Please click here to read online if newsletter is not displayed below
Edition 12.34 Paul Parent Garden Club News August 23, 2012

Featured Quote:

"Nature does have manure and she does have roots as well as blossoms, and you can't hate the manure and blame the roots for not being blossoms."

~ Buckminster Fuller


Product Spotlight

The RESCUE!® W·H·Y® Trap

Catches 5 species of paper wasps; bald-faced hornets and European hornets; and 12 species of yellowjackets.

Unique features and benefits
  • Double-chambered design restricts insects from escaping
  • Durable construction holds up for multiple seasons
  • Attractant will not lure beneficial honeybees
  • Catches workers from summer through fall
  • Catches queens in spring before they build nests
  • First and only trap to capture paper wasps, bald-faced hornets and European hornets
  • Two-week attractant kit included
  • Attractant refills available
  • No extra food bait required

What kills the insects?:
Once inside the trap, the insects cannot fly out, and die either by drowning (top chamber) or dehydration (bottom chamber).

For more information, visit the Rescue website.


Perennial Hibiscus/Rose Mallow

If you are looking for a tall perennial plant for your garden that will bloom during late July to September, look no further than the rose mallow plant. These plants grow 3 to 8 feet tall and spread to 3 to 4 feet wide, much bigger than any perennial plant you may have in your garden. The leaves are also large--six to twelve inches wide--and come in the shape of a heart, also with deep lobes or even lanced, lacy-shaped foliage. The stems can grow to one to two inches thick and usually are able to support the flower the plant makes. If your garden is open to the wind, the stems should be staked just in case of heavy rains or winds.

The flower is enormous--6 to 12 inches in diameter--shaped like a funnel and can be as large as a dinner plate. The flower resembles the tropical hibiscus we grow in pots on our deck or patio that has to be brought into the house for the winter months. This plant is winter hardy from Maine to Georgia, will tolerate -20 to -30 degrees. The flowers will last for a couple of days each, but the plant produces an endless supply of buds lasting well into the fall.

The rose mallow will be the talk of your garden this summer--do not be surprised if someone stops in front of your house, rings the bell and asks you the name of this plant! Plant them in front of a stone wall, on the side of a garage, at the end of your swimming pool--or plant several plants in a row for a bit of privacy. Rose mallows love the sun and heat and the more they receive the taller they will grow. They also love a moist to wet soil to grow in; they will tolerate average to dry soils but will not grow as tall. If the weather gets hot and dry, you will have to water regularly to help plants grow tall and large.

The better the soil is, the larger the plant will grow, so use plenty of compost and animal manure when you plant new seedlings. If your soil is average, the plant will grow and flower but stay smaller. If you can fertilize every other week with Miracle-Gro during the summer the plants will explode with flowers all summer long. In the early spring, I feed them with Osmocote fertilizer to get them off to a quick start and this feeding really works well.

The large flower comes in shades of red, pink, white and there are several varieties with bi-colored flowers. There is also a new hybrid with red foliage and a red flower, making the plant quite striking. If these plants are too tall for your garden, ask for the dwarf 'Disco Belle' types, as they will stay 2 to 3 feet tall and wide.

If you work in an office with several people, bring a soup bowl to work with you and when you get there place a fresh cut blossom in the bowl of water and watch the faces of people near you. Cut the flower just as you leave for work and place in a bowl of water on the floor of your car so it will not dry up. The flower will last one day in the bowl of water and bring you many comments.

In the fall, the plant will die down to the ground, and I always cut the stems to 3 to 4 inches from the ground. In the spring, feed in April with Osmocote and be patient as this plant is ALWAYS late to wake up and start growing. Most years I say to myself, the plant died and I will have to replant but once it starts growing it will grow quickly. When the plant gets large, it will spread into a large clump that can be divided in the spring to make additional plants. Use a shovel and dig out a piece of the clump to make new plants--it's not easy but is well worth the effort.

Many nurseries have well-established plants at this time of the year that you can plant directly into your garden. This is a must-have plant for the beginner or seasoned gardener. Rose mallow will give you big plants, big flowers and big comments about your perennial garden. This is the time to plant some in your sunny garden and watch the butterflies and hummingbirds go crazy for the flowers. You will not be sorry you planted the rose mallow!

Click to print this article.


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!

Click to print this article.


webworms

In the last couple of weeks, I have begun to notice the arrival of fall webworm caterpillars on the large trees along the side of the road. Every year about this time they arrive and begin to feed on the foliage of our hardwood trees and some shrubs like lilacs--never evergreen trees, thank God. I'm sure you have seen them in the spring and fall and like most of us assumed they were the same type of caterpillar...but they're not. There is one major difference between the two types of caterpillars that means you can easily tell them apart--what season it is (just in case you have lost track of time and seasons).

In the spring, our trees have "tent caterpillars." They start their nest or tents in the crotches inside of the tree branches and eat as much foliage as they can on the tree. As they grow bigger and more numerous the nest grows in size, and it is possible that they can strip the entire tree in just a few weeks. They spend the night in the tent and also rainy days all clustered together to keep warm and dry. When the sun comes up, they move out of the nest and scatter all over the tree to feed individually and can possible kill the tree as the results of this leaf defoliation if it happens several years in a row. Mature adults also feed at night and they eat their body weight in foliage every day.

In the fall our trees have "fall webworms" and they make their nest or tents on the tip of the branches of the trees and eat the foliage inside the tent ONLY--clue number one. As the caterpillars grow larger the nest will also grow larger in size but the caterpillars never leave the nest--clue number 2. They feed on the foliage when the temperatures are warm, and at night during the fall and on rainy days, they cluster together to help keep warm. This caterpillar will only defoliate the leaves of the tree inside the nest and rarely can kill a tree, as the plant is getting ready to shed that foliage anyway at that time of the year. Damage area is very limited--clue number 3. If you look inside the silken tent, you will see pieces of partly eaten foliage and caterpillar droppings inside the tent itself. These are not found in the tent caterpillar nest because they leave the nest to eat and dispose of trash/ waste products--clue number 4. Now, one more thing...the fall webworm tent is stronger and most years it will stay on the tree branches all winter long without causing further damage.

The fall webworm can have one to four generations per year while the spring tent caterpillars have only one generation--a good thing. The fall webworm moth can lay 100 plus eggs while the tent caterpillar moth can lay from 100 to 350 eggs. That is why the spring caterpillar can cause so much more damage--because of the numbers of eggs they must leave the nest in search for food. The nest of the spring tent caterpillar will grow from 18 to 24 inches in size while the fall webworm can reach three feet wide and even longer in size. The spring tent caterpillar nest is delicate and is quickly destroyed by rain and wind during the summer months as the caterpillars leave the nest.

The fall webworm will grow from 1 to 1.25 inches long; they are hairy with distinct dark spots on their backs. They can be either be red or black in color and the red type has yellow hair on its body also, while the red type has reddish brown hair on his body. The spring tent caterpillar grows much larger in size--up to 2 inches long. It has a bluish head is slightly hairy and has powdery blue markings on its side.

When the caterpillars are done feeding, they prepare for the next cycle by making a pupa or cocoon where they prepare to become a moth and begin the egg laying cycle all over again--but each type is different. The fall webworm produces a dark brown lozenge-shaped pupa that is created in ground mulch, cracks, and crevasse of the plant, fences and even in the soil at the base of plants. The spring tent caterpillar are also dark brown in color but the pupa is covered with a silken cocoon that is attached to protected places on plants, fences--off the ground and not in the soil.

The adult fall webworm moth is just over 1/2 inch long and has an all-white body and wings, sometime small black dots on it. The body of the moth can grow up to 1/2 inch long, and they hold their wings swept back--almost looking like a plane. They are nocturnal also. Now, the spring tent caterpillar is brown to reddish brown in color and larger in size about 3/4 inches long. The wings of the moth have paler wavy lines on them. Like the fall webworm hold their wings swept back like a small plane and are active at night only.

Now here is some good news about both these caterpillars. Both types of caterpillars have natural enemies, and that does help to keep their population down. Birds, insect predators, spiders, parasite wasps, natural virus caused by high humidity and rainy seasons help to control their populations. You can help to control the damage by destroying their nest or tent so they have no shelter to gather in for protection during wet weather and cool nights. Don't cut the branch from the tree or you will destroy the shape of the plant and end up doing more damage than the caterpillars can do. Use your hose with a hard burst of water or a long pole to break it apart.

Natural insecticides are very effective when used early on the tent and the foliage on the tree--when insects are still small. B.T. Bacillus thuringiensis insecticide is a natural disease of caterpillars and works very well if applied when small. Newer products called Spinosad (made by Ferti-lome) or Captain Jack (made by Bonide) are also natural but more potent; they will kill caterpillars that are up to 2 to 3 inches long. Spray the product on the tent and foliage for the best results. If on fruit trees your fruit tree spray should control this pest but 2 to 3 applications may be needed for the spring tent caterpillar and 2 applications for the fall webworm. All Season Oil spray is also very effective if you hit the insect directly. Non-natural products like Garden Eight, Sevin, Malathion, Rose and flower sprays and some systemic insecticides do a good job also.

The one good thing about the damage done during the fall season is that the plant does not need to use its stored energy to replace the eaten foliage because the plant is going dormant for the season in just a few weeks. Spring caterpillars cause the tree to use up its stored energy and replace the missing foliage eaten by the caterpillars and this can damage the tree and cause flowering trees like the flowering crabapples to flower less the following year; fruiting trees will also produce less fruit because of fewer flowers on the plant.

So if you see a silk tent on your tree or shrubs this week get out your hose, long sticks and let's break up their protective covering. If all else fails to work, get out the insecticides but DON'T cut off the branch!!

Click to print this article.



Alaska trip
Paul Parent will be hosting a tour that includes:
  • Vancouver, BC
  • Butchart Gardens--55 acres of floral display!
  • Cruising the Inside Passage:
  • Ketchikan
  • Icy Strait Point
  • Juneau
  • Skagway
  • Hubbard Glacier Cruising
  • Seward
  • Scenic Drive to Anchorage
  • Denali National Park
  • Fairbanks City Tour, a tour of the Gold Dredge # 8 and a cruise down the Chena river on the Riverboat Discovery Sternwheeler.

Click here for more information.



trivia

This Week's Question
What was the first vegetable grown in space?



Plant THRIVE

This Week's Prize:
Liquid Plant THRIVE

Soil Conditioner & Mycorrhizal Root Stimulator--perfect for seedlings and growing plants of all types.

The hottest gardening product for 2012! From existing plants to seedlings--THRIVE helps plants get off on the right "root." The beginning is often the most important part of your plants' lives. Maintaining soil quality for them to grow is imperative. Liquid Plant THRIVE contains a concentrated dose of the microbes already found in nature that will ensure a strong root system, require less watering and help you do your part for the environment.

For more information, see the THRIVE website.


Last Week's Question:

Various succulent plants can store water in various places. Which is not one of those places?

  1. flowers
  2. leaves
  3. roots
  4. stems
  5. trunk

Last Week's Winner:
Frank R DeForge

Last Week's Answer:
A. Flowers

Last Week's Prize:
Liquid Plant THRIVE

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!


Garden Journal

Are you looking for a great gift for a gardener (or yourself)? This garden journal helps make planning and organizing easy. This journal, autographed personally by Paul, makes a perfect gift for gardeners. The cover holds a 5x7 or 4x6 photo and a heavy-duty D-ring binder.

Also included:

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

Click here to order online.


Cucumber, Tomato & Zucchini Salad

What You'll Need:

Salad:
  • 2 lg. cucumber, diced
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1/2 lg. red onion, cut into quarters & very thinly sliced
  • 3 lg. tomatoes, diced
  • 1 green or red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 (3.8 oz.) cans sliced black olives
  • 2 tablespoons (or more) chopped, fresh basil
  • 2 teaspoons (or more) fresh thyme leaves
Dressing:
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon Mediterranean sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper (white or black)
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Directions:

  • In a large salad bowl, combine the cucumbers, zucchini, red onion, tomatoes, bell pepper, olives, basil and thyme - mix well.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, sugar, pepper and olive oil.
  • Sample the dressing and adjust seasonings as desired.
  • Pour the dressing over the salad (add a little at a time, mixing in between, to avoid using too much dressing--you will probably have a little more dressing than you need).
  • Cover and place in refrigerator and let marinate (stirring a couple of times) for at least 4 hours.
Serves 6

print


Contact Information:

E-Mail:
Click to contact us.

Telephone:
(207) 985-6972
(800) 259-9231 (Sunday 6 AM to 10 AM)

Fax:
(207) 985-6972

Address:
Paul Parent Garden Club
2 Blueberry Pines Dr
Kennebunk, ME 04043

Regular Phone Hours:
Mon.-Sat. 8 AM to 6 PM
Sunday: 10 AM to 6 PM


Tell your friends about Paul! Send them a copy of Paul's latest newsletter.

(Note: this will not subscribe them to the newsletter, nor retain their email - it will just send them a copy from you.)

Your e-mail
Your name
Their e-mail
Their name


Where can I find Paul on Sunday mornings?

Click here to find Paul Parent Garden Club™ radio stations.


Have a Look
Around Our Website:



print thisclick here for a printer friendly version of this page