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Spring surprise--voles at work. Photo: Martha Foley
Spring surprise--voles at work. Photo: Martha Foley

Why does my lawn look like a giant ant farm?

The spring thaw has finally reached dirt, revealing the winter damage underneath. On lawns, that could include dramatic networks of dirt-lined runways left under this winter's snow pack by voles.

Voles work the surface, tunneling through where the snow meets the lawn. They're vegetarians, and like to eat away at the roots of the grass. Horticulturist Amy Ivy says the lawn's probably too soft to walk on yet, and it's probably too soon to do too much in the way of repair just yet. When things dry out a bit, she suggests raking the damaged area lightly, to level the tunneled areas out. And have some grass seed on hand to reseed after the weather warms up.

Moles throw up bigger mounds of dirt from their underground tunnels. Rake those to spread the dirt around; those areas can be reseeded to grass later as well.

Amy says it's also time to do some remedial pruning where trees and shrubs were broken during the winter. And she talks about best practices for pruning flowering shrubs now.  Go to full article
Photo: <a href="">Sarah Gilbert</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Gardening call in gleanings: potato scab, blueberry canes, green manure

Horticulturist Amy Ivy and Martha Foley takes up some odds and ends of questions listeners had during our Spring Gardening Call-in program. Issues covered include scab on beets and potatoes, care of blueberry canes, and what you can use in place of compost if you can't get hold of it.  Go to full article

Listen: Vermont's Pete Sutherland makes rural music, with kids

Just in time for the growing season, a new album filled with songs about gardening and rural life. Vermont folk singer/songwriter Pete Sutherland is best known as a member of the Clayfoot Strutters and Pete's Posse, and collaborating with young musicians at schools across northern Vermont. For years, Sutherland has been an artist-in-residence in schools, sharing old and new ballads and helping students shape family and community stories into songs. He'll lead a group of young Vermont musicians on an exchange trip to Northumberland, England, later this month.

Todd Moe talks with Pete about his latest album, "Farmland", which includes ten favorites from his collection of music created with the help of two youth advocacy organizations, the Young Vermont Singers and Young Tradition Vermont.  Go to full article
Mature apple tree before and after pruning. Photo: W. Lord, UNH Co-operative Extension

It's time to prune fruit trees

This is the best time of the season to prune your apple and other fruit trees. Horticulturist Amy Ivy has the best tips and how-to information to help insure good production.  Go to full article
Volunteers tend a community garden in Potsdam. NCPR file photo

Listen: Spring Gardening Call-in

Cornell Cooperative Extension horticulturist Amy Ivy, a Monday morning regular on The Eight O'clock Hour, was in the studio with Martha Foley today. They were...  Go to full article
Seed packet for a disease-resistant variety of cucumber. Photo: <a href="">Cris</a>, Creative Commons, somew rights reserved

Disease resistant seeds? What's that?

It's a detail you don't want to miss, because planting "disease resistant" varieties of flower, fruits and vegetables could save a lot of heartache during the gardening...  Go to full article
Martha Foley's husband Everett Smith illustrating how deep the snow is inside their 7-foot garden fence, last Thursday just after the last big snow. Photo: Martha Foley

Your garden and the deep, deep cold

Extreme cold nights this week are adding to concerns about how this cold, snowy and icy winter will affect how the yard and garden will grow this year. How deep is the...  Go to full article
The tap...

Listen: In Canton, tapping trees for syrup

The immediate forecast isn't ideal for making maple syrup, but it's coming: that combination of cold nights, warm days and sunshine. Chickadees get busy, and the sap rises....  Go to full article
Garden crop rotation can maintian soil fertility, reduce disease and increase yields. Photo: <a href="">Annie and John</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Why rotate crops in your backyard garden?

Just like big farms, the backyard garden can benefit from rotating vegetable crops. Cornell Cooperative Extension Horticulturist Amy Ivy says small-scale crop rotation can...  Go to full article
Wait a little longer for the intense cold to pass before pruning. Photo: <a href="">Andrew Fogg</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Gardening: Is it too soon to prune?

Martha Foley and Cornell Cooperative Extension horticulturalist Amy Ivy talk about what it is, and isn't, safe to do in your garden this early in a very chilly year, and how...  Go to full article

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