Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Mulch Timing

It’s finally warm enough to add fresh mulch around trees and shrubs. Your layer should be no more than two inches deep, and never touch the bark of the plant’s trunk. Instead, pull the mulch at least an inch away from the bark of any plant.


Wednesday, June 2, 2021

In the Vegetable Garden

The soil and air are warm—plant tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, squash, melons and other summer crops now. After you’ve finished planting the summer crops, remember a mulch of heat-treated straw around them will reduce diseases caused by infected soil splashing up on leave as well as preserve moisture around the roots. It will last all season, can’t add weeds (heat treating kills weed seeds) and improves the soil as it breaks down next winter.


Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Plant Pollinators

Instead of trusting plant tags with tantalizing but often meaningless promises, there is now a wealth of information on plants available via websites – both annuals and perennials – that attract birds, bees, and butterflies (and sometimes bats). Check sites such as Grow Native Massachusetts (, where you’ll find links to New-England-centric resources (including Native Plant Trust’s ‘Go Botany’ site (, an easy-to-use tool for finding out which plants match your specific needs.


Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Dig and Divide Perennials

Your favorite perennials should all be up by now, but have not yet set flower buds. This is a terrific time to divide them. The plant will benefit from discarding its dead center. Use a spade to divide the perennial into sections; return the largest one to the original site, and plant the others wherever you want color and texture or donate them to your garden club’s plant sale.


Wednesday, May 12, 2021

It’s Tick Season Again!

Whenever you go out to garden, take a few seconds to spray your clothing – especially below the knees, but a spritz elsewhere – to deter ticks that want to jump on anything warm-blooded for their next meal. Use a spray that specifies it uses EPA-registered ingredients that are tick repellents. These include DEET, oil of lemon eucalyptus, and PMD. New England ticks now carry not just Lyme disease, but pathogens that destroy white blood cells (Ehrlichiosis) and red blood cells (Babesiosis).