Sunday, October 26, 2008

Garden Talks October 26

Hello again,

I spent some time neatening the yard yesterday and I have a few Garden Talks to say.

I dumped all my beloved vegetable and flower containers yesterday (well all but the Swiss Chard) as the frosts of this past week finally did a number on them. I had a great year with my containers again.

To review, I would definitely recommend Bar Harbor Blend Potting Soil by Coast of Maine as THE soil of choice for containers. It is locally produced and we need to use all the local products we can but good news--it is not expensive AND it is the BEST quality potting soil I have ever used. I highly recommend it. Also I highly recommend aggressively using the Fish and Seaweed fertilizer when you water the containers early on in the season. This gets your plants off to a fast start NATURALLY and strengthens the roots for a good flowering or vegetable season. This is still Maine and still a short season so I don't think you can fertilize your containers too much as long as you do it naturally. Finally, I deposit at least two Plant Tablets by Organica into each container every two months. Once I stop using the Fish and Seawood food (after the first month) the broken down Plant Tablets are giving the roots of the plant all kinds of food and good natural bacteria.

I grew some very nice vegetables this season in my containers. Full sun is needed and I was able to place some on the top of my paved driveway so my fall plantings still stayed warm for awhile. I would make sure your fall containers (use peas, even beans, carrots really try anything) should be planted by seed by the first week of August. The air gets pretty cold in Spetember even when the containers are on the warm pavement.

I still have some very nice Red Sails lettuce and broccoli that I planted (as seedlings, not seeds) on a warm Labor Day afternoon. These plants face southeast and it got pretty warm the first few days so they "flagged" from the heat the first few days but as I said the plants are gorgeous now and I still think I will get some broccoli. Red Sails is a leaf lettuce and I have been cutting that for weeks now. Make a note in your Journal--I highly recommend Red Sails lettuce early this coming year (think April) and also late (think September).

I mowed my lawn short and ground a few leaves (great organic matter for your lawn) in the process. I kept my lawn long this year because I wanted the longer blades of grass to help "shade out" prospective weeds. I think that approach worked well and I will do that again next year. Yesterday I knocked my lawn mower down a notch closer to the ground so I got a shorter cut. I will do this again in another week or ten days to keep the lawn more closely cropped as we draw closer to winter (better air circulation in colder and wetter weather is a good thing) and also to grind a few more leaves into the ground. I used to think that grinding leaves in the lawn was not a good thing; that those leaves would contribute to thatch (thick layerings of built up material that would keep air and water from the ground). But this was before I started to use natural fertilizers on the lawn several years ago. Now all the natural ingredients in natural fertlilizers help break down organic matter like the ground up leaves to improve the cell structure and microbial matter in the soil. Better soil, deeper roots and a naturally greener and stronger lawn.

Want a great plant that yields nutrituous fruit and gives great colored foliage in the fall? Blueberries! The foliage in my blueberries is gorgeous right now. Beautiful! Blueberries are my favorite fruit and I really appreciate the orangy red foliage right now!

Mike Skillin
Skillin's Greenhouses
October 26, 2008

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