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News stories tagged with "gardening"

Several types of hanging basket. Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/ken_yasuhara/6116652111/">K. Yasahura</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Several types of hanging basket. Photo: K. Yasahura, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

How to keep flower boxes and baskets looking their best

It's hard for a gardener to complain about this stone-summer weather. Heat, sun, plus a little rain here and there are a great combination to kick plants into high gear for growth.

But what can be all good for young tomato plants can be overdrive for hanging baskets and planters that were in full bloom when they went on sale for Mother's Day. They need constant care: water, food, and the occasional trimming. Amy Ivy has what to do, and why.  Go to full article
Tomato plants starting up a trellis. Photo: <a href="https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3648/3650652836_ca568ea7e6_o_d.jpg">Charles Dawley</a>, Creative Common, some rights reserved
Tomato plants starting up a trellis. Photo: Charles Dawley, Creative Common, some rights reserved

Some tomato tips before the season kicks into high gear

Even if you don't have a garden, you can grow tomatoes in a sunny spot on your front steps or patio. They're one of the most popular vegetables. But they take some tending over the growing season. Horticulturist Amy Ivy has some early season tips for keeping tomatoes healthy this summer.  Go to full article
Rose chafer beetles at work. Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/50352333@N06/4647992672/">Jason Sturner</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Rose chafer beetles at work. Photo: Jason Sturner, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

First the blooms, then the bugs

Aren't the peonies lovely? And the first roses to bloom so pretty and fragrant? Along with the iris and the first day lilies, they give gardeners an early-summer shot of color and satisfaction after lots of hard work.

They also attract the first big wave of pests, including some of the most frustrating and difficult to deal with: rose chafers, flea beetles, and potato beetles. Brace yourself, as she so often does, cooperative extension's Amy Ivy says hand picking is the best remedy for the rose chafers and potato bugs.

No pesticides for rose chafers, because they attack the flower's blooms, and to dose the bloom would kill the bees and other valuable pollinators. And potato beetles? It's just more efficient to squish the eggs before they hatch on the underside of the leaves.  Go to full article
After removing the early weeds, mulching between rows will slow their return. Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/90738513@N00/2522983940">Linda Beaverson</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
After removing the early weeds, mulching between rows will slow their return. Photo: Linda Beaverson, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Weeds, you say? Get 'em when they're little

The tiniest weeds might just be you're most important job right now. It's like the old "pound of prevention" saying. You can deal with a million weeds in a very short time, if they're just tiny seedlings. Let them get bigger, and it isn't so easy.

That's Cooperative Extension horticulturist Amy Ivy's tip for triage in this season of the overwhelming gardening to-do list.  Go to full article
Part way done: some perennials back in place, soil amendment continues. Photo by Martha Foley
Part way done: some perennials back in place, soil amendment continues. Photo by Martha Foley

Out with the bad: taking control of the perennial garden

The first step can be the hardest when you've got a major Quackgrass infestation, or an "aggressive" perennial that's taking over. In Martha Foley's garden this spring, it was both. Sometimes you just have to dig everything up and start over.

Amy Ivy is a horticulturist with the Cornell Cooperative Extension service with Clinton and Essex County. She sympathizes, and shares tips on taking advantage of the opportunity to improve the soil.  Go to full article
They start small, but they don't (hopefully) stay that way. Make sure to leave enough space for you transplants to thrive. Photo: Martha Foley
They start small, but they don't (hopefully) stay that way. Make sure to leave enough space for you transplants to thrive. Photo: Martha Foley

Plants need their space too

It's tempting, all that nice open space in the garden. But as you plant the six packs of annuals, or divide and distribute the perennials, or arrange the rows of beets and carrots, be careful to plant things far enough apart.

Cooperative Extension's Amy Ivy lays down the law, and explains why following the rules on spacing can make a real difference late on in the season.  Go to full article
It's still a little cool for transplanting tender flowers and warm weather vegetables. Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/crabchick/7276027148/">crabchick</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
It's still a little cool for transplanting tender flowers and warm weather vegetables. Photo: crabchick, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Not quite prime time for tender transplants

The calendar is a bit ahead of the weather this spring, and that means it's probably a good idea to proceed with caution in the garden.

Mother's Day typically coincides with good weather for transplants, and garden centers and greenhouses send thousands of nicely started plants and flowers out their doors over the weekend. But this year, Cooperative Extension's Amy Ivy says, we should be extra careful about putting tender flowers and warm weather vegetables in the ground. Better to baby them for a week or two till the weather really warms up. Plants are looking for "heat units," and cool nights and days still in the 60s don't quite add up.  Go to full article
A bird's nest compost bin. Photo: Tompkins County Cooperative
A bird's nest compost bin. Photo: Tompkins County Cooperative

Kitchen compost: a gift for the garden

Compost is a key ingredient to increasing the organic matter in garden soil. And now is a great time to add it as a layer in the garden to help nourish seeds and seedlings.

Amy Ivy, horticulturist for Cornell Cooperative in Clinton and Essex Counties, explains some of the best ways to use compost in your garden, and alternatives if you don't have your own.  Go to full article
Trillium and other iconic North Country wildflowers pose a challenge for gardeners. Archive Photo of the Day, 5/18/11: Gregory Kle
Trillium and other iconic North Country wildflowers pose a challenge for gardeners. Archive Photo of the Day, 5/18/11: Gregory Kle

Spring wildflowers in nature and the garden

A walk in the woods may seem like an optimistic activity during mud season. But early wildflowers are a sign of hope that a new season has begun. It's amazing to find spring flowers emerging just as the last snow melts, especially after our long, cold winter.

Todd Moe talks with horticulturist Amy Ivy about looking for early wildflowers in their natural settings, and the challenges of trying to grow trillium, bloodroot and Jack-in-the-Pulpit in backyard gardens.  Go to full article
43.7? Too cold. Amy says to wait for 50 degree (F) soil temperature before planting peas. Photo: <a href="https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3646/3601931725_066a0fe319_o_d.jpg">Stephen Cochran</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
43.7? Too cold. Amy says to wait for 50 degree (F) soil temperature before planting peas. Photo: Stephen Cochran, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

When it's right to plant peas

The sun is out. The air is warm. It's late April. The crocuses are up and the daffodils aren't far behind. So, time to plant some peas, and maybe some lettuce, right?

Maybe, maybe not, says Cooperative Extension's Amy Ivy. She tells Martha Foley there's an easy way to tell, and it isn't the calendar. Stick a thermometer two inches down in the soil and see what it says. If it isn't 50 degrees down there, it's still too early.

They also talk about ways to warm things up a little and coddle those early season plantings. Amy explains row covers, and says even just protecting new seedlings from the wind can help.  Go to full article

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