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Gardening

A cover crop of winter rye is the ultimate in nutrient recycling

Planting a cover crop in your garden is good for the soil. It also contributes to improving the quality of Bay waters. Soil should never be exposed to rain and wind. Most of the brown, muddy water you see while boating on the Bay is colored by soil that has washed from adjoining lands or streams.

Here’s the one way to kill kudzu and bamboo

These very invasive species cannot be killed by spray during the summer months. They grow so rapidly that the week killers knock back only the top of the plants and not the roots.     To kill the roots of perennial plants, the weed killer must translocate downward into the roots and rhizomes. For kudzu, you need only to kill the roots. For bamboo, you must kill both the roots and the rhizomes, the underground stems from which new bamboo canes appear.

The bulbs grow fat when the days grow short

I have a favorite treat in June: going into the garden and lifting out a big bulb of elephant garlic for roasting. Eat a few crackers smeared with fresh roasted elephant garlic and you will think you’ve died and gone to heaven. If you wish to enjoy that heavenly food, now is the time for planting.  

Now’s the time to get to work so it’s lush and green come spring

Feeling less than pride and joy in your lawn?     Fall is the best time to lay the foundation for a rich, green, weed-free grass come spring. 1. Test Your Soil     How’s your lawn doing?     There’s no way to know without soil testing. Fertilize without testing, and you’re not only throwing your money away but also polluting the Bay.

Next year’s flowers and vegetables thrive on what you do now

The leaves of herbaceous perennials are turning yellow with their margins already crisp-brown. Trees and shrubs have stopped growing leaves; winter bud scales are well developed over the buds in the axils of their leaves. Perennial plants are getting ready for winter.

Pet poop and chicken skat don’t fit in

If you’re making compost for your vegetable garden, don’t add manure from pets or backyard hens. There is always the possibility that dog manure may contain hookworms. Chicken manure contains high levels of salmonella organisms. Unless temperatures in your compost pile remain at 150 degrees or higher for five days running, neither of these disease-causing organisms will be killed.

Nurseries want to sell, and planting time is right

Many garden centers and nurseries have fall sales to reduce their inventory. What doesn’t sell, they have to spend money protecting in winter or suffer losses.     These sales are timed right for you, too, because early fall is a great time for planting trees, shrubs and perennials, as the plants have time to establish roots in their new soils before winter sets in.

Move crowded azaleas this month

Perhaps you planted young azaleas close together to achieve instant effects. Within a few years, those young azaleas will be crowding each other. Unless you remove some of them, they will grow tall and spindly.

These sensitive trees show you air pollution in action

If your Heritage birch is dropping yellow leaves, blame it on the Orange Alert of early August. Heritage birch is a clone of river birch, which is highly sensitive to both ozone and sulfur dioxide. Both of these gasses are present in an Orange Alert.

Fall gardens want compost

It is highly unlikely your garden has used up all the fertilizer you applied this spring. This is especially true if your garden soil is rich in organic matter and you used lots of compost.     Compost raises soil temperatures, while its organic matter releases nutrients at a rate nearly equivalent to the needs of plants. The roots from the previous crop are also decomposing and releasing nutrients.