Stopping to smell the flowers By Arlene Marturano SCGardenLearning on Facebook Although the winter garden gives the appearance of dormancy, the gardener’s tasks rarely diminish. Winter work in January and February is pivotal to the success of the spring and summer garden. By the time the checklist of chores is accomplished, the vernal equinox will have arrived. • Since soil is the foundation substrate of the garden, take a soil sample to the county extension office hgic.clemson.edu/factsheet/soil-testing/ • Dig deeper into the history of your home property soil from a soil scientist perspective at websoilsurvey.sc.egov.usda.gov/App/HomePage.html • Uncover the secrets of soil as Buz Kloot introduces basic principles of soil health www.youtube.com/watch? v=cGxr9N7FjkQ • Encourage soil microbe allies by composting, vermicomposting, and cover cropping. • Make a map of your garden for planning purposes. • Rake leaves … [Read more...] about Winter Work for the Gardener
Sowing the mustard seed
AUGUST IS THE perfect time to grow cool-season vegetables for harvest in fall and early winter. I’m not talking about winter-hardy vegetables, such as Brussels sprouts (the most delicious of all vegetables), broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and carrots, which all are overwintered for harvest in spring. Those plants need to be planted by early July in order to grow sufficient roots and obtain enough size before the winter rain and cold are upon us. Instead, I’m referring to leafy greens that resent the hot temperatures of summer, but thrive in the cooler temperatures of late summer and fall. Leaf lettuce and mesclun blends, for instance, germinate and grow best when air temperatures range between 60 and 70 degrees, and most are hardy enough to withstand light freezes. Sow seed in mid-August; harvest individual leaves as needed; and, if temperatures remain moderate, you’ll be able to enjoy fresh salad greens right out of the garden well into winter. Mustard greens, corn … [Read more...] about Sow these seeds now, and you could be eating fresh homegrown salads by October
Carol Stocker - Globe Correspondent June 14, 2018 7:56 pm What to do this week: Finish buying annual and vegetable starts, sowing seeds, and planting woodies and perennials (until fall rains return). Move houseplants outdoors for a summer vacation. Start them off in a shady outdoor spot. Your highest priority should be to kill invasive plants before they go to seed. Bad actors include a purple-flowered creeping ground ivy called anthriscus sylvestris, which looks like Queen Anne’s Lace, and garlic mustard with its four-petaled white flowers. Roots pull out easier in deeply damp soil. Apply mulch after weeding. I use old Globes covered with cosmetic bark mulch. Let bulb foliage turn yellow before you remove it, but pull out any “blind’’ tulip leaves and bulbs that failed to bloom, otherwise they will sprout each spring, engendering false hopes. Think of tulips as expensive annuals. Lightly sprinkle bulb fertilizer around the yellowing foliage of other … [Read more...] about Ask the Gardener: Tips for caring for Korean stewardia
Chez Melange owner Michael Franks and co-owner/chef Robert Bell have been thrilled with the success of their Redondo Beach bistro, but their real joy stems from a quaint garden at the former Valmonte Elementary School site.The duo started the Seed to Plate Garden program to build a self-sustaining work environment for special needs students. “I wanted children growing up to understand that food does not come just from the supermarket,” Bell says. “Where it begins is much more exciting. For young people to see vegetables growing, for them to taste something just off the vine, is a life-changing experience. That’s what I wanted them to have.”The program started in 2001 when Bell teamed up with Lynne Busia, former director of pupil services for the Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District, with a twofold goal: to provide occupational job skills to special needs students and fresh, pesticide-free produce to Chez Melange and the community.Special needs … [Read more...] about Chez Melange’s Seed to Plate Garden Program Aids Special Needs Youth
Carol Stocker - Globe Correspondent May 3, 2018 1:39 pm What to do this week: Put out garden decorations, furniture, and fountains. Weeds are easiest to spot and pull while they are in bloom, but before they set seed. Do not compost them. Keep a sharp eye out for the white four-petaled flowers of garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) poised horizontally atop a 1- to 2-foot stem. Visit the University of Massachusetts Amherst Extension website (ag.umass.edu/landscape) for photos of this and other weeds, so you can identify them before they take over. While you’re there, get soil-testing information. Urban soil often contains too much lead to grow vegetables safely. Q. Something is nipping my tulip buds. What is it? What can I do? G.T., Weston A. Rabbits, deer, woodchucks — oh, my! They love tulips as much as I do. I find it’s a lot less expensive and easier to buy them for floral arrangements than to guard them with weekly sprays of animal repellent. I do spray Deer … [Read more...] about Ask the Gardener: What is eating your tulips?