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).
Wednesday, May 5, 2021
What a difference a few weeks makes! The latest Drought Monitor shows the ‘moderate drought’ across New England has substantially receded, as has the ‘abnormally dry’ conditions. The U.S. Weather Service forecast for the region indicates continued above-average precipitation. Monitor rainfall with an inexpensive rain gauge so you don’t waste time or water by watering when the plants don’t need it.
Wednesday, April 28, 2021
Applied too early (and April is too early in Massachusetts), the mulch will slow down your garden by acting as a blanket, preventing warming and keeping the soil colder than the air. Later on, those 2 to 3 inches of mulch will keep down weeds and dress your garden.
Wednesday, April 21, 2021
The soil around your home and garden is just coming out of its winter hibernation of alternate freezing and thawing. Right now, the top few inches of soil is exceptionally airy, and every time you walk over it, you compress some of the air out. By the end of April, the soil should be ready for gardening but, for right now, avoid doing damage to your soil by walking on it too much.
Wednesday, April 14, 2021
Everyone likes to prune in April, but follow these guidelines: Prune spring blooming trees and shrubs only after the flowers are finished. Don’t be in a hurry to prune off brown areas on evergreens. They often will regrow the needles that have suffered winter kill. A light scratch with your fingernail on the branch will show green if the wood there is still alive. If you have fall-flowering shrubs, this is your last call to prune them.
Wednesday, April 7, 2021
The Drought Monitor issued at the beginning of April shows some danger for New England. Portions of the region are ‘unusually dry’ and Vermont and a small area of New Hampshire is in Stage 1 drought. No area rates ‘severe’ or ‘extreme’. But the same map at the beginning of March showed no drought at all in southern New England. The NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center shows a 50% probability for higher-than-average rainfall for April to June for New England; it also shows a 60% probability of above-average temperatures. Keep these forecasts in mind (and watch for updated ones) as you go through the season.