"When gardeners garden, it is not just plants that grow, but the gardeners themselves."
— Ken Druse
Come see Paul's Garden!
Join us for the 16th annual "Private Gardens of the Kennebunks" Garden Tour, July 17, 2010 from 10:00 - 4:00. SHINE OR RAIN. All proceeds benefit the prevention programs of the Child Abuse Prevention Council of York County, Maine. Tour nine lovely gardens throughout Kennebunk and Kennebunkport. Advance tickets are $15.00 before July 1st; $20.00 July 1st through day of the event. Please call (207) 985-5975 or visit http://www.kidsfreetogrow.org for more information!
Captain Jack's Deadbug Brew
Captain Jack's Deadbug Brew contains Spinosad (spin-OH-sid), a naturally
occurring soil dwelling bacterium that was collected on a Caribbean island from
an abandoned rum distillery in 1982. This unique bacterium was defined as a new
species when it was discovered and it has never been found in nature anywhere
else in the world.
Since being discovered, Spinosad has become a leading pesticide
used in the production of organic produce by the agricultural world. Today, thanks
to Captain Jack's Deadbug Brew, Spinosad is available to the homeowner.
Deadbug Brew kills bagworms, borers, beetles,
caterpillars, codling moth, gypsy moth, loopers, leaf miners, spider mites, tent
caterpillars, thrips and more!
Summer is here and so are Mother Nature's best flowers for your garden. One
of my favorite flowers is the snapdragon because of its hardiness in the garden,
along with the amount of time the plant stays in bloom. Snapdragons love the
cool weather and are planted earlier than most annual flowers in the garden for
early flowers during the summer that will continue to bloom well into the fall.
I plant snapdragons early in the spring, about the same time as the cold weather
crops such as cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli. Most other summer annuals will
not tolerate the cold soil and air temperatures but snapdragons love it, so plant
them early when time in the garden is less demanding. Also in the fall when most
annual flowers are falling apart with the shorter days and cooler temperatures,
the snapdragons come alive after the heat of summer with more flowers, and the
plant will tolerate some frost.
Snapdragons have glossy dark green to chocolate colored foliage in the shape
of an elongated oval coming to a point. The leaves grow in a whirl around the
stems from the ground right up to the flower spikes. The individual flowers grow
on a tall stem or spike in a whirl so individual flowers are visible all around
the spike. The flowers resemble the head of an animal, and if you pull down the bottom half to view the inside of the flower it will snap back to its original
position in a snap. The flower is tubular in shape almost like an open-throat
and hummingbirds love it as well as butterflies.
Plant them in a garden that receives full sun most of the day--and the more
organic matter in the soil the better. Slightly acid soil that is well drained
and fertile is best. Snapdragons love fertilizer so be sure to feed them often
with a liquid fertilizer such as Miracle Grow or the new Plant Thrive for more
flowers. If you are growing the taller growing varieties, extra fertilizer will
help produce stronger and thicker stems to support all the flowers.
Tall-growing varieties will grow best when grown out of the wind and near a fence or building for protection; you may have to stake them in a more open garden.
For the first 4 to 6 weeks water the plants by hand to keep moisture off the plant when possible, as fungus disease can cause the plant to wilt and die.
Avoid overhead watering young plants from sprinklers, but once the plant develops and matures, overhead watering is O.K.
When you plant seedlings, it is best to pinch every shoot on the plant back
on the tip to promote the plant to bush out and produce multiple stems rather
than a quick single tall stem with flowers. This pinch will delay the bloom by
2 to 3 weeks but the plant will develop multiple flower spikes and much more
color in your garden. The flower spike with its many individual flowers will open from the bottom first, making them look better as the flower matures. You can remove the faded flowers to keep the flower spike clean looking. Snapdragons
make a wonderful cut flower and will last for a long time on your kitchen table.
Snapdragons come in all heights from the 'Floral Carpet' variety that is 6
to 8 inches tall to the 'Rocket' variety (my favorite) that can reach up to three
feet tall. Some varieties have flowers that are more open and tubular looking,
some are single or double flowering but all will cause excitement in your garden.
No Insect problems and few disease problems make them easy to grow and trouble-free.
Snapdragons come in every color in the rainbow and many multi-colored flowers
are available, so plant some and enjoy.
During the summer, we spend a lot of time outside enjoying our yard and gardens
around our homes. Make your enjoyment more colorful with a family of plants knows
as the Spireas. Summer-flowering spireas will flower all summer and well into
the fall, if you remember one thing: "deadhead" the flowers when the
flowers fade! When you remove the faded flower, new flowers will develop and cover the plant again in just three weeks. It is possible to have three blooming periods--almost continuous blooms on the plant--if you keep the faded flowers off the plant.
The flowers are clusters of small individual blooms that can grow 2 to 6 inches
wide on strong short or long stems, depending on the variety you choose. When
removing the faded flowers from the plant it is best if you remove one to three
inches of the stem with the flower. Side shoots will quickly develop from those
cut stems and the flowers will form in just a couple of weeks. The flower clusters
will last for 3 weeks or more on the plant. This pruning also keeps the plant
more compact and encourages more foliage on the plant. In the early spring, before
it starts to grow prune it back by as much as 1/3 to keep the plants under control
so it does not outgrow its space in your flower or garden bed.
Spirea will grow best in full sun all day but will also tolerate a bit of
shade late in the day. Spirea will look beautiful in foundation plantings around
your home, in perennial flower borders and wonderful in groups or in mass plantings.
Some of the low growing varieties are also be used as ground covers on embankments.
Plant in a garden and condition the soil with organic matter such as compost
or animal manure. A loose, well-drained soil is best. The plant will not tolerate
a heavy clay soil that stays wet for long periods. If the summer should be hot
and dry, watering the plants regularly will help to keep them flowering. As with
many plants, heat and dry weather can put them into dormancy for a short period
of time, so water them as needed. To help the plants get off to a good start,
add Bio-Tone fertilizer or the new Plant Thrive food with mycorrhizae to stimulate
the roots and produce more flowers.
Spirea varieties will differ in height and will grow as short as 6 to 12 inches
tall and as high as varieties growing 4 to 6 feet tall. Most varieties will spread
from 4 to 6 feet wide but both height and width can be controlled with annual
pruning in the spring. Fall pruning is not recommended, as harsh winter weather
can cause plant dieback. Spirea can grow in climates with winter weather that
gets down to 30 below zero without hurting the flower buds. No special protection
is needed like with some other summer flowering plants.
The foliage is oval, 1 to 4 inches long and narrow, with smooth or tiny teeth
on the margins of the leaf. The leaf color is traditionally green, kelly green
to dark green, and some of the new varieties are gold to yellow. If the weather
is cool, the color will be more intense. Some of the varieties have new growth
that begins as russet-orange to bronze red before turning green. In the fall,
the foliage turns red to copper in color, making the plant stand out in your
garden. Insects and disease are not a problem with this plant--another reason
to plant spirea in your gardens. I like to fertilize in the spring to help get
the plant off to a good start and make a lot of foliage. The flowers begin to
develop in early June. Remember if you keep the faded flower off the plant; the
flowers keep coming all summer long ,well into the fall. Fertilize with Plant-Tone
fertilizer or Converted Organics shrub and flower food for slow continuous feed
all spring and summer long.
Weeds are quick to develop when the soil warms up, so try to keep up with the newly developing weeds in the garden.
Crabgrass, carpetweed and chickweed
are the big three to prevent from developing in the garden. Hand pulling the
weeds is a great form of relaxing after a long day in the office or traveling
on the road. A cold drink, a bit of music and before long the garden is all weeded.
When the garden is weeded apply a product called "Start and Grow" from
Fertiloam Lawn and Garden and your plants will be fertilized and the product
will also control both grass and broad leaf weeds in your garden for up to 4
months. For more information and dealer near you go to www.fertiloam.com.
In the lawn, the crabgrass is now growing faster than the good grass and it
is more visible to you. Look for pale green grass in the lawn that has formed
in thin areas or along the edge of walkways or the driveway. Now is the best
time to kill the crabgrass plant so the good grass can fill in the holes in the
lawn. Bayer Lawn and Garden has a new product call "Lawn Weed and Crabgrass
Killer," in a liquid form that comes with a built in sprayer for easily
application. Just screw to your hose, turn on the water and spray, no mixing
needed. It works best on a sunny day with warm temperatures. Go to www.bayeradvanced.com for
more information on lawn and garden weed control products.
If you have noticed holes in the leaves of the lilies in your garden, you have also noticed a small red beetle on them eating away.
The red beetle will also lay rows of yellow eggs on the underside of the leaf. These eggs are the next generation of Asiatic Lily Beetles and when they develop, they become more destructive. Look for clusters of brown waste slime like material on the leaf.
This is the insect, covered with waste to protect it from predators.
Like the red beetle, it will eat foliage but when it matures, it will eat into the stem of the lily, dig down the stem of the plant to the bulb in the ground and destroy it.
Treat NOW with Tree and Shrub insecticide at the rate of one ounce per gallon of water.
One gallon of product will treat 10 to 15 lilies when you apply to the soil as a drench and wet the foliage.
One application will last all season long.
Mosquitoes are everywhere now and a real problem when trying to enjoy the
outside on the patio or deck. Mosquitoes live in tall grass, wooded areas, shrubs
and plants planted around the house and in areas sheltered from the wind. A new
Organic product from "Eco-Smart" will control the problem. This Natural
Mosquito killer called "Mosquito and Tick Killer" was tested and researched
in the Maine woods with the help of the State of Maine Disease Control board.
The product is made with natural oils and no chemicals and it works. Go to www.ecosmart.com for
more information on safe mosquito control.
Japanese Beetles are beginning to arrive in your garden--I have seen them
here in Maine this week. Japanese Beetles will eat several times their weight
in foliage each day and quickly destroy your garden. Look for Eight Garden Insecticide
at your local garden center made from Bonide Lawn and Garden. Eight is safe to
use in all gardens, vegetables to flowers alike and will not hurt the beneficial
insects like bees. Stay away from an insecticide called Seven, because it will
hurt bees. Seven, once the best product for Japanese Beetles, was replaced with
Eight several years ago because it lasts longer on the plant, and will not hurt
beneficial insects on your plants. Seven lasts seven days, while Eight will last
for 3 weeks on the plant. I prefer the liquid Eight to the powder, as the plant
stays clean of dust, and the liquid is much cheaper to use and easier to apply.
Go to www.Bonide.com for more information
and a great insect identification web site.
Keep a close eye on your cold weather vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage and kale for holes in the leaves.
The caterpillar-type insects called Cabbage Loopers will get very active now that the days are getting warm.
The caterpillars can be difficult to find because they are able
to change their body color to match the foliage of the plant they are feeding
on. The holes in the leaf resemble the damage done by slugs but it is the Cabbage
Looper. The best way to control them is with Spinosad, a natural insect control.
Spinosad is a disease of caterpillars and other insects found in your garden.
It was found in the Caribbean a couple years ago and the best natural product
to kill caterpillars and worm-like insects in your garden. You can spray and
eat the same day. Look for Spinosad Garden Spray or Captain Jack's Deadbug Brew.
Check your Canadian hemlock for the possibility of small clusters of white
cotton-like growth on the underside of the needles near the tips of the branches.
This insect, the Wooly Adelgid, is an insect that can kill your hemlocks in
just 2 to 3 years. The insect sucks the energy from your plants like mosquitoes
feed on your blood but it happens 24 hours a day. The best product to use is
Tree and Shrub Systemic Drench. No spraying needed; just mix in a watering can
and pour around the plant to be treated. The product will move up as high as
75 feet high in a tree and last for one year in the plant, unaffected by rain
or weather. One application is all that is needed and it works fast, but examine
your trees now and apply the product only if you have the problem!
Along with the heat and humidity, disease problems will also arrive to your
garden in the form of Powdery Mildew and Black Spot on the foliage! Perennial
tall phlox, lilacs, roses and most of your vine vegetables can get both. Treat
the foliage NOW, before the problems starts. If you had problems in the past,
prepare the plants before the problem has a chance to get started in your garden.
Serenade all Natural and Organic Fungicide was developed for the Tomato Industry
and works well on most of our garden plants. Stop the disease problems before
they start and treat your plants now. For more information on Serenade, go to www.serenadegarden.com.
Tomatoes are pollinated by the wind, not insects. If you can gently shake
your plants each morning the pollen will fall from the top of the flower and
insure that you will have early and more tomatoes this year. If the daytime temperatures
exceed 90 degrees, the pollen will die and fruit will not set. That is why you
sometimes have fruit clusters with few or no tomatoes. So shake those flowers
now while the air temperature is cooler, and when the heat arrives, the tomatoes
will grow and mature. Feed tomatoes every 2 weeks with Miracle-Grow, Liquid Feed
fertilizer or Fertiloam Blooming and Rooting (a 9-59-8 plant food), and for a
stronger plant apply plant Thrive fertilizer with mycorrhizae a couple times
a year. I use mycorrhizae and the plants are so strong I have to use a shovel
to dig them out of the garden. Go to www.usethrive.com for
more information on mycorrhizae microbes.
This Week's Question:
Appleseed is an American legend, but unlike John Henry and Paul Bunyon, he was
a real man. What was his actual name?
This Week's Prize:
Espoma Organic Potting Mix
- Contains Myco-toneŽ mycorrhizae
- For all indoor and outdoor containers.
- In 4, 8, 16 qt., 1 and 2 cu. ft. bags.
Last Week's Question:
Why did British sailors earn the nickname "Limeys"?
Last Week's Prize:
Espoma Organic Potting Mix
Last Week's Winner:
Last Week's Answer:
The British sailors were dubbed "Limeys" because they ate limes at sea to help prevent scurvy, a deadly disease.
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!
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 4 cups romaine lettuce, cut into 1 inch ribbons
- 1 cup carrots, shredded
- 1 cup cucumbers, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 cup tomatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 (15 ounce can) white beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled
- 20 kalamata olives, pitted
- 1 cup herbed croutons
Step by Step:
- Whisk together vinegar, oil, oregano, and pepper in a large bowl.
- Add lettuce, carrots, cucumber, tomato, beans, and feta; toss.
- Either divide into 4 small bowls or keep in one large one.
- Top with olives and croutons.