Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Spring Bulbs Now!

If you haven’t purchased your bulbs yet, grab your phone (or computer) and get your order in before they run out of choices. Plant tulips now and daffodils at the end of this month when the soil is cooler. If you have a problem with deer or rabbits eating your bulbs, keep in mind that hyacinths, like daffodils, have an irritating sap that convinces most browsers that one bite is more than enough. Top bulbs with a layer of lime --it's good for the bulbs and irritating those who are looking for something to eat!

Small bulbs – chinodoxia, crocus, grape hyacinths and others – should be planted in clusters along sidewalks or driveways where they can be appreciated up close. Some of the small bulbs such as galanthus (snowdrops) and scilla (squill) will naturalize in grassy areas providing color in early spring. Larger bulbs make a wonderful start to many beds where they bloom before the perennial flowers come up and deciduous shrubs leaf out. Their yellowing foliage will be hidden later under the new foliage of the perennials.


Wednesday, October 13, 2021

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 6, 2021

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, September 29, 2021

Put Away Your Pruners for Now

While it is tempting, this is not the time to be pruning any woody plants around your garden. Spring blooming trees and shrubs have set their flowers for next spring, so pruning would remove those buds. As to those still blooming (or recently finished), pruning them now will encourage new growth that will likely be too tender to make it through the winter. Pruners and saws should not be used on woody plants until the cold weather is thoroughly established in November.


 

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Raking – Don’t!

Research by Cornell Extension Service shows that raking your lawn is totally unnecessary. Just use a mulching mower (almost any gas or electric-powered mower will do) to chop the leaves into small pieces which will compost directly into the soil over the winter. Cornell’s research shows up to sixteen (more than a foot) inches of dried leaves can be added to the soil every year. This includes tough oak leaves, which break down very slowly unless they have been chopped up, and pine needles, which are less acidic than oak leaves. If your leaves are deep, you may have to mow twice to chop them all sufficiently small, but it’s still a lot less work than raking and much better for the environment than throwing leaves in the trash. By mulching, all the nutrients in the leaves go back into the soil where they’ll be available for the tree roots to take them up for future years.