Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Planting Seeds

Plant seeds that need winter chilling like bachelor buttons and milkweed now. Would you like more butterflies? Plant swamp milkweed now. That dismal name disguises a plant with a lovely pink flower with a wonderful scent. And, later in the season, swamp plant will be visited by many butterflies, including our endangered Monarchs for which the milkweed is required to produce the next generation.


Wednesday, October 18, 2023

In the Vegetable Garden

Some vegetables will survive light to moderate frosts. Spinach can tolerate a light frost. Members of the cabbage family such as kale and Brussels sprouts taste sweeter after expose to frost. Root crops including parsnips, salsify and even carrots and turnips can be left in the ground for later harvests, especially if protected by a light covering of straw or chopped leaves. 

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Cleanup Time

Vegetables and flower beds need a thorough clean-up this month. Remove all old foliage. Bag any diseased or insect-infested material and send it to the dump. Taking these actions now allows your plants to get a fresh start next spring, without the risk of infection from this year’s problems. ‘Clean’ foliage should go into your compost bin or to your town’s compost center.


Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Cleaning up Perennials

Cleaning up the perennial bed doesn’t mean cutting to the ground. The traditional advice for cleaning up your perennial garden in October was to cut everything to the ground. Science – and common sense based on observation – says that practice took away a valuable food source for both migrating and over-wintering birds. Instead, leave up the flower stalks with seed heads for birds. Migrating birds appreciate the food. And it is vital for those species that over-winter in New England. In addition to less work for you, the birds make your garden a more interesting place throughout the winter. The ‘no-cut’ policy isn’t universal, though. Always vigorously clean up any plant that has battled disease this year. Again, you’ll save yourself work and enjoy your garden more in the spring.


Wednesday, August 30, 2023


As you bring houseplants that spent the summer outdoors, it is a good time to consider repotting. Your plant almost certainly grew over the summer. And the roots almost certainly grew as much as the pot allowed. Getting a clean pot with fresh soil allows the plant to settle in for the winter without the salts that may have accumulated. Don’t be afraid to prune back any part of the plant that took advantage of the extra sunlight to stretch out—and now no longer fits its allotted space in the house.

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Container Gardens

Despite July’s generous rains, watering may be needed in containers where limited room and exposure to heat and sun from all sides mean they dry out quickly. Check containers by wiggling your finger down in until you reach the second knuckle looking for wet soil. If it is dry, water until it comes out of the bottom of the container. And never leave pots sitting in water-filled saucers as this can lead to root rot.