Friday, September 26, 2008


Yesterday, my husband cut the grass for the last time. You have to remember we live in the country where grass is not manicured and admired. It's something that covers the soil, often harboring weeds we don't trouble with at all.
When he cuts the grass, he uses a big Dr. Mower. It covers a lot of ground; cuts down substantial growth around the edges of the yard; and handles the hills a bit easier than a lawn mower would. Then when he's finished with that, he gets out the bushwhacker and goes after the places the Dr. Mower can't reach easily. He probably does this chore about 3 or 4 times during the course of the growing season. It's enough.
When he's done, it's my turn to rake and get it into the compost bin. Putting grass in the compost bin is a bit of a chore because it needs to be mixed once it's in there. If you don't mix this green stuff into the compost it will pack down and also begin to smell. You definitely don't want a smelly compost bin!
When I lived in Connecticut where we had a beautiful lawn, I would use the lawn mower to cut the grass in long strips where I could collect it in a big tarp. It had autumn leaves mixed in with it so the leaves and grass were chopped up together. That meant I did not have to mix it once it was in the compost bin. What a wonderful mix that was. In the spring, it was ready to be applied to the garden. I wish I could do that here!
I'm about at the point where I stop adding to the bin until spring. In my younger years, I added stuff all winter long. Now I just cannot handle climbing over snow banks!
Something else I have been adding to the compost bin is the paper from my paper shredder! The less I have to add to the land fill the better.
Dutch Gardens, Inc.

Friday, September 19, 2008


I'm sitting here in my living room, in front of the fireplace with a roaring fire going. It's been quite chilly today and I'll be darned if I'm going to crank up the thermostat and use up any of the propane for heat...yet. I must say it's quite pleasant sitting here like this, but it makes me realize that the reason I'm sitting in the living room where the fireplace is, is that it's still pretty chilly in the den. That's the only problem with using the fireplace, the other rooms don't benefit from the heat. Too many corners to turn and heat likes to travel in a straight line I guess. Actually, mostly UP and we've got a cathedral ceiling, so it's all captured where we really don't need it. But, you can't have EVERYTHING! We'll be sleeping in the cold tonight!
I've been looking at the elderberry tree in the back yard, right outside the den window. It's loaded with blue black berries. I understand they make wonderful jelly and wine, but since I no longer make jelly and have never made wine, I'll leave them for the birds and whatever other creature comes along needing a snack.
I loved the little flowers it made in the spring, and now I love the berries. I have another one in the front yard, right by the compost bins. I can remember one year I noticed that the whole tree was shaking and trembling. It was not windy so I was very perplexed and then I saw the cedar waxwings. They had discovered the berries and were in the process of stripping every single berry off that tree. I've never seen that happen again, but it sure was a fun thing to watch. In about 20 minutes every last berry was gone! So, I'm sure the berries on the tree out back will be of use to some creature that will thoroughly enjoy them!
Drs. Foster and Smith Inc.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Hurray! It only got down to 42 degrees last night. We got really lucky. I wonder how long it will be before that frost really does arrive!
There's still plenty of time to do things in the garden, however. You can plant all those spring blooming bulbs you have gotten in preparation for planting. If you haven't bought them yet, now is the time. Or perhaps you marked their location in the spring so you can dig some up and divide them, allowing you to spread them throughout your garden with no money spent, except perhaps for some Bulb Booster.
This is the time to begin transplanting, dividing and planting most perennials.
Let's talk about Oriental Poppies. They are such beautiful plants and once established make for some of the most striking color in the early summer.
As with most plants they benefit from full sun and well drained soil. It has to be noted that their foliage will die off and look pretty ugly. This is one of those cases where planting them among other plants that come up after the poppies have bloomed is a great idea. That new plant will cover the dying foliage of the poppies as they go into dormancy. Whether that plant is another perennial or some annuals is of course, totally up to you!
The roots are long and skinny, so a deep hole will be needed to accommodate them. Unlike an iris that loves to be planted in a shallow hole, poppies will complain mightily if they are not planted deeply. In fact, they may just quit altogether!
Another point to remember is that because the root is fleshy and long, they will NOT do well in wet soil. They will just ROT! So be sure to add some compost or maybe sand to the soil around them if the location tends to become wet. Or better yet, find another spot that is more accommodating.

Park Seed

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Oh, oh! There's a FROST WARNING for tonight! Get those houseplants in if you haven't already! If you have tender plants that are in the ground, either veggies or flowers, cover them with some sort of material to keep them safe from the frost. If they get nipped, that will be it for their season!
Here we go! Autumn is on it's way and winter will follow and our gardens will go into an entirely different mode!

Plow & Hearth

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


I've been reading a lot lately about how farms and schools are teaming up to provide more produce for the school cafeterias. It means that our children are getting healthier food, and our farms are able to sell their produce locally. There is less fuel used getting the food to the consumer. Fewer containers are needed, and the ones that are used can be reused on the next trip. There are many more organic farms in the mix, which makes this prospect even healthier!
When the kids know where their food comes from, it makes it more fun to eat. It could be the farm supplying the food even has a youngster registered in that school. There is the opportunity for trips and tours to the farm, and talks to the farmer. To learn that food does not originate in the grocery store is a wonderful lesson.
There are schools that have their own vegetable gardens on the school grounds. The children do the gardening and harvesting. How great is that? The kids find out where potatoes and carrots come from. They see how quickly lettuce springs out of the ground, and how yummy it is when eaten fresh.
If this sort of activity is being debated in your community, encourage it! Go and talk to the Board of Education and while you're at it, see to it your neighbors are aware of the possibilities.

Gardener's Supply Company

Saturday, September 06, 2008


I read an article the other day that was absolutely eye opening. It suggested that we can actually "green up" our gardens! Think about that. We are always thinking in an ecologically sound manner, aren't we? We compost; we try to use mulch in order to conserve water; we think about xeriscaping and rain gardens. However, have you thought about this?
Forget the annuals! Every year when we buy dozens of new annuals...they all come in plastic containers which need to get disposed of somehow. Then the annuals need to be watered and tended to all summer long. In the fall, they die. Next year we start the whole process over again.
If on the other hand, we buy perennials (or get some from friends), we dispose of ONE pot. Then after the plant is established it needs much less water. It comes up again next year, and actually gives us the opportunity of sharing OUR perennials with friends because the plants get larger and fuller. Fewer pots go in the landfill. Less water is expended. We get to share with friends. AND we have beautiful perennials that may cost a bit more when purchased, but last for MANY years.
The moral of the story? Forget the annuals and get perennials!

Park Seed

Thursday, September 04, 2008



Seed or over seed new lawns before the leaves begin to fall.

Fertilize your perennials and shrubs... it will help them make
it through the winter.

To keep your bulbs in top-notch condition while giving you lots of flowers, scatter a 5-10-20 fertilizer on top of the ground above them.

Japanese Beetles lay eggs at about this time, so treat your lawn with beneficial nematodes that will control the grubs.

Stop pruning shrubs. This will encourage new growth, which should be avoided. Any new stuff will be nipped by frost which is NOT good for the plant!

If you haven't divided your herbaceous perennials, such as daylilies, irises, hostas and peonies, get it done soon. Remember the soil is still nice and warm even if the temperature drops at night. It allows the roots time to settle in and establish themselves before winter sets in! This is what makes fall such a good time to plant!

Allowing hips to form on your roses tells the plant to harden off for winter. So, you should probably stop picking the blooms for the table!

Water your peonies and shrubs very heavily. It will have to last
until spring.

Put all your non-diseased plant debris in the compost bin,
adding a bit of soil as well, to help get the chemistry moving!

If you haven't done a soil test... now is the time. Call your
local Extension Office for information.

Dig up your gladiola, dahlia and tuberous begonia corms.

Poinesttias should now be put in their dark corner for at least 16 hours each day in order to set up their bracts to be colorful by Christmas time.

I would suggest that you begin removing blossoms from your tomato plants. This will tell the plant it's time to ripen up the tomatoes left on the vine, and stop putting out more. (Unless you want green tomatoes, that is!)

Watch for migrating Monarch Butterflies that are beginning to head south to spend the winter in Mexico.

Also, look for Broad-Winged Hawks that are migrating about now.

Start preparing your indoor plants to come back inside. You need to be sure they don't have insects hiding anywhere. You also want to clean off the pots, especially if they were sunken into the soil for their summer sojourn!

Take down your Hummingbird feeders at the end of the month, if you haven't already.


Park Seed