Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Add to Your Soil’s Fertility

Create a nutrient-rich base layer by collecting grass clippings and raked leaves to spread over the bed, as long as you didn’t use “weed and feed’ or other broad-leaf weed killers (flowers and vegetables are broad leafed). With vegetable gardens, usually we take away the plants that were growing there this year to reduce the possibility of diseases or insects from wintering over. But any vegetable plant not affected by disease or insects can be chopped, and left behind. The leaves from corn plants, the overgrown lettuce heads, the tops of carrots and so forth are a starting point. But don’t forget all those leaves that fell on yours or your neighbors’ lawns. Pick them up with your mower bag and they’ll be shredded and ready to improve your vegetable garden.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Leave the Leaves Where They Fall

Mow them into the lawn to add nutrients. And stop bagging grass clippings! They will completely disappear in a couple of days unless you missed several weeks’ mowings. Not only do you save work, you are returning necessary nutrients to the soil.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Summer Vacation is Ending for Your Houseplants

While it is still very warm outside, houseplants need to begin the transition back into your home. Any that have spent the summer outdoors should be brought onto a porch or deck where they receive less daylight, a step to help them acclimate to the lower light level in your home. Plants that have been in contact with the ground should be repotted to ensure worms, ants or pests are not tagging along. Check for any obvious signs of insects on the leaves, stems and top of the soil. A strong spritz from the garden hose followed by spray of insecticidal soap can help to keep aphids, mites and others from causing problems indoors. Once you make the move indoors, don’t despair if your plants drop a few leaves. The drier air and lower light levels mean the plant cannot support all the summer foliage. Many plants will replace the leaves after they have adapted to their winter quarters.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Do You Appreciate Monarchs?

Fall is time to collect milkweed seeds for next spring. Use only seed native to your area and pick only dry brown pods. Pods must be dry to ensure seeds are mature. Plant the milkweed in the fall in a sunny location by sprinkling seeds over loosened soil. Pat them down, add a thin layer of top dressing and water well. In the spring the plants should appear. Monarch caterpillars will be along to munch on the leaves several times through the summer. A variety of flowers throughout the summer will keep the monarch butterflies nearby.

Friday, September 4, 2020

Our Drought Worsens

As the map shows, New England slipped deeper into drought during August, tightening watering restrictions region-wide. As the growing season winds down, focus on watering remaining vegetables and perennials. Trees and shrubs planted this year or last should be watered during the fall because they may not yet have large root systems. In order to maximize root growth in the fall and minimize winter root injury, a 3- to 6-inch layer of mulch should be used around your trees, plants and shrubs. Evergreens that brown during the winter are evidence that they ran out of available water. As for your lawn, don’t water it. With cooler temperatures, it will green up on its own.