Sunday, April 13, 2008

Garden Happenings! Week of April 7

Hello again,

Gardening is Happening in Skillin's Country! In this post I will be letting you know what I am doing or what I hear is going on out there in our local gardening world. I will be updating this post with quick supplements all through the week! So check here frequently! If you would like to contribute just drop us a quick note at OR leave a comment at the end of this post. We would love any tips OR questions from you!
April 12:
Here are a couple of great gardening questions. The first question is from LM:
Question: I would like to use some treatment this year for crabgrass but am concerned since I have a small dog. When I read the label on scott’s crabgrass preventer it didn’t look too pet friendly to me. Is there a safer way to go? I don’t need to kill all the crabgrass at once but I would like to start getting a handle on it.
Answer: LM, this type of question is asked frequently to us this time of year!

Lawn Booster by Organica ( ) is just the product you are looking for. The product is natural corn gluten meal equipped with natural microbes that help the corn gluten to break down quickly and efficiently. “Broken down” corn gluten naturally coats seeds and prevents them from germination.

We highly recommend the Organica Four Step Lawn Program and applying the Lawn Booster in mid to late April and another application in early September and you should see a good difference.

The Lawn Booster covers 2500 square feet and retails for $25.99 at Skillin’s in Cumberland, Brunswick or Falmouth.

Or buy the Organica Four Step Program which is 4 bags of Lawn Booster and one bag of kelp and one bag of natural microbes ( a $143 value) for $119 at Skillin's and pay only $99 after a $20 Organica rebate. This would cover all four steps of the Organica 4 step natural lawn program for a 5,000 square foot lawn for the year.
JC has a question about roses!
I have one rose plant in a pot that I kept in the garage thru the winter and 1 that I left in the ground covered with mulch and a foam cover. The 1 in the pot doesn't look good and I am not sure of the one in the ground.

Is there any steps I can take to give these plants the best chance to survive? They are the Pope Paul white rose plants and they produce beautiful roses. This was the 1st winter for both of them.
Answer: The best thing to do for both roses is to prune any dead or dying growth right off; prune back to live growth (live growth is there if you have green on the inside of the bark).

Pull away completely any mulch around your outdoor bush.

I would get the potted rose out in the sun ASAP and give it a thorough watering. Also I would recommend applying a nice natural fertilizer like Plant Booster Plus by Organica OR Rose Tone by Espoma around your roses and let’s see if we can get some good natural nutrients to them.
Send any questions or comments to OR by sending us a comment at the end of this post!
April 11:
It is time to get the Go-Pher It tubes out. The Go-Pher It tubes work very well against woodchucks. They are battery operated metal tubes that emit a consistent beep every 30 seconds or so. Once the tube is plunged into the ground (it needs to be within 30 feet of the woodchuck hole) the consistent beep can be heard underground (cannot be heard above ground) by the woodchuck family. Over the course of a few days, the woodchucks can't take the constant din of the Go-Pher It tube and the woodchuck family flees far from the area.
Several years ago, the Go-Pher It tube saved my gardening experience and this is the honest truth. A family of woodchucks had driven me to the point of giving up vegetable and flower gardening after a war of about 3 years. I tried everything: fox urine, gasoline rags, plant dusts, devices to spray water on wandering pests (a wet summer for me!) and many more schemes. Nothing worked until I plunged those Go-Pher It tubes into the ground.
So, if you own one or two, power them up and get them in the ground! If you need to own one or two, come see us at Skillin's!
April 10:
*I had a long work day so I did not get enough yard time! I did take a little time last evening to pull away almost all of the mulch around my roses so the graft or "knot" is pretty well exposed to the sun and the air. I need to prune off the last of the dead growth, but I think all four of my rose bushes made it through the winter. They spent much of the winter under a DEEP blanket of insulative snow and of course mulch but roses are still never a sure bet!
*I did get to give my front lawn a good raking. Wow what a winter! I had my front lawn raked clean at the end of November but I filled a whole bag full of dead grass, small branches, parts of Christmas wreaths and more! Wow did that lawn need a raking!
*While I was out there I had time to think about my old flowering crab that does not flower any more. It has been a couple of years since I cut them (probably more like 5 years) and the suckers are way too tall. I need to prune them at the base of the ground and this should help the roots. Also the tree has become leggy and I am going to try and prune HARD much of the old branches. Let's see if this pruning helps to rejuvenate my old friend. I will also be getting a good natural fertilizer like Plant Booster Plus by Organica or Plant Tone by Espoma around the old tree.
April 9:
*We planted some awesome pansies in some outdoor containers yesterday but last night a frost was definitely forecast. So we covered the pansies with a great lightweight cover called Frost Cover and as we took the cover off this morning, the Frost Cover had frost on it but the pansies were snug and protected underneath and ready for a bright new sunny day!
Yes, we have pansies for sale and YES they are awesome!
*Now is a great time to start edging your perennial and shrub beds. Grass creeps, it just does! So get that edger of yours out and start redefining those beds. Edging is a great way to get those garden muscles warmed up for more--especially on a bright sunny day like this!
April 8:
*The writers of "Today's Garden Center" regularly send us helpful material. This quick list of must have tools for every gardener sounds like a great list:
Here, courtesy of the Master Gardener Volunteers of Clark County, Ohio, are five must-have tools for gardeners of just about any experience level.
Soil Or Garden Knife – Can be used for weeding, dividing perennials, planting bulbs, spreading roots and cutting through small roots. Bonus points for carrying the clip-on sheath (holder) to hook on the waist or attach to a bucket.
Folding Pocket Saw – Handy for pruning those items that are just a bit too large for pruners, yet not too large and unwieldy to stick in garden bucket or bag.
Transplanting Spade - Fits in to tight spaces. Makes moving perennials in an established garden easier. More proportioned for digging the right sized hole. Can also be used for bed edging.
Adjustable Rake – Telescopic rakes are great for large or small areas. Flipped, they are great for smoothing mulch.
Hedge Shears – Good for shaping shrubs and perennials, great for deadheading those multi-blooming perennials like coreopsis.
We received this great question from LM about dividing Stella D'Oro daylillies.
Question: I have several stella d’oros that need dividing this year. They are already sprouting. I was planning on dividing them, re-planting some in the original location and then keeping some potted up until I had their new bed ready in a couple of weeks. I don’t have a green house and was wondering if putting them in pots outside at night might be too much for them.
Answer: NOW is certainly a great time to divide your Stellas and it is not difficult to do.

I think keeping them in pots for a couple of weeks will be fine. On cold nights keep them near your foundation to keep them a little warmer but for the most part they should be fine. I would recommend planting your new transplants with a great planting mix like Penobscot Blend by Coast of Maine or Plant Booster Plus by Organica.

Any new transplants should be watered regularly throughout the gardening season.

Speaking of watering make sure you water well your potted Stellas when the soil in the pot gets good and dry to the touch.

April 7:

What a warm day! I took my lunch break at home and quickly dragged a couple of good sized plants outdoors. It has been awhile since we have been able to give them a real thorough watering because of the size of the pots. So my Schefflera Arborcola and my flowering geranium both got a real nice soaking from my garden hose. Just prior to doing that I gave each of them two Plant Nutrition Tablets made by Organica (

The Plant Nutrition Tablets are a great source of organic nutrients for container plants that break down very nicely into the soil because the nutrients are accompanied by some natural microbes. This is organic science at its best AND the product is sold here at Skillin's. The tablets are easily applied by merely pushing the large capsules into the plant's root system! We highly recommend Organica's Plant Nutrition Tablets as an outstanding natural fertilizer for all container plants--hangers, large patio plants and, of course, any sized houseplants!

Tomorrow is going to be warm as well. If you have time in the afternoon, drag a large plant or two outdoors and give them a good soaking and maybe even some Plant Tabs if they have not had any TLC for awhile!

I also planted two flats of pansies in a pot that I filled with Coast of Maine Bar Harbor Blend potting soil (the best potting soil I know of--and it is a local product!). And guess what I stuck in for some fertilizer? That's right Organica Plant Nutrition Tabs! Tonight the temps are going to be right around 32 degrees but I am keeping the pansies in a protected southerly spot that is warm during the day. I think I will just keep the pot close to the foundation and I think the pansies will be fine! Plus if I bring the pansies inside my two cats, Manny and Noah will probably find that new soil and plant way too appealing overnight!
Mike Skillin
Skillin's Greenhouses
Week of April 7, 2008

No comments: