As we head into November, here are some tips for caring for your roses. Keep watering, stop fertilizing and stop deadheading. Deadheading is the act of snipping off the rose bloom as it begins to fade. We do this so the rose is encouraged to bloom again. As the rose begins to fade and petals fall, the seed pod, called a hip begins to form. Mulching will help keep the ground stable and protect the rose. Water your dormant roses every 4-5 weeks during the winter. If you have questions about pruning and mulching roses, stop in and see us. We’ll be glad to answer your questions and show you how to take care of your roses this winter.
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Once you’ve finished cleaning up your vegetable beds, it’s time to consider planting a cover crop. Cover crops, sometimes called “green manure” crops, are planted to improve soil fertility and to increase organic material in your garden. Some common cover crops include Winter Rye, Annual Rye, low-maintenance. You don’t have to water after that.
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Cold composting, sometimes called passive composting does work. It takes a little longer than hot composting, but if your compost bin or compost pile is full, cold composting is another way to recycle garden waste and table scraps. The same concepts apply, using a 3:1 ratio of browns to greens. Browns include leaves, shredded cardboard and newspaper. Greens include table scraps, grass clippings, coffee grounds and eggshells. Avoid adding meat or dairy, diseased plants or weed seeds (it won’t get hot enough to get rid of the seeds). Expect cold composting to take longer that “hot” composting. The temperatures aren’t there to accelerate the process of breaking down the raw materials. Composting doesn’t have to be complicated.
Tuesday, October 7, 2014
Take advantage of fallen leaves, to make improvements to your garden soil. Raking leaves and adding them to your garden to compost over the winter months will result in a much improved garden soil next spring. Leaves don’t contain a lot of nutrients, but composting them will produce leaf mold which will greatly improve the structure of your garden soil. Leaf mold is a dark, spongy material that results from microorganisms breaking down the leaf. It’s the stuff you find at the bottom of a pile of leaves that have piled up on the lawn or along the street curb.
As soon as leaves begin to fall and pile up, the process of decomposing begins. You can take advantage of this natural cycle by making a pile of leaves in a corner of your garden or simply digging them into your garden soil. Leaves decompose cold. The process doesn’t require heat to work.
Smaller pieces will break down faster, so put the catcher bag on the mower and mow the lawn.
Add some Nitrogen such as Cottonseed Meal and water thoroughly. Turn the leaves once or twice during the winter. By spring you should have rich leaf mold to add to your garden. If all of the leaves aren’t completely broken down by spring, leave them in the garden. The composting process will continue through the summer months. By fall you’ll be ready to start the cycle again. Your garden soil needs to be continuously improved and making leaf mold is an easy to accomplish this.