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Edition 12.38 Paul Parent Garden Club News September 20, 2012
Featured Quote

Featured Quote:

"A man should never plant a garden larger than his wife can take care of."
~T. H. Everett

Product Spotlight

Rescue Reusable Stink Bug Trap (indoor use)

What it catches:
Multiple species of pest stink bugs.

How it works:
Used indoors from fall through spring, the RESCUE!® Stink Bug Trap lures these smelly, aggressive little pests with a special blue LED attachment that plugs into a wall outlet or battery pack. The stink bugs crawl or fly to the trap, walk up the green ‘fins’ and through the cone, and get trapped inside the clear chamber where they dehydrate.

Unique features and benefits:
• Works with Stink Bug Light to trap insects indoors.
• Non-toxic mode of action.
• Works on its own without rebaiting.
• No odor, no mess.
• Insects dehydrate for easy disposal.

For more information, visit the Rescue website.

Fall Lawn Care

Now is the best time to plant a new lawn from seed or help thicken an existing lawn that has thinned-out over the summer. The days of roto-tilling are over and so is the hard work of putting in a new lawn or adding seed to a thin lawn. Today all you need is a machine called a "Seed Slicer," and you can rent one at any power equipment rental agency for very little money. This is all you have to do this fall to create the perfect lawn or a lawn that is much better than what you have now.

Just follow these easy steps to a better lawn. Begin by cutting the grass as short as possible; there is no need to rake the clippings unless the grass is as tall as a hay field. Rent a Seed Slicer and be sure to reserve it ahead of time, as this time of the year it is rented a lot. Your Seed Slicer will slice many grooves into the soil as it pulls you across the lawn and drops the grass seed into these grooves at the same time. This machine does all the work and all you have to do is guide it straight so the seed is applied evenly. You should be able to apply the seed to a lawn about 10,000 square feet in less than one hour, so consider renting this machine with a neighbor and splitting the cost of the rental.

Use a good seed and be sure that it is a PERENNIAL blend, as a blend with annual seed will die with the first frost. Get good quality seed like Jonathan Green 'Black Beauty,' Scotts Premium Seed or Wildflower Farm 'Eco-lawn' grass seed. If you are just thickening an existing lawn, run the Seed Slicer up and down the lawn once. If you are building a new lawn, run the Seed Slicer north to south and then east to west for double the seed, which will produce a wonderful lawn. The cost of the seed is minor, compared to your time if you have to do this again, so use plenty of seed the first time.

Once the seed is applied to the ground, use a good fertilizer for newly seeded lawns or seed starter fertilizer; it will make the grass germinate faster and build a better root system. If moss is a problem you can also add limestone or Jonathan Green Mag-I-Cal to help sweeten the soil and slow down the moss development in your lawn. If your soil is heavy with clay, apply liquid Garden Gypsum, made by Soil Logic, to break apart the clay in your soil for better drainage.

Now all you have to do is WATER--and water often. You will need to water the seed every day, unless it rains, until the ground freezes. Some varieties of seed will germinate quickly to keep you interested with this project and then the stronger grass will develop, so keep the water on the area. Some grass seed will germinate in just two weeks but some might take as long as four weeks, so be patient and stay positive for a better lawn. NO WEED KILLERS can be used when seeding!

For your established lawn, fertilize with a fall or winter fertilizer during September or October. If broadleaf weeds are a problem, the fall is also a great time to control them. Use Lime or Mag-I-Cal to sweeten the soil for your lawn and control moss. Use Garden Gypsum to break up clay and also apply this product on the side of the road to open up the ground so salt from the snow plows can leach out of the ground faster and minimize dead grass from the salt.

Check the lawn regularly for potential insect problems that will be noticeable with animals digging in the lawn. If problems develop in your lawn, check with your local Garden Center or Nursery for the right product to apply to the lawn.

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Fall is for Planting

Fall is for planting shrubs and tree around your home. It's a great time to plant, because the ground is warm, traditionally we receive more rainfall and most nurseries are having sales on their shrubs and trees. Take advantage of this and get some of your landscaping done now while the weather is nice.

When purchasing plant material on sale, here is what to look for before spending a lot of money. If the plant is not in a container, examine the root ball and make sure it is in good shape and firm. The overall appearance should be nice and green with little damage to the plant. If the plant is deciduous and has leaves missing, scratch the leafless branches to see if there is green under the bark that you scratch off. See if the plant looks healthy, if it made new growth this year and if the nursery cares for its plants properly.

Look at the nursery in general and see how it looks--is it clean and cared for properly? If the place is a mess, the plant might be also. This year has been hot, and many plants came into bloom very early in the season and this did shorten the selling season, especially flowering plants. Most quality nurseries have sales at this time of year to help move inventory and the plants are in great shape, so take advantage of this situation. Some nurseries also have a guarantee--ask them.

Fall is also the time to plan your spring bulb garden for after the long winter we have coming. I suggest that you plant early-flowering crocus, grape hyacinth, daffodils and tulips to help get you ready for the arrival of spring.

Did you know that bulbs are graded just as eggs are--by their size? When you buy tulips, you can expect them to flower for 3 to 5 years, if you buy big bulbs. The bargain bulbs at the box stores will flower but the bloom will be smaller, bloom a shorter time and last in your garden only 1 to 2 years because of their size.

If you purchase daffodils, look at the bulb carefully. Check the point on the bulb and the size of the bulb. Bargain bulbs have one shoot or what bulb growers call the "nose" of the bulb--and that will make one flower. Most garden centers have double-nose bulbs for 2 to 3 flowers per bulb; these bulbs also have a better chance to divide and multiply in your garden. Spend a bit more and get the quality you want for your garden. If you have rodents, rabbits or deer, ask the sales person to help you select bulbs that are not eaten by these animals. Plant daffodils rather than tulips and grape hyacinths rather than crocus. Do not be afraid to ask for help.

When you plant bulbs use a bulb fertilizer, Soil Moist to help hold water near the bulbs--and at all costs keep away from bone meal or animals will dig up your garden the same night you planted them. Here is a final tip for you when planting bulbs, point always goes up and plant bulbs with twice the soil on top of the bulb as the bulb is high. Examples:
• The crocus is one inch tall, so you must dig a hole three inches deep to cover the bulb with two inches of soil on top of it.
• Tulips are two inches tall, so the hole must be six inches deep to cover the bulb with four inches of soil.

Water well and keep soil moist until the ground freezes so bulb has time to make roots. Get your bulbs now while the selection is best and store in your garage until you are ready to plant. One more question to ask your sales person about bulbs: which tulips are early, mid-season or late flowering? That way you can have continuous flowers for as long as 8 to 10 weeks by planting three different types. Plant now for a colorful spring, then enjoy!

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 Asian Lady Beetle Infestation on the Way

This fall, your quality of life could be affected by a larger than normal infestation of the Asian lady beetles-- due to last winter being warmer than normal, with little snow cover! This is a nuisance pest; they do bite and can cause  allergic reactions like sinus irritations and mild skin irritation from the yellow liquid they emit--and this is one reason we must control them. They will fly to your home by the hundreds in search of a nice warm place to live for the winter. Once they get into your home, you will find them crawling on your walls, on the ceiling, on your curtains and they will get into your lighting fixtures--and they'll love your attic that is filled with nice warm insulation to cuddle up in for the long winter hibernation. If that was not enough to drive you crazy, they will often emit a noxious yellow STAINING liquid before they die in your home. This information does not come from the writings of Alfred Hitchcock--but it would make a good story line.

Asian lady beetles are often confused with the very beneficial ladybug that many of us purchase in the spring time to release in our gardens to eat such insects as aphids, mealy bugs, white fly, spider mites, scale and more. The beneficial ladybug will eat hundreds of insects and their eggs every day; they make the perfect predator insect for those of us who want to garden organically. They are friendly insects: they do not bite and do not emit a yellow staining liquid. These are keepers, and every garden needs to have them to control insect problems.

Like the friendly ladybug, they too eat other insects and are beneficial predators that eat aphids, scale, white fly and other destructive insects of the garden and landscape. Their main problem is they want to live in your home for the winter and cannot survive outside during the winter. They also multiply much faster than the common ladybug and can quickly overwhelm your home in the fall as the evening temperatures begin to get cold.

Why is this insect such a problem and why are they so many of them at this time of the year on and in your home? From what I have found out, it is all thanks to science and the US government. This Asian beetle was released by the United States Department of Agriculture to control insects on pecans and apples. Large numbers of these beetles were released in Georgia, South Carolina, Louisiana, Mississippi, California, Washington, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Maryland. They assumed that the beetles would not establish themselves due to our cold winters. They were wrong and now we have a problem. Remember that "assume" means it could make an ASS out of you and me--RIGHT, Department of Agriculture?

The Asian lady beetle is also called the multicolored Asian beetle, the Japanese ladybug, Asian lady beetle, the Harlequin ladybird because its color will range from yellow to orange and even red—and it's sometimes even called the Halloween lady beetle because it invades homes in the fall of the year.

The adult insects are 3/8 of an inch long and wide, they are oval in shape with a hard shell that covers their wings--and yes, they can fly and they do. Some of the beetles have no spots, and their spots can range from none to as many as nineteen--but most do have nineteen spots on their shell. The head is partially hidden by the shell and is creamy to yellow in color with a distinct black “M” design in the center of the head. The common ladybug does not have this marking. The common ladybug has 4 to 6 spots on its back and light to medium orange in color.

This creature has four life stages: adult, egg, larva, pupa, and then back to adult. They are very aggressive in nature while the ladybug is very passive. You can easily handle ladybugs without any problems or noxious yellow liquid. The Asian lady beetle larva resembles a caterpillar and is black and yellow in color, often elongated and flattened with minute spines on its body. The eggs come in clusters of 20 or more, yellow in color and hang upright.

The only good thing about these insects is that they will eat from 100 to 300 aphids per day; they are voracious predators who feed on everything from agriculture crops to ornamental plants, keeping them clean of insects. The larvae can eat 60 to 1200 aphids during their lifetimes, so both life stages are beneficial--but it's their numbers that are the problem, along with their biting and our allergic reactions.

These creatures are attracted to light and heat during the fall season. They will be numerous around outdoor lights and porch lights--and once they find a crack, hole or any type of opening like vents, soffits, open doors and windows, they enter your home for the winter. They tend to collect in masses on the south and southwest side of your home because of the heat that collects on the siding of your home.

How to control outside has been a problem up to now, but with the new Bonide product called "Beetle Killer" with the built in spray attachment that will spray up to 20 feet high, these beetles can easily be destroyed this fall. Just spray the house, around the windows and doors and they will not swarm on to your home as in past years. One application will last for three to five weeks, depending on the weather and the product will decompose with rain and warm sunny days so not to cause harm to your plants or other beneficial insects. It is also non-staining to paint or stain used on your home. For small areas, use the new "Screen and Surface" spray from Lynwood Labs; it will do the same job and also works fantastically to keep no-see-ems from coming through screens at this time of the year.

Inside the house, the best way to get rid of them is to use your vacuum cleaner and suck them off the walls, ceiling and drapes. Dispose of the bags in the trash when the season is over and that way you will not have to use pesticides in your home to control them. Whatever you do, do not use a newspaper to swat them from the wall or ceiling or the squished insect will leave a nice yellow stain that will not wash off with soap and water; only repainting will do.

So, this fall prepare for the Invasion of the Asian Lady Beetles, just another pest that got here from Japan and has no predators to control its expansion in numbers--it's up to you and me to control this pest that could drive you crazy in your home this fall.

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The Invasion of the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug Has Begun

As gardeners, many of you are familiar with the Japanese beetle and all the problems it has brought us but now another insect pest native to China, Korea, Taiwan and, yes, Japan, has begun to cause problems here in the United States. The insect is called the "brown marmorated stink bug," and like the Japanese beetle, it was accidentally introduced into the country from Japan. Entomologists believe it was a "hitchhiker" or "stowaway" in packaging material placed around furniture or pottery in crates for shipping. It was first spotted in Allentown, Pennsylvania in September 1998. In early 2000, it was caught in a trap in Milford, New Jersey by the Rutgers University and by 2002 it was found in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York, and Connecticut. By 2009 it had spread to 7 more states, south to Tennessee and west to Oregon. In 2010, 3 more states: Indiana, Michigan, and Minnesota. Today, in just 14 years, it has spread to 34 states, including all of the New England states, and is still spreading.

So let me tell you what this creature looks like so you will know what to look for, in case you have not accidentally killed one in or on you home and have smelled the odor it creates. The stink bug is almost 3/4 of an inch long and about as wide. The body of this insect in in the shape of a shield, with a flat top where the head is found and with sides that run parallel down to a rounded bottom. The body is colored with various shades of brown on both the top and underside of its body. To help make it stand out it also has markings of gray, white, black, and copper on its body. Noticeable small white rectangular marks are found on the outer edge of its abdomen--usually 4 on each side--and a dark gray to black diamond mark on its top rear abdomen. It has a pair of long antennae coming off its head that have alternating bands of light and dark gray coloring to them.

The stink bug has 6 legs that are brown with a bit of white striping on them. The back pair of legs is larger than the front two pairs of legs and they are almost grasshopper-like in shape. The stink bug has "stink glands" on the underside of his head, between the first and second pair of legs and also on top of his abdomen. If the insect is threatened, hurt or crushed, the smell is released and will be smelled 6 to 10 feet away from the insect--and it will last for several minutes. My wife said it smelled worse than when my feet are in sneakers for several days at a time--and I agree!! The ability to release this odor is a defense mechanism meant to prevent it from being eaten by birds or other predators. So if you try to pick it up, try to move it or try to kill it, the odor is released as self-defense.

Stink bugs feed on fruit and vegetable crops outside from May to September and they love all types of fruit trees, raspberries, and many types of vegetables. The insects feed on the plant by sucking on the fruit or vegetable, forming a dimple on it and sometimes causing necrosis on the outer surface of the fruit, spreading disease from plant to plant. The damage to plants is not yet a real problem if your garden is treated with general pesticides on a regular basis. For most of us we seldom see them in the garden--YET--but in time, their numbers will grow and they will become a major pest of our garden, fruit trees and berry plants.

For now, the brown marmorated stink bug is more of a fall problem insect that is trying to get into our home for the winter months where it's warm. These insects can survive the winter if they can get inside your home for the winter months; they will die with the cold winter weather if they stay outside. As the weather begins to cool off at night during September, they will begin to try to enter your home through openings in the siding, and holes in the soffit vents on your roof that help to ventilate the heat out during the summer months and make your house breathe. The will enter any openings around windows and doors; if there is a opening around your screens they will get under them on a nice day. Once they get into your home, they will hibernate and wait for winter to pass. If the house is warm, they can stay active all winter; they are usually found around lighting fixtures. They do no damage to the house, but when spring returns they will move out and begin to mate and repopulate your yard and feed on your plants again.

Right now, they are just a big ugly insect that crawls on your windows, doors, and side of the house. They prefer the sunny side of the house where it is warm and when they see an opening they will go into your home. Stink bugs are HARMLESS to people, they do not bite or sting and they do not transmit disease, but the problem is how quickly they are multiplying and spreading across the country. If this continues our agricultural crops will be in danger and so will our ornamental shrubs and trees. This insect, the stink bug, spreads from place to place on campers, trailers, building materials, and becomes airborne with strong storms and moves with the wind.

In your home, the best way to control them is to fill in all holes and cracks around doors and windows. Keep window screens tightly closed, screen doors adjusted so the bottom touches the threshold of the door opening--and if you have a garage that is attached to the house, keep the doors closed. Once they in the house, if you want to avoid the smell, use your vacuum cleaner to remove them from walls and ceilings and dispose of the bag with your trash.

Outside prevention works very well, and it will do a great job to kill them while they move on your home. Spray around your windows, doors and on the entire south side of the house with a product called "Beetle Killer" made by Bonide Lawn and Garden. The product comes in a built in hose-end applicator that will spray up to 20 feet high. The product will not stain the paint on your house. The active ingredients will stay effective for 3 to 5 weeks, depending on the weather. All the stink bug has to do is walk on the side of the house or around the doors and windows and the product will control him. If you start to see them in numbers on the house reapply, as the rain and sun have destroyed the product, making it ineffective. For small areas you can also use "Screen and Surface" aerosol spray from Linwood labs with the same results.

Inside the house, you can use the new stink bug traps from Bonide lawn and garden for your attic where most of them hide for the winter; the trap has a dual action pheromone lure to attract and capture them. It can also be used outside and it will last for four weeks if you do not want to use sprays. If numbers of insects are high, sprays are more effective.

Also available are the new outdoor or indoor stink bug traps from Rescue. The outdoor trap has pheromone to attract the pest; once inside the trap, they will dehydrate and die quickly. The Rescue indoor trap is unique because it can be plugged into an electric outlet or use a battery that will run a special blue LED attachment to attract them to the trap for fast control inside your home without bait or pesticides--and it is very effective.

Now you know all about the problem and how to control it, so get ready to fight back against the Invasion of the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug. Look out your window, they are there and waiting for you!

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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.


This Week's Question
If there is a cloche in your garden, what do you have?

  1. A cover to protect plants
  2. A digging tool
  3. A type of trellis
  4. A type of statue
  5. A watering gadget


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:

Most people know that some ticks can carry Lyme disease. Which of the following is another tick-borne illness?

  1. Chicken Pox
  2. Dengue Fever
  3. Malaria
  4. Mumps
  5. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Last Week's Winner:
Cheryl Caouette

Last Week's Answer:
Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

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.

Coconut Curry Tofu

What You'll Need:

  • 2 bunches green onions
  • 1 (14 ounce) can light coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons chili paste
  • 1 pound firm tofu, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
  • 4 roma (plum) tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 4 ounces fresh mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 4 cups chopped bok choy
  • salt to taste

Step by Step:

  • Remove white parts of green onions, and finely chop.
  • Chop green parts of green onions into 2" pieces.
  • In a large heavy skillet over medium heat, mix coconut milk, 3 tablespoons soy sauce, brown sugar, curry powder, ginger, and chili paste.
  • Bring to a boil.
  • Stir tofu, tomatoes, yellow pepper, mushrooms, and the white parts of the green onions into the skillet. (Don't use the green parts of the onions yet.)
  • Cover, and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Mix in basil and bok choy.
  • Season with salt and remaining soy sauce.
  • Continue cooking 5 minutes, or until vegetables are tender but crisp.
  • Garnish with the 2" pieces of green onion.

Yield: 6 servings


Contact Information:

Click to contact us.

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

(207) 985-6972

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

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