Saturday, November 21, 2009


Check this article I just read in the National Gardening Association's newsletter.

"Bird Feeders Spread Noxious Weeds


Bird feeding is a popular fall activity. People love to watch the birds gathering at the feeder; plus, feeding helps birds survive the winter. However, anyone who has watched birds at a feeder knows they can be messy eaters. Much of the bird seed drops to the ground under the feeder. If the birds aren’t dropping seeds, sometimes it’s the squirrels invading the feeder. In either case, the seed that drops often germinates. While we’d like to think all the seed in your bird feed bag is pure, research conducted at Oregon State University found the seed from 10 common brands of bird feed contained more than 50 noxious weed seeds as well. In a study, they found that 30 weed species, such as bindweed, velvetleaf, and ragweed , sprouted under bird feeders. These weeds can then spread to nearby fields and gardens.

You can’t teach birds to be better eaters, but there are ways to prevent these weeds from getting started. Researchers suggest using a tray under your feeder to keep seeds off the ground and selecting bird foods that won’t sprout, such as sunflower hearts, peanut butter, raisins, mealworms, and plain suet cakes. Some seed manufacturers are now baking seeds before selling them to kill weed seeds. Look for baked wild bird seeds at your garden center.

For more information on preventing weeds from spreading from your bird feeder, go to: Weed Science Society of America"

Friday, November 20, 2009


It's pouring. It's been pouring most of the night. DO NOT BEGRUDGE IT!
This is natures way of taking care of trees and shrubs. Trees and shrubs need all the water they can store up before the frost gets so deep they get no more moisture. If they go into the winter "dry" it will be very stressful for them. This is why it's so important to water your shrubs and trees before winter really establishes itself.
In the spring they will have a HUGE job ahead of them. They will have lots of leaves and blossoms to generate. If they start thirsty and stressed, it only stands to reason that your show won't be as good. Then on top of that, if there's an onslaught of some kind of blight or insect infestation, just imagine how difficlut that will be for them.
Stay ahead of this nasty curve and be sure your trees and shrubs always go into winter well hydrated! Mother Nature helps, but there's just so much nature can accomplish. Give a hand and water those trees and shrubs!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Yikes! When I got up there was frost on the garage roof, which I can see from the house.
Every plant in the garden is deep brown, limp and hunkering down for a long winter's nap.
The birds are not really back yet. I only have blue jays, chickadees, and an occasional woodpecker and nuthatch. I will have to say though that this year I actually had a bright red, male cardinal. It's the first one I've had up here in New Hampshire. In Connecticut we had them ALL the time! I guess it's too cold up here in the north country. Maybe that says something about climate change as well. I must say, I enjoy I'll keep my eye out for his re-appearance!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


This morning I went to a local Chamber of Commerce Breakfast meeting about "Local First".
Both local farmers and local restaurateurs had been invited. It was interesting to hear prospectives on both sides of this issue.
The goal is to hopefully have the restaurateurs buy their produce, dairy products and meat from local farmers. This benefits the farmers with a market; it benefits the restaurants with fresh, locally grown food; it enables the restaurants to feel good about what they are feeding their customers while supporting the local farmers who will also choose to eat at these restaurants.
Part of the issue is that buying from big producers is inexpensive, while local farmers tend to charge more. The quality is far superior at the local farms, but the prices need to be reasonable. If the higher costs are passed on to the consumers, they will find another place to eat. Restaurateurs can absorb some of the cost, but it needs to be reasonable.
So, the object is to help both farmers and restaurateurs come to an agreement that is beneficial for both parties.
It was one of our better meetings as far as the transfer of ideas and concerns between parties.

Monday, November 16, 2009


It appears we are going to be blessed with a few more VERY nice days! It will give you some time to finish up the chores that had not been done yet.
It's wonderful to be out in the garden when you fully expected you'd be in curled up with a book in front of the fireplace. Enjoy you "found" days outside!
Be sure, if you haven't already done it, to dump those spent jack-o lanterns into the compost and turn it at least one more time, if it's not frozen yet. Here in NH we've still got relatively soft earth, so I can turn mine. How about you?

Thursday, November 12, 2009


I get a mailing from "". The most recent one I received was all about BEES. I have copied their advice here for your perusal. These are wonderful suggestions for gardening in general. We have to remember that without bees our gardens are doomed!
Right now bees are under a great deal of stress, so anything we (as gardeners) can do to help them, would be very beneficial. Paying attention to these guidelines will make a beautiful garden AND provide a perfect environment for BEES!

General Gardening Advice for Attracting Bees and Other Pollinators

  1. Don’t use pesticides. Most pesticides are not selective. You are killing off the beneficial bugs along with the pests. If you must use a pesticide, start with the least toxic one and follow the label instructions to the letter.

  2. Use local native plants. Research suggests native plants are four times more attractive to native bees than exotic flowers. They are also usually well adapted to your growing conditions and can thrive with minimum attention. In gardens, heirloom varieties of herbs and perennials can also provide good foraging.

  3. Chose several colors of flowers. Bees have good color vision to help them find flowers and the nectar and pollen they offer. Flower colors that particularly attract bees are blue, purple, violet, white, and yellow.

  4. Plant flowers in clumps. Flowers clustered into clumps of one species will attract more pollinators than individual plants scattered through the habitat patch. Where space allows, make the clumps four feet or more in diameter.

  5. Include flowers of different shapes. There are four thousand different species of bees in North America, and they are all different sizes, have different tongue lengths, and will feed on different shaped flowers. Consequently, providing a range of flower shapes means more bees can benefit.

  6. Have a diversity of plants flowering all season. Most bee species are generalists, feeding on a range of plants through their life cycle. By having several plant species flowering at once, and a sequence of plants flowering through spring, summer, and fall, you can support a range of bee species that fly at different times of the season.

  7. Plant where bees will visit. Bees favor sunny spots over shade and need some shelter from strong winds.

Thursday, November 05, 2009



Now's the time to plant paperweight narcissus, hyacinths and amaryllis (indoors) for beautiful color and aroma on New Year's Day!

If you've had enough freezing days to render the ground hard,
begin to mulch roses and other shrubs, etc.

Putting wire guards on the bases of tree trunks will prevent mouse

Wrap plants in burlap for winter protection. Do NOT use plastic!
They can't breathe any better inside plastic than you can.

If you haven't fertilized your lawn or garden yet, now's the time!

Use anti-desiccant to prevent loss of water during the long winter if you haven't already.

It's a good idea to be sure your power equipment works properly. Now is the best time to take them to the shop for repairs and upkeep.

Wrap the trunks of smaller trees with plastic wrap, or wire mesh to protect them from rodents.

Add leaves and the last bits of cut grass to the compost.

Cover your compost heap or bin with plastic to keep the nutrients from being leached out from winter rain and snow.

Water your trees and shrubs until the ground freezes.

As you do that, check them for diseased foliage and remove it. Remember anything diseased should go into the garbage, NOT the compost.

If you have any left over bulbs, for goodness sake PLANT THEM NOW!!! (Assuming you live where the ground is still soft enough to plant!)

Are you going to have a live Christmas Tree? Dig the hole now, then cover the hole and the dirt you removed, so you can easily plant it when the time comes.