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Edition 10.09 Paul Parent Garden Club News March 4, 2010
featured quote

FEATURED QUOTE :

"He who plants a tree loves others besides himself."
~ Thomas Fuller


Product Spotlight

EcoSMART Technologies

Pest control

EcoSMART Technologies, the world leader in safe pesticide solutions, is a venture-backed company with patented technology and a world-class management team. Their mission is to create the world's safest, most effective pesticides based on natural ingredients. They have 15 years of scientific research and a wealth of patents behind them. They make the only 100% safe insecticide that is proven to work, as well as offering the only complete line of EPA exempt pesticides sold in the US.

Essential Oils - Nature's Way
EcoSMART was the first company to apply modern science to essential plant oils--creating the first 100% safe pesticides. Their products are based on the natural defenses that plants and trees have used for their self protection against insects and pathogens for millenia-essential oils.

EcoSMART is based on solid science
University research has shown that these oils attack octopamine neuro-receptors. Octopamine is a key insect neurotransmitter that regulates insect movement, behavior and metabolism. The blockage of the receptor activity prevents the transmission of the octopamine signals, thus delivering quick quick knock down, kill and repellency against a wide variety of household pests such as cockroaches, ants, dust mites, flies, wasps, spiders, crickets, and fleas. Their blends of natural plant oils are every bit as effective as synthetic chemicals, killing bugs fast without any toxins or harmful residues.

Safe around children, pets, and the environment
Since EcoSMART's proprietary botanical oil blends attack attributes that are specific only to pests, they have no effect on people, pets or the environment. The primary active ingredients in EcoSMART products are approved as Direct Food Additives or classified as GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. These oils are commonly used to add flavor and aroma to many cosmetic, beverage and food products, including cake, candy, sweetener, gum, soft drinks, and lipstick. Children and pets are safe. No need to clear them out after application or be concerned if they are near the products. In addition, EcoSMART products have no adverse effect on mammals, birds, and fish and also will not contaminate water sources.

For more details, visit the website.


Vegetable Planting Calendar
Vegetable Planting Calendar
Crop How to plant Days to Harvest

Space
between plants

Date to set outside
Beansseed50 to 60 2 to 4" Mid May to Sept.
Beetsseed50 to 602 to 3"Mid to late May
BroccoliPlants 50 to 6018"Mid to late April
Brussels
Sprouts
Plants80 to 10024"Mid to late April
CabbagePlants60 to 7024"Mid to late April
CantaloupesSeed70 to 8024 to 36"Mid to late May
CarrotsSeed65 to 901 to 3"Mid to late May
CauliflowerPlants55 to 6524"Mid to late April
CeleryPlants75 to 8512"Mid to late April
CollardsSeed70 to 8010"Mid to late May
CornSeed60 to 8012 to 18"Mid to late May
CucumbersSeed50 to 6024 to 36"Mid to late May
EggplantPlants75 to 9024"Mid to late May
LettuceSeed40 to 506 to 8"Mid to late April
OnionsPlants100 to 1204 to 6"Mid to late April
PeasSeeds60 to 903 to 4"Mid to late April
PeppersPlants80 to10024"Mid to late May
PotatoesTubers85 to 10036"Mid to late May
PumpkinsSeed90 to 12036"Mid to late May
RadishesSeed20 to 301 to 2"Mid to late April
SpinachSeed40 to 503 to 4"Mid to late April
Squash,
Winter
Seed80 to 1236"Mid to late May
Squash,
Summer
Seed40 to 5536"Mid to late May
Swiss ChardSeed55 to 604 to 6"Mid to late April
TomatoesPlants90 to 12036"Mid to late May
TurnipSeeds60 to 804 to 6"Mid to late May
WatermelonSeeds85 to 10036"Mid to late May
A general rule--if you want to start plants from seed and transplant to garden, start 30 to 45 days before you are to set them out. Vine crops are the exception--only 14 days ahead of time is required. The onion family will need 45 to 60 days before planting outside. Have Fun!!

Article

To me the Canadian hemlock is the most beautiful evergreen tree that grows wild or under cultivation in all of New England. This is a "grand" native plant with soft evergreen needles on arching branches. The needle is 1/2 to 3/4 inch long and flat with a rounded tip, making it soft to touch. The top of the needle is dark green with a glossy finish. The bottom side of the needle has two silvery stripes running from end to end. When the wind blows, the underside of the needle becomes visible and makes the plant almost shimmer as it sways with the wind.

The Canadian hemlock grows in a rounded pyramidal shape. The new growth gives the tree a soft and almost feathery look. The plant is always thick and will hold inner foliage for many years, making it a wonderful privacy plant or noise barrier plant. The hemlock will also keep needles on the lower branches, right to the ground, unlike many evergreen trees as they mature and grow tall. When allowed to grow naturally and not pruned, the hemlock will grow to 70 feet tall and 25 to 35 feet wide.

Canadian hemlock looks great on your lawn as a single plant or in groups with underplantings of large leaf evergreens such as holly, rhododendron and azaleas. When planted on 10-foot centers, these plants will quickly grow together, creating a wonderful hedge. Prune the front and back of the hedge to control the width of the plant but not the sides. This will help fill in the space between plants faster. Once they fill in, prune both the front and back. The height is up to you--from 6 feet to the clouds. To control height, prune during March or April before the new growth starts. This way the new growth will fill in any spaces you open up during pruning, and the new growth that develops will keep the plant soft-looking, even though you have cut the plant like a wall.

Hemlocks will grow in sun or shade but must have a soil rich in organic matter--like compost or peat moss--that is able to hold moisture. When planting in clay type soils, add organic matter to improve the drainage, and the plant will do well. Sandy soils, like those on Cape Cod, must be conditioned with organic matter and watered regularly to have a nice plant. Hemlocks prefer a soil that is acid so do not add limestone near the plants!

The Canadian hemlock will make a small brown cone 1/2 to 3/4 inches long on new growth, dangling down from the tips of the branches with the point at the bottom. When there are many cones noticeable on the plant, they look like Christmas ornaments decorating the tree. Birds of all types love this tree, as it makes a great nesting plant. During the winter, the birds that stay around can hide in the thick foliage and stay out of the fury of the storm. Planted in an area where you feed the birds, the hemlock is perfect as birds can check out the feeding area for the neighbor's cat before they fly to the feeder.

When planting hemlocks, use plenty of peat moss or compost and water two time a week. Use a plant root stimulator like New Plant Thrive or Bio-Tone that contains mycorrhizia. This will increase root development much faster. Hemlock has one problem in Southern New England and south. A little insect called "wooly adelgid," that looks like small pieces of cotton, develops on the underside of the needles. Thanks to Bayer Lawn and Garden research, a product called "Tree and Shrub" applied to the base of the tree yearly will keep the tree insect free. It works systemically; just pour on the ground at the base of the tree and it will move right up to the top of the tree without spraying. Best of all, you can do it yourself--saving money. One application will last one year. Feed young plants yearly with Holly-Tone or Acid Adoring fertilizer. As you travel into Northern New England, you will see the Canadian hemlock growing with pines, spruces, maples and oaks in perfect harmony. The cold winters keep the wooly adelgid away in Northern growing areas, or the forest would have some real problems with this insect. This is a GREAT plant for your property.


Article

When I first discovered ground covers in my studies of Horticulture at the University of Massachusetts we started with the most common types pachysandra and English ivy. Both are beautiful when planted correctly, in the right location and cared for properly. I love pachysandra, but if it gets too much sunshine it will stay pale green and take time to fill in your planting bed. English ivy makes a wonderful ground cover but if you get a winter with little snow cover and the weather is cold, sunny and windy there can be much foliage burn when spring arrives. If you live in northern New England, switch over to the new hybrids ivies such as 'Baltic' or 'Thorndale.' These new varieties will do much better in a cold climate.

My favorite ground cover is Euonymus fortunei, coloratus and let me tell you why! This plant is evergreen and the foliage is deep green and glossy. The leaves are 1 to 2 inches long and during the summer you will notice that the leaves have lighter colored veins visible on the surface. During the fall and winter the foliage turns plum-red like its brother the "Burning Bush". Unlike the Burning Bush, it retains all its leaves during the cold winter and when spring arrives, it will tell you. The Euonymus coloratus will change back to dark green leaves as the weather warms up and you can see the change in color.

When spring arrives new growth will begin to appear on the tips of every branch and that growth is medium green when young and very noticeable. Some years the plant will have red, dark green and the new medium-green leaves on the plant at the same time. Once the growth is finished, a surprise appears on the plant in the form of greenish white flowers during June and July. With a little luck, a small pink-red fruit appears and in late summer, orange seeds will form. Birds and small animals like chipmunks will eat the seed and pods.

This plant will make six inches or more of new growth every year. If you can provide a garden soil that has lots of compost or organic matter worked into it, you will find that the plants will fill in quicker. When the euonymus is planted as a ground cover and large trees are in the bed the euonymus will climb up the large tree trunks a few feet. This will NOT hurt the tree! It makes the tree trunks more beautiful I think, especially during the winter.

It will grow 9 to 12 inches tall as a ground cover and, if allowed, will spread indefinitely. If you have a yard with ledge and visible rock, cover the rock with six inches of amended soil that has 50% compost in it. Then, plant the euonymus and the ledge will quickly disappear with a covering of dark green foliage. This plant will grow in a full sun to shade location and once established in the ground will tolerate drought conditions. When the leaves begin to lose the glossy look it will be time to water the plants. Feed spring and fall with Holly-Tone or Acid Adoring fertilizer.

When planting, add to each planting hole a new liquid mycorrhizea product called "Plant Thrive" it will get the plants off to a great start and they will require less watering. Best of all, when planting space your plants 12 inches apart in staggered rows. This means that you will need half the amount of plants to cover the same area as English ivy or pachysandra will. A big saving cost to you! Enjoy!


Article

The hydrangea plant is the most talked about plant on the radio. Today, let us talk about the white-flowering variety called 'Annabelle'--my favorite variety. If you live in the Northeast and along the southern coast, you are in love with the blue and pink varieties. If your climate is colder like my house in Maine, the colored varieties do not do as well but the white flowering types do "VERY WELL" with the cold.

'Annabelle' hydrangea flowers every year, no matter what the weather is and how cold it gets. This variety will grow all over new England from Connecticut to northern Maine, even as far north as Presque Isle Maine or St. Johnsbury Vermont. The white hydrangea is no wimp like the colored varieties--it will grow anywhere. When you pick up this hydrangea, be sure to ask for the double-flowering variety as the flower in the shape of a ball will be much larger and more showy.

Plant the hydrangea in a location with moist soils and good fertility. I always add compost to the hole when planting to help motivate root development. To help the rooting process, add the new Plant Thrive Fertilizer with Mycorrhizae when planting. Water two times a week for the first year and prepare yourself for the show of color. The hydrangea 'Annabelle' will grow in a mound 3 to 4 feet tall and just as wide. If you keep the plant well fed, the mound will stay tight and stems upright. If neglected the plant will open up and the weaker stems will fall over with the weight of the flower. The foliage is 6 to 8 inches long and the leaf is broad oval in shape.

The flower ball is 4 to 12 inches wide and symmetrical. Each of the individual flowers of this ball will have five petals and about 1 inch wide. When they first form on the tip of the branches in June, they will be green but color up quickly as the flower develops. The same thing happens to the flower as it finishes flowering: the flowers fade from white to pale green on the plant and then dry up. The blooming time is long--June to August--and you can cut them as a cut flower in a vase of water for the kitchen table. When the bloom is at peak for about four weeks, there is no match.

Your soils should be on the acid side and if you can mulch around the plant during the summer, the flowers will look much better and not brown up during drought seasons. In the fall remove the dead flowers to prevent heavy snow buildup on the flower from breaking the branches. The hydrangea 'Annabelle' should be pruned in the spring. If you prune the plant hard 12 to 18 inches from the ground, you will have fewer flowers but the flowers will be larger and the stems will be stronger, so the plant will bend over less. When pruning just a little to control the size of the plant you will have many more flowers but they will be much smaller. Unlike the colored hydrangea, no matter how you prune the plant will still flower.

The white flowering 'Annabelle' hydrangea will look best in groups, in a border planting, and when combined with other summer flowering shrubs. Such shrubs as spirea, rose of Sharon, potentilla and vitex. Hydrangeas will also make a nice background plant for an annual garden or perennial flowerbed.

Remember the 'Annabelle' hydrangea will also flower in the shade but the flowers will not be as white. Fertilize in the spring with Plant-Tone or Milorganite fertilizer. A must for your summer garden!


triva

This Week's Question:
What are the only 2 vegetables that can reproduce on their own for several growing seasons, without being replanted every year?

This Week's Prize:
One bottle of Vacation.

Last Week's Question:
Now that seed-starting time is coming up, what does "planting by the moon" mean?

Last Week's Prize:
One bottle of Vacation.

Last Week's Winner:
Elaine Stevens

Last Week's Answer:
Planting by the moon means considering the phase of the moon when deciding the optimal time to plant. The gravitational pull of the moon supposedly helps pull water upward in the soil and this brings more moisture to newly planted seeds! Gardeners who use this theory also plant above-ground plants during the waxing/rising moon for the increasing light. They plant root crops during the waning/declining moon when light is decreasing.

One winner per question - we choose winners from the list of those who answer correctly. Winners must be newsletter subscribers. We'll ship you your prize, so be sure to put your address in the form in case you win!


Terrific Turkey Chili

Pancit is a traditional noodle dish from the Philippines that is not only healthful, but tasty too!

What You'll Need:

  • 1 (12 ounce) package dried rice noodles
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups diced cooked chicken breast meat
  • 1 small head cabbage, thinly sliced
  • 4 carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 lemons--cut into wedges, for garnish

Step by Step:

  • Place the rice noodles in a large bowl, and cover with warm water. When soft, drain, and set aside.
  • Heat oil in a wok or large skillet over medium heat.
  • Saute onion and garlic until soft.
  • Stir in chicken, cabbage, carrots and soy sauce.
  • Cook until cabbage begins to soften. Toss in noodles, and cook until heated through, stirring constantly.
  • Transfer pancit to a serving dish and garnish with quartered lemons.
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Paul Parent Garden Club
2 Blueberry Pines Dr
Kennebunk, ME 04043

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