Bergamot, Calendula, Feverfew, Lavender, Peppermint
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Cindi Hobbs

What kind of light level do the following plants require?

Bergamot

Bergamot requires full sun to flower properly, but will do reasonably well in half shade.

Feverfew -- also, how big will one plant grow (height and spread)?

Feverfew prefers full sun, but can tolerate half shade. The wild variety will grow 60 to 90 cm tall and 45cm wide. If you need shorter plants you could try the ornamental varieties: 18cm for White Stars, 30cm for Snowball and 60cm for White Pompon.

English Lavender – also, how big will one plant grow (height and spread)?

English Lavender like all lavenders must have full sun and would languish in half shade. It gets 60 to 90 cm tall and 60 to 90cm wide.

Peppermint – also, how big will one plant grow (height and spread)?

Peppermint grows well in sun to half shade. It will get 30 to 90cm tall and will spread everywhere unless confined!! Try burying a bottomless garbage can with only the top five centimeters sticking out of the ground. Plant your peppermint in there.

Will Calendula flower outdoors from seed in one season? I live in Ottawa.

You should have no trouble flowering calendula in Ottawa, provided you plant your seed in a sunny spot. Shady conditions retard the maturing of sun loving plants and may even retard them so much that they won’t flower at all.

Will seeds keep until next year? What is the best way to store them?

Most seeds will keep for another year provided they are stored cool and dry. A good place is in a jar in the fridge. If you have one of the small packets of dessicant that come with some products such as bottles of vitamin pills, put it in the jar of seeds. It will prolong their life. They will usually lose about ten percent of their germination per year. This does not hold true of short-lived seeds - of which there are only too many!

For sweet violet the sow time is late winter. Should the seeds be started indoors and then planted outside as soon as the snow is gone, or just seeded straight outdoors?

Sweet violet seeds need to freeze and thaw a few times to start germinating. Therefore it is easiest to plant them in a seed flat, water the flat, leave the flat in the house for two or three days and until the coldest days of winter are over and then put it outside in the shade. Come spring, the seeds will germinate with the warmer temperatures. If you live in zone six or warmer you could sow the seeds straight outdoors in the fall.

Is it ok to plant a vegetable garden on top of septic weeping tiles?

You are taking a risk if you plant vegetables on top of weeping tiles. If your septic tank overflows because of some unusual load, then the raw sewage will get on your food plants and who knows what sort of contamination of them will take place. Plant your flowers on top of the weeping tiles and use some well-rotted animal manure (animals are not likely to have the same pathogens as we do and even if a bit of too fresh manure slips in it won’t do any harm) for your vegetables and herbs.

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