Mark Cullen e-newsletter
Mid-May 2013 
 Gardening with Mark
In This Issue:
Where to Find Mark
Mark's Gardening Connections

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Hammock Time?

As some of my newsletter readers know, I was in Vancouver and Kelowna two weeks ago. I posted some pictures on my facebook fan page that were meant to inspire and tease you a bit. Here in Ontario, we are not blessed with the early spring that our compatriots in the west are.

Funny things happen when you travel. One little incident that has become a bit of an 'insider's gardening' joke is the fact that my seat allocation on my return flight was 24D. As an 'organic (sustainable) gardener it was more than just a little ironic that the now banned weed killer by the same name seems to have become my nemesis. Such is life.

 National Planting Weekend

Horticultural Domination With the national 'planting weekend' just in front of us, otherwise known as the 24th of May long weekend, you will have lots to occupy your time. Planting, weeding, grass cutting, pruning, fertilizing: the list goes on (and I am going to help you make that list in just a moment). But there will come a time when you will need to sit down and relax: take it all in. And I hope that you will consider parting with a buck to acquire my new, first ever, eBook, through the Toronto Star.

Entitled "Mark Cullen's Secrets to Horticultural Domination", it is a short, punchy read that is intended to launch you into the gardening season with practical advice and some new ideas that might just change your vision for the great garden that you plan on growing this year. Single copies of Horticultural Domination eRead can be purchased for $2.99 or you can subscribe to for only $1/week.

There are 10 chapters covering some of my favourite topic including: how to grow the best lawn on the block, growing vegetables in small spaces, hot to grow a native plant garden (and why it is a good idea), and what the future of gardening in Canada looks like.

To purchase my eRead click here.

I had a lot of fun writing "Horticultural Domination" and I really hope that you enjoy it and gain a lot of knowledge from reading it.

As always, I am delighted to hear from you, whether you wish to comment on a recent newspaper article, Canada AM appearance or if you just say 'Hi!'. Click on 'Ask Mark' on my homepage at


 And now, some timely reminders

My wildflower garden Plant. For those of us in the southern half of the country, May 24th (conveniently landing on a Friday this year) is the time to plant frost-tender annuals and vegetables. Friends up north and in Newfoundland and Labrador should wait another week or two, weather depending, before planting out your tomatoes, petunias, geraniums and the like.

Keep in mind that some plants like very warm soil: even though air temperatures may be safe for planting, the soil may not be. Peppers, corn, impatiens, and cucumbers all like a warm soil, above 18 degrees Celsius.

Dig in generous quantities of compost to enrich the soil and build up important nutrients. I spread 2 to 3 cm over my entire vegetable and flower garden each spring before I plant.

Sow seeds directly outdoors. Virtually all plants that will grow from seed can be planted now. I planted my carrots, radishes, wildflowers and zinnias last week.

Start a wildflower garden from seed! I purchase all of my favourite flower seeds: zinnias, lupines, poppies, asters, nasturtiums, nigella, cosmos and sunflowers. I put them all in a large yogurt container that is half filled with vermiculite or dry sand. I put the lid on and shake the heck out of the mixture. Then spread the seed mix over a well-prepared bed, rake smooth, step on it to get the seed/soil in firm contact and water it well for about a month. What results is surprising and always a lot of fun! Note: for a sunny location only.

Fertilize your lawn with Golfgreen (the only fertilizer that I use) unless you did this within the last month. Repeat 8 to 10 weeks after the first application.

Prune fall bearing raspberries down to 4cm.

Harvest your asparagus and rhubarb often to encourage more to come. Cut off rhubarb flowers and stalk when they develop.

Fertilize cedar hedges, roses and young shrubs with the appropriate fertilizer.

Be sure to join me at some of the events that I plan on attending in the next month. There are a lot of horticultural events in every community across the country this time of year. Go for it! Meet interesting people, learn a lot and have fun.

Be in touch again on May 31st.

Keep your knees dirty,
Merchant of Beauty


 Where to Find Mark

Mark May 18 - Alexandria Home Hardware. This is the grand opening of the Mark Cullen Approved Garden Centre at Alexandria Home Hardware. I will be in store from 10am to 2pm on Saturday.

May 23 - Gayety Gardening Gala. I will be at the Historic Gayety Theatre in Collingwood. Doors open for The Spring Gardening Gala at 6:30pm. For more information.


 Stay in Touch You can stay in touch with my gardening tips by visiting my:

Weekly blog post - From the Garden Shed - every Wednesday

Weekly audio tip - The Green File - every Wednesday

Daily Facebook page updates

Daily Tweets


Weekly Canada AM segments, back on Wednesdays