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.


Wednesday, September 15, 2021


It would seem with the end of the growing season approaching, insects would be less of a problem, but that is not always the case. Like us, they’re preparing for winter. Wasps, including the yellow jackets that are often misidentified as bees, are particularly aggressive this time of the year. Remember, there are hives in the ground as well as in trees and shrubs.


Wednesday, September 8, 2021

In the Vegetable Garden

Your basil (and most other herbs) are likely sending up flower stalks. Pinch off the stalk at their base. Once your basil flowers, and those flowers are pollinated, the plant thinks its work is done and puts all its energy into producing seed rather than the leaves you want for your kitchen.


Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Clean-Up Time

Time to start cleaning your gardens. As annuals and most vegetables reach the end of their productive life, cut them down and add the healthy material to the compost bin. Any diseased (for example, downy mildew) or insect-infested material should be bagged and placed in the trash. All garden weeds should be pulled now and bagged (and definitely not composted), chopped or otherwise made incapable of growing. Left in place, the weeds will produce thousands of seeds in your lawn and garden, making your job much more difficult next year.