Monday, July 28, 2008

Garden Happenings! Week of July 28

Hello again,

Gardening is Happening in Skillin's Country!

In this post we will be letting you know what we are doing or what we hear is going on out there in our local gardening world.

We 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.

July 28:

We kick this gardening week off with some great gardening pictures and comments from our great gardening friend Barbara Gardener!

Barbara sent this picture along with the following comment: "Lovely background from last years (Apil) terrible storm. Could have been a lot worse." Barbara, you have done a great job gardening in front of the forest. What I really notice is the great mixture of all summer flowering annuals with some neat annual dianthus on the lower left in front of the white astilbe.

This next picture is a real show stopper. I have "oohed and ahhed" over pink impatiens in the past well Barbara took this fantastic after dark picture of a gorgeous Asiatic lily. Barbara must have more energy than me--she seems to be staying up pretty late!

Window boxes and containers are a great way to incorporate "extra" plants you may have on hand or a great way to use some plants that you see and really love but may not have the space in the ground at this point. Barbara told me "three plants of Skillin's Million Bells in the cedar tub. Verbena and "leftovers" in the window boxes. I have six windowboxes on the deck railing so I thought I had better stagger the weight by putting them in and out. A broken railing sounded a little expensive to repair."

Thanks Barbara Gardener!
I am a natural gardener as much as possible as I and so many of us here at Skillin's are very committed to Planting for the Planet. I will confess that 2 summers ago I surveyed my lawn in mid summer and was aghast at how the weeds were overtaking my lawn. An immaculate lawn is not something I desire but I feel like my lawn should be mostly healthy grass.
So I will admit that in 2006 I applied Bayer Advance All in One Weed Killer twice to my weeds and then twice again last year. These weeds were intense.
In both of those years I have consistently applied natural and organic lawn fertilizers to my lawn as well as Miracal by Jonathan Green to keep the natural products going into the soil and to preserve that good biology. For the fertilizers I used Nature's Turf by North Country Organics and I love the product--this year I have switched over to the all natural Four Step Lawn Program by Organica ( and sold right here at Skillin's!) and I am impressed by the Organica Four Step program.
Right now is a GREAT time to apply Step 3 of the Organica Four Step program--their Microbial Soil Conditioner.
Got lawn weeds bad? Consider the Bayer Advanced All in One Weed Killer (and use according to directions) and then follow up with Organica's Microbial Soil Conditioner. Any biological interruption that the Bayer Advanced product may bring can be pretty quickly reversed by sticking close to the Organica Four Step program and right now is the perfect time for Step 3!
Got lawn weeds medium bad? Get a dandelion fork or a thin trowel and dig those guys up. If you just have spotty weeds an hour or two of simple digging can eradicate many of those bad weeds. Follow up with some spot grass seeding using the Black Beauty grass seed by Jonathan Green and Grass Seed Accelerator along with committing to the Organica Four Step Lawn Program and you have a much better lawn situation IN A HURRY!
July 29:
Terry Skillin checks back in to the Skillin's Garden Log:
July is it suppose to be hot or rainy, we have had it seems plenty of both. Sun provides us with vitamin D and rain contains vitamin B-12 so this July has been such a multi-vitamin. Not only am I feeling at the top of my game from all of this weather, but also so are all my little mollusk friends. Those low down little invertebrates (I know the type so I can speak freely) are just feasting on everything in my gardens from my Aster to my Zinnias. It’s really the stuff in between that I am most protective of: beans, lettuce, and other veggies and I am very particular about what I use. For me my defense is Diatomaceous Earth. I use it to control slug, snails and even root maggots. I do reapply it after a rain or heavy watering while my garden is under siege. Diatomaceous Earth is fossilized hard-shelled algae and like me has an abrasive quality that cuts and dries out my little friends. Don’t get it in your eyes; even organic solutions have their hazards. Another great product that we offer is “Slug Magic” by Bonide its active ingredient iron phosphate and is safe for veggies and pets. Slug Magic lures these little beasties out of their hiding places and basically dissolves them into soil. We also have slug traps that use beer as a lure and they work great too, but hey what a colossal waste of a fine beverage. Remember we all need to read the labels, even on beer.

Popillia japonica--the dreaded Japanese Beetle--with all of our controls may have yet another worthy opponent. The Winsome Fly! Remember back in the 80s how the midget wrestlers would always pick on AndrĂ© the Giant? Well it’s not really that important to my story here but Mike remembers. These little guys with warrior hearts would take on these massive giants, beat the “snot” out of them and win. (This is Mike and I remember that Andre the Giant would always beat the height challenged warriors in the end) In this scenario Andre’ is the Japanese Beetle and the midget wrestlers are the Winsome Flies. The Winsome Fly was imported from Asia specifically as a parasite to control the Japanese Beetle. The fly lays it’s eggs on the beetle and as the fly hatches it burrows into the beetle and starts to feed on the flying muscles making the beetle take cover back in the soil. The fly hangs out there feeding on the dead beetle until the fly reemerges in July. That’s just so cool! To read more check out or google Winsome fly. They way they describe the whole thing will not be as action packed as I have but it might be a smidge more scientific.

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