorous plant that can produce many runners. Mid-Season. Fruit is extra juicy and can be as large as plums.

Cavendish

Cavendish strawberry delivers tremendous yields and many runners. Berries are very large and dark red in colour. Flavour is good. Originally from Nova Scotia. Long fruiting season.

Fort Laramie

This June and Fall producing strawberry is known for its periodic production through the growing season. Exceptionally aromatic berries are large, sweet and have an excellent flavor. Yields are heavy at times

Honeoye

This variety features dark green leaves and produces many runners. Very productive and vigorous, its berries are bright red, slightly tart and very large. Long picking season

Kent

Kent Strawberry is a mid-season, high yielding variety with large berries and excellent flavor. A vigorous grower that produces berries great for fresh eating

Quinault

Quinault Strawberry features medium sized berries with good flavor that are periodically produced throughout the growing season. Fruits can appear as early as 4-5 weeks after planting.

Totem

Totem Strawberry is a mid-season produces of a heavy crop of large berries with a good, rich flavor. One of the most popular varieties for the Pacific Northwest
Eversweet Strawberry Runners

Ever Bearing Strawberry Varieties

Albion

Albion is one of the best varieties for U-Pick fields. Fruits emerge from May through October and deliver a heavy yield of medium sized berries with excellent flavor

EverSweet

EverSweet strawberries are exceptionally sweet and flavourful. Yields are good and the berries very large. A good heat resistant plant.

Hecker

A lesser known variety amongst home gardeners that is better suited for cooler climates. Delivers a very heavy yield of medium sized berries with excellent flavor.

Seascape

Seascape is a medium sized strawberry that is both vigorous and high yielding. Berries are very large, bright red, firm and sweet. Harvest from early summer through fall. Peak fruiting occurs between August and Early September. Best flavor when grown with enough hear.

Tristar

Tristar is a reliable heavy cropper with medium sized, but sweet berries. Great for fresh eating. Harvest from summer through fall. Dislikes excessive summer heat, but can produce a large fall crop.

How To Buy Strawberry Plants

You buy strawberry plants in a number of ways. In early spring, strawberry runners, or small roots are available in packs of 1o or 25 depending on the variety. This is a good, inexpensive way to start growing strawberries. If you want some of the guesswork removed, you can purchase small starter plants, usually in 4 inch pots by April. Larger plants are usually available year-round in our small fruit section at Arts Nursery. Please call ahead if you are looking for a specific variety as the selection is always changing depending on availability and season.

Want to Know More?

Join April 1, 2017 for our Root To Fruit, How to Grow Edibles At Home event. This casual event happens from 11am-3:00pm with Q&A and sessions on seeding, growing herbs and veg, small fruits and berries as well as planting and caring for fruit trees. Hope to see you there!


Friday, June 17, 2016
Posted By: Laurelle Olfdord-Down in Gardening

We are starting to get into the swing of things by June. Mowing, planting, fertilizing, trimming, deadheading and staking oh my! I hope you are not so immersed in the gardening shoulds that you are forgetting to stop and smell the flowers…literally!! Weather wise we have had a little bit of everything so far but we are fierce gardeners and are ready for anything…k maybe not anything but a lot.

It’s a jungle out there so remember to stick together (gardening clubs are good), be safe (wear a hat and sunscreen and for the love of Pete take your time when pruning if you want to keep all of your fingers),share (plants and knowledge…ok maybe not tools but the first two are enough) and above all HAVE FUN OUT THERE!! Here’s your list.

Lawn Watering Restrictions

Lawn

Stage 1 Water regulations are on but Mother Nature has been helpfully taking care of much of the watering in the lower mainland. Once we get into the hot part of summer though you can mow high, use a mulching blade. If you have to water do so in the early morning. Our lawns need only about 1 ½ “ of water per week. That is about 2 -30 min watering sessions for most sprinkler heads. You can also consider going ‘au naturel´ and allowing your lawn to go dormant (that’s just a nicer way of saying brown). If it’s not a heavy traffic area, it will begin to grow again once we get some cooler evenings and a bit of rain by September.

Thin Fruit Trees

Trees and Shrubs

Mulch your trees and shrubs with composted mulch or even a green mulch aka a groundcover! Groundcover plants can help keep moisture in the soil. Remember if you have fruit trees that have a heavy crop to start thinning the fruit. Don’t be greedy, or you are going to have broken branches and bent over trees! You can remove dead, diseased or damaged branches at any time. Consider getting a tree gator if it gets hot this summer or you plan on going away for any length of time.

Butterfly on Flower

Garden Beds

Dead head, mulch, fertilize and stake as needed. Don’t worry about being too perfect with your trimming. Remember to 'bee' observant in the garden. Many pollinators use the hollowed stems of perennials as nesting and a huge percentage of them are ground nesters. If you see tiny holes in the ground especially in sunny areas you would be doing a kindness by not weeding, mulching or cultivating in that area. Another funky thing you can do in the garden is put in a butterfly mud wallow, sunning rock and pollinator watering pebble tray. I know I am a bit of a plant and bug geek, but this stuff is cool!! Some great butterfly info sites are:

If you want to check out some cool information on other pollinators both Simon Fraser University and the David Suzuki foundation have great info:

If you would like to add some plants, we have some great butterfly, humming bird and bee favorites still at the nursery! Watch for plant damage. Expect collateral damage in the garden and weigh your options before you spray. More often a good sharp stream from the hose will do the trick and you can pass on the chemicals especially in the case of aphids and spittle bugs. Balance.

Hanging Baskets On Display

Planters and Hanging Baskets

We have some lovelies available. It is hanging basket city in the courtyard!! Think about hanging them low in groupings using our various wall hooks and shepherds hooks. Hanging your planters lower means you can enjoy them sooner instead of looking at the bottom of the pot. Also easier to water, deadhead and fertilize…just sayin’.

If you are like me and STILL haven’t done your front planters yet - don’t fret! There are lots of choices and they are bigger and when you put them into the planter it looks like you’ve been fawning over them for months. Procrastination is sometimes awesome!! Stumped for ideas? Come and visit our creation station and we can help you!!

When it comes to keeping them looking good, remember that the growers fertilizer lightly everytime they water a basket. The plants get used to that amount of food. If they run out of food, they stop blooming... therefore, feed lightly everytime you water!

Bell Peppers on Plant

Veggie Gardens and Fruit

Keep on weeding, planting and yes…thinning. I know you don’t like to thin but you HAVE to think some of those baby carrots out to give the others room. You know who you are…THIN. YOUR. VEGGIES. We have lots of great tomatoes and fiery peppers…think salsa!! As the heat starts to hit you can think about mulching some of your beds with straw.

You will get weeds but if water is an issue especially if you have an allotment plot somewhere, a straw layer will keep the moisture in the soil. I can’t believe I already have raspberries so it looks like our harvest season will be compressed again. Check fruit often and don’t be surprised if it is about 3 weeks early…plan accordingly!!

That should do for now! Get outside and enjoy the fresh air…and fresh food too!! We are lucky enough to have some of the freshest and most amazing markets and eateries!! Try something new or check out some of our farmers markets!! Think also about the critters around us and not just the cute ones either. As smart gardeners we can make a difference!!

Cheers ... Laurelle


Friday, June 12, 2015
Posted By: Laurelle Olfdord-Down in Gardening

Holy heatwave Batman! I am spending my mornings watering my newly grafted baby apple trees and then once I’m done…I go to work and then help water the nursery.

With such a huge amount of stuff to water it drives us to become crazed scientists…one of our very own fearless horticulturalists built a pretty awesome watering tower using zap straps, bulb crates and a plastic dollar store spinning sprinkler.

Watering Hanging Baskets

We have a lot of customers coming in to get mulch to keep in the moisture and keep down the weeds. Living mulches like grasses, perennials, groundcovers are also a fantastic way to keep the moisture in. A living mulch will conserve much much much more water than it draws. For example, the section of my orchard that had a cover crop of clover, yarrow and a few other wild flowers and grasses did far better and required much less watering (actually only twice last summer), than the section without any cover(casualties…in spite of extra watering).

We have our work cut out for us on the West Coast…we need water plants in the winter and drought tolerant plants in the summer! Here is your list for June 2015!

Lawns

Watering restrictions are in effect so check with your municipality. Use the tuna can method if you want to see how well your sprinkler is working. Place an empty tuna can on the lawn when you sprinkle. You need only about the depth of a tuna can (no not Costco sized mega cans) once per week. Watering is more effective if applied in the morning, not the heat of the day. If you have applied nematodes for European Chafer Beetle or have installed new lawns you can apply for an extra permit…you’ll need receipts to apply so don’t put them in your pocket and then wash your shorts…just sayin’.

Weeding the Garden Bed

Garden Beds

Mulch, mulch and mulch. Weeding just got easier. Use a scuffle hoe in the morning and scuffle up your garden beds. Your weeds will be roasted by mid-day. Dead head and pinch back as needed and don’t forget to water and fertilize. You always add a few plants as long as you keep the moisture on. A liquid transplant fertilizer is good too. At this time of year there will not be much root growth in trees and shrubs but there will be some, much more so in perennials and annuals.

I have heard a lot of folks say to sink your pot in the ground and then plant in fall. It is better to have your plant in the ground without the pot for watering if you are careful not to disturb the roots. A plastic pot will restrict absorption unless you are really diligent at aiming your water directly down on the plant in question.

Petunia Hanging Basket

Baskets and Planters

No its not too late! I think I am likely one of the slowest to do up my planters…I’ll get to it sometime this week…I hope! Keep fertilizing, watering and dead heading. If your hanging basket has dried out and the water is just running down the sides and out the bottom, take it down and set it in a tray of water until it absorbs the water and reactivates the soil to hold moisture.

Trees and Shrubs

Enjoy and appreciate the shade. If you do add new to your garden at this time, make sure you are watering it deeply 3-4 times per week if it is hot. I had a customer come in with a question about ants climbing up his apple tree. I told him that ants…among other things are farmers. One of the things they like to farm is aphids. They like to carry them up and place them on young leaves and then farm the sticky sap that aphids produce or poop out. Yup…poop farmers. Bugs are great aren’t they?! Anyway this will not kill your apple tree. You can let them get a couple of crops off their aphids and the aphids might knock off a couple of your leaves if you are feeling magnanimous, or you can just spray off the aphids with the hose and wreck their harvest…they’ll usually move on after a try or two.

Vegetable Garden Beds

Veggie Gardens

Keep them hydrated, weeded and fertilized. We still have lots of veggies if you have a spot or two opened up after harvesting. Oh…enjoy those sweet sweet strawberries if you have planted some and get to your local farm gate for u-pick if you haven’t. Fruit will be early this year so be ready.

Pond

Ponds, Water bowls and Water Features

Don’t forget to fill as needed, your water levels will drop a lot on hot and windy days. Maintain about 75 percent coverage with floaters to avoid hair algae.

Garden Accessory Must Haves…

Hammock and hammock chair. I just have to figure out where to put the hammock chair. We have one at the nursery behind the wheelhouse all set up. If you come to the nursery and you can’t find me…I might just be having my break in the hammock chair…perfect for reading my stack of summer books. That should keep you busy for now…take time to smell the flowers and check out some of our local farms, it’s a lot of fun…and tasty too !


Thursday, June 12, 2014
Posted By: Laurelle Olfdord-Down in Gardening

Well folks, summer is officially almost upon us, but judging from the number of customers coming in to see us in shorts and sandals and sipping happily at their Iced Coffee from Timmies or Starbucks depending on what camp they’re in. I’m betting summer snuck in the back door sometime last week!

This has been a pretty darn spectacular spring and it almost seems uncivilized to ruin it with a to-do list but I am just THAT kind of a person. Also Rebecca made me do it ;).

Major League Grass Seed

Lawns

Add a good slow release fertilizer to your lawn if you haven’t done so already. Avoid weed and feeds (most of which are off-the-market anyway), they tend not to do a particularly good job of either and release a lot of chemical where it is not needed. Weed torches are good therapy as is that awesome dandelion picker that the girl across the street lent us because she felt sorry for us and had already saved up enough money from our dandelions to buy a new outfit and hockey goalie pads. I’m not sure if she will become a business women, or an Olympic hockey player, or fashion maven, or perhaps all of the above.

For complete lawn reno’s, reseeding or resodding there is still time, I just like to give the grass enough time to root in so that I’m not a slave to the sprinkler come mid July when the summer heat hits (yes, I am an optimist). It’s also time to think about lifting the lawnmower level a bit. Longer grass is better able to withstand the heavier traffic and heat in summer.

Trees and Shrubs - Dogwood

Trees and Shrubs

Mind the mowing and the weed-wacking! Make sure you have tree circles around your trees and mulch them with composted bark mulch or a living mulch like Perennial Geraniums. Sprinkle a good slow release fertilizer on the dripline is recommended if you haven’t applied any yet. Think about watering when the heat hits and yes, you will need to water your street trees and especially any newly planted trees!!

Better to water 2-3 times a week as needed depending on the weather and water long, hose on a trickle for about 20 min if it’s a bigger tree. There is still time to plant new trees and shrubs as long as you make sure to water them in this summer. I would not move any existing trees or shrubs that are planted in the ground at this time. Pruning time is over for now but you can remove dead, damaged or diseased branches at any time.

Garden Beds

Weed, water, fertilize and dead head. Don’t forget to cut some flowers and bring them in!! Don’t panic when you see bugs. Take the time to assess damage. In gardening you have to determine an acceptable level of damage. If you have a plant that is constantly taking up your time to fuss over, you may want to let it go.

Keep an eye out for aphids. If needed you can spray them off with the hose. Kind of gross info here so the faint of stomach might not want to read this next bit but when you spray the aphids off with the hose it rips out their mouth parts. Keep an eye out for mealy bugs and scale. Catching things early makes life so much easier…a simple squishing or hosing is much easier than soapy sprays and chemical sprays.

I’ve taken my own advice this year and have gone through the garden every couple of days. It’s really helped!! Still time to add new perennials or flowers but I wouldn’t move existing ones at this time. Time your weeding for sunny days and you can use a scuffle hoe. Mulch your garden beds and fertilize to ensure your plants are happy and well fed and hydrated.

Planters and Containers

Pots and Hanging Baskets

I still have pots to do! Yes, I’m a slowpoke, but I can’t decide if I want to go edible or just pretty. Rotate your baskets and make sure you can keep up with the feeding and watering in the spots they are in. Pinch back and deadhead. If you have gaps or spaces you can add a water bowl or art piece in your pots or fill in with another plant.

Feed the Hummingbirds!

If you want a spectacular show, you can put out a hummingbird feeder. Keep your feeder clean and full and enjoy the show. Look up hummingbirds online and you will learn to identify the types and their behaviors.

Water Gardens and Ponds

Check for leaks and make sure everything is in working order. You will need about 75-80% surface coverage to prevent hair algae from building up. Floating oxygenators like water hyacinths and frog-bit are pretty handy! You can add pondside marginals to make it more natural looking. Make sure you use a good quality fish food and keep it in a dry place!

Garden Tools

Tools

 Everyone has their go-to tool and I often ask my co-workers. Just like art, food and sports…everyone has their own favorite. When you garden you shouldn’t have to come away from it in pain other than slight muscle soreness if you haven’t been in the garden for awhile. There are kneelers, scuffle hoes, pitchforks and my most favorite…students looking to make some money in the summer . On that note, I will go look up some more Mojito recipes because it is getting to be that time of year again!! Have a great June!! I’ll have more to do for you in July!!


Friday, June 14, 2013
Posted By: Laurelle Olfdord-Down in Gardening

Happy June!!  Summer is almost here.  The baby tomato plants I grew from seed are lookin’ good!  The front planters are respectable looking…just need a few fillers.  The weeding...well…”I wished I had weeded more!”  said nobody on their deathbed ever.

Cherry Tomatoes

Here is your list, however if you are lucky enough to get one of those Fatboy hammocks for Father’s Day then you are exempt.

Lawns

Aren’t you happy you fertilized?  Now mow.  A mulching mower is worth its weight in gold.  It will cut down on your watering and fertilizing.   Check your city website for watering days.

Garden Beds

Weed, topdress and fertilize.  This is your mantra.  Now is the time when your weeds and plant eating bugs are at the top of their game.  You weed, turn your back for a second and then 2 more have popped up…like battling the mythological Hydra.  Don’t despair…keep knocking them down, come July and August, they’ll start to slow down.

Dealing With Bugs

Aphids are everywhereInsecticidal Soap, scale has come to town like freeloading ex-roomies and leaf rollers are turning the leaves on your shrubs into twizzlers.

Relax.   If you have a Fatboy hammock you are already there.   Look for beneficial insects such as ladybugs, lacewings etc.  If you have scale, squishing is gross but works well on small plants.   A cotton ball dipped in rubbing alcohol also works.  If you have scale on a larger tree you might have to resort to a systemic insecticide, however scale is often a secondary problem.  They generally attack trees that are already under stress or are diseased.

If you are unsure call in an expert at integrated pest management;  your local arborist, we have one or two on staff as well.  Aphids can be hosed off plants or squished as can leaf rollers.  There are safer insecticidal soaps out there.  Assess the damage, look for beneficials, decide if it merits action.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions, that’s what we’re here for!

Veggies and Fruits

Lettuce LeavesYou can continue to sow beans, lettuce, radish, corn and other speedy veggies for successive harvesting.  You can plant out seedlings if you haven’t already.  Begin harvesting strawberries…if you don’t have your own a you-pick is awesome.  Raspberry plants will be coming on line soon and I have picked the first few Honeyberries.

Keep thinning fruit on apples and plums and pears to prevent breakage.  I seem to have quite large crops on a number of my fruit trees.  So far a pretty good spring, a far sight better than the last couple I’m thinking.

Containers

Continue to deadhead and fertilize.  There is still a great selection of annuals if you have any casualties.  The misconception is that the season is over already. Nothing could be further from the truth - the colourful season is just starting. There is a fantastic abundance of beautiful plants available and it is NOT too late to plant!

Go out and have some fun picking beautiful plants!

Monitor drainage.  If you find your plants are needing a little extra moisture, you can grab some moss and use it on the top of the soil in between your annuals until they fill in.

Houseplants

HouseplantsWater, fertilize and repot if needed.  You can give some of your plants a summer vacation outside if you have a good spot for them.

That should keep you busy for a bit.  Don’t forget Father’s day.  Get outside and have fun.  It’s not all work out there.  Do your best, get dirty and don’t forget to smell the flowers!


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Art's Nursery is a 10+ acre retail and wholesale garden centre located in Surrey, a suburb of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. We've been in business at this same location since 1973 and we're proud to serve you today!

We carry an incredible selection of plants, shrubs, trees, annuals, perennials, vines, groundcovers, roses and much more. Soils, bulk materials, pottery and a variety of garden accents are also available.

Our plant selection is so large that you can actually drive a golf cart while you shop!

We pride ourselves on providing high quality plant, expert advice and an exceptional gardening experience.

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