Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Decorating for the Holidays?

If you plan to put lights on outdoor trees or shrubs, do it now. Why? Because the branches become more prone to breaking as the weather turns colder. After the holidays, leave the lights in place until you have a warm day when you won’t risk damaging branches when you remove the strands.


 

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Thanksgiving Centerpieces

When you cut greens for indoor or outdoor displays, remember those basic rules for pruning so you do not accidentally transform a handsome tree or shrub into a landscape liability. If you like bright, berry accents among your greens, use artificial ones instead of taking berries from the birds.


 

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Compost!

Leaves and other clean foliage should go into your composter or compost heap. Leaves run over by the lawnmower are a great source of nutrients for new plantings and existing lawns. Spread mulched leaves over old garden beds. The leaves’ nutrients will move toward the roots from the freezing and thawing action of the soil.


 

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

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 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. 


 

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Remove Potatoes Before There’s a Hard Frost

Dig them out carefully and then brush off soil, but do not wash them before storing. And keep them out of the light. Potatoes do best if allowed to cure for a couple of weeks in a cool, dark place. Place newspapers under them while the skin hardens. Do not try to store any that have nicks or bruises; instead, use them immediately.


 

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Bulbs

Your tulips should be in the ground now, and small bulbs such as crocus, snowdrops, and grape hyacinth should be going into the ground by mid-month. Hold off planting daffodils until later in the month. To keep squirrels and other varmints from digging up and eating your bulbs, dust them with lime as you put them into the ground, and then add a layer of lime on top of the planted area. The lime interferes with smelling the bulbs, and is an important in ‘sweetening’ the soil for these plants that come from a part of the world with much less acidic soil. If you have very aggressive rodents, add hot pepper or chili powder to bulb coating.