The world of gardening is full of fun, weird and wacky facts. This spring, impress your friends with some fun gardening facts from award winning gardening expert, Frankie Flowers.

Did You Know? 7 Fun Gardening Facts from Frankie Flowers

1. Bare Bum Test

Take a look through the pages of old gardening books and you may find reference to the “Bare Bum test”. It’s a test gardeners would use to see if soil temperatures were warm enough to sow seeds. They simply pulled down their pants and if the soil was warm enough to sit on, it was warm enough to plant. For the sanity of your neighbours, I don’t recommend you pull your pants down. However, I do recommend you pay attention to soil temperature when sowing seeds. This includes grass seed, radishes, leafy greens and herbs. For most seeds soil temperature should be between 15˚to 20˚C (60–70˚F) and can easily be measured using a meat thermometer.


2. Giant Tomato

The world record for the heaviest tomato ever grown is 3.51 kg (7 lb 12oz). According to Guinness World Records the tomato was grown by G. Graham of Edmond, Oklahoma, USA in 1986. So, to put this in perspective Graham’s tomato weighs about the same as an average new born child.


3. Royal Basil

Basil belongs to the mint family. Native to tropical Asia, the name “basil” is derived from the Greek word “basileios” meaning “king” or “royal”. Ancient cultures believed that this herb was noble and sacred. One thing is certain, basil is sacred in the kitchen. Also, did you know that research has shown combining basil and yogurt together and applying on the skin may clear up acne?


4. Notch in a Tree

Thinking about carving your name in a tree? I don’t recommend it, but did you know a notch in a tree will remain the same distance from the ground as the tree grows? True fact!

Red Trillium

5. Stinking Benjamin

You most likely know Ontario’s provincial flower is the white trillium, but did you know there are red trilliums? Red trilliums are nicknamed “stinking Benjamin” as they smell awful. The reason for the smell is the foul odour attracts insects, aiding in pollination.

Spider web

6. Brainy Spiders

Spiders are the good guys in the garden. However, did you know they may be the smartest thing in your garden? Harvard Neurologists have discovered an average spider’s brain possesses a greater mental capacity than the world’s most brilliant scientists. According to the study, if a spider’s brain didn’t lack a cognitive lobe, they’d be more intelligent than Einstein!

Three Sisters

7. Three Sisters

“Three sisters” in gardening refers to the ancient Native American planting technique of growing corn, beans and squash together. In the modern garden we call this “companion planting”, where each plant helps one another. Corn is planted to support the pole bean. Beans help by fixing nitrogen in the soil to feed the corn and squash. Squash is planted underneath to shade both the corn and bean’s roots. Together the three sisters grow in harmony.

Go forth, have fun, and enjoy your garden!

Frank Ferragine AKA “Frankie Flowers” is an award winning gardening expert and “weather specialist” on City’s morning show Breakfast Television in Toronto.

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