Canada Blooms

Where Food Begins

Compost Edmonton st albert Hole's

I spent the end of last week speaking at Canada Blooms in Toronto.

 The show is the largest of its kind in Canada and spans a full 10 days that are filled with everything to do with gardening. If you haven’t been to Canada Blooms, it is well worth making the trip to see the latest trends and get ‘revved’ for the upcoming gardening season.

One highlight for me was the opportunity to sit down with Susan Antler, the executive director of the Composting Council of Canada and chat about where the world of composting was headed. For those who aren’t aware, Susan’s organization is comprised of compost producers who are committed to encouraging the use of compost and setting quality standards for the industry.

Susan explained that the composting council is encouraging compost producers to get their compost certified under the Compost Quality Alliance (CQA) label to ensure that gardeners receive the highest quality compost possible. Currently, the federal government sets standards for things like maximum concentrations of heavy metals and human pathogens, but does not regulate for the horticultural quality of compost.

The CQA label on a bag of compost goes above and beyond government regulations and assures gardeners that not only is the compost they are purchasing safe for humans, but is also an excellent growing media for our garden plants.  

I think it is great to see initiatives like this being developed from respected organizations like the Composting Council of Canada and I hope to see more composting companies displaying the CQA label on their bags.

For more information visit Compost.org

~Jim Hole


 


Best Millenium Ever

Asparagus_gardening_stalbert_edmonton_yeg

Asparagus is one of my favourite vegetables and one of the first vegetables that we can harvest from our gardens (especially if it's been established in your garden for a few years).
 
But choosing the best varieties of asparagus is the crucial first step for ensuring that you get the high yields of these delicious spears.
 
The two varieties that are high up on my list are: "Jersey Knight" and "Millennium." Both of these varieties are "male clones" which means that flower and fruit production is minimal when the asparagus plants mature.
 
Flower and fruit production may not seem like a big deal when it comes to asparagus spear yield, but anytime a plant makes flowers or fruit, energy must be "robbed" from other plant parts like spears and shifted to the reproductive structures of the asparagus plants.
 
Jersey Knight and Millennium are both excellent, high-yielding varieties but I give the edge to Millennium for patriotic reasons: Millennium is a Canadian variety that was developed at the University of Guelph in Ontario while Jersey Knight originates from the U.S.  We have both varieties available now as well as a number onions, garlic, potatoes, & artichokes.

~Jim Hole

p.s. This weekend, I'll be speaking at Canada Blooms in Toronto giving presentations on fusion gardening, soil, and garden myths. If you're in Toronto, I'd love to see you there. 

Back in Edmonton, my next upcoming workshop will be on Saturday, March 28th and is called "Container Planting with the Experts." We have a few spots left, so if you'd like to learn about container gardening, register here before it fills up.