This past summer in Winnipeg has been one for the books. July was the hottest month on record, with Manitoba seeing extended stretches of hot dry weather. For all those wanting to plant a garden and reap the rewards of a prosperous growing season, the summer so far has provided very little hope for that.

Ironically; more and more people have been turning to gardening as a way of getting outside, and doing something that they can do safely with all of the COVID protocols that we have been living with.

Regardless of the heat, Manitobans are still very much embracing the art of gardening. For Susan Jensen of Jensen’s Nursery and Garden Centre this summer has been a busy one. “In previous years when we’d have this kind of heat, it would be quite quiet…but this year, I think with everything that is going on with the pandemic people were still looking to garden, so we’ve been actually quite busy,” says Susan.

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With the rain Winnipeg has recently had in the month of August, things will rebound. There is hope for the next couple of months. As Susan says,  “A lot of the plants that are looking really sad and really dry will actually bounce back.”

And it is not too late to put vegetables in the ground now that could be harvested later this fall. According to Susan, “You could certainly do green onions…lettuce also does very well and likes the colder weather…more of those leafy vegetables do really well because they germinate quickly and do like the colder weather.”

As the garden does get closed up for the winter, there are plants that can be brought inside and grown throughout the winter. In particular herbs can be brought inside. As Susan says “You’ll want to give then a little bit of a spray with soapy water and try to make sure there is no little flies on them; but yes… most of your kitchen herbs do very well in a sunny window, and giving them moisture but letting them dry between so that you are not keeping them too wet inside.”

Once you have decided to close the garden for the season, Susan offers some great tips. “Once you’re finished harvesting… removing the plant material is key. This year because of the heat, you might have a lot of powdery mildew and other fungi that are growing in the garden, so it might be a good idea just to take that material away and not compost it this year, because that can bring in the fungi to next year.” Things such as tilling and getting rid of weeds, and adding compost or peat moss to get the soil in better condition are all things that Susan suggests are great ways to ensure that next spring the garden is in  peak form to grow amazing fresh fruits, vegetables and flowers.

Jensen’s Nursery and Garden Centre has an amazing website and online store. Ordering supplies, getting great gardening tips, finding the perfect plant for your house or garden, getting seeds…it really is a one stop spot to satisfy any of your gardening inquiries. To check out Jensen’s Garden Centre website click here:

To hear Chris Wolf’s conversation with Susan Jensen and to hear more great tips for your garden click here