Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Helping our feathered friends

Winter is for the birds, and they’ll appreciate your assistance. Winter means little water is available. If you put out a heated bird bath that keeps fresh water available for drinking and bathing, you’ll have a steady stream of visitors. If you also have out seeds and suet, you will have an unending show outside your window. And in the spring, your new friends, having grown accustomed to your property,will eat the insects you’re not so fond of feeding.


Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Drought Monitor Update

The heavy rains (and early snow) we experienced in December helped our trees to fill their roots with the water that they did not get last summer and fall. As of the beginning of the year, New England is now largely drought-free. Trees and bushes need to carry water into the winter because it is inaccessible once the ground has frozen. Without the late precipitation, our woody plants would have suffered additional stresses.


Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Inventory Your Garage or Garden Shed

Note any old packages of herbicides and pesticides. Heat, cold and age all reduce the effectiveness of many of these products, but not their toxicity to the environment. Put them aside to dispose of at special collections centers or toxic material days held locally. NEVER place them in the trash or pour them down the drain or out on the ground. The environment you save is the one you and your family live, garden and play in.


Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Winterize Your Tools

Outdoor gardening season is over, so now it’s important to clean and organize your gardening equipment. Send your mower in for service (you won’t care if it’s not ready for three months). Wash the dirt off shovels, rakes and trowels. Then remove any rust with a piece of steel wool. Finish with by rubbing on a light coating of oil on all metal parts. Clean and sharpen edges pruners, loppers and other cutting tools. In the spring you’ll be glad you are ready to start gardening with like-new tools.


Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Don’t Wait to Order Seeds

Last spring, seed companies found themselves overwhelmed by orders from people wanting to start vegetable gardens amid pandemic shutdowns and shelter-in-place orders. Anyone who waited to order found not just their favorite seed varieties sold out, but also second- and third choices. Despite assurances they were increasing orders from their suppliers, a quick check in late November showed many favorite seed varieties are ‘not available at this time’. Don’t wait until the new year to put in your order; do it now.


Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Protect Your Shrubs

Any plant that regularly fails to thrive after a tough winter needs extra protection. You can use many of the same techniques that work for roses, for spring flowering hydrangeas that fail to bloom, as well as not-quite-hardy shrubs. Plants can be protected with wind screens, or cages stuffed with straw or leaves. Plants susceptible to branch break from heavy snow need special help. Tying branches together with heavy twine can be effective. For small plants, slatted structures allow good air flow while preventing crushing snow loads from building up.