Thursday, March 27, 2008

Garden Talks March 27, 2008

The weather is warming up slowly and surely, the snow and even the snow banks are coming down in size. Before I come to work tomorrow I am actually going to do a little lawn raking. I have some high spots that have dried out enough and like you all I have much sand and salt near my road that needs to come off. Much of my lawn is still snow covered but the grass that is emerging from the ice pack is covered with healthy portions of snow mold. Snow mold is mold that sits on top of your lawn because the lawn has been suffocated by snow and ice for a long winter. Folks we all have it or will have it. Left untended the snow mold can lead to lawn and grass problems. Want to try some organic gardening? Get out there and rake the mold and dead grass off. Organic gardening is properly all the rage but much of organic gardening borrows old techniques like “old fashioned raking!”

I just spoke to a customer who just picked up some potting soil and some containers and some vegetable seeds. She is going to start some peas this weekend in a container and keep them on the sunny south side of her house. What a great idea! I have a similar sunny and well protected outdoor area that faces south. I think I am going to pick up some Coast of Maine Bar Harbor Blend soil and some pea seeds and get a container garden started in the next couple of days. If any of you have a container vegetable garden strategy for this time of year please share it at! I would love to post some good ideas at the Skillin’s Garden Log found at ACTUALLY anyone doing ANY SORT of outdoor gardening either TODAY or this WEEKEND or over the next few days, tell us briefly what you are doing and how you are doing it.. This would be raking, pruning, planting, pleading and any sort of garden plodding. I will post your tales at the Skillin’s Garden Log (found at for all to see and share! (All names will be kept confidential). Maine Gardeners are among the best in the world because if you can garden here, you can garden just about anywhere!

Also I have noticed that the many feet of snow that I have piled over my rose bushes (southeast exposure) has melted away. I don’t prune my roses heavily in the fall. NOW is the time to get after those dead and dying branches. Prune your hybrid tea roses heavily back to live growth. You know you have seen live growth when the inside of the bark is green. Last fall I piled compost around the graft of the rose so that the graft is buried by several inches. Then I put some balsam fir boughs on top of the compost. In the next couple of days, I am going to pull off the balsam fir boughs. In about another week, I will pull away all that compost so the graft can get sun and air. So prune those roses now and then pull away any top mulch. In about a week or so, dig out that graft!

Keep an eye on your fruit trees and the ground around them. When the snow has melted on the ground around each tree and before the tree's buds swell and turn plump, clean old leaves and debris from around the tree. Then, spray the trees with a product like Bonide Fruit Tree Spray or Oil Lime and Sulfur Spray (a more natural approach). These products will coat the plant and smother any insects and insect eggs and also will help to prevent diseases. Completely spray the branches as well as the entire area around the tree trunk for best control. Speaking of fruit trees, we just got in some awesome fruit trees that can be planted NOW. Let us show you what we have. They are gorgeous.

Mike Skillin
Skillin's Greenhouses
March 27, 2008

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