The first flowers of spring are patiently waiting for the snow to melt. 
    These flowers are called snowdrops
Spring Starts Friday, YEAH!!!!!!!!!

Kool & The Gang - Celebration
Kool & The Gang - Celebration
the arrival of spring
*How to print article's at bottom of newsletter.
Lets get ready for the arrival of Spring, It is coming - really!?

 

 

If you can answer yes to the following questions you are ready:

  • Have you started your lawn mower and sharpened the blade yet? Now is the time to have it serviced before the waiting time becomes long.
  • How about the rototiller or weed whacker--do you have fresh gas ready?
  • Have you oiled your fertilizer spreader and cleaned it yet?
  • Have you cleaned and sharpened your hedge shears, pruners, loppers and the pole saw yet?
  • Is there air in the tire of your wheelbarrow?
  • Do you know where your garden gloves are?
  • Is your hose still frozen--but you know where the sprinkler and nozzle is?
  • Now, one last question: are you daring enough to put the snow blower in the back of the garage or tool shed and move the mower into the front? Are you ready, almost ready, getting there, anxious, thinking about it, or do you still need it? I DO and I am still almost ready, so get going and think positive!!!

  • Have you looked at the wooden handles of your long handle tools and the wheelbarrow yet? If the handles look a bit dried out, how about rubbing a bit of linseed oil on them to help them become more flexible and less likely to break. Spray all the metal parts of your tools with WD40 to keep them strong and rust-free. Spray all moving parts of your garden cart, wheelbarrows, spreaders, and cutting tools to keep them lubricated.
  • Check out the ends of the hoses--have you crushed them so they won't attach properly, how about washers in them--do they leak? Fix them now--before you need them.
  • How does the chain saw look--will it start, so you can use it to do a bit of pruning in the next couple of weeks? It's easier to cut branches now--without the leaves on them--and clear out winter damage.
  • How about the leaf blower--will it work to blow off all the sand from your driveway and clean the garden beds?

  • Does the garden patio furniture need to be repaired or painted for the season, or even replaced? Now is a great time to do this work, before you get busy with the lawn.
  • How about cleaning out the garage and getting things organized before the season begins. Many times, I cannot find the tool I need because it's buried under something else in the tool shed--and after I buy a new one I find it. Has this happened to you?
  • Do you have any leftover fertilizer, garden chemicals, soil conditioners, or grass seed in your tool shed; are they still good; can you read the labels? If you need these items, are they on sale now? If not, keep an eye out for the sales early in the season.
  • Check your pressure sprayer to see if it stills holds pressure; if not, most times it's just a gasket or washer, just pump it up and try it out now before you need it.
  • Did you use the electric extension cords for the Christmas lights and will you need them for the electric shears--where did you put them?
  • Check out the mosquito zapper or gas-fired insect killer, is it ready to go--do you have propane for your Mosquito Magnet, and will it start?

  • Have you planned out the layout of the vegetable and flower garden yet?
  • Are the tomato cages still good; do the trellises or arbor need to be fixed?
  • It's time to put out the bird bath, have you cleaned it yet?
  • How about the Gazing Ball--is it clean and can you find the bottom to put it on?
  • Check out the fountain: is it clean, and does the pump still work?
  • If you have awnings for the window, what type of shape are they in--is the fabric still in good shape? If they are moldy, get some Wet and Forget and spray them when you put them up to kill the mold and clean them.

Print this list and put it up on the garage wall so you can check things off as you do them. There is a lot to do to prepare for the arrival of spring, so begin now and do a little bit each week so it does not get ahead of you. All these things must be done before you even get out in the yard and start to work, so let's get started now. While you're out, how about picking up a few first aid items just in case: Ben-Gay, Extra-Strength Tylenol, and, yes, some beer to help you relax and enjoy all your work and accomplishments. Do you still like the arrival of spring? If you need some help, call me on Sunday morning; I will be there to answer all your questions.  Enjoy!

 

 

 

Before your fruit trees come into bloom, here are a few things that must be done


 

 

It is spring and now time to get outside and begin to work on the fruit trees. Start by cleaning them of any broken branches due to the snow and ice. Make a nice clean cut with pruners or a sharp saw. When removing branches from the tree, be sure to make the cuts at a slight angle so water will roll off the branch and not sit on it, causing rot. If you are removing a branch attached to the main trunk, cut the branch about a foot from the trunk first. That way if the branch should break it will not tear the bark of the tree. Once you remove the branch from the tree, use a sharp saw and cut the spur that remains as close as possible to the main trunk. The tree will heal itself much faster that way.

 

If you leave a spur 2 to 6 inches long on the trunk, it will rot and the decay will move into the main trunk, causing you problems later. When you make a flush cut on the trunk or branch, the tree can cover it over with a ring of callus in just a year or two. At this time of the year, the branches are full of flower buds so cut the tip branches 2 to 3 feet long and place them in a vase of water and they will flower in your home.

 

Remove any branches at the base of the tree, as these branches are "suckers," stealing energy from the tree. Look for any branches that crisscross and rub together. Remove the less important branch, or where they rub together the bark will wear off and create an entry point for insects or disease to enter the plant. Remove any branches that grow straight up without side shoots on them. These are "water sprouts" and will not produce fruit. A great book for the beginner or seasoned gardener is The Back Yard Orchardist by Stella Otto. All your questions on fruit tree care will be answered in this book.

 

The tree is cleaned and ready to grow, so let us work on insect and disease problems. At this time of the year, you can eliminate many disease problems if you can spray the trees with Bonide copper fungicide spray or lime sulfate fungicide. When applied at this time of the year, these products will kill disease spores before they have a chance to get active--"preventive medicine."To control Insects before the eggs hatch use a horticultural oil or "all season oil." You can combine both of these products in the same sprayer and apply at the same time. Apply when temperatures are going to be above 40 degrees that day and there is no rain in the forecast. This spraying must be done before the flower buds open and the buds are still tightly closed.

 

Now you need an indicator on the tree to tell you when the bugs arrive so you can begin your bi-weekly spraying program. When I was in college at University of Massachusetts, Amherst, my Orchard Care class was chosen to help our professor with his idea that helped earned him his doctorate. Knowing when to start spraying the trees to control insects will make your spray program more effective and you will not have to waste pesticides applied too early.

This is what we did and you can do the same. Buy a 3 to 4 inch red plastic apple with a stem on it. Tie a piece of string 12 inches long to the stem of the apple and the other end to a branch at eye level on your tree. Coat the apple with a bit of Vaseline evenly on the surface. When the bugs arrive, they will stick to the apple and you can begin to spray the trees before they lay eggs all over the tree. Look for Bonide, Orchard Spray or Organic Labs, Organocide Fruit Tree Spray to control both disease and insects at the same time. Spray until 2 weeks before harvest. Fertilize with  Espoma Tree-Tone in March or April. When the fruit tree is in bloom, be sure not to spray it! If you are not getting much fruit that develops on the tree, it could be the lack of bees around your trees.    Enjoy! 

 

 

Spring Again - Lou Rawls
Spring Again - Lou Rawls
 
It is now timne to start your Tuberious Begonias indoor

 

 

This begonia is a creation of horticulturalists from all over the world. No flower has had so many ancestors and undergone so many complicated modifications. Begonias named for Michel Begon, a botanist who spent many years developing new varieties of the plant. He was at one time governor of French Canada and is responsible for many of the current varieties we have today. Tuberous Begonias are known for their flowers, whose shapes vary a great deal, resembling hollyhocks, carnations, camellias, and roses. Some varieties have a single flower, some have double flowers and some have both single and double flowers on the same plant.

 

Tuberous begonias are like no other summer flowering bulb, as they will flower all summer long and well into the fall. They are the showiest and the largest family of shade loving bulbs. They also have more applications than any other bulb when planted in the garden. Begonias can be planted in containers of all types and even in hanging baskets. Try them in window boxes, urns and even whiskey barrels. On your decks, patios, terrace, or porches they will provide you with endless color all summer.

 

With many hundreds of varieties to choose from, the Begonia family has the plant height, flower size, flower color, foliage texture, and growth habit for you. I like the hanging or drooping varieties that cascade flowers over the side of the container, covering it with flowers. The drooping or cascading types have clusters of small flowers on their stems and are wonderful for porches or small terraces in a shady location. The large flowering types will grow to 18 inches tall with thick stems that help to hold flowers up to 3 inches in diameter. The foliage is deep green and triangular shape with small teeth on the margins.

 

Purchase your bulbs now and start them indoors on your windowsill. Fill a pot with a man-made soil like Jiffy Mix half way and place the tuber with the cup side facing up. Cover the bulb with 2 inches of soil and keep it moist but not wet. In no time at all, the warmth of the window will develop shoots from the tuber and the growth will develop quickly. In the house, the plant matures quickly and by the time the weather is safe enough to be planted outdoors, flower buds will be developing. When you plant, be sure to condition the soil with compost or animal manure. The better the soil the more flowers the plant will make. When growing in containers use Soil Moist in the soil to help retain water during the heat of summer. Fertilize every two weeks with Fertilome blooming and rooting or add Dynamite pellets to the soil mixture for continuous feeding all summer long.

 

The Begonias come from mild climate countries and when grown in a cold region, the tubers must be dug up from the garden after a frost and stored in the basement during the winter months. Store the bulbs in a box filled with dry peat moss on the basement floor. Keep them away from heat but temperatures must be above freezing, so don't store them in your garage. I always dust the bulbs with "Rose and Flower" garden dust before winter storage. If you grow begonias in containers, allow the top of the plant to be frosted and cut the foliage off to the ground. I put the containers in the basement for the winter and they never dry up, as all the roots are still intact. Do not water during the winter! In April I just add water and it comes right back to life. Shade is not a reason not to have flowers around your property when you have so many types of Tuberous Begonias to choose. Enjoy!

 

 

Elvis Presley # Spring Fever (Girl Happy)

Elvis Presley # Spring Fever

 (Girl Happy)

                                    

 

"Spring is nature's way of saying, "Let's party!"
 
Robin Williams"
 
Making a check list to begin the Spring season!

 

1.) It's time to uncover your rose bushes and remove the winter protection you put around them last fall. If you used soil, mulch or compost, just spread it around the plant for additional root protection when the heat of summer arrives and to help control weeds later.

 

2.) Its time to prune back your bush type roses and clean them of dead, broken, or weak branches. Cut them back to 18 to 24 inches from the ground, and be sure to remove all small shoots that developed on the plant; also remove all suckering branches that developed at the base of the plant. Where you pruned the plant, spray with Wilt-Pruf or Wilt Stop to seal in the moisture and help protect it from the cold spring winds.

 

3.) Climbing roses should also be cleaned and cut back to get ready for a more productive year. Remove all winter damage branches to the nearest crotch or dormant bud. Tie all branches to your fence or arbor and be sure that part of that branch is tied down and growing in a horizontal position. Horizontal-growing branches will encourage more branches to develop and that means more flowers.

 

4.) Removing all suckers that develop just below the graft will keep the plant more productive with flowers and eliminate excess foliage. Once the plant is cleaned, fertilize with a granular rose food like Dr. Earth Rose food with microbes.

 

5.) If you have potted roses growing in containers, now is the time to bring them out of the winter storage building like your garage or tool shed. Also any evergreens grown in containers that you store this way need to come out now so they can begin to develop naturally.

 

6.) The bird bath and your fountains can now be set up; just be sure to clean them well, and remove any green algae that might have formed during the winter. Once cleaned, be sure to rinse well to remove any cleaning product residue. Just the sound of running water will help cheer you up with this cold weather.

 

7.) Gazing balls will redirect the sunlight in your yard. Along with all your garden statuary, this will help to bring your garden alive even though not many plants have begun to develop yet.

 

8.) Bring out all your garden and patio containers like whiskey barrels, Earth Boxes, window boxes, and planters. While you have time, let's recondition the soil in them and prepare them for planting. Use this time wisely and then when you're ready to plant, your containers will be ready also. When your local garden center has pansies available, stick a few plants in them for a bit of color now. You can transplant the pansies to your garden later when you plant your containers with your summer flowers.

 

9.) If you have a fish pond or garden pool that has been turned off all winter long, let's clean out the winter debris and get the water clean and moving. Water movement at this time of the year will help get you moving and thinking of the plants around the water.

 

10.) Sweep your front steps, the walkways, the patio, the deck, and even the driveway. This will make you FEEL better and it's more fun that shoveling snow on those same areas. While you're cleaning, think about what you could do to these areas to make them more beautiful, like a container of flowers or vegetables or even plantings along them this spring.

 

11.) Check out your wooden fence and gates to see how they handled the winter; check for any broken or rotting post or rails. While the weather is cool, let's do some of the hard work so we can sit back this summer and relax. If you're going to paint, be sure to check about painting and outside temperatures, or your hard work could all peel off the fence if it's too cold now to paint.

 

12.) Look at your flag pole and inspect the rope for strength. Does the pole need to be painted? How about the gold ball on top--does it need a good shine? How about the flags-- do they need to be replaced or it could be time to add a new flag to your collection? Opening day is April 6th and the home opener is April 13, no better time to get out your favorite team flag out--mine is "The Boston RED SOX." Go team!! If your American flag is worn and tattered, give it to your local Boy Scout troop and they will take care of it for you.

 

13.) If the ground can be worked, how about starting to edge your flower and garden beds. Garden beds look much better with a straight edge on them and it will make mowing along them much easier if you do it now, while you have time. If you have long beds, use string to make a straight line or (like me) you will cut the edge wrong. If you are removing large pieces of green grass in some areas while edging those beds save the grass and use it to fill in bare spots in your lawn.

 

14.) If you are going to use a lot of bark mulch this spring, it is much cheaper to purchase it by the yard or in bulk than by the bag. It will take nine 3 cubic foot bags of bark mulch to equal one yard of bulk mulch. Compare the price before you buy all those bags. One yard of bark mulch will cover an area 100 square feet (10' X10') three inches deep, or at 1.5" thick 10'X20'. If there is still bark mulch in the beds from last year just add an inch of new mulch to bring back the color. Year old bark mulch does not "go bad," so do not remove it.

 

15.) This is the BEST time to spread mulch on perennial beds or shrub beds that contain bulbs, as the plants are dormant and all you have to do is rake it in. Once the plants begin to develop you will have to do a lot of "hand work" and your labor will be much more time consuming.

 

16.) April traditionally brings us much rain, so get the rain barrel in place to collect the water for your garden later. I have a rain barrel and use it often during the heat of summer to water the containers on the front walkway and on the porch; it beats dragging out the hose every day.

 

17.) How about bringing out the patio furniture and getting the back deck or patio set up early? The nice days are coming and on the next nice Sunday morning, bring out the radio and a cup of coffee and listen to the garden show outside so you can see and plan what you have to do in your garden.

 

18.) Now is a good time to repair all that patio furniture or even paint it if necessary. If you need to replace to cushions, measure them and post it on the refrigerator door and that way when they go on sale you will be ready to grab them. If the furniture needs to be replaced, it's better to know now than when you need it later; get ready for the sales yet to come.

 

19.) Now is also time to uncover and remove the winter protection from the hydrangeas. Do not prune them now but you can remove any branches that were damaged during the winter. You can add aluminum sulfate fertilizer around them to help increase the blue color intensity of the flower. Pruning is done when the buds begin to swell and become more visible.

 

20.) Have you noticed that the tool shed is now beginning to look empty and you now have room to move around in there? How about taking out the garden hose and attaching it to the faucet so it's ready to use? Maybe the kids will want to use it and wash the car for you. (You can hope!)

 

21.) Might want to look for the sprinkler and nozzle at the same time and see if they still work. Bring out the watering cans, and the watering wands for the hanging baskets.

 

22.) Take a big pad of paper and write down the names of all of your garden chemicals and organic products you have in your tool shed or garage. Leave a good inch of space between each product so you can write down what you use them for. If you have products and forgot what they are for or when to use them, let's take that list to the nursery to find out what you have and how to best use it. Also write down how much you have of each; that way you will know if you need more while you're out.

 

23.) If you have a brick, cobblestone, or concrete paver, walkway or patio, this is the perfect time to add additional stone dust to entirely fill in the cracks in between them; these have formed during the past winter. If you can fill these spaces with stone dust or sand you will have less of a weed problem this summer.

 

24.) If you want new birds in your bird houses, they must be cleaned each spring before they will be occupied. The more unique birds are fussier about where they will live and will not reside in unclean bird houses. If you often wonder why you have so many grackles in your bird houses, all they want is a roof over their heads.

 

25.) Tape this list on your tool shed wall and as you finish one of the things to do, cross it off the list. It's not all work when you garden and you must take time to enjoy what you have accomplished, so do as my Dad and I would often do: take a cold can of beer out of the refrigerator, sit in the garden, and toast to all you have done! Enjoy the moment; I am glad, I did when I had my Dad in the garden with me!

 

These suggestion will depend on the weather and if there is still snow on the ground! Lets hope for a great spring season.

 

 

 

                                           Dark Chocolate, Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

If you have a real craving for chocolate any time of the day, these cookies are for you. And you can add walnuts, or macadamia nuts, white chocolate chips or M and M's or even peanut butter chips to keep your family guessing. They are easy to make and much better tasting than the cookies that come in packages from your food store. Like a Toll House cookie but chocolate.

 

Ingredients:

 

1 2/3 cups {10 ounces package} Dark Chocolate chips, divided

1 cup of all-purpose Flour

cup of baking Cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

teaspoon salt

cup or one stick of butter, softened

cup of packed light brown sugar

cup granulated sugar

1 jumbo egg

1 teaspoon of vanilla extracts the good stuff not imitation

 

Preparation:

 

1} Preheat you oven to 325 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or

Lightly grease the cookie sheet, Pam spray

 

 2} Melt 2/3 cup of chocolate chips in your microwave, use a safety bowl and heat at Medium-high power for about 30 seconds, stir. Chips may retain their original shape. If necessary, microwave an additional 10 to 15 seconds, until the chips are melted. Now set aside.

 

3} Sift the flower, cocoa, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl. Beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar in a large bowl until creamy. Add melted chocolate chips and mix well. Add your egg and vanilla extract, mixing until well blended, about a minute. Add your flower mixture, mixing just until blended. Stir in remaining 1 cup of chocolate chips. Drop mounded tablespoon of dough 3 inches apart on the cookie sheet.

 

4} Bake for 16 to 18 minutes or until wooden tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean and the top of the cookie has cracks forming on the top of the cookie. Cool for 5 minutes on a wire rack to cool.

 

5} if you want to add other toppings add them to the flower mixture and blend step 3. I like to add 1 additional cup of either type of nuts and an additional cup of white chocolate, mint chocolate or peanut butter chips for variation; it's up to you to play with the toppings and what your family likes. Enjoy with a glass of cold milk or cup of coffee, then smile!

 

 

 

 


      

Garden Journal

        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 207-590-4887

Regular price $34.95  Special Price $31.95!  special!

 

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