Keeping bees on Long Island since 1949.

Garden Column

The Garden Column

By Lorraine Leacock, Master Gardener
(Courtesy Cornell Cooperative Extension)

January in the garden...brrr...but Snowdrops, Galanthus, camouflage in the landscape and burst through the frozen soil, delighting both gardener and honey bee.  These tough-as-nails perennial bulbs are easy to grow and ideal to plant surrounding your hives for those rare 50 degree mid winter day cleansing flights...your girls will appreciate the fresh nectar and pollen source the blooms can supply. There are 168 varieties listed on, The National Gardening Association’s plant database. 
I was lucky enough to have these pop up in my garden from a prior owner 25 years ago. Having never touched them, they emerge every year like clockwork.  The foliage will disappear in the summer so you can layer with other perennials, annuals or ground cover...or position in a woodland/wild area and just let nature take over. 
Put this on your to-do list for the fall:  Acquire bulbs to plant 2-3” deep, 3” between (they will multiply) in full sun to light shade where they will receive light to moderate moisture...may I say as close to your colonies as possible :)

The Garden Column

By Lorraine Leacock, Master Gardener
(Courtesy Cornell Cooperative Extension)

As a new-bee this year, I was pleasantly surprised to read Juergen Jaenicke's monthly gardening articles. I had no idea he was a beekeeper, only knowing him through Master Gardener Volunteer (MGV) channels. So, it was with great disappointment to see in the May newsletter that he was considering retirement. I am a 2008 graduate of Cornell's MGV program...20 weekly meetings learning different aspects of gardening, with quite an emphasis on insects! After quizzes, a final exam and 120 hours of volunteer work, we are certified but must continue to contribute 30 hours annually in an abundance of ways...gardening in our communities, teaching, writing, and most importantly, reporting.

My gardening world began with my parents in England...memories of Mum's cottage flowers, my Dad's small greenhouse where he grew tomatoes, his grafted roses, lush lawn maintained with a manual hand-pushed mower, and stepping on a bee with bare feet (probably a bumble). They planted the seed in my interest but sadly not the knowledge.

Having little science background, I struggled with many failures in the sandy Long Island "soil" loam...not knowing the importance of the basics. The naive thinking was to dig a hole and throw a plant in it, or to start vegetables from seed and expect results without proper conditions. I now know it all starts with the growing medium, and that plants flourish when they have the right climate, nutrients, ph level, sun exposure, water and pollination!

I'm no expert by any means but strive to learn from those who are and from my mistakes. If I am to be the new gardening writer, I have big shoes to fill and hope to be able to impart something of value. Thanks Juergen for your inspiration, information sharing and service. If it is semi-retirement you seek, your periodic contributions will be looked forward to.

Three Cheers, Lorraine

The Garden Column: Late Fall

By Juergen Jaenicke, MG
(Courtesy Cornell Cooperative Extension)

(These are all just SUGGESTIONS from CCE)
Don't go crazy!!

• Finish planting bulbs for spring flowering.
• Spray woody ornamentals browsed by deer with repellent
• Protect newly planted tree trunks with thin barks from winter sun scald (freeze-thaw cracking) by winding them with paper tree wrap.
• Practice water-wise irrigation as needed until the ground freezes.
• Water those thirsty evergreens well into the winter whenever the ground isn't frozen. ( I always leave a well-insulated water tap open, just for that purpose).
• Drain and store hoses and irrigation lines.
• If desired, allow dead annuals to self-seed by keeping their flower stems intact.
• Leave seed heads from native perennials intact to provide visual interest and feed the birds.
• Finish removing leaf litter from diseased plants to reduce overwintering of disease in soil.
• After the ground freezes, mulch planting beds to protect perennials, especially newly planted ones and bulbs from frost heave.
• Leave ornamental grass leaves intact to protect their crowns from freezing.
• Continue composting deadheaded flowers and plant debris, but don't put weed seed heads in the compost pile.
• Collect raked leaves in a convenient place for adding "browns" year-round to the compost pile.
• Continue to remediate soil in garden beds with manure and compost to revitalize it this winter.
• Increase the humidity available to houseplants by misting them frequently or placing them on a tray of wet pebbles.
• Pot up spring bulbs for indoor forcing and make room for them in the refrigerator. (most avid gardeners have an old fridge in their shed or garage for that purpose).
• Do the final mowing of your lawn to less than two inches, this will reduce vole and mice activity.
• After aerating your rose beds and the first good frost, hill up soil into 10-12-inch mounds around each rose plants.
• Store terra-cotta pots indoors ( a cool place is fine) to protect them from freezing and breaking during the winter.
• Remove plant supports and stakes so you don't trip over them in the snow.

The Garden Column: Cleaning Up

By Juergen Jaenicke, MG
(Courtesy Cornell Cooperative Extension)

I had a wonderful gardening year. From a slow beginning to bumper crops, I had it all. Sometimes, you follow all the rules, consider all the variables and come up with nothing but weeds. In my case, I didn't follow any rules that I am aware of but used any empty spot and planted or seeded something. Any seeds that I had leftover from last year went into the ground. I bought some tomato plants from the Farmingdale State College Horticulture Department where I sometimes volunteer.
These, and some peppers, eggplants and assorted herbs went side by side with the newly seeded swiss chard, salad, radishes and assorted beans and cucumbers. I have heard about "companion planting" but had not bothered to find out what could go with what.
The cucumbers took over my garden. I had so many, I was giving bags of cucumbers away almost daily!
The climbing string beans (I don't like the bush type) snaked up onto my deck and I didn't even have to go down into the garden but could pick them up right from the deck. We picked beans every day and ran out of storage space. We had bean soup, green beans as dinner vegetables, green bean salad, you name it. We certainly ate healthy.
Finally we let the rest of the beans dry out and they will be planted for next year.
I also have a plan for next years cucumbers. I will make pickles. I will surf the web for pickling supplies and order everything that I need to become the next "pickle king".
We are still busy cleaning up.
Once everything is bare and raked out, we always want to make changes. "How about we move the lilies and the other flowers over to the other side and just keep vegetables and herbs over here?"
Planning is easy. Once shovel in hand and faced with this "labor of love", things look a bit more challenging.
Gardening is fun. But old geezers like me take their "fun" in moderation.
So plan next years garden now. Take a piece of paper and draw your "dream garden". Don't get too ambitious, just do what you can.
As for me: I'm a lazy gardener. The helter-skelter approach worked fine last year, why not next year? -- Well, I will do some planning.

The Garden Column: Mid-August

Journal of the Ulster County Beekeepers Association

Now that the forage season for honeybees is winding down, plan on letting your vegetable garden plants flower to provide a little extra boost of pollen until after the first snows come. It doesn’t matter if you live in the country, the city, or somewhere in between, autumn pollen and nectar are an invaluable commodity to help build healthy and “fat” bees for winter. Letting your basil plants flower in July will most likely result in bitter basil, not honeybee forage, and most of us groan when our lettuce bolts in the heat of summer. Once a majority of forage sources has dwindled by early October, basil, lettuce, kale, broccoli, and mustard greens left to flower can provide sustenance to foraging honeybees. Lettuce is actually in the aster or sunflower family of plants (Asteraceae), and seeing it flowering in the grayness of November is a beautiful sight. Or, seeing a stretch of flowering mustard greens or broccoli rising above the snow with its welcoming yellow creates a honeybee destination on warm late autumn days.

The Garden Column: Mid-August

By Juergen Jaenicke, MG
(Courtesy Cornell Cooperative Extension)

This will keep you busy!
  • Photograph your garden in peak summer bloom to remember what you liked this year and what you could change next year!
    Be a water-wise gardener: never water at midday. Water in early morning so plants can absorb moisture before it evaporates from the soil. Morning irrigation also prevents damp foliage at night when plants are susceptible to fungus.
    Once a week, deeply water all newly planted trees, perennials and shrubs, also deeply water those now forming spring flower buds and fall berries.
    Daily check moisture levels in containers, hanging baskets, and window boxes as they dry out faster.
    Refresh your mulch for weed suppression and water conservation.
    Deadhead annuals for more blooms, leave perennial seed heads for the birds.
    Pinch herbs like basil to prevent flowering and keep foliage growth strong.
    Get rid of weeds before they go to seed!
    Dont put weed seed heads in your compost pile!
    Remove dying plants and diseased foliage to reduce disease overwintering in soil.
    Put dead annuals in compost pile, and replace with finished compost and mulch.
    Stake up tall, leggy flowers.
    Don't let food rot on the vine. Harvest daily!
    Best to pick veggies when plants are dry, not moist with dew or rain to reduce spreading disease. Especially green beans!
    Dont over-cut your lawn or too short. Tall grass shades soil and keeps it moist.
    If your lawn needs it, late August is the time to use slow-release fertilizer.
    Avoid pruning so plants can heal before winter.
    Plant trees, shrubs and perennials soon so they can take root before winter.
    Start seeds for winter vegetables now.
    Sow a fall crop of peas or spinach.
    Get supplies ready for your hoop house or cold frame to extend the season.
    Order spring bulbs to plant in fall.

The Garden Column: Things I forgot to tell you

By Juergen Jaenicke, MG
(Courtesy Cornell Cooperative Extension)

I was so carried away with my goose and turtle hunt, that i didn't give you any hints of what to do in YOUR garden.

So here goes:
1. Check compost piles for signs of more rapid decomposition in the summer heat. Turn regularly, moisten, and adjust ratios of greens to browns if necessary.
2. Fertilize annuals, container plants and vegetables.
3. Mulch, mulch, mulch for weed suppression and water conservation.
4. Deadhead roses and other spent blossoms.
5. Don't wait for invasive weeds to flower; remove them now before they set seed.
6. After early perennials bloom is a good time to devide and transplant them.
7. Finish planting such summer bulbs as dahlias, gladiolas and cannas.
8. Check plants for pests and diseases and address any problems before they get worse.
9. Spray repellants to discourage deer from eating tender plant shoots. (Doesn't work on geese or turtles)
10. When you mow, leave clippings on the lawn to return nitrogen to the soil.
11. Such early producers as lettuce and other greens should be harvested now before bolting in the July heat.
12. Train plants onto trellises carefully, and don't girdle young shoots by tying them too tightly.
13. Transplant self-sown annuals to new locations.

The above list should keep you busy. My bonus tip: Do it early in the morning, so YOU don’t start to wilt!

The Garden Column: June

By Juergen Jaenicke, MG
(Courtesy Cornell Cooperative Extension)

For your information, I seem to have the "goose problem" licked. Or maybe they are busy raiding someone else’s' vegetable garden. In any event, almost all is peaceful in my little garden and most of the plantings are growing nicely.
I take a walk in my garden at least two or three times a day. I carry a pair of clippers and a container for the weeds. As I walk thru, I pick out some weeds here and there and snip off some dead flowers and rotten twigs.
There is always something to do. I do believe in benign neglect, but sometimes you have to help just a little...
To my astonishment I discovered several freshly dug holes. Right in the middle of my cucumber patch. I have no dog or cat and the only thing that could create these holes would be a cat or raccoon.
I have long since learned to tie down my garbage cans to prevent the raccoons from having a feast. Have they become vegetarians?
The other possibility is a snapping turtle, The same giant turtle comes up from the lake each year and digs up my garden beds and lays her eggs. Mind you, this reptile has to crawl up from the lake about 100 feet, up a set of stairs and then find some soft spot to lay her eggs. She spends about two hours straining to lay her eggs. In previous years we had watched her, but this year we missed it.
We even experienced the little turtles hatching. My grandson went down the outside cellar stairs and started hollering Grandpa we have a thousand little turtles!
I came running quickly. It wasn't a thousand, just thirteen.
We quickly got a bucket and picked them all up (I resisted my spouses' suggestion for turtle soup) They were all piled up in front of the door so it was relatively easy to scoop them up.
We carried them back down to the lake and they took off.
Both my grandson and I were amazed how fully developed those turtles were. Shell and all. They even tried to bite me!
So much for hole-digger possibility No. 2.
Our "snapper" however usually only digs one hole and here were several. What gives? Several egg-layers? We will definitely keep an eye on those holes and see what develops.
Meanwhile I have fertilized and watered and weeded and hope for the best. My tomatoes are doing great, my peppers have flowers already and everything else is coming along nicely too.
With all the rain we had in the last few days I can skip watering for today. It is important however that we avoid drought in the garden.
Remember I mentioned benign neglect, which is a nice word for being "lazy," but really, don't drive yourself crazy. Plant only as much as you can comfortably handle or eat, your neighbors don't need any extra tomatoes.

PS: I just got a note from Cornell, to be aware of Basil downy mildew. If you bought plants from any of the large nurseries you may have gotten sick plants. If you started your plants from seed, don't worry.

The Garden Column: Garden Tips For March/April

By Juergen Jaenicke, MG
(Courtesy Cornell Cooperative Extension)

My laundry room is filled with aluminum trays full of seed starters. Tomatoes, peppers, broccolis, you name it. Trays with pansies cover up the freezer. Any time I want to get at my ice cream, I have to move things around.

Let it get warm already so I can start to transplant things!

Should we finally experience some real spring weather here are some suggestions for you:
1. As the soil warms, reset frost-heaved plants for optimal spring growth.
2. Begin to assess the salt damage to your property from winter road spray and other de-icing compounds. Wait until the beginning of April to remove and replace salt-laden mulch protecting garden beds and trees near the road.
3. When the snow subsides, top dress your lawn with compost.
4. Cut ornamental grasses, perennials and shrubs that like a hard shear back to new shoots.
5. Prune trees and shrubs NOW because this is the best time for woody plants to heal. Externally they produce rolls of wound wood over the cut. Internally they compartmentalize or wall off the damaged tissue from the healthy wood. These responses to wounding or cutting take place more rapidly this time of the year. (March/April).
6. Try forcing spring blossoms indoors from branches you have pruned.
7. Plant deciduous shrubs and trees when the ground is workable.
8. Get yourself a soil thermometer to gauge the real temperature of the soil, which is different from the air temperature. (Don't plant when the ground is still frozen).
9. Do like me and start your seeds indoors no more than six weeks prior to transplanting them, so they don't get leggy.
10. Mist delicate seedlings, don't drench them!
11. Plant peas outside even if it is snowing, they can stand it!

The Garden Column: Consider "Leafing it on the Lawn" This Year

By Juergen Jaenicke, MG
(Courtesy Cornell Cooperative Extension)

I am looking out of my office window over the lake and everything still looks white and cold. My seed catalogs are laying on my desk and I am perusing all the different vegetables and flower pictures.
This year, I would like to do something different, but what?

My beekeeping days are over, but I still dream of one day starting up again. So why not create a garden that atracts bees, butterflies and other beneficial insects.

Usually, when I think about what plants I want in my garden I usually consider color, size and how the individual plant fits into the overall design. Maybe I should also consider the scent of a plant. Our sense of smell is very important and scents can soothe and relax us.

Apart from the lovely smell, the abundant wildlife that scented plants entice to your garden is another bonus. (bees)

One of the main reasons that plants have lovely smelling flowers is to attract insects (bees) to aid in pollination.

Honeybees and butterflies are especially sensitive to the scents of plants and can find perfumed flowers from distance away. The leaves of plants can smell too. Herbs such as rosemary and thyme have especially lovely scented leaves.

It is important to position ascented plant in the right spot in your garden. Consider not only the conditions the plant needs (sun, soil type, etc) but also you will be able to smell it. Locating the plant by a path or seating area is a good idea. Some plants need to be brushed against or rubbed before they release their sent. Bear in mind too that he scent can vary depending on the ime of day, the heat and humidity.

Some are noticable at night (Hosta plantaginea) which is a great way to enjoy your garden when i's dark too!

When selecting scented plants there can be a big difference between the scents of plants in one species, so make sure to sniff before you buy.

Fragrant plants can be truly evocative, reminding us of happy memories from the past.

So why not create some of your own memories now, by adding lovely scented plants to your garden. Here are some great ones: Daphne, Vibernum, Lilac, Skimmia, Hosta planntginea and Clethora (summersweet).

The Garden Column: Consider "Leafing it on the Lawn" This Year

By Juergen Jaenicke, MG
(Courtesy Cornell Cooperative Extension)

Vibrant foliage is a seasonal highlight, but taking care of leaves once they've fallen can be a lot of work. If not properly managed, leaves can cause increased phosphorus levels in surface water runoff, which ultimately affects the water quality of our bays, estuaries, lakes, streams and ponds. Also, layers of raw leaves left on the lawn can suffocate grass plants.

Raking, blowing or picking up fallen tree leaves with a mower bag is labor intensive, and bagged leaves need to be removed. But as long as leaves aren't excessive, they can easily be mulched by mowing and leaving them on the lawn without negative consequences to turf quality. In addition to providing an alternate method of leaf disposal, research suggests there may be other benefits to mulching leaves back into the lawn.

Researchers at Michigan State University looked at the effect of mulched oak and maple leaves on the spring green-up of lawns and its dandelion populations. Results suggested that mulching leaves into established turf grass increased spring green-up the following year and reduced the dandelion growth. While the mechanism of control was not investigated in this study, it may simply be that decomposing pieces of leaves cover up bare spots between turf plants, areas that otherwise would be excellent places for weed seeds to germinate.

Plan to do lawn leaf work during dry weather (like we are having now). Whether raking or mulching, working with wet leaves is much harder (a pain, if you ask me), Its easier to handle leaves when they are dry. To mow leaves into mulch and leave it on he lawn, raise the mower deck its highest setting to accommodate more leaves at a time. Remove the discharge chute on the side of the mower, and close is cover. Presto! You have a leaf mulcher ready to return leaf nutrients back into the ground where they fell.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

The Garden Column: Rose Planting Tips

By Juergen Jaenicke, MG
(Courtesy Cornell Cooperative Extension)

Plant roses only in places that get at lest six hours of sun daily, roses love sunlight, especially morning sun. Good air movement is also essential, but too much wind can damage foliage. And choose a spot far enough from large trees or shrubs, so those roses wont have to compete for light, water or nutrients.

As you prepare a new rose bed, remember you are planting for many seasons of lovely flowers. A rose garden needs good drainage and rich, loamy soil. Double digging and spading in peat moss, compost, fish scraps, seaweed and other organics will help.

Rose bushes work hard growing all those lovely flowers and all that work makes them hungry. Roses need to be fertilized several times a season, once as they begin to leaf out and once again after each flush of bloom.

Roses need plenty of water. They should have at least an inch of water a week throughout their growing season, water early in the day so the rose leaves dry quickly in the morning sun.

Mulch is a great addition to the rose bed. A few inches of bark dust or chips, grass clippings, pine needles or other organic coverings will help to withstand extremes of heat and cold, while keeping the ground moist and preventing weeds. In addition, as the mulch breaks down, it adds nutrients to the ground.

Beware of Cherry Laurel
Cherry Laurel leaves contain cyanide and benzaldehyde that is capable of cutting of the air supply of an animal or human being resulting in death. Each Cherry Laurel leaf contains around 1.5 percent cynogenic glycosides, which produce glucose, hydrogen cyanide and benaldehyde when chewed. The leaves of the Cherry Laurel contain enough cyanide byproducts to be used by entomologists to kill insects for academic research without causing damage to the body of the insect, the specimen is placed in a sealed container containing crushed Cherry Laurel leaves that starve the insect of oxygen until it dies.

The Garden Column: Mid-August

By Juergen Jaenicke, MG
(Courtesy Cornell Cooperative Extension)

1. Now is the time to decide wether your lawn should be renovated or whatever it needs to be re-established. Cornell cooperative extension is the perfect place for answers.
2. Begin planting beans, peas, beets, lettuce, spinach and endive for a fall crop.
3. Pick off tomatoe hornworms if large indentations are evident on the leaves.
4. Tomato blossom-end rot can be reduced with careful regulation of soil moisture. Mulching will help,
5. Be aware of two-spotted mite damage on tomatoes during August.
6. Pinch houseplants so they will be well-branched when brought indoors.
7. Start building a new lawn now. If weeds or diseases were a problem this year.
8. Renovate or improve your old lawn now, if necessary.
9. If a few bare spots are present in your lawn, spot seed those areas between August 15 and September 15.
10. Perennials that have finished flowering should now be cut back. Be sure, to leave some foilage.
11. If there is evidence of powdery mildew on phlox, zinnias, roses and lilac, use ultra-fine oil, sulfur or thiophanate-methyl or biocarbonite according to the label direction.
12. If an exessive amount of thatch has been accumulated on the lawn, use a power rake or thatcher for its removal.

The Garden Column: Garden Tips for June

By Juergen Jaenicke, MG
(Courtesy Cornell Cooperative Extension)

• Control the adult stage of the black vine weevil (or taxus weevil) now and early thru mid-July. Apply acephate (Orthene) on foilage of and soil beneath taxus (yews) or rhododendron. Pitfall traps or beating sheets can help monitor adult activity. Hand pick in small plantings. Entomophagous nematodes may be used for soil-dwelling state (larvae) when larvae are present.
• Remove old flowers (but not foilage) from spring flowering bulbs.
• Prune shrubs that have just completed flowering, (weigela, philadelphus, deutzia, etc.
• Remove old flowers from perennials that have finished bloming.
• Take poinsetta cuttings now for blooming plants by christmas.
• The second spray application for birch leaf miner should be made during the second week of June (530-700 Growing-Degree Days). Use carbaryl, acephate, dimethoate or malathion.
• Apply an all-purpose spray (a combination of insecticide and fungicide) to apples every seven to ten days.
• Spray with acephate, or carbaryl in early-to-mid-June, 533-820 Growing degree days, o control euonymus scale crawlers on euonymus, bitersweet, and pachysandra again in mid-july, 1150-1388 GDD. Or use dimethoate soil drench.
• Examine for evidence of chich bugs on turf. Place a coffee can (with bottom cut out) over the edge of suspect area and fill with water for 5 minutes. If present, insects will float to top. Treat during June, Use an insecticide (carbaryl, chlorpyrifos, Aspon or isofenphos) Water lawn before treatment. Exept with Aspon and isofenphos, a second application may be necessary 2 to 3 weeks later. Water in granular materials immediately after aplication. Use endophyte-containing cultivars, Avoid drought!

The Garden Column: The Planning

By Juergen Jaenicke, MG
(Courtesy Cornell Cooperative Extension)

Hopefully you got all your seeds ordered and are ready for your spring gardening.

I am always looking forward to my seed catalogs so I can start planning my garden. when I receive them in the mail in January, I knew, that spring is not to far away and soon instead of shoveling snow, I will be shoveling manure.

It's still to cold to do anything outside, but you can start your seeds inside. We save the old egg cartons and start our seeds in them. Our laundry room is ideal for his purpose. Sunny and not too warm.

Looking over your seed supply, you can plan the rest of your garden. Make a drawing and figure out where to plant what. The things that worked for you last year, will work this year too.

I shall repeat my mantra: Soil preperation! (That's were the manure comes in) The better your soil, the more your garden grows. Have your soil tested for PH and adjust if needed.

Don't be afraid to mix it up. You don't have to have neat rows of vegetables all staked out!

You would need a large area for this kind of planting. Plant some vegetables with your roses, some herbs with your annuals, etc. Get the rest of the family involved. As you look thru the garden catalogs, ask your spouse and children what they would like to plant. Some people like flowers others like shrubs or trees. Stay with a budget and consider the labor involved. With other words: keep it simple.

Again, its still too early to do anything but planning. So start planning!

The Garden Column: January

By Juergen Jaenicke, MG
(Courtesy Cornell Cooperative Extension)

Last year I wrote about poinsettas and how to keep them alive and well after the holiday season. (Look it up). Last month I wrote about houseplants.
Today I like to call your attention to: Orchids

We have a love affair with Orchids. They really beautify the place and make you feel like having an indoor garden. Orchids are available in most nurseries and even Loews and Home Depot feature them. They range in price from $10 to $50 depending on their size and rarety.

There are more than 800 genera of this unusual family of plants, with over 35,000 recognized species. While some orchids can grow very far north, 85% of them grow between the Tropic of cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn.

We happen to like the Paphiopedilums they come in a great diversity of colors and shapes. Most produce a single flower, lasting 6-12 weeks and the blooming season lasts from October to May.

LIGHT: Paphiopedilums may be grown in an east window or a south or west window shaded by sheer curtains, Direct sun, except early morning sun, should be avoided.

TEMPERATURE: Night temperatures of 60-65F are ideal for paphiopedilums with mottled leaves. Day temperatures should be close to 80F.

WATERING: A general rule is to allow the potting medium to go slightly dry between waterings. Water thoroughly every 5-7 days, depending on the season. Provide constant humidity by seting pots on wet stones. Good air circulation is recommended.

FERTILIZING: Use an orchid fertilizer or all purpose fertilizer at a rate of 1/2 tsp./gal. of water every other week o promote growth. To maintain the plant fertilize at a rate of 1/4 tsp./gal. Every fourth week, thoroughly leach out the pot with plain water.

POING MEDIA: In this area of the US, Douglas fir bark mixes are commonly used and perform very well for most orchids.

REPOTTING: Repot every 18 months or so before the potting media breaks down.

FLOWERING: After the orchid has finished blooming, cut back the flower spike leaving the foilage and continue with usual care. (see above).
Give it a try!

The Garden Column: November

By Juergen Jaenicke, MG
(Courtesy Cornell Cooperative Extension)

There isn't much left for you to do in your garden, but rake leaves and water.
Make sure your evergreens get plenty of water. The more water the better they will overwinter.
Your mums need deadheading and water.
You can rake your leaves and put them in bags or you can do as I do and dig a big hole and rake them all in the hole and mix with your fertilizer next year or as mulch and spread over your vegetable beds.
Keep things clean! Rake out under the bushes and beds. The cleaner your garden, the better your start in the spring.
So what do you do with your "green thumb" in the winter? How about some houseplants?

Plants inside the home have the same needs as plants outside: sunlight, air, water and nutrients. For houseplants, the most restrictive of these is sunlight. The sunniest position inside a house sill provides less light to plants than the shadiest position outside. Even in the smallest of homes, there is a wide variety of light. So when placing your houseplants, use the best available light condition.
Many plants are well adopted to growing in supplemental light, but plants chosen for growth in artificial light should be small in stature so the light source will not have to be moved too often.

Some plants that do well in artificial light are listed below:

Heartleaf philodendron
Boston Fern, Rabbits Foot Fern
Painted Drop-tongue
Lipstick vine, Flame Violet
Variegated Chinese Evergreen
Chinese Evergreen
Creeping Rubber Plant
Spider Plant
Dwarf Silvernerve Fittonia
Barroom Plant
Compact Variegated Snake Plant
Marble Queen Pothos
Oakleaf Grape Ivy
Zebra Vine, African Violet
Silver Queen Chinese Evergreen
Pothos, Venezuela Treebine
Prayer Plant, English Ivy
Polka Dot Plant, Earthstar
Peperomia, Begonia and Columnea

You can really let your green thumb loose here and populate your house with all sorts of leafy greens, reds, yellows and all the colors in between. Watering is essential and a good houseplant fertilizer will help.

Have Fun, Hope to see you at the Christmas party.

The Garden Column: October

By Juergen Jaenicke, MG
(Courtesy Cornell Cooperative Extension)

This just in: Impatiens are suffering from a "blight", that makes them lose their leaves and kills them. To prevent spread of this disease, rip out the whole plant with roots and earth and dispose of. Also it has been reported that some Basil plants are infected with some fungus, keep your eyes open . Other than that, clean up! The cleaner your garden the less work you have in the spring!

I did not wrap my Fig Tree last winter and it survived just fine! I will leave it alone this year too.

We do dig out our daffodils after they have bloomed. The green leftover growths look just too ugly and the replanted bulbs will be much stronger. We will pick a sunny day sometime this week, after we figure out where to put them.

That's another problem, where to plant things. We love to go to plant sales and often get carried away buying new stuff. Then when we get home, we have to figure out where to plant it!

Sometimes we get too ambitious.

This month is our garden clubs' fall plant sale and I am leaving my wallet at home.

A word of caution: If you are my age, don't overdo things! My head is usually ahead of my body and somehow I can't do as much as I used to. So I do it in stages. a little at a time. I carry a light chair with me and sit on it while weeding. I am also having my lawn mowed and let them do the cleanups. I also try to do things early in the morning while I still have some energy. In the afternoon I am already tired and just walk thru my garden. I can’t help myself though and still find myself picking weeds and tying down plants. But the whole thing is pleasurable and lifts my spirits.

Know when to stop!

I promised you some apple picking sites:
(These are mostly upstate and ideal for going with the grandchildren on a day trip)
These are all about 1 to 1 1/2 hours drive from NYC.

Apple Ridge Orchards 101 Jessup Rd Warwick, NY, 845-987-7717
(Breathtaking scenery, hay wagon rides, farm animals

Minard Farms 59 Hurds Rd (PO Box 317) Clintondale, NY
NYS Thruway (I87) exit 18 (New Palz) open weekends and holidays.
No phone Nr. avail.

Lawrence Farm Orchards 39 Colandrea Rd., Newburgh, NY
(They have everything)

These three are all beautiful drives and getting there is wonderful too!

PS. If you want o stay on Long Island you probably knew where to go.

The Garden Column: Things to do in September

By Juergen Jaenicke, MG
(Courtesy Cornell Cooperative Extension)

I just walked thru my garden, a walk I take every morning and picked up three more tomatoes. (Everything seems to be too early or too late this year.) I make sure, that I always carry my clippers with me on my walk. There is always something that needs cutting.

I already cleaned up those snaky cucumber vines, ditto the squashes. The roses were cut and I divided my daylilis and hostas.

My garden is almost bare but my wifes' herbs are still going strong and whenever she needs some herbs for cooking she sends me out with a knife to cut some for her. This is such a pleasure! Imagine having your own kitchen garden!

• Plant or transplant evergreens (narrow & broadleaved) this month. Soak immediately after planting. Mulch newly planted evergreens.
• Divide daylilies and hostas after flowering.
• Prevent serious winter injury to semi-hardy shrubs by pulling away the mulch to harden them off. Replace mulch in early November.
• Early leaf drop may be due to dry summer, if so, water trees thoroughly before they go into a dormant condition later on.
• Now is a good time to fertilize your lawn. Use a slow release fertilizer.
• Sow grass seeds on well prepared soil beds, that should have been prepared in August.
• Continue watering established lawns once a week thoroughly. To help the new seeds to germinate, frequent light watering is necessary.
• Prevent some of next years’ fruit diseases by gathering up fallen leaves, twigs and infected fruit.
• Dig gladiolus corms when they have sufficiently matured. Allow to dry, then remove foliage. Store over the winter in bags with free air circulation.
• Divide and plant many spring-blooming perennials this month, especially if you haven’t done this in three to five years.

Coming next month: Where to pick apples

The Garden Column: Things to do in Early August

1. Don’t prune or fertilize trees or shrubs now; otherwise unnecessary late growth will be promoted. The new growth will not be hardy this winter.

2. Iron deficiency may be a problem on azaleas and other Ericaceous plants. This shows up as yellowish leaves with green veins. Apply iron chelates to fight this problem.

3. Continue watering lawns thoroughly once a week during dry periods.

4. Remember not to spray herbicides on the lawn during the present hot temperatures (over 75 degrees) This will keep ornamentals from being damaged.

5. Constantly be alert for chinch bugs. Sod webworms are also continuing to damage your lawn.

6. Fusarium and verticillium wilt may be present on tomato plants. Use a resistant variety next year.

7. Continue to apply an all-purpose fruit spray to peaches every two weeks, until three weeks before harvest. If brown rot is a problem, continue spraying until two or three days before harvesting them. Use a fungicide such as captan or copper.

8. Spray grapes for black rot with captan, copper or mancozeb.

9. Cut out raspberry and blackberry canes that have already fruited.

10. Lacebug can still be a problem through September on Andromeda and azaleas. For effective control; spray the leaf undersides with carbaryl, malethion or insecticidal soap.

11. Aphids that are sucking juices from maple and weeping willow leaves are dropping honeydew. The leaves will have a mottled appearance. Spray when you see it. (Malathion, acephate, insecticidal soap or oil). Do not apply insecticidal soap to Japanese maples. Do not apply acephate to sugar or red maples. Bagworm larvae are actively feeding now, but spraying to control them is only effective in June .. On small plants, hand pick them, put into a bag and destroy them.

My comment:
If vegetables wouldn’t be so expensive, I wouldn’t be doing much gardening.
Spray the Peaches, spray the tomatoes, apply this, apply that…….
Fight the lace bugs, watch the aphids, collect the bagworms, etc, etc.
Give me a break! Where is the nearest farmers market?
And yet, when I pick that first tomato and slice it, make myself a sandwich with mayo and onions, salt and pepper, I’m in heaven!

The Garden Column: Garden Chores for July

By Juergen Jaenicke, MG
(Courtesy Cornell Cooperative Extension)

Every spring I watch people buy all kinds of annuals. They lug home flats of impatiens, marigolds, zinnias, etc. Annuals are, in the strictest sense, plants that complete their life cycle in one season. These plants can germinate, grow, flower, and set in one year or less. Which means, they have to be replaced every year.

Biennials and "tender" bulbs (not all are true bulbs) would also be included in this definition, since plants of both would have to be replaced every year.

Some "annuals" such as impatiens and geraniums are actually perennials but are treated as annuals in our climate.
I have been successful in saving geraniums over the winter, but have never tried it with impatiens. (Maybe with "Global Warming" this can change.)

Perennial Gardening
I prefer a perennial garden. I don't have to replace all those dead annuals (saving money and labor), plus I am looking forward already to see my plantings from previous years came back to life, strong and beautiful as ever.

Here are a few tips for your perennial garden:
- Most perennials do well in full sun, or at least 5 hours of sunlight a day.
- Many perennials follow the sun and will lean if not planted were they get sufficient light.
- Good drainage and protection from drying winds are essential for growing.

It is generally accepted that the position of the garden is best where it can be viewed from the house, patio or sidewalk. The exact position is influenced by the type of garden you choose, such as a border or an island bed.

The Garden Column: Herb Container Gardening

By Juergen Jaenicke, MG
(Courtesy Cornell Cooperative Extension)

Not everyone has the space or the strength to dig an herb garden. That’s where container gardening comes in.
Herbs give so much pleasure for so little work. They look good, often smell good and usually taste good. Best of all, they thrive with little fuss.

Herbs are ideal for growing in pots. Many thrive in hot, dry conditions with excellent drainage--the kind that can be found in a clay pot. Also many herbs tend to vigorous to the point of being invasive, so it's good, to have them contained, Herbs that do best in pots in hot, dry conditions include thyme, oregano, rosemary, tarragon and lavender. Herbs that do well in pots but prefer cooler, moister conditions include parsley, cilantro and mint.

The first step in planning and planting an herb garden is to select which herbs are best for you.

Annuals vs. Perennials
You will notice that many herbs are listed as annuals or perennials. If you are confused about the difference, remember that annuals seed and die in only one year or less. Perennials come back year after year.

Practical Uses For Your Herb Garden
Some herbs, such as catmint and thyme, are worth planting just for show. Others, such as lemon balm and lavender, provide a fragrant appeal that many enjoy. For the chefs among you, herbs such as basil and cilantro, makes your cuisine a gourmands dream.

Choosing a Container
There are nearly as many types of containers as there are plants to put them in. The bottom line: If the container can hold soil and has drainage, it can grow plants.

Container Size and Shape
The size of the container also plays a role. Large containers can be heavy and expensive but retain moisture well and make a strong impact. Small containers are less expensive but dry out quickly.

Where to Put a Container
You'll need to be sure that the container is placed so the herbs get the amount of sun they need. If you place a container on a porch or under an eave or other shelter, you have to water more often than if they are in the open.

Maintaining Healthy Soil
For the lazy gardener like me, use a ready potting mix. Miracle-Gro and other premium mixes work just fine.

Plant your herbs (I don't bother with seeds but buy baby plants from a reliable nursey.
Water frequently, fertilize (see the growers suggestion), hope for sunshine and watch your herbs grow