Garlic, dogwood, and well-composted manure

Dear Anne,

“I plant garlic every fall and it seems to do quite well, but wonder if I should be fertilizing during the growing season. I don’t plant it in the same place every year and I do amend and try to replenish the soil.”

Ellie Stewart, South Delta

It sounds as if you’re doing just fine with your garlic. Because you’re doing crop rotation and nourishing your soil regularly, it should already have all the nutrition it needs.

Though it likes to start off in deep, rich soil, garlic is actually quite a light feeder and leaves lots of food in the soil for the next crop.

But garlic does like regular moisture in the growing season. So it will need extra watering if we continue to get long, dry spells at times when we normally have drenching rains.

Dear Anne,

“I have a flowering dogwood, Korean, I think. Its flowers are pink and it’s a nice, smallish front yard tree. It gets lots of sunlight, but later in the summer its leaves get a bit blighty. Would dormant spray help?

“Also, I’ve been pruning/shaping the tree in the winter when it’s dormant. Is this the optimal time? I don’t want to be cutting off all the flowering branches.”

John Barbisan, Vancouver

Virtually all the infections flowering dogwoods get are fungal. So, yes, dormant spray will help. Your dogwood is probably Cornus kousa. Does the name ‘Satomi’ ring a bell? It is a pink-flowered variety that’s popular here. Satomi’s leaves turn purple in fall.

Because flowering dogwoods don’t respond to pruning at all well, as little should be done as possible. The flower buds are formed in fall, so when you must prune, it’s best to prune immediately after flowering. Dead branches can be removed any time.

Dear Anne,

“My grandson has purchased a community garden plot and is so excited to plant vegetables for the family. He’s brand new to gardening so it’s a big learning curve for him.

“He’s now ready to add manure to the soil and has a place to get free cow manure. I’m concerned as to all the weeds it will bring. What would be the best option? Don’t worry and just be a good weed-puller or…?”

Diane Benner, Surrey

Any animal that feeds on grass or hay will produce manure with lots of weed seeds. But manure that’s been composted for a year has far fewer seeds, because heat within the pile is intense enough to kill most of them. Your grandson needs to ask if the manure is already composted, and if so, for how long.

Free manure is an attractive option, and if it’s already composted for a year or more, I’d say, “Go for it!” If not, it would be best passed up, especially since he’s a first-timer.

New gardeners on a learning curve don’t need to add extra weed-pulling to all the new things he’ll be doing anyway. As well, un-composted manure tends to burn plant roots.

Actually, this farm manure may be well-composted anyway, because people with animals don’t always find it easy to unload all the manure animals make. So it could have been piled for quite a while.

Just Posted

Crime Briefs: Police seek suspects in thefts of perfume, groceries, blue jeans

Langley police are asking for the public’s help to identify suspects.

Langley curling couple bound for provincials in Creston

Craig and Karen Lepine are skipping their own teams in the upcoming BC masters curling competition.

Painful Truth: Season of ice, season of puddles

Waiting for good cycling weather is a long process in a cold winter.

Langley Hospice Society formalizes its opposition to medically assisted dying directive

The local hospice board wanted to hold a discussion before making a public statement.

Museum showcases the changing face of Langley

From forests to farms to acreages to suburbia, a new show will capture Langley’s changes.

VIDEO: Top 10 B.C. budget highlights

The NDP is focusing on childcare, affordable housing and speeding up the elimination of MSP premiums

Two Haida men detained for crossing U.S.-Canada border

Edenshaw and Frisby travelled from Alaska to Prince Rupert for the All Native Basketball Tournament

Alberta takes out full-page ads in B.C. over strained relationship

It’s the latest move between the two provinces over progress on Trans Mountain pipeline expansion

B.C. teacher suspended over allegedly using N-word in worksheets

Trafalgar Elementary teacher under investigation by Vancouver School Board

Toddler swept away in Ontario floods

Toddler missing as flooding forces thousands from their homes in Ontario

BC BUDGET: New money helps seniors’ care shortage

Job stability for care aides key to recruitment, union leader says

Mixed messages on B.C.’s efforts to cool hot housing market

Economist says undersupply of homes in Metro Vancouver, Victoria and Kelowna will keep prices high

Foot found near Victoria belonged to missing Washington man

Coroner says no foul play suspected in death of 79-year-old Stanley Okumoto

Questions raised over B.C. NDP’s childcare budget plan

Advocates concerned how to fill 22,000 new spaces for early childhood educators

Most Read