Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Garden Talks May 19

Hello again,

Gardening is happening in Skillin's Country where we are all about teaching you to Grow A Greener Garden!
One of the prettiest plants in my yard is the Brunnera Macrophylla Alkanet a shade tolerant perennial with beautiful blue flowers right now. I borrowed the picture above from the ubcbotanicalgarden.com site found through Google images. The plant is a beautiful medium green shade with some gorgeous contrasting blue flowers. We sell it here at Skillin's and I highly recommend it for shady spots.
Yesterday morning I finally installed my Mole Mover tubes to protect my vegetables and flowers. These tubes are the best battle I know of against pesky and voracious woodchucks. Those big woodchucks get hungry and they love tender vegetable, annual and perennial plants. Come see us for the BEST protection. The Mole Mover tubes work great. They run on C batteries (in the new models the C batteries can last 18 months, a big improvement over the old models, and this is a little better for the environment). The tubes need to be plunged into the ground within 30 feet of the woodchucks holes--not necessarily in or near the garden. Once battery powered and in the ground the tubes emit a consistent annoying sound every 25 to 30 seconds. This sound can be heard underground only (and in the woodchuck's den) and it slowly but surely drives the woodchuck beserk until he and the family leave the area. Once plunged into the ground give the tubes a week or two and then the woodchucks will be gone. A few years back now I had some fat woodchucks that almost drove me away from gardening . They ate nearly all my perennials, annuals and vegetables. I tried fencing, hot pepper wax, throwing rocks, gasoline rags in the holes, filling the holes, fake owls, motion activated water throwers, rotenone garden dust, coyote urine, fox urine, fencing again and praying and finally the praying led me to the Mole Mover tubes! They worked and now I garden happily! We sell them here at Skillin's!
I had a question today about pruning lilacs--it is fine to cut the flowers now and enjoy them indoors. Lilacs can be pruned freely for up to about 2 or 3 weeks after they are finished flowering and then should not be pruned after that so as not to disturb next year's wood that they will flower on. So enjoy those lilacs now and prune soon!
Planting tomatoes? Plant with Tomato Tone by Espoma or Tomato Maker. During the garden season water feed your tomatoes with Fish & Seaweed fertilizer by Neptune's Harvest; these natural fertilizers contain good doses of calcium which help to strengthen your tomato plants and fruit. This helps to alleviate Blossom End Rot a common problem for tomatoes in our cool and often wet climate.
Also, give your tomatoes plenty of SPACE. Most problems I see with tomatoes (leaf blights, lack of fruit) happens because not enough light and air circulation can get to the tomato plants. And last but not least tomato plants love monthly applications of Messenger--if you do nothing at all give your Tomatoes Messenger!!! (we talk about Messenger in some detail in the posts of May 18 and May 15).
Mike Skillin
Skillin's Greenhouses
May 19, 2009

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