Guides for the Prairie Gardener

About the Series

It looks like you’ve discovered the Guides for the Prairie Gardener. This budding series puts the combined knowledge of two lifelong prairie gardeners, Janet Melrose and Sheryl Normandeau, at your grubby fingertips. Whether you’ve just cleared a few square feet for your first bed of veggies or are a seasoned green thumb stumped by that one cultivar you can’t seem to master, we think you’ll find these knowledgeable gardeners the ideal teachers.

Find answers on seeds, soil, trees, flowers, weather, climate, pests, pots, and quite a few more. These slim but mighty volumes, handsomely designed, make great companions at the height of summer in the garden trenches and during cold winter days planning the next season. With regional expertise, elegance, and a sense of humour, Janet and Sheryl take your questions and turn them into prairie gardening inspiration.

The Prairie Gardener's Go-To for Vegetables

Too often people think of vegetable gardening in the prairies as challenging, but certified master gardeners Sheryl and Janet are here to show you how rewarding it can really be.

From planning to planting, they encourage you to take a hands-on approach with your prairie garden. They let you know when—and how!—to transplant your carefully nurtured seedlings in the spring, ways to shelter your plants from that inevitable July hailstorm, and how to determine how much irrigation is necessary in the arid prairie climate. They help you figure out if you should prune your tomatoes, how to hold up your pumpkins off the ground, and maximizing your harvest by planting in succession. And they show you how you can directly influence the quality of your produce, minimizing problems such as woody radishes, buttoning cauliflower, and split cabbage heads.

This Q&A-style resource covers all your most common questions: cultivation practices; preventing damage from frost, flood, and drought; harvest and storage; and specifics on the veggies you love to grow.

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The Prairie Gardener's Go-To for Pests and Diseases

Whether you’re an experienced prairie gardener or have just a few weeks under your belt, chances are you’ve come to know at least a couple of pesky insects, moulds, or much larger lurkers on a first-name basis. But what to do about these interlopers who can seem hell-bent on ruining your hard work? Lifelong gardeners Janet and Sheryl are here to help.

Should I use landscape fabric? Does vinegar work? What do I do about tent caterpillars? Why are my potatoes scabby? Why does it look like my cabbages have been attacked by miniature buckshot? And the recurring What is this thing?! Janet and Sheryl take your most pressing questions in this Q&A-style resource on all the prairie gardener’s most common pests, including thistle, dandelion, crabgrass, slugs, aphids, beetles, moths, mildew, fungus, rust, deer, rabbits, porcupines, and even other people’s pets.

Using an integrated pest management approach, Janet and Sheryl show you how to identify the culprit and how to deter it, while respecting the broader environment.

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More in the series

Janet and Sheryl are experts in all things gardening and they look forward to sharing their expertise in this burgeoning series. Keep your eye on this space for more Guides for the Prairie Gardener focussing on topics such as growing perennials, small space gardening, herbs, tomatoes, seeds, garden planning, fruits and berries, lawn care, and more.

About the authors

Janet Melrose is a garden educator and consultant, and an advocate for Calgary’s Sustainable Local Food System. She is a lifelong gardener and holds a Prairie Horticulture Certificate. She has a passion for Horticultural Therapy and facilitates numerous programs designed to integrate people marginalized by various disabilities into the larger community. She is a regular contributor to The Gardener for Canadian Climates magazine. She lives in Calgary where she runs her education and consulting company, Calgary’s Cottage Gardener.