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Nasturtiums are great for containers or garden and the flower is edible
Welcome to the Paul Parent Garden Club 2014 Newsletter
  
How to grow Garlic

 

 

If you have never grown garlic in your garden before, it's time to start this fall. Garlic takes up very little room in your garden, it is so easy to grow your children can even do it for you and the plants look beautiful. Begin by selecting the right variety for you, the right time of the year to plant, how to condition the soil, and when to harvest, cure, and store for a winter. It may sound difficult but it is actually quite easy--so let's begin by talking about the three types of garlic, hardneck, softneck and elephant garlic.

Softneck Garlic: the whole plant is green; the foliage will begin to turn brown at the base of the plant when it is ready to harvest. The main stem stays soft for braiding if you pick it before it fall over or it can be removed for storage. Softneck is the garlic you purchase at the supermarket, and grows best in a mild climate. The softneck garlic does not flower; it has more cloves in the bulb but the bulbs are smaller and can be very strong-flavored. The cloves will also keep longer but the plant is less hardy when planted in the fall in a cold climate like the Northeast and it may not even produce a garlic bulb--best grown in a warm climate.

Hardneck Garlic: the whole plant is green and has a stiff hard stem in the center of the foliage that will produce a beautiful flower and then a cluster of small bulbs if allowed to mature. The flower bud is called a "scape" and it should be removed before it begins to open. The flower buds form on stems that begin to twist and curl during early stages of development and it will make a wonderful cut flower with its unusual shape. As a cut flower, it will change shape every day and eventually turn upright and grow straight up before opening and producing purple-blue flowers. As a cut flower it will last for 2 weeks or more. The flower stems and flower bud have a wonderful mild garlic flavor when sautéed in butter or olive oil. Either way, the flower stems should be removed when they reach 12 inches long so the energy is sent down to the bulb to help make it grow larger. Removing the scapes will help produce larger garlic bulbs. Hardneck garlic cannot be braided so remove the stem just above the bulb when the foliage turns brown during curing.

Elephant garlic: the whole plant is green; it belongs to the onion family and is not true garlic but closely related to the garden leeks. The plant produces tall-growing flat leaves like the leeks with a tall and strong flower stock in the center. The plant does produce a large bulb at the base of the foliage that resembles a garlic bulb made up of large cloves. The flavor is not quite like garlic but more like garlic than leeks in flavor. The flavor is milder than garlic; it can be eaten raw in salads and is easier to digest for many people than regular garlic. It does not keep as long as other types of garlic, so eat them first--they mature before the two other varieties do in your garden. You can also cook the entire bulb in the oven and eat each clove right out of the bulb, dipped in melted butter or seasoned olive oil, for a real treat.

Planting is very easy. It is done from mid-September to mid-October as the bulbs become available. Select a spot in your garden with full sun all day long. Clean the area of weeds or plants that have finished producing from this year's garden; condition the soil with compost, animal manure, seaweed kelp or the new garden coir fibers. Your soil should be loose and well-drained so if your soil is heavy or wet during the early spring, build up the soil into a mound to raise the planting area 4 to 6 inches higher than the rest of the garden to prevent root rot with wet soils. The better the soil is, the better your yield will be.

Now break apart the bulb into individual cloves and only use the outside row of cloves for planting, the inside cloves can be used for cooking or garlic bread. Place the clove in the ground two inches deep and 6 to 8 inches apart, rows 12 inches apart. The point of the clove of garlic faces up while the flat part is facing down in the soil. If your garden is small, you can space plants as close as 6 inches apart and also the rows. Before planting work into the soil a slow acting organic fertilizer like Garden Tone or Dr. Earth Vegetable Fertilizer with Pro-biotic.

In the early spring, March or April, side dress each row of garlic with the same fertilizer and that is all your plants will need for food for the rest of the year. Water well and keep the soil moist until the green shoots develop in October. If you can cover the planting bed with 2 to 3 inches of weed-free straw, salt marsh hay or pine needles as the shoots begin to grow, it will help to give the plants additional time to grow in the fall, keep out summer weeds, and conserve summer moisture when it gets hot out. Water the plants only when the soil is dry a couple of inches deep in the garden soil.

Harvesting garlic depends on the variety you have chosen and the season as hot summers speed up the process while cool summer's increases the amount of time needed to harvest. The plant is ready for harvest when the lower leaves are turning brown but the upper foliage is still green and healthy looking. Unlike onions pick your garlic before the foliage falls over or the bulb will split apart and the cloves will not have the sheathes, needed to form a wrapper to cover the cloves. This will decrease the holding time for you to eat them.

Dig the plants with a garden fork or spade and dig deep and far enough away from the plant so not to cut into the bulbs do not pull the plant with your hands or it will break into pieces and you need the foliage to cure the bulbs. Shake off as much soil as possible, so choose a day when the soil is dry to make things easier for you, DO NOT WASH THE BULBS! Place the plant in your garage in a single layer on the floor and out of the sun until they are almost dry and then cut foliage for storage or braid them together before they are totally dry or the bulbs will break from the foliage. When the outer skin becomes papery looking, brush off as much of the remaining soil as possible but do not remove any of the protective covering, this keeps in the moisture and the bulb fresh and tasty. You can clean the soil papery covering when you're ready for using as this keeps it fresher longer.

Store your garlic in your basement in a basket on the floor where it is cool but does not freeze, 50 to 70 degrees is best. Store garlic bulbs with your potatoes, winter squash, and your tender summer flowering bulbs. Do not place bulbs in plastic bags or they will rot with mold and keep out of the refrigerator or they will begin to sprout.

For a good source of garlic bulbs, go to www.sowtrueseed.com or call 828-254-0708, as all seed is certified to be insect and disease free, and this means a better crop for next summer. Grocery store garlic is not grown for seed production, nor is it certified, so why chance it? Use quality seed for a better crop. Order now while many varieties are still available and they will ship seed to you when it is ready for planting. I grow my own garlic--and so should you if you want better flavor than the store-bought type. Enjoy!

 

 

Janis Joplin - Summertime
Janis Joplin - Summertime
                                 
Sweet Fern shrub

 

Sweetfern is a native plant that grows from Nova Scotia to North Carolina, in the worst possible soil you can imagine. If you have a soil that is sandy, gravelly--even a soil with no fertility to it--this is your plant. If you cannot water the plants once they are established, if your soil is really acidic or you need a plant to grow on the side of the road and hold back a hillside--this is your plant. If the location is in full sun or even partial shade, if you have a cottage on a pond, a lake or near the ocean and nothing will grow because of the wind--this is your plant. It's the only woody shrub with this unique fern-like foliage that grows wild in openings around evergreen trees and forest areas with little to no top soil. It is also salt tolerant to road salt during the winter months.

Now, the first thing you need to know about this plant is that it is not actually a fern, but a small shrub. It will grow 2 to 3 feet high and spread 4 to 6 feet wide, and if it likes where it is growing, it will spread nonstop well over 8 feet in diameter. The root system of this plant has the ability to produce rhizomes that will actually spread indefinitely from the main plant. These suckers not only start new plants but are responsible for holding back the soil on steep inclines, preventing serious erosion problems where even most common weeds will not grow. It also will produce small seeds that explode from the pods in the late summer on the plant and start new plants in the spring when rainfall is more plentiful.

Sweetfern is a deciduous shrub with many stiff upright growing branches. The new growth will range from pale green to yellowish green in color; as the growth matures, it will turn to reddish brown. These stems will have small spots on them and, with age, become a bit hairy. In the fall of the year these stems will turn reddish purple to a copper color and have a bit of sheen on them. As the plant spreads across the soil it will have a very flat and even look to it. It does grow in a mound but always has a flat and even looking appearance to it. Even in the spring after a winter with a lot of snow on the plants, it does rebound and grow upright again.

The leaves are fern-like looking and grow 2 1/2 to 4 1/2 inches long and less than an inch wide. The leaf is a bit hairy, coarse, and thick, unlike most fern plants. The plant will grow very thick and full, often completely covering the ground with its foliage. The leaf is simple looking and alternates up the stem from the ground to the tip of the branches. When young they have sheen to them and are deep green in color but the best part is that they are fragrant when new and right up to the time they fall from the plant in the fall season. Just brush by the plant and smell the wonderful potpourri fragrance it produces, or, better still, crush a few leaves with your hands, then smell them--just magnificent.

In early May, it will make a flower that is not showy and often not seen on the plant. The seeds come from a seed pod that resembles a burr-like pod on the plant. In the late summer, the pods will dry up and the seeds will be thrown free to start new plants. The plant will make 4 seeds per pod or fruit.

The plant is very strong and seldom has problems with insects and disease. If the summer is very dry and hot, you will notice a bit of reddish spotting on the foliage but the plant will still look good. This is a perfect plant for recreational areas like cottages or camps where you want to spend time relaxing, not maintaining plants around your home.

What makes this plant so special in the wild is its ability to make its own nitrogen fertilizer. This plant can take the nitrogen gas from the air and use it to grow. The sweetfern plant can do this because of its ability to partner with a fungus in the soil that will make nodules on the roots of the plant. The plant will use the nitrogen and the fungus will benefit from the nutrients and water collected by the plant's roots. Because of this unique ability, the plant is able to grow in a dry infertile soil where almost any other plant dies.

The plant does not transplant very well, especially when it is covered with foliage in the spring to fall of the year. So mark small plants now with a brightly colored ribbon and dig them with a large root ball in the early spring, before the foliage develops. Make a nice hole and fill with soil that has been conditioned with compost, animal manure or good top soil when planting. I also recommend that you use Soil Moist Granules to help keep the newly transplanted seedling moist until it can get established. Water weekly until the foliage is fully developed on the plant and occasionally during the first summer. No fertilizer is needed, as it makes its own when it needs it.

When you plant sweetfern in these pockets of soil, space the plants 3 to 4 feet apart or closer if you want the plants to cover of the area faster. If you want the plants to thrive, use 2 to 3 inches of bark mulch, pine needles, wood chips or even spoiled hay or stray from your garden to encourage fast root development. This mulch will also help hold the soil in place for the first couple of years while the roots are getting established.

Plants can be purchased from your local nursery or from an organization that deals with soil erosion, soil conservation, or native plant specialty growers. Most nurseries do not stock this plant but they can get plants for you. Plants can be found growing where wild blueberries grow, on the edges of a wooded area, where trees have been harvested for lumber, and even on the sand dunes of Cape Cod. The more acid the soil is, the more you will find these plants growing in those areas. One last idea to look for the plants is where poison ivy is growing, as they love the same type of growing conditions.

Sweetfern stems are often used to make the very popular twig wreaths available at most garden centers. Smell the twigs, as they are also fragrant and will stay fragrant for several months inside your home. This is a wonderful plant for difficult growing areas--enjoy.

 

 

Garden tips for the end of August

 

 

#1 While the summer sun is still strong and everything is still growing, let's use our time in the garden wisely. August is the best time of the year to kill problem weeds like poison ivy and poison oak that are growing on our property. Because these plants are still growing quickly now, weed killers applied to the foliage will work better than ever. Many weed killers stimulate the plants to grow faster than normal and the plant cannot make enough food for the plant so it literally grows itself to death.

Most weed killers are absorbed into the foliage like a fertilizer; the plant moves it down to the roots for storage but when it gets there, the weed killer will destroy the root system and the plant will die. For this to happen properly, the plant must be actively growing but as the weather cools and the days shorten your plant's growth will slow down. The product you are using will be less effective then, so get out in the yard and kill those weeds now--use  KleenUp for the best results

#2 If you have Canadian hemlock growing on your property, this is the time to examine the foliage of the plant for possible insect problems called wooly adelgids. The insect is most active in the early spring and again in the fall of the year. Look for the insect on the tips of the plant where the new growth was made during the summer months. The adelgids will be on the underside of the foliage in clusters, and they will resemble small dots of cotton attached to the foliage. This insect is sucking the energy from the plant's blood stream and also laying eggs that will hatch in the weeks to come. As the eggs hatch, they will move up the plant and feed on new branches killing them and repeating the process in the spring until the tree has died.

As a home owner it is not always possible to spray your trees, especially if they are tall and large. The best and most effective way to treat this plant is with a "systemic" product that will move up the plant protecting it from top to bottom without spraying the entire tree. Bayer Advanced has developed such a product called "Tree and Shrub." All you have to do is mix the product the product with water and pour it around the base of the tree. In a couple of weeks the tree will move the product out of the ground and take it to the top of the tree and to all of the branches, protecting it from this problem for 12 months. Your local garden center will have this product or a similar product made by  Bonide, at their store for you to use. Be sure to read the directions before using, so the product will work effectively for you and control this insect pest.

#3 Now is the BEST time to kill Japanese bamboo/knotweed. This plant came from the Orient during the 1800's and was introduced to this country as an ornamental plant to be used for erosion control. It did its job but it took over everywhere and is now found in most states. If you have Japanese bamboo growing on your property, you know it is a real problem to control or eradicate.

The best way to kill this plant is to follow these steps. In the spring when it begins to grow, pull it out or cut it down as soon as you see it. It will come back in just a few days, so pull it out, or cut it down again and again and again all summer long. August first, stop bothering the plant and let it grow all it wants. It will soon begin to make white flowers, and that is the time for you to act, because when the plant is making flowers, all of the stored energy from the roots is being used to make flowers to produce seeds to make more plants for next year.

At this time use KleenUp on the plant and the product will be able to find its way down to the roots and kill many of the plants. It won't kill all of the plants but it will kill much of the plant and sterilize the seed produced by the plant in the fall. If you follow these steps you will be able to destroy the plant in just 2 to 3 years, depending on how well it is established in your yard. Spray the foliage with this products every 7 days for 3 applications when you first see the flower buds appear on the plant.

I like to level the area where the bamboo is growing so I can mow the areas weekly during the summer. By destroying the new growth the plant makes and forcing it to use its energy to make new growth again and again, you weaken the plant and in August when you use the weed killers on the plant it will work better. When you use weed killers during the growing season the plant will laugh at you and they will be ineffective.

#4 You may be noticing the start of fall caterpillars in your trees now. These pests will get very active in the weeks to come. It all begins with a small cobweb like growth, on the tips of the branches of your trees and as the caterpillars grow and multiply in numbers, the tent-like formations will enlarge on your plants. Caterpillars eat their weight in foliage every day, and they get bigger every day, so they eat more every day. If you do not control them now, they could defoliate all the leaves on your tree in just a few weeks and they will make it more difficult for the plant to get started with new foliage in the spring.

In the fall of the year, all the energy the leaves make is sent down to the roots for storage and to use to start the new growth in the spring time. If less energy is stored for spring growth, expect less growth from your plants next year.

Here are two things you can do to stop the problem. The cobweb-like tent is their home and that is where they stay on rainy days and at night. If caterpillars get wet often, they will die, so take out your garden hose, and spray the nest apart with the pressure from your water, so they have no place to keep dry during stormy weather. If you look at the nest, you will also notice that they are all grouped together inside the tent because they use their combined heat to stay warm--especially on cold days, so break the tent and they will get wet, cold, and die. You can also spray the trees with  Captain Jack   insect control product that targets the caterpillars and is safe for beneficial insects and birds in the trees.

#5 Now is the time to plant your fall vegetable garden, so clean up those spaces where the crops are done producing and plants seeds for fresh vegetables during October. you have time now to plant green and yellow beans, peas, leaf lettuce of all types, radishes, Swiss chard, and spinach. In mid-September, fresh garlic bulbs will be available, so make room for them now and condition the soil before planting them.

Prepare the soil just like you do in the spring with compost, animal manure, or seaweed kelp. Your soil is warm and the seed will quickly germinate, so be sure to keep the soil moist at all times to help speed up germination. If you can use a liquid fertilizer every 2 weeks, your plant will mature quickly and before long you will be eating fresh vegetables in early October. Fall vegetables have fewer insect and disease problems than those grown during the summer and cooler weather gives them more flavor. Extend your harvest to October, but you must plant now to give the plants time to grow. Enjoy!

 

 

Selecting the right grass seed for your yard

 

Have you ever walked into a garden center looking for a package of grass seed and found yourself looking at a wall filled with many different type of blended grass seed packages and wondered, "Which is right for me?" It's almost as confusing as going to the grocery store and trying to pick a box of cereal for breakfast! (I think I will have toast.)

Here is what I want you to do before you go to the garden center this fall. Take a piece of paper and answer these questions before you leave. How big is the area, length by width; if not sure pace it off and write down how many paces; the store attendant can help you determine the size of the area to be seeded.

Is the area sunny or shady?

  • If a combination of the two, when is it sunny and when is it shady, how long for each and at what time of the day is it sunny or shady?
  • Now take a shovel or garden trowel and dig a hole in the area to be seeded and see how deep the top soil is, 3 inches...6 inches deep? it will matter.
  • Also what is under the top soil, sand, clay, yellow hard pan? It will make a difference in the seed you will need to use. Is the area flat, does it slope or is it on the side of a hill? When it rains does the water sit on the surface? If so, how long?
  • Do you have trees growing on this area to be seeded? Will you be adding seed under the trees, and are the trees evergreen or leaf type?
  • Is there moss growing on this area now; have you ever applied lime or lime products to this area?
  • Have you ever had a soil test done? Are you adding new top soil over the existing soil--and how much new soil?
  • If there is grass growing there now, how much of the area is grass compared to weeds...or are you starting from scratch?
  • Have you used a weed killer product on this area lately, like Turf Builder Plus 2 or a Crabgrass preventer plus fertilizer. How long ago?
  • What will happen to the lawn when it is all growing and green: kids playing on it occasionally, or every day, football, baseball, or are you just going to look at it?
  • Do you have an irrigation system or do you drag out the hose when it needs to be watered? Or do you not water the lawn at all during the summer months?
  • Does your town have a water ban every summer?
  • Do you fertilize it during the year? How often will it be fed, with organic or regular lawn food and will you use a weed killer if needed?
  • Do you have animals and are they allowed to play on the grass, like a fenced in back yard?
  • Is the lawn area wide open to the wind and is it windy there?
  • Are you on the street (possible road salt), near a pond or wetlands?
  • How often do you cut your lawn and how short or tall do you like it?
  • One last question...do you care what the neighbors think about your lawn, do you just want it green or do you want the perfect lawn and the best on the street?

 

If you still want to plant grass seed, take this information to the garden center and they will help you select the right grass seed combination for your new lawn. In the Northeast you will have five families of grass seed to choose from and I want you to know how they work and where they will work best for you. There are many different types of varieties of each family member and I will leave that to the garden center expert to determine for you.

#1 Kentucky Bluegrass is dark green, with a medium textured blade. Blue grass can spread by making tillers and underground rhizomes, and they have the ability to make a tight-knit attractive turf. Your seed will make a new plant and as that plant matures, the plant can send out these underground rhizomes and tillers to make new plants, as a strawberry plant sends out new runners. These runners will help to thicken your lawn when it is fed regularly. Blue grass does best in a heavy soil that is well drained and has good fertility, so it must be fed several times a year, every 6 to 8 weeks to stay thick. Water requirement is moderate to high during the summer months. If watering is a problem , the grass will lose some of its color but it will recover quickly when moisture returns.

Mowing height is 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches--but taller during the heat of summer is recommended. The plant is more upright growing and the only type of grass plant that is self-spreading with runners. Blue grass will do best in full sun to a bit of shade late in the day or first thing in the morning. It is not recommended for shady areas as the main seed type. The size of the seed is small and the cost is more expensive than most because you get more seed per pound than most others varieties. Blue grass will take as long as 3 weeks to germinate so be patient and keep watering to insure good germination. Once it germinates it will grow as fast as the other varieties of seed. If you want a SOD LAWN look, you will have to use a high bluegrass blend of seed. Bluegrass lawns will give you the best looking lawn but they will require the most maintenance and care-- so you might want to consider a blend with other types of grass seed.

#2 Fine Fescue Grass is medium green, and like its name has thin and narrow blades of grass. Fine fescue will also spread with tillers and short creeping rhizome type underground stems. Fine fescue is used extensively in seed blends designed for sun and shade situations. This grass seed will germinate quickly, establish itself quickly and make a wonderful nursery grass to provide protection against erosion for a slower growing grass like bluegrass problems early on. Because this grass seed germinates quickly you will see things happening fast and it will encourage you to keep watering and caring for the new seedlings.

The fine fescue family also includes 'Chewing' fescue and 'Creeping Red' fescue, making this family of grasses possible to grow almost anywhere in your lawn no matter where you are planting it. Sun or shade--this is the most versatile family of turf grasses used in blended seed for turf use today. Also, insect problems are very few with these grass plants. Their biggest problem is that you must plant the seed more heavily than most because many of the varieties grow in clumps and do not spread readily in the lawn.

You would not plant just fine fescue grass alone as a lawn but when blended with other varieties of Creeping and Tall fescue it will make a wonderful lawn. Great in low fertility or partial shade areas, it will also tolerate road salt better than most. Periods of hot and dry weather will cause color change and it is not as drought tolerant as bluegrass unless you do not cut it and allow it to grow on its own and become more natural. Mow at a height of 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches tall or allow to mature and grow wild and natural at 6 to 8 inches--low maintenance like an eco-Lawn. As a natural lawn, fertilize spring and fall. You can also mow the grass only once a month as it does not grow as fast as bluegrass, saving you time.

#3 Tall Fescue grass is medium to dark green, and new hybrids have a wonderful medium texture like bluegrass does. Tall fescue will grow in clumps and will not make a thick lawn all by itself and is better used in a blend of seeds. It is extremely tough and will tolerate a lot of use like athletic fields and lawns with heavy traffic, so bring on the kids. This is a wonderful grass seed to blend with bluegrass seed when planting a new lawn or thickening an existing thin growing lawn.

Tall fescue has a very large growing root system and a root system that grows deep in the soil, making it perfect for soils on the sandy side. Roots can grow as deep as 2 feet or more in the ground and will perform very well in periods of heavy moisture or extended drought. Once established it will even stay green longer during summer drought and perform better than most other varieties of grass.

Mow this grass higher in your lawn at 2 to 3 inches tall cutting height--and taller during the heat of summer. Fertilize spring and fall but any additional fertilizer will create a very thick weed free lawn. Taller growing lawns always tend to keep out more weeds than those cut short and this grass does love to stay taller growing. Taller growing lawns also need less watering and less mowing during the season. Tall fescue is often used in areas where it is difficult to grow grass and it does make a wonderful plant to prevent erosion on slopes and steep hillsides. The seed will germinate very quickly, sometimes as fast as only a week, making it perfect when blended with slow germinating bluegrass seed. Tall fescue will also tolerate wet spots in your yard better than most.

Look for the new hybrids always as they will have a better texture in your lawn. Keep away from a variety called "Kentucky 31 Tall Fescue" because the blades of grass are very wide and coarse looking. However, it is very important to note that Tall fescue has fewer problems with insects than most other types of grass seed and disease problems are minimal.

#4 Perennial Rye Grass is dark green with medium to coarse leaf blade. Use hybrid varieties and stay away from "Common Perennial Ryegrass," as this old variety has a very coarse blade; it lies down easily when mowing, making your lawn look unruly. Perennial rye grass was once the best nursery grass to hold the soil together when seeding a new lawn but has now been replaced with tall fescue hybrids. This is a good inexpensive grass to blend with other seed and to use for sloping areas where the grass does not have to be perfect. It will germinate quickly and in warm soil just 3 to 4 days. The established plant will spread with tillers but is must be blended with other types of grass seed to create a good tight-knit turf; never use alone. Perennial rye grass will not tolerate hot or cool humid growing conditions for long periods, especially wet cool springs. Clay soil or soil that stays wet could become a problem because of disease.

Perennial rye grass should be fertilized spring and fall but it will do much better if you add a third feeding in late summer. Cut the grass at 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches tall and taller during the summer months. The stems are weak and the grass does tend to fall over, so it will look better when mixed with other grass varieties. If you plant just perennial rye you will have a problem mowing the lawn, especially when it is wet, because it grows on soft stems and not upright like many other types of grasses. It is a great grass to blend with bluegrass seed when you have a heavily used area in your yard. Insect and disease problems are minimal and it will give you good year-round performance.

#5 Annual Rye Grass at one time was used widely to help retain the soil when using slow-germinating grasses like bluegrass but with the new perennial rye grasses and new tall fescue of today, it is no longer used in a quality seed blend. Remember that this is an "annual grass seed" and when the weather gets cold and the ground freezes it will die! If your seed blend has a lot of annual grass seed in the blend, the results will be a lawn in the spring with many open areas in your newly planted lawn. Pay a bit more for a seed blend that is all perennial; all your hard work will survive the winter and your new lawn will stay thick over the winter.

#6 Zoysia Grass is a warm weather grass and it will live in the Northeast and other parts of the country with cold weather and thrive very well. This is a wonderful fast growing grass that will quickly take over the area where it is planted but there is one major problem in a cold climate with this grass plant. The big problem is that the period that it is green is very short with cold weather! When you receive a good killing frost in the fall it will quickly turn brown; it will not die but your lawn will turn brown from middle to late September until the spring arrives. Now, in the spring, it will be brown while all other lawns will quickly green up in April. In May, possibly even as late as early June it will begin to green up as the soil and air temperature warm up.

In the Northeast and cold climate areas, it is beautiful for basically 4 months--June to September--and brown the other 8 months. There is one other problem with this grass plant and that problem is that the plant is unstoppable; it will take over your yard very quickly, choking out everything in its path. It moves quickly and will grow into flower beds creating a maintenance nightmare in planting areas, even those that have a thick layer of bark mulch. If you live from Washington D.C. south it will be green for 6 to 7 months but north of that stay away from this type of lawn!!!

One last thing to look for on the grass seed label:

1) Percentage of seed type by weight in the bag: bluegrass seed is small and it takes more seed per pound than perennial rye grass; 1 perennial rye grass seed weighs as much as 10 Bluegrass seeds, so less blue grass could give you more seed per bag. More bluegrass seed gives you better quality in the bag, up to 10 times more possible plants by the weight of the box of seed.

2) Other crop seed: not a noxious weed, but a weed that will grow in your lawn. Not acceptable!

3) Weed seed: percent by weight in the box. Not acceptable!

4) Inert Matter: Percent by weight in the box, filler such as seed hulls and grass stems found in cheap seed blends. Not acceptable!

5) Noxious Weeds: accept nothing but NONE FOUND printed on the label! If you do, you're planting problem weeds that are difficult to control!

6) Germination percentage of the seed variety must be 85% or higher. If you accept 50 % germination, for example, that means that only half of the bag will grow if things are perfect. Not acceptable!

7) Test date: This tells you when the seed was packaged and it MUST be this year's date or the percentage of seed expected to germinate will be less than listed--a real problem for you!

Use this as a guide and with the help of a knowledgeable person at your local garden center or nursery, you will have a wonderful looking lawn for all the work, time, and money you put into it. This is not the time to save a dollar unless you want to do this again in the near future. Good luck!

 

 

"Gardeners, I think, dream Bigger dreams than emperors."

Mary Cantwell

Fresh Peach Pie

 

 

Fresh Picked Georgia Peach Pie

 

2-10 inch unbaked Pillsbury  pie crust.

 

6 cups of fresh ripe peaches that have been
Pealed and pitted.Now cut up peaches into
 1/4 inch slices and set aside.

 

3 tablespoons of cornstarch
1cup of granulated sugar
3 tablespoons of cold water
3 extra large or jumbo eggs
1/3 cup of butter milk
1/2 cup of melted butter
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract

 

Glaze for crust;
2 tablespoons of melted butter
1 tablespoon of granulated sugar
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees

 

Firmly press your bottom pie crust into the 10 inch pie plate
 And set aside. Place the cut up peaches into a large mixing
Bowl and set aside. In a medium bowl mix your corn starch
And 3 tablespoons of sugar with cold water and mix until smooth.
Stir in remaining sugar, eggs, and buttermilk and mix well.
Stir in melted butter and vanilla extract, blend well.
Pour over peaches in the large mixing bowl and stir until all
Peaches are coated with the mixture.Pour filling into unbaked
Pie crust.  Cover with second pie crust and trim edges. Seal with
A fork and milk.  Cut several slits on top of the pie crust, brush
Top crust with milk and sprinkle granulated sugar evenly over the
Crust to give the crust a nice sugary glaze look.

 

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until the center gets bubbly
 And the crust is golden brown.
Cool at room temperature and then store in refrigerator
To chill the pie.
Serve cold and top with a big scoop of vanilla Ice cream.

 

Being from New England Apple pie was our best pie but this
Peach pie came in close to the apple pie for flavor.
Yes variety is the spice of life, try it and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

              Garden Journal - A garden is a friend you can visit any time. Gardens require planning and cultivation, yielding beauty and joy. This garden journal helps make planning and organizing easy. This book makes a great gift for gardeners, family, friends, birthdays, Christmas, new home or as a self purchase.

Cover holds a 5 x7 or 4x6 photo, Heavy-duty D-ring binder

1. 8 tabbed sections
2. 5 garden details sections with pockets for seeds, tags....
3. Weather records page
4. 6 three year journal pages
5. Insect & diseases page - 3 project pages
6. 3 annual checklist pages
7. Plant wish list page
8. 2 large pocket pages
9. Sheet of garden labels
10. 5 garden detail sheets
11. 5 graph paper pages for layouts
12. 5 photo pages holds - 4- 4x6 photos in landscape or portrait format

Journal, Planning, Inspirations. 

 To Order call 207-985-6972

Regular price $34.95  Special Price $25.95! Limited supply!!


 
  
Telephone:
(207)985-6972
(207)590-4887 cell
(855)660-4261 Sunday Morning(6AM to 10AM)
 
Fax:
(207)985-6972
 
Regular Phone Hours:
(207)985-6972
Mon-Sat  9AM to 5 PM
Sunday:12 pm to 5 PM
  

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Let Dr. Earth assist you with all of  your organic gardening needs!

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Private Property Consultation 
with Paul Parent:  Call  207-590-4887 


Book now!
Paul have a few open dates for September, 2014
Paul Parent Garden Club | (207) 590-4887 |   GardenClub@paulparent.com  | 

 

  Written by Paul Parent                         Produced by Christine Parent


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