Stuart Schuitema from Reindeers Natural Plant Foods, knows his stuff when it comes to keeping plants healthy and happy.
At a monthly Lake Bloomers Garden Club Meeting, Schuitema talked about the importance of building up garden soil and feeding plants. He says that because Lake Cowichan residents live in an area that receives a great deal of rainfall, most people will need to lower the soils PH level in order to deter wire worm. The PH in most soil in the area sits at around 6, and should be brought down to 5.5 or 5.8. However, because of the high nitrogen content in the atmosphere, this rainfall also helps to keep soil healthy, and plants happy.
The group also discussed bug and weed problems. Recipes for homemade weed killers vary, but here is one that Shuitema finds effective.
Use one litre of Allen’s white vinegar, add two to three tablespoons of dish soap (a natural one like Seventh Generation works just as effectively as any conventional detergent), one tablespoon of salt and a cup or so of water.
Pour this onto the crown of the plant a few times a day for several days, or use a spray bottle.
The soap gets rid of the plants ability to retain oil and allows the vinegar to seep in and pickle the plant. The vinegar and soap then wash away and leave no harmful after effects in your garden’s soil or on other plants.
Monthly Lake Bloomers Garden Club meetings always include a different guest speaker. They have had guests speak on topics such as bees, organic gardening, and plants that are indigenous to the area. Marigold and Dinter nurseries come in once a year and share product information and pass on helpful gardening hints.
The club also organizes tours during the summer, when their monthly meetings are cancelled. They have gone to Warmland House and looked at the organizations community gardens, and last July they travelled to Victoria for the Queen’s Jubilee at Government House. This trip was sponsored by the B.C. Council of Garden Clubs, who also insures Lake Bloomers.
From now to September, the club’s four teams will be organizing different events and tours, and in August the club will be hosting a BBQ gathering for all its members.
The club also had a booth set up for Lake Cowichan Heritage Days to raise money to pay for their events, tours, BBQ and other club costs. The group hosts fundraisers throughout the year.
New members are always welcome, and on May 29, at 2 p.m., they will be scrapbooking at Maureen Loebus’s house. For more information, contact Carolyn Austin at 250-749-4809.