GFM Network News


A mulch of dry leaves helps protect a perennial border.

Protecting plants from winter damage

You’ll be glad you did when you see healthy plants come back in the spring

Late October/early November is the ideal time to plan on how you are going to protect vulnerable plants from our severe winter. The first step has hopefully already been taken where you have chosen most of your plants that are hardy to your climate zone. Many gardeners, however, like to try a few “challenging” plants

Martha Bergman (front) was the visionary behind planting a garden in Winkler to create habitat for the endangered monarch butterfly. Members of the Winkler Horticultural Society and Winkler Art Gallery shared her vision. Also pictured are Betty Klassen (l to r) Margaret Penner, Tim Klassen, Valerie Harder, Sue Denison and Tanya Waino.

Putting the petal to the metal

A 500-lb. monarch butterfly is now featured in the newly planted butterfly garden next to the Winkler Art Gallery. The gallery is Winkler’s former water treatment plant

Planting a butterfly garden is a bit like hosting a party. You get everything ready, then hope those you invited show up. Members of the Winkler Horticultural Society are now eagerly awaiting the arrival of their orange and black attired guests to their own ‘garden party.’ This spring the group created a specially designed butterfly-friendly


Dave Barnes stands at what will one day be the path separating a prairie garden and edible orchard

Community group looks to merge food production and conservation

The Assiniboine Food Forest Initiative hopes to break ground on two projects this summer, including an edible tree orchard open to the public

For Dave Barnes, chair and founding member of the Assiniboine Food Forest Initiative, it all started with a desire to protect the stands of oak, ash and maple along the banks of the Assiniboine River east of Brandon. “I saw threats to landscape everywhere,” he said. “I saw these ancient oak trees. I know they’re

Don Flaten speaks to visitors during the National Centre for Livestock and the Environment’s 2014 field day at the Glenlea Research Station.

Glenlea Research Station opens its fields to the public on July 8

Mark your calendar to come walk the fields, check out the plots and the composting at this year’s Glenlea field day

Like any long-term commitment, it takes experimentation to keep things lively. Such is the case at the Glenlea Research Station, home to Canada’s oldest organic rotation study, which opens its fields to the public next week. Visitors will have the opportunity to check out some of the new and existing research being done at Glenlea

Christian Thierfelder demonstrates how the soil under conventional tillage is rocky and hard. The soil becomes more mellow under conservation agriculture.

Grow less maize and produce more food

Boosting yield allows seeding less maize as ‘insurance,’ and adding more profitable and nutritious crops to the rotation

Christian Thierfelder strides into a plot of maize, reaches down, and scratches through the mulch with his fingers to grab a clump of soil. Holding it up, the senior agronomist with CIMMYT’s Harare field station lets it crumble through his fingers — it is moist but not muddy, and the decaying plant material gives it


NGO sees gold mine in recycled grain bags

Old, used grain bags are big, bulky, and present a disposal headache for farmers. But for Rodney Sidloski, the CEO of Weyburn, Saskatchewan-based Help International, they are a potential gold mine. “We can potentially see a retail value of up to $4,000 out of a bag that brand new only cost the farmer about $1,000,”

Gardening in the shade

Many plants will actually thrive in shady areas There are many garden plants that can not only survive, but thrive in the shade, like annuals such as begonia, lobelia and sweet potato and perennials such as astilbe, bleeding heart and hosta. If you have a shady area, here’re some tips:  Shade gardening often means

Sustainability through xeriscaping

Whether it’s called xeriscaping, water-smart gardening or environmentally friendly planting, this water-efficient concept can be built into your existing gardening plans, either all at once or on a year-by-year basis. Xeriscaping involves selection of annual and perennial plants, shrubs, trees and vines that perform well in our region and require minimal supplemental irrigation. Landscapes of


Garden Soil

Freelance contributor As we perform the task of cleaning up our gardens and preparing them for the winter, many of us take advantage of present conditions to enhance the soil in our gardens. Many of the plants have been removed or at least their tops have been cut off, allowing access to the surrounding soil.

Start Composting

Starting a compost pile is as easy as following a cooking recipe. Just get the right ingredients together, mix well and let it cook. In a matter of months you’ll have finished “black gold” to mix into the soil of your flower, herb and vegetable gardens. Compost ingredients Compost is decomposed or well-rotted organic material.