Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Post-Irene clean up, switching out veggie plants

Super busy this week with my landscaping job, cleaning up yards for clients in the wake of Hurricane Irene. A few big trees down around the neighborhood, but mostly just annoying stuff like branches and twigs and leaves. My garden avoided getting smashed and squashed, for the most part. I had to do some heavy pruning on my butterfly bush and witch alder (Fothergilla 'Mt. Airy') where branches had split and torn. I'm grateful though that I won't have to replace any plants.

After having to take out the tomato plants (squirrels stole or chewed the fruit), and discovering the hard way that our pepper plant is a hot one, I'll be renovating the raised beds next week and replacing those with some newcomers (kale and chard) as well as old veterans like romaine lettuce and spinach. It's already begun to feel like fall out there with temps only getting up to the upper 70s/low 80s with low humidity.  Looking forward to harvesting more veggies over the winter!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Non-invasive Burning Bush developed

This is big news in the horticulture world…a scientist at the University of Connecticut has developed a sterile, non-invasive Burning Bush.

Burning Bush (Euonymus alatus) is an extremely popular ornamental shrub among gardeners and landscapers for its intense red fall foliage and adaptability to varying soil and environmental conditions. It’s downside is that the copious amount of seeds produced means that when birds or wind or rain carry the seeds away, they sprout and form dense thickets of new Burning Bush that choke out native vegetation. Thus, Burning Bush is listed as invasive in several states. To have this new variety developed that does not produce seed means the door is open now to folks being able to continue to enjoy Burning Bush without worrying about it displacing native species.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Predestined for gardening?

Apparently, it didn’t take me long to figure out what I wanted to do when I grew up. These are journal entries from elementary school, back in 1995. I have no memory of writing these, but that’s my handwriting all right.



Thursday, August 4, 2011

Learn to live with bugs

Found this terrific article on why even “organic” or “natural” bug/insect killer sprays still do great damage to our ecosystems.

It’s not as simple as just getting rid of the “bad” insects and protecting the “good” insects. ALL of them play a vital role in sustaining the ecosystems that keep our planet going. Those pesky bugs that feed on our plants are themselves preyed on by other insects, and when the “bad” bugs disappear from being sprayed, the good bugs that feed on them have nothing to eat, and are forced elsewhere. This sets off a chain reaction of sorts that has implications all the way up the food chain. Sure, you might be using an “organic” spray that contains only natural plant chemicals so it’s safe around kids and pets, and that’s great, but we should be learning to live with bugs. Some amount of chewed leaves is always going to happen to our plants, it’s just a matter of perspective. For example, the leaves on my Okra plant and a few other ornamental shrubs in my garden have quite a few holes and bites taken out of them, but knowing that I’m doing my part to save our bird, butterfly, and bee populations makes the little “messiness” worth it.

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