Tuesday, October 30, 2012

November Garden Talks

Hello again,

Well, Sandy has paid Skillin's Country a "good visit" and has left power outages, scattered tree limbs and some flooding. But really we have not been treated badly as our brothers and sisters in New Jersey, New York and many other states. Our hearts, our thoughts, our prayers go out to everyone affected by Sandy.

Power outages have definitely affected my keyboard time so for November Garden Tips I am going to defer to Margaret Roach's November Garden Chores from her outstanding A Way to Garden blog.

A couple of Margaret's tips really stand out to me:

1) Now and for the next few days is a great time to get a head start on 2013 weeding. The weeds come out with ease right now with all this moisture we have been blessed with.

2)Start paperwhites indoors. Stagger forcing batches every 2 weeks or so for winter long color. We also sell chinese sacred lilies and soleil d'or narcissus and hyacinths with just a little "coolness" before you force them in water or soil will also give us winter long color.

I will be checking into the Skillin's Garden Log as often as possible with my own thoughts. Send any questions to skillins@maine.rr.com and we will answer!

Mike Skillin
Skillin's Greenhouses
October 30, 2012

Friday, October 26, 2012

Skillin's Daily "Dirt" October 2012

Hello again,

Because every garden (and gardener) thrives on good "dirt"! We bring you quick topical tips for your garden in Skillin's Country (and maybe a life observation or two)....

Friday, October 26, 2012 Late October Garden Slideshow

Another day and another link to the A Way to Garden website. In this link, Margaret Roach brings a late October garden slideshow. I often give this time of year more disdain than anything else but some aspects can be fairly striking. Today I will let her pictures do the talking!

Thursday, October 25, 2012 Garden Prep with Cardboard

Happy 50th birthday to my brother Mark Skillin--can't believe we have both made it our 50's!

Today's post is a quick link to the A Way to Garden website--one of my absolute favorite gardening websites. Specifically I refer to her post about "Garden Prep, with Cardboard".

Fall is a great time to turn a weedy bed from weeds to a cleaner bed. Or to take some lawn area and make a new bed. Grab some cardboard and let it get to work! Read how here!

Sunday, October 21, 2012 Cutting Back Perennials

I had a great phone conversation today with a customer about which perennials to trim this time of year. We started the conversation talking about coneflowers (echinacea). Should I trim them back to the ground now? I have some coneflower that still looks good (flowers are long gone but the foliage is still pretty green). Some coneflower foliage is pretty brown (aka dead and dying). What I do is trim back all the "dead and dying" to the ground. Foliage that looks good I keep because the old flower heads do contain seeds that the birds appreciate. We also talked about Black Eyed Susans. Like the coneflower I am keeping them around for the birds for another week or two.

Many perennials like peonies can be trimmed. That growth is all dead and dying. Some foliage like my Amsonia still looks good--I have not cut that back yet and won't for awhile. My artemisia (silver mound) was looking good until recently. Now some of it has gotten brown and black. Next day off: that goes too.

In conclusion, if the perennial foliage is dead and dying cut it back to the ground. If there is still some merit for keeping more green foliage and you want to keep it for awhile go right ahead!

Thursday, October 18, 2012 Watering Houseplants

Just a little blurb on properly watering houseplants. Most of us water our plants often enough but quite often we don't give them enough water when we do water. Therefore, the top third or half of the pot gets watered but perhaps not the bottom of the root system.

If you can bring your houseplant to a sink or a tub when the soil is dry to the touch. Let the water run slowly into soil of the plant from the watering can or from a faucet. When I can I let the water pool on top of the soil up to the brim of the pot. I will re fill the pot 4 or 5 times (by this time the water is POURING out of the bottom of the pot). Let the excess water drain out of the pot completely and put the plant back in its place.

Now you know the plant has had enough water!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012 A Man and His Bird Feeder

This morning I was at the front (sales) counter at Skillin's Falmouth. Standing and waiting to get checked out was a customer I will call Ralph (not his real name). Ralph and his wife are frequent Friends of Skillin's. I have enjoyed getting to know them a little bit over the years.

This morning Ralph was buying sunflower kernels for his birds. Ralph likes to converse a little and will occasionally "bust" a little smile but he is direct and to the point. Ralph doesn't waste words.

With a smile,  I asked Ralph how he was doing. Ralph was by himself--unusual. He replied: "My wife just went into the hospital with cancer. The doctors tell us she is not going to make it out".

Oh my.

Neither Ralph or I said anything. We just looked at each other with tears rimming in our eyes.

"It came on so fast" he said. "My son is with her right now...I just came in because I have to take care of my birds. I can't let them go hungry while I am with her".

"Ralph" I gulped. "You are doing the right thing. It is good you are taking care of them--they need you; like I know you care for her. I am so sorry but I am glad to see you".

I carried the sunflower kernels out to the car for Ralph. He told me again his son was his mother. That's good I said.

"As soon as I feed my birds, I will be going in."

"Say hello to her Ralph. And please get some rest". We teared up again.

"I will Mike; see you again".

You will Ralph, you will.

I am sure someone saw Ralph driving home or to the hospital. Or in between filling his bird feeder. And no one would think a thing. How routine does all that appear!

Yet we are all carrying something. Sometimes it is a heavy load but everyone is carrying something. I need to remember that more. A lot more. How much better would this world be if we all remembered that just a little more?

Who can know what a man filling his bird feeder  is carrying inside? But Someone does and while you are afraid, don't be afraid to ask for help.

Monday,  October 15, 2012 Daffodils, Narcissus and Jonquils

Now is just a great time to plant Fall Bulbs. I still swoon at tulips--don't get me wrong. But my absolute "fave" are the daffodils! Whites, yellows and creams. So bright in the Spring! And so reliable: deer and other eating pests don't like daffodils. And hardy: they have a MUCH longer life than tulips.

Skillin's has the best selection of Fall Bulbs in Maine; there are so many types to pick from. But DO NOT forget the daffodils!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012 Don't Pass on the Drumstick Allium for Your Garden!

The folks at Horticulture Magazine recently sent out a great recommendation for one of my favorite bulbs--the Drumstick Allium. I love all alliums--including the giant Allium Globemaster (a very popular bulb sold right here at Skillin's). The drumstick allium is smaller than other alliums but has a great color and a garlic type flower. It flowers later than most bulbs yet still early enough in Skillin's Country so that it "shows" really well. We have some "drumsticks" available here. NOW is a great time plant fall bulbs and when you do, "don't pass on the drumsticks!"

The Drumstick Allium

Tuesday, October 9, 2012 Inner Conifer Needles Turning Brown or Yellow

Driving and running around Skillin's Country it is easy to notice that white pines and other conifers are showing quite a bit of inner needle loss. This is the time of year conifers shed their inner needles and if the trees are near stressful areas like roadsides the needle loss can be sudden and seem severe. But in most cases this is perfectly natural-a way the trees have been designed to shed old growth. And pine needles make a great mulch and moderate amounts can be smartly added to compost (along with some lime).

If on closer inspection you see the browning is more at the outer tips, then it could be other issues. If you ARE more interested take a read of this post by Margaret of A Way to Garden.

Monday, October 8, 2012 12 Trees and Shrubs for Fall Color

Great gardener Margaret Roach of A Way to Garden maintains a fabulous website. I highly recommend that you check it out! Margaret recently posted a terrific article called "Trees and Shrubs for Fall Color". All the plants listed will thrive in Skillin's Country. These plants may not be in stock at this point at Skillin's but we will offer them all in 2013 if we don't have now. Call us at 781-3860 (800-244-3860) or write us at skillins@maine.rr.com if you would like to check availability on any of the plants. Enjoy the post!

Sunday, October 7, 2012 Morning Glories: What a Heavenly Blue Flower!

I just snapped this photo the other day of these Heavenly Blue Morning Glories. They are JUST starting to flower now and I hope that I can get a few more weeks of color--we shall see about that!!

I planted them late (about the third week of June). Had I done so in late May I would have had some good color before now but better late than never! If you have never grown these--you MUST!!! I planted 3 small pots of them under a 6' trellis that I simply leaned up against my house in a sunny spot. A 5 minute job that served as a great gardening move! I did get plenty of Flower Tone by Espoma in the ground at the time of planting and then used liberal amounts of Neptune Harvest's Fish and Seaweed liquid food for the first few weeks.

Mike Skillin
October 2012

Monday, October 22, 2012

What's On Sale at Skillin's!

Hello again,

*On Sale NOW: Halloween decorations are 30% Off! What perfect timing! Halloween is fast approaching and it is time to decorate for it! We have some great savings for you!!

*On Sale NOW: Shade, Flowering and Fruit Trees now 60% Off! Evergreen Trees 30% Off!! EVERYTHING ELSE (shrubs, ground covers, grasses and vines) are 20% Off for 1, 3 or more for 30% Off !!! The Evergreen Trees are all Skillin Grown and freshly dug!

*Fall Mums--what we have left looks GREAT but the season is  speeding by so have Fall Mums on Sale NOW for Buy 1, Get 1 Free!!

*On Sale NOW: Buy 2 perennials save 20%, 3 save 30%, 4 save 40%; step up and buy 10 perennials and save 50%--all discounts off regular retail prices.

*On Sale NOW: Outdoor furniture is 50% off and it has been selling fast! But we have some great pieces still in stock and looking for a home!

*Our remaining plastic Adirondack chairs are on sale for $15.99 (reg $24.99).

 *Garden Hats (we sold a bunch of them this summer) are now on sale for 50% off!

*Every Tuesday, Mature Gardeners receive 10% off regular retail prices! All day--every Tuesday!!

*Every Friday from Noon to Close, we host our Flower Power Happy Hour where you will receive 30% off most fresh cut flower stems! And 10% off our already specially priced Market Bouquets.  What a deal!! We stock up with fresh flowers for the weekend--so you get to choose from the BEST offerings of the week.

Here are some great ongoing sales:

*Our Fall Mums are the Best Ever!! We have great pricing: Our 8" mums are only $6.99 apiece. If you buy 5 or more mums the price drops to $5.99 apiece and 10 or more mums the price is ONLY $5.49 apiece! Yippee!!

*Buy 1 box of Colonial Candles and receive 10% off regular retail prices! Buy 2 boxes and you receive 20% off both boxes!!

*Buy 5 bags of Mulch, Compost and Top Soil and receive 10% off regular retail prices! This is a Mix and Match so tailor the purchase to best suit your needs. We sell the BEST in mulches, compost and top soils from Coast of Maine, Jolly Gardener and Little River. The best amendments mean the BEST results naturally for your plants!

*Buy 6 4.5" potted all naturally grown Herbs for $3.99 each (regular retail price is $4.49 each!). We grow the best in herbs for your taste buds and also as a great complement to other plants in your garden!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

5 Herbs to Add to Your Home Vegetable Garden

Michael C. Podlesny is the administrator for the largest Vegetable Gardening page on Facebook.

He recently wrote the following article called "Herbs to Add to Your Home Vegetable Garden". This article and more herb gardening information can be found right HERE at http://www.ezinearticles.com/. I have made some comments in italics.

We are heading into indoor gardening season and Skillin's quite often has herb plants already grown in our greenhouse for you to use immediately. If you want to go the seed and grow route we do have seeds available now for you to use. Any of the following plants can be grown indoors as well as outdoors!
"... there are five herbs in particular that I believe every home vegetable gardener should add to their lineup. They are easy to grow, do not take up a lot of space and super simple to get started.


The aforementioned herb is my number one herb of choice.... basil can be added to sauces, soups and stews to enhance the flavor. There are a number of varieties of basil, such as lemon, licorice, and slam queen to name a few but my favorite is the Italian large leaf which is also the most common basil that you see. You can grow basil in a pot on your window sill and have it handy throughout the year.


 Rosemary can grow as tall as two feet so it is more than likely for most home vegetable gardeners not an indoor plant. It is also a tough herb to grow as studies have shown in some areas of the world that the germination rate is around 50% so you will want to sow the seeds heavily. However, if you are a successful with it, rosemary adds tremendous flavor. We sell great rosemary plants year round at Skillin's. I would suggest buying and using the mature plants not starting it from seed!


What other herb can you think of that goes better on pizza than Oregano? Common Italian is the variety of oregano that most people are accustomed to. It is also a great addition to soups and stews. It is a perennial plant so you will not have to sow new seeds every year and it is a very hardy plant.


My mom made the best dish called parsley potatoes. It is a basic recipe where you melt some butter, mix parsley in with the butter then coat some cut up potatoes with the mixture. You bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until potatoes are soft. Adding fresh parsley to this recipe makes Mom's cooking even better. Parsley is an annual herb so it will come back and the best part is you can have fresh parsley right from your back yard in as little as 70 days. Parsley makes a great lush green houseplant. I love parsley plants and I love parsley!


Chocolate has its companion peanut butter, and sour cream has its buddy, chives. Chives are a perennial plant that has a mild flavor, almost onion like. When it grows, it looks like grass, and is a great addition on potatoes, in soups and stews and more. Chives are all that this writer just states and it also is very functional in a perennial garden as a deer deterrent. Deer do not like the scent of chives; and the purple chive flowers are pretty darned attractive in early summer.

These are just 5 of the many herbs you can choose from when creating an herb garden mixed in with your home vegetable garden. These easy to grow plants will add flavor to your cooking with very little effort.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Daffodils, Narcissus and Jonquils

Good gardening friend Paul Parent of the Paul Parent Garden Club (http://www.paulparent.com/) sends out a great newsletter every week with pertinent gardening topics. I encourage you to go to his website to sign up for his newsletter. Paul can also be heard every Sunday morning from 6 AM to 10 AM at his website or at WBACH (104.7 FM) every Sunday morning from 6 AM to 9 AM. Paul recently sent this article out called "Daffodils, Narcissus and Jonquils" (I occasionally add a few comments in italics) and here it is:

"Have you ever heard the story of how the narcissus got its name? A long time ago, Greek mythology stories and writing told the story of Narcissus, the young son of a Greek god, who was led to believe by his father that a long and happy life would be his if he never gazed upon his own features. By chance, Narcissus saw his own reflection in a quiet pool of water and fell in love with his own reflection. Because of this, Narcissus soon withered away; at the spot where he died, beautiful nodding flowers sprang up and were named after him.

Greek stories also tell of the narcotic perfume smell of the flower and how it was used to stupefy those who were to be punished for crimes committed. Other writers said that the fragrance of the flower led to hallucinations and madness. The beauty of the flower has led many gardeners to madness, but the madness is about the beauty of the flower in their gardens. Judge for yourself--plant daffodils in your garden this fall and enjoy the madness in the spring.

In the early days of daffodils, they were called "Lent lilies," as these flower bulbs bloomed naturally in the garden during the Lenten holidays. Today's Easter lily blooms naturally during late June; the Easter lily is forced into bloom by your local florist to celebrate the holiday. Another name given to the daffodil was "chalice flower," because of the shape of the corona or trumpet. Look at the narcissus trumpet--it does resemble the shape of the cup or chalice used to hold the sacramental wine.

The jonquil is a member of the amaryllis family. If you look at writings from Homer and Sophocles hundreds of years ago, you will see how popular they were back then. You may be wondering why I am using three different names for this bulb--let me tell you. Daffodil is the common name for the entire family; narcissus is the Latin or botanical name. The name "jonquil" was given to hybrids that were developed from this family; it means a sweetly scented, rich, yellow species of Narcissus having a slender rounded flower stem and rush-like leaves--hybrids. So no matter what you call them in your garden you are right, no matter what name you use.

Daffodils were wildflowers many years ago, like most of the flowers we have in our gardens today. The Dutch gardeners loved them so much that they began to cross them together to develop new flower strains, and their popularity grew and grew. Dutch records show that in 1548, there were only 24 different types of daffodils, in 1629, the numbers grew to 90 and by 1948, they had grown to almost 8,000 varieties. Today there are over 10,000 varieties and new ones each year.

In Holland today there are only two unique areas where daffodils are grown commercially. One area is 25 square miles in area and concentrated, while the second area is spread out over the country side and not much larger than the major bulb growing area totaling just 50 square miles of soil where they can be grown for exporting.

As the love for these bulbs grew, the Dutch government quickly realized that it would have to act to protect the quality of these bulbs and keep them insect and disease free if the industry was to prosper. The growers and the government together set up guidelines to protect this valuable crop. Strict rules were imposed to keep the Dutch bulb industry safe and strong. Today, no bulb can leave Holland until they are guaranteed to flower in your garden, and are certified insect and disease free.

Narcissus bulbs must be planted in a soil that is well drained and rich in organic matter if you want them to re-bloom for several years to come. Wet soil with standing water or soil that contains clay will kill the bulb during the first winter in the ground, because wet soil will rot the delicate roots. Animal manure or, better still, compost is the best soil conditioner when planting. (We recommend Bulb Tone by Espoma as the best all around planting fertilizer for bulbs).

If your soil is on the sandy side, be sure to add Soil Moist Granules to help hold moisture around the bulbs during the summer time. When planting, select a location with as much sun as possible or plant under trees that leaf out after the flower fades to allow the foliage to make and replace the energy it takes to make new flower buds for next year. If planting under evergreens, plant near the drip line or tips of the branches to insure the bulb foliage gets some sun.

Bulbs need to be fertilized spring and fall for the best flowers every year. Apply Bulb-Tone fertilizer around the foliage while it is in bloom while you remember to care for the plant. Also NEVER, use bone meal as a fertilizer around outdoor bulbs as it will draw animals to the garden--and they will dig up the garden looking for possible bones left there as their food.

It is also important to remove the flowers as they fade to prevent the plant from making useless seed that will never develop properly in your garden. This way all the energy made by the plant is used by the plant for next year's growth and not wasted on unusable seeds. Use a plastic golf tee to mark the bulb cluster in your garden so you will know where to apply the fertilizer in the fall in the fall; weather will flake the paint off wooden tees.

Always plant in groups and never in straight lines as it will be easier to plant annuals around them as the daffodil foliage begins to fade. (Excellent advice!) Remove the foliage to the ground ONLY when the foliage begins to turn yellow! Plant bulbs with a covering of conditioned soil that covers the bulb with twice as much soil as the bulb is high. Example: daffodil bulbs are 3 inches tall so you must dig a hole 9 inches deep! Three inches for the bulb and six inches of soil to cover it. I advise you use Bark Mulch over them for added winter protection.

If you are planting them as wildflowers and are naturalizing them, the grass will do the same as mulch to protect them. If you are mowing this area, be sure the foliage has begun to die back before cutting and NEVER use a lawn weed control product to control weeds or the bulbs will also be killed. When planting narcissus, be sure to plant the bulb with the pointed part of the bulb facing UP. Plant bulbs in groups of 5 to 7 bulbs for the best show of color; also, if the weather gets stormy, they will be able to brace each other from the wind and rain.

Check with your local garden center for information on blooming time so you can plant several types that will bloom at staggered times in your garden. Also consider height of flowers, shape of flower, flower color combinations--and look for unique characteristics of the plant. Remember daffodils are NOT eaten by animals of any type, so do not worry about voles this winter and rabbits and deer in the spring when they are in bloom. Enjoy and plant now." (We have got many awesome varieties here at Skillin's for you!)

Paul Parent Garden Club
October 2012


Good gardening friend Paul Parent of the Paul Parent Garden Club (http://www.paulparent.com/) sends out a great newsletter every week with pertinent gardening topics. I encourage you to go to his website to sign up for his newsletter. Paul can also be heard every Sunday morning from 6 AM to 10 AM at his website or at WBACH (104.7 FM) every Sunday morning from 6 AM to 9 AM. Paul recently sent this article out called "Hyacinths" (I occasionally add a few comments in italics) and here it is:

"When I think of fragrance in the garden, there is no better flower than the hyacinth! When in bloom, the flower produce a perfume that will fill the air around the garden with unforgettable fragrance that will bring you on your knees to take deep breaths of its intoxicating fragrance. The original hyacinth is a wild flower that grows all over eastern Mediterranean, in Asia and from Syria to Persia, where it stills blooms wild.

The Dutch took this wild flower to their breeding fields in 1562, and began to hybridize the plant to what you see today. Today, this plant is known as the Dutch hyacinth all over the world. In the early eighteenth century, the plant breeders had developed about 50 varieties, but today there are about 2,000 varieties available and more coming every year. Madame de Pompadour recommended to Louis XV extensive hyacinth plantings for his palace garden. At the time each bulb sold for $500.00--I like today's prices much better.

A well-known Grecian myth tells how the hyacinth received its name. Hyacinthus was a gifted and handsome mortal youth, beloved by Apollo, the Sun God, and also by Zephyrus, God of the West Wind. Hyacinthus preferred to spend playful time with Apollo. Zephyrus became jealous and was annoyed that a mere mortal, however talented and beautiful, could command Apollo's affection and interest.

One day when Apollo had challenged Hyacinthus to a game of quoits or throwing the discus, Zephyrus let his jealous fury go. He blew strongly on the discus and caused it to strike Hyacinthus on the forehead, ending his life. Apollo was grieved and vowed the beauty of the young Hyacinthus would always be remembered. From the blood of the slain youth, he caused a path of fragrant, purple flowers to spring up and named them after the dead youth.

The original purple hyacinth has been hybridized to a wide range in colors and many shades of each color for you to choose from. Hyacinth flowers have the truest and largest variety of blues of any spring flowers. Besides blue, look for white, yellow, pink, orange, scarlet, maroon, salmon, violet and just about every color in the rainbow. Hyacinths are the easiest of all Dutch bulbs to grow in your garden. They do better if planted a bit deeper than most bulbs.

Hyacinths will flower longer than most bulbs because of short, thick stems and the way that the flowers are arranged on the stem in rows side by side and close together. This tight flower will not blow over in heavy winds or rain like tulips and daffodils do. If you do not move the bulb once planted, it will last for many years and usually outlast the time in the garden of most bulbs. Hyacinths will do best in a light soil with good drainage, a soil conditioned with compost or animal manure and a soil that is refreshed every year with fertilizer like Bulb-Tone when the plant is in bloom.

When the flower fades, remove the entire flower stem right to the ground but do not touch the foliage until it begins to turn yellow, as this foliage is making energy for the bulb for next year's flowers. Hyacinths do best when planted in a sunny garden but will tolerate a bit of shade early in the day. Plant early in the fall to give the bulb time to make big roots and get established before the ground freezes. Plant bulbs in groups so they can brace each other in stormy weather, and remember groups of colorful bulbs look better and are more eye-catching than bulbs planted in rows or scattered throughout a large flowerbed as single bulbs.

Dig your hole 10 inches deep; add a bit of Soil Moist moisture retention granules and Bulb-Tone bulb food, never BONE MEAL, to prevent animals from digging up flowerbed looking for real buried bones. Cover the soil and keep the garden soil well watered until the ground freezes. Space the bulbs 4 to 6 inches apart in the hole to give them room to grow. I like to cover the planting bed with bark mulch for extra winter protection.

One of the nice things about hyacinths is that they are not eaten by rodents such as mice, voles and squirrels. In addition, when the plants begin to bloom, hyacinths will not be eaten by rabbits and deer--and that is one thing less we have to worry about in the garden. All the rodents and animals we just mentioned love tulips and will eat them in the ground and above ground--but not hyacinths. Hyacinths are easy to plant and care for--and the animals that live around your home will not bother them.

For forcing--if you have an unheated garage or tool-shed, pot some bulbs in containers filled with soil and keep them watered and cool with temperatures less than 50 degrees. For the next 10 weeks, the plants will make roots and begin to think of flowering, so keep them cool.

I have used the steps that lead down into my basement from the bulkhead door with great success. Halfway up to the outside doors seems to have the best temperatures. Watering the potted bulbs is necessary during those 10 weeks of growing. After 10 weeks, bring a pot or two into the house and watch the bulbs begin to grow; enjoy the fragrant flowers in a couple of weeks. If you are going to force the hyacinth to flower, always use the biggest bulb you can find and stay away from bag bulbs--as they are too small to force.

Also look for the pre-treated hyacinths for forcing, in the special hyacinth glass that looks like an hour glass that tells time filled with sand. This special hyacinth glass holds the bulb in place and keeps the bulb in water at the right level to prevent root rot. I always buy extra bulbs and store them in the vegetable crisper to keep them cold, as they were tricked to believe that they already had winter.

When the bulb finishes flowering, toss it into your compost pile or pot it up with soil and place it on a sunny window for 4 to 6 weeks so it can make energy for next year. After the 4 to 6 week period on your windowsill, place the potted bulb in the basement and allow it to dry up. Plant in the garden in April and it will flower next fall.

If you have a grassy area or wild flower bed on your property and would like spring flowers, look for the miniature hyacinths called grape hyacinths. Grape hyacinths come in blue and white and will spread quickly in these areas as long as they receive plenty of sun.

                                                                   (grape hyacinth)
If you have a shady area with good soil, look for wood hyacinths, which will naturalize very easily for you. Wood hyacinths come in white, pink, blue and purple. Just like the Dutch hyacinths, grape hyacinths and wood hyacinths are not eaten by rodents and other animals.

Like the Dutch hyacinths, these two beautiful hyacinths are fragrant, long lasting and spread in a soil that is well drained and fertile, so feed the when planting and every spring when they come into bloom with Bulb-Tone fertilizer."

Paul Parent Garden Club
October 2010

October (mid October) Garden Talks

Hello again,

What a pleasant month October has been so far. Very fine weather interspersed with some good soaking rains has been the rule here in Skillin's Country. Rain is about to arrive for Wednesday and into Thursday the 19th and 20th but our plants will use this rain to grow stronger roots so that they can perform even better in 2012.

But first there is a variety of good gardening tasks that can be done now. The general idea is to clean up well (it is always nice to clean up well I believe!) and then even take some steps for some good natural soil conditioning. This cleaning and conditioning will save you valuable chunks of time next Spring.

And again, the weather is so nice this time of year in Skillin's Country--frankly it is often nicer weather now than in April or May when you are hurrying to get these garden chores done now. So garden well--and smile and enjoy your time outside!

We start our Garden Talks with a print of a timely post by good gardening friend Paul Parent.

Good gardening friend Paul Parent of the Paul Parent Garden Club sends out a great newsletter every week with pertinent gardening topics. I encourage you to go to his website to sign up for his newsletter. Paul can also be heard every Sunday morning from 6 AM to 10 AM at his website or at WBQW (104.7 FM) every Sunday morning from 6 AM to 9 AM.

Paul recently sent out a post titled "October is Fall Clean Up Month and Time to Prepare Plants for Winter". He brings up many helpful points for this month. It is so helpful I am including his entire post:

"Let's start with the vegetable garden and get all the plants pulled out and the soil raked and cleaned. This will remove some of the potential problems for next year, because all insects and diseases have left insect eggs and disease spores in the garden to continue the cycle of life in your garden. By cleaning the garden now, you should have fewer problems next season. By placing this plant material in your compost pile, you should have plenty of recycled organic matter to add back to your soil in June.

Conditioning the soil will make a big difference for next year garden if you do one of the following things. If you live near the seashore, go to the beach, collect seaweed after a big storm, and cover your garden with it. Most years I will add 3 to 6 inches of seaweed over the garden and till it under in early April. Seaweed is like adding peat moss to your garden but seaweed is full of the natural fertilizers, minerals and nutrients that will improve the quality of your soil and help your plants to grow better. (If picking up seaweed is not practical for you we have some great sea based composts that will help get you to the same place--I am thinking specifically of Quoddy Blend by Coast of Maine or Little River Compost; both readily available here at Skillin's!) This is a great time to take out worn out annuals and vegetable crops from your garden and to supplement the soil!

Rake your fallen leaves and pine needles into the garden and chop them up with your lawn mower. Never put them into trash bags and dispose of them, recycle them into your garden and turn them into wonderful soil conditioners. (I have many leaves in the fall and I mow as many as I can back into the lawn. Leaves will break down steadily into an organically fed soil--and that is what my lawn has!)

 If you live far from the ocean and have no source of leaves, go to your local garden center, nursery or feed and grain store and purchase winter rye seed. Winter rye will grow a root system up to a mile long in your garden, plus provide wonderful shiny green foliage this fall. In the spring, as soon as the ground thaws, it will continue growing--reaching 18 inches by late April. Then, mow the grass down with your weed whacker, and then rototill everything together into the soil. The foliage of the winter rye and the root system is considered a green manure crop and it will help to condition your soil. This will help sandy soil hold more moisture during the summer months and it will also help to break apart clay-type soils to provide better root growth by plants.

If you live in an area where the soil is acidic, now is the time to add limestone to the gardens to help sweeten the soil. If you see moss growing in your lawn, if you have pine, maples or oaks growing in your yard, or if your plants never seem to have real green foliage and lack vigor, it's time to add limestone to the garden soil. If you have a wood stove or fireplace and you burn wood products, save the ash and spread it over your garden when you clean it for the same results. NEVER burn pressure-treated lumber inside your home and NEVER use that wood ash either in your vegetable garden because of the wood preservatives in it. Apply limestone at the rate of 50 pounds per 500 sq. ft. of garden and wood ash at one 5-gallon bucket per 500 sq. ft. of garden.

Either of the products should be added to annual, perennial and rose gardens to help them grow and flower better. If you have flowering shrubs and trees that are not productive but mature, the acidic soil could be preventing the plant from flowering. Clematis vines and lilacs love lime and should be treated every year in the fall. Even rhododendrons, azaleas and hollies can grow better with an application every 3 to 4 years where acidic soil is common. If you're feeding them and they still won't flower in your yard, try applying lime or wood ash around them now. The only exceptions are blueberry plants and if you want to keep your blue hydrangea blue--keep these products away from them or the blueberries will have fewer berries and your blue hydrangea will turn pink.

In the perennial garden, cut back to the ground all perennials that turn yellow and brown and remove the foliage to the compost pile or Compost Tumbler. Rake the garden clean, apply lime products, and fertilize the garden at half the recommended rate with organic Flower Tone plant food. If you have the time, add one inch of compost or bark mulch on the garden to help protect the roots of the plant during the winter months, it will be one thing less to do in the springtime. If you have open areas in the perennial garden, how about planting some spring flowering bulbs for early color in your garden?

In the rose garden, all you have to do in rake it clean and pull all the weeds growing there. Removing the leaves with black spots on them from around the plant helps to prevent fungus problems next year because you are remove dormant disease spores from the old leaves that will infect next year's new foliage. You can also lime the garden but do not apply fertilizer EVER after September 1, or you could promote new growth with the nice days we will receive in the next few weeks. You want your plants to begin to harden off or become tough for the winter and go dormant, that way the branches become woody and are better able to fight off the damaging winds of winter.

In addition, DO NOT prune your rose plants at this time of the year; ALWAYS prune in the spring, NEVER in the fall. Open cuts on the stem will allow moisture to escape during the winter months and the rose stems will dry up and die. If your roses are finished flowering, it's also time to build a mound of soil or bark mulch around the base of the plant to protect the graft of the plant for the winter. Make your mound 12 to 15 inches high and just as wide and, believe me, your plants will survive the winter much better if you live in a cold climate. Around Thanksgiving, spray all exposed branches with Wilt- Pruf or Wilt Stop to help the plant retain moisture in the stems in windy areas.

If you have fruit trees or flowering crabapples trees, be sure to rake all the fallen foliage from around them to remove potential disease spores left on the foliage for next year. When all the foliage is off the trees, spray them with All Season oil and liquid Copper spray to kill overwintering insect eggs and disease spores; repeat in late March or early April. These two sprays will make a big difference in the quality of your plants for next season.

If these trees are new and young, be sure to stake them down for the winter months with a staking kit available at your local Garden Center. This will prevent damage to the roots caused by winter winds and heavy snow bending the tree over and breaking. Also, if you live near a wooded area or an area with much tall grass, be sure to wrap the trunk of the trees with hardware cloth wire to prevent mouse, rabbit and porcupine damage over the winter. Push the wire collar into the ground a couple of inches and have the wire reach the first branches.

If you have new strawberries in your garden, you will not believe the difference with the plants for next year if you spread an inch or two of garden STRAW, not hay over your plants for the winter. Great protection for the plants, it will encourage new runners to develop faster and fruit will form faster and grow larger. For blueberries use 2 inches of straw, pine needles or bark mulch for root protection and feed them at half rate with Holly Tone  evergreen fertilizer. Because these plants love acid soil, add aluminum sulfate plant food to acidify the soil to help make them more productive next year. Aluminum sulfate is also used to keep or intensify the blue color on your hydrangeas, and a fall application will make those flowers deep blue for next summer.

If you have raspberries or blackberries in your garden, be sure to remove the canes or branches that made fruit this year, as they will not fruit next year, just make foliage. By removing the old canes, you will encourage much new growth for next year that will be productive. Also, add 2 inches of straw, pine needles or bark mulch to protect the roots and help keep out weeds. Before you mulch though get some compost or cow manure down around the raspberries.

Rhubarb should be cleaned of all old foliage. Add a couple inches of compost or composted manure around the plant, that's all. Asparagus should be all cut down to the ground when the foliage turns yellow to brown. If the fern-like foliage has small BB-shaped fruit on it, be sure to pull them off and spread them on the ground to start new plants next spring. Asparagus loves to be fertilized in the fall with cow or chicken manure fertilizer--use 50 lbs. of composted cow manure for every 10 feet of row or 10 lbs. of dehydrated manure. If you're using chicken manure and it's fresh. Use 25 lbs. per 10 feet of row or 5 lbs. of dehydrated.

Hydrangeas need special care also and here is what to do this fall. The white-flowering varieties should be cleaned of all their flowers as soon as they turn brown. If the flowers stay on the plant during the winter and you get an ice storm or heavy wet snow, the flower will hold the Ice and snow, causing the branch to break with the weight. I have seen many beautiful plants, especially the tree form, destroyed this way. White varieties can be pruned in the spring or fall to control size and to create a tree shape of the plant. Fertilize in the spring, not the fall. New hybrids are best pruned in the early spring before the new growth has developed and again in June to remove dead branches from the plant. Cutting back existing branches in half will help develop stronger stems with many side shoots off of them.

The blue or pinks should also be cleaned of flowers for the same reason but only remove the flower on both types, never cut back the plant during the fall. Prune only in the spring to prevent winter dieback when the winters have little to no snow cover. Keep limestone away from the plant or it will turn pink due to acidity levels in the soil. New varieties do not need winter protection, but I always spray my plants with Wilt-Pruf around Thanksgiving just in case we have a cold winter and little snow cover to protect them. If you have new plants, build a mound of bark mulch around the base of the plant 12 inches high by 12 inches wide for the first year to help give them extra time to get established in your garden.

If you have any containerized plants such as roses, needle evergreens or perennials, be sure to move them under cover for winter. An unheated garage, tool shed, or under a tall deck will do well and help prevent the container from filling with ice and killing the roots during the winter. If this is not possible, place the containers up against a solid structure like your house or garage for protection from the wind and weather. Always avoid placement where water runs off the roof and never cover the plant with plastic bags--burlap bags will work well as long as the top is open to the air and a bit of sunlight in. Spray evergreens with Wilt Pruf around Thanksgiving for added protection. Have fun!!!"  Thanks Paul!

*Ripening green tomatoes: This is the time of the year that the cooler weather we have received have shriveled our tomato plants but we still have many green tomatoes on the vine. Jim Crockett of Crockett’s Victory Garden wrote: “for some reason, the common wisdom about green tomatoes is that they ripen if left on a sunny windowsill and that wisdom is absolutely wrong. Green tomatoes shrivel and become pink and bitter tasting in the sun. They ripen best in darkness in a spot that gets no warmer than 45 or 50 degrees. I put my tomatoes in an old picnic cooler and set them in the garage. The ripening process is given a boost if a ripe apple is stored with the tomatoes. These ripened tomatoes don’t have the quite the flavor of the vine-ripened fruit but they’re better than any available in the stores and they ripen so slowly that they will last through Thanksgiving. Be sure that all tomatoes to be stored are free of blemishes. Any cuts or cracks in the skin will allow decay to set in and ruin the fruit. It is a good precaution also to wash and dry the tomatoes before storage.”

*Forcing bulbs: There is no quicker way to bring spring indoors during the winter than with a pot of bulbs. Many different bulbs can be forced, including tulips, hardy narcissus, hyacinths, squill, and crocuses. These are all hardy bulbs that need a 15-week prerooting period before they can be brought into active growth. That period of enforced cold convinces them that winter is at hand; when they’re brought to a warm spot, they assume that spring has arrived and they bloom.

To begin the process usually several bulbs are potted together in a 6-inch bulb pan. Hyacinths, which are large-flowered, look handsome planted as singles in regular 4-inch flowerpots. Add a dusting of garden fertilizer to the soil so the bulbs will have additional nutrients. When they’re planted in the pots, the tips of the bulbs should peek just above the soil line, which should itself be about ½ inch below the rim of the pot. Then moisten the soil and the bulbs are ready for winter.

There are several different ways to store winter bulbs; the purpose is simply to keep the bulbs at 40 degrees or so. Also they can’t be allowed to dry out or freeze. A bulkhead, cool cellar, or refrigerator is fine. Also a cold frame or a bulb trench dug outdoors can be used. After 15 weeks, the first of the bulbs can be brought indoors. Plan on bringing in just a pot or two at a time to give you a sequence of flowering plants through most of the late winter and early spring. Put the pots on a bright but cool windowsill until the shoots are about 4” tall. Then move them into bright sunlight until the flower buds start to show color, at which point move them back into bright indirect light. While bulb plants are growing and in flower, they do best with night temperatures in the low 40s at night and the 60s in the day. Keep the soil moist but don’t feed them. Then enjoy an early taste of spring.

When the bulb plant’s leaves begin to turn yellow, reduce the amount of water and give them only enough to keep the leaves from wilting. By the time the leaves have withered entirely, the soil should be dry. The bulbs can be stored in their pots until the fall, or they can be taken from their pots and stored in a cool dry place. Most bulb plants can’t be forced a second time. But if you have an outdoor garden, you can save the bulbs and plant them outside in the fall. They may not blossom extensively the next spring, but they will regain their strength and eventually produce fine outdoor spring flowers. "

*Amaryllis plants that have been growing outside all summer should be allowed to dry out (this is their dormancy period) then placed in dark space until their growth starts.

*For early Spring blooms, plant some Eranthis (winter aconite). The yellow buttercup type flowers are gorgeous and will often blossom 2 weeks before crocus!

*I keep my lawn high during the growing season. Now is the time to mow the lawn short and keep it short until it stops growing. Two inches of grass going into the winter is plenty (more than that can facilitate snow mold)

(Thanks to Organic Gardening Tips for the tips about amaryllis, eranthis, and mowing the lawn short).

Mike Skillin
Skillin's Greenhouses
October 9, 2012

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Designing WIth Bulbs

KCB is back. The following post will be used as the basis for our upcoming Bulb Class on 10/06 at all Skillin's locations at 10 AM (Falmouth is sold out at 10 AM but we do have an encore Bulb Class in Falmouth at 2 PM. Openings remain for Brunswick and Cumberland at 10 AM) Contact us at skillins@maine.rr.com to sign up! Just specify store location!

There is a new phrase in town

Dig a hole

                        Drop the bulb          



Sounds easy, well…..it is almost that easy.  It has been found (by surveys of major bulb vendors and experts) that most failures with bulbs can be traced back to problems at the time of planting. Give yourself time to do proper planting, and don't ignore the details.

First, what is a bulb?  A bulb is the self-contained life source for the plant. A ‘true ‘bulb is the more rounded fleshier store house. Tulips, allium & snow drops are in this category. However, not all ‘bulbs’ are bulbs. 

Corms are usually smaller and flatter in shape. Crocus & Gladiola are common corms.

Tubers are more varied in shape and size with most being cylindrical. Many come in clusters. Begonias & dahlias are the most common. 

Now on to the fun aka the ‘DO’S & DON’TS OF ‘DIG, DROP, DONE’!

Before you DIG you must buy!

DO be adventurous. While you may not want orange, reds or yellows in your summer garden these bright primary colors are perfect tonics after the dull winter.

DO be as fussy picking your bulbs as you would a melon. Avoid bulbs that feel spongy or with visible mold.

DO shop early to get the best variety.

On a budget?  DO opt to select more of 1 or 2 -3 varieties in 2 or more colors.  This will create more impact than a few crocus followed by 3 or 4 tulips and/or hyacinth.

DON’T plant too soon.  Some look to the calendar to plant saying end of September to Mid-October is the time. Others wait until the evening temperatures average 40- 45 degrees, then there is the ‘rule’ that says once there is a ‘soft’ frost its ok. With the warming climates Mid-October until the ground is too cold or frozen to work works best for my gardens.

DO keep in a cool dry place until you are ready to DIG.

DIG. A variety of tools are available to make this task a little easier.

DO choose a place wisely.  Bulbs will rot in wet or poorly draining soil.  Full sun is required for most bulbs however what may be a shady spot in the height of summer may be the perfect spot early in the season. Visualize where you will get more ‘bang for your buck’.  Plant near entrance doorways, along the most used paths or close to your house.

DON’T plant too deep or too shallow. A good rule of thumb is a depth 3 x the largest diameter.  A bulb 1 inch across will be planted 3 inches deep; 2 inches would go 6 inches.  Mix a fertilizer such as BulbTone’ in with the soil. (Tulips should probably be planted 4 times as deep as they are wide--the deeper the better for tulips!)

DO prepare for pesky rodents such as chipmunks and use a product that will repel the perpetrators of bulb planting peril. It’s worthwhile to drench bulbs in taste repellent products, sprinkle repellents on the growing plants in spring, and surround or cover the bulbs with chicken wire. Or

DO use bulbs that animals don’t like: Alliums, Camassia, Fritillaria and Narcissus


DO mass plantings. DROP a handful in then place pointed side up and leave a space about 2x the size of the bulbs between each neighbor.

DON’T sweat the small stuff, If a bulb should fall on its side while you are in the throes of planting, let it go. It will find its way.

DO plant with a companion plant.  Remember foliage should remain until all withered. Many nurseries have fantastic sales at the end of the season. Day Lilies make perfect companions as do many Sedums.

Design tips for spring bulbs

Combine flower bulbs with perennial for a succession of bloom. In addition, there's a big bonus: the emerging perennial foliage hides bulb foliage as it yellows and dies off.

Try a double-decker effect. You can plant small bulbs in a layer right on top of large bulbs. If you plant bulbs that flower in the same period you can create an interesting double-decker effect (picture bright pink tulips blooming above cobalt blue Grape Hyacinths). Or you can stagger the bloom time by planting mid- and late-season bloomers together, creating a spring display that blooms in succession, for a whole season of color!

Keep in mind the bulb color, time of bloom and height of the plants and consider which bulbs will mix best with nearby perennials and spring-flowering shrubs. Your combinations can be color echoes, such as the 'Ballade' tulip with bleeding heart, shown right, or color contrasts such as yellow daffodils with blue muscari.

Concentrate your display where it will be most effective in spring. Lots of bulbs in one or two areas of the garden close to the house will give you more bang for your buck than the same number spread all over the garden.

Avoid planting bulbs in rigid toy soldier-like rows. Generous "bouquets" are far more dramatic than a smattering here and there. Combine different bulbs by planting low-growing grape hyacinths and scillas in front taller tulips and daffodils.

Plant drifts of color in triangular patterns with the point of the triangle showing towards the front.

Try planting in layers. Place large later spring bulbs, such as tulips, daffodils or ornamental onions at the bottom of the planting hole, cover them with a layer of soil, then, on top, plant smaller early flowering bulbs such as scilla that require shallower planting.

Expand the bulb menu.  Look for a variety of alliums. Allium Bulgaricum, allium-moly-in-garden, or Allium-vineale-Hair. Fritillaria, Red-Hot Poker.




KCB is a professional gardener and friend who does wonderful work in the Greater Portland area. KCB is also an accredited Master Gardener by the Cooperative Extension Service and we are honored to have KCB as part of our Skillin's Garden Log family. KCB can also be found at the awesome Finishing Touches website.
KCB for Skillin's Greenhouses
October 3, 2012

October (early October) Garden Talks

Hello again,

It is time for some early October Garden Talks in Skillin's Country. We Know gardening and here are some great tips. Check back often as we will be adding to this post over the next few days.

*Fall is a great time for planting shrubs, trees and perennials. The ground is still warm, yet the air in Skillin's Country is cooling, and that makes a great combination for newly planted material to adjust to! 

*I know that I write about watering endlessly! But fall watering insures plants are not drought stressed and therefore weakened going into the harsh winter. Also plants will actually store water to help compensate for any evaporation that occurs on windy winter days. Evaporation can also be dramatically reduced by spraying broad-leafed evergreens like rhododendrons with WILT-PRUF. Finally moisture that is in the ground from fall watering will be used by your plants in the Spring--this gets your plants off to a Spring head start!

*October is a great month to trim many perennials back to the ground--especially focus on all dead (yellow and brown) growth. Also the ground is usually moist this time of year. Pull on some old pants and get those knees dirty and pull some weeds. The moist ground makes for easy pulling! 

*As the month progresses, clean your perennial beds of weeds (as I just discussed) and also rake out any plant and other debris. Then you will have nice clean open beds and I use this opportunity to lay some Espoma Flower Tone or Plant Tone around my perennials. This natural or organic feeding will work to enrich the soil through the remainder of the fall and will leave a better soil situation with some nice nutrients for when your plants fully awaken in the Spring. I also lay some compost down around my plants. This is a great of way long-term investing in your soil. Fall is a great time for this as the weather is often spectacular in Skillin's Country and this means less to do in the busy Spring.

*It is nearly time to store our summer flowering bulbs such as tuberous begonias, dahlias and gladiolas for the winter. Unfortunately these lovely bulbs cannot survive our winters outdoors in the garden.

After a truly hard frost has knocked the life out of the foliage of these bulbs, I dig them carefully out of the ground. You will be amazed at the growth your bulbs have put on over the summer! Cut the foliage away from the bulbs (such foliage makes great compost!) and knock as much soil as possible off the bulbs. Let them sit for a couple of days on your porch or deck until all the soil can be easily rubbed off.

Dahlias and glads in particular will have added to the parent bulbs over the summer. By that I mean that the dahlia tubers will have added new tubers and the gladiola corms will have added new corms to the parent corm. Feel free to break off these new additions; they will mean more plants next year! Tuberous begonias will have almost doubled in size. There is really nothing to divide but in a situation where you may have had 4 or 5 begonia tubers in one container for 2011 this means for 2012 in the same container you can probably have 3 begonia tubers and still have the same showy look. This means more containers of beautiful tuberous begonias next year.

Winter storage of these bulbs should have 3 goals:

 (1)   Treat the bulbs for any mildew or little bugs they might have now. Bulbs are living creatures; mildew can reside on them or tiny bugs called thrips can also call your bulbs home. We recommend a product called all natural Garden Dust by Bonide. I put some  dust in a plastic bag and place some bulbs in that bag. Close the bag and shake it well; this dust will cover the bulbs and help get rid of mildew and pesky little bugs such as thrips.

(2)   Prevent the bulbs from freezing. The bulbs should be stored in a situation where the winter temperatures are cool—between 40 and 50 degrees. I have an unheated crawl space under my house that works well. Most people have heated basements that may well be too warm. I have heard of people digging a hole about 18” deep outside next to their foundation where the temperature hovers just above the freezing mark.(I have not tried this method myself).  Some people have cool basement corners and store their bulbs against the cool basement walls.

(3)   Prevent the bulbs from dehydrating. I store my bulbs nestled in some loose good quality potting soil or peat moss in the same plastic bags that I shook them with the Garden Dust. Once I have the bulbs snuggled in with the soil or peat moss, I tie up the bag and wish them a good winter’s sleep. A "zip loc" baggie works great as well!

In late February, it will be time to wake the tuberous begonias and pot them in fresh soil. They will have to stay indoors near a sunny window until the danger of hard frost is past in the Spring. “Ditto” for the dahlias except I would plan on starting them in early March. The glads can be started indoors in mid April.
*October to late November is THE time to plant Spring flowering bulbs such as tulips, daffodils and crocus. Daffodils are a Must Have--they are as hardy as can be and their yellows and whites are brilliant. Plus they are not a choice of deer or other roaming and munching garden plundereres. Crocus and snowdrops can be planted in a south facing spot and bring bright touches of color as early as mid to late March depending on the spot.

These bulbs can be planted later than early November too. So if you "forget" to plant your bulbs and find them in a bag indoors on Thanksgiving afternoon--don't stress. (Don't plant that day either; have another piece of pie and watch some football). I picked to mid November because it is usually colder after mid November. Just bundle up!!

*Margaret of A Way to Garden maintains a superior gardening site that I check in on often. *She gives a great tip here about vegetable gardening: "PREPARE A SEEDBED NOW for peas and spinach for next spring, to get a headstart on such early crops. Spinach can even be sown now through Thanksgiving, even in the north, and covered with fabric for super-early spring harvest; not the peas, of course."

     *We talk a great deal about garden cleanup these days and for good reason. In most cases we recommend to compost what we clean out of the garden. Margaret points out with vegetable and annual plants that get pulled out: "before composting the remains, cut them up a bit with a pruning shears or shred, to speed decomposition. I sometimes just run piles of dry things over with the mower (nothing too woody or you’ll wreck your blade, of course)."

*We hope you have had a great tomato year! But your tomato plants and leaves should be thoroughly raked up, picked up and trashed. Tomato plants carry too much blight to be worth your compost pile.

*Have many green tomatoes and worrying about them ripening--especially with cold weather coming to Skillin's Country? Click HERE for some good tips on what to do with your tomatoes with cold weather approaching.

Mike Skillin
Skillin's Greenhouses
October 3, 2012