Thursday, June 14, 2012

Skillin's! Daily "Dirt" June 2012

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

(Check out The Daily "Dirt" for May 2012 for "loads" of recent and still relevant quick gardening tips and pointers)

Thursday, June 14, 2012 Vegetable Garden Tune Up; Make Room for More!

Great gardener Margaret of A Way to Garden has recently posted  a very good and timely post called Vegetable-Garden Tuneup; Make Room for More! Margaret is an early starter in her vegetable garden. I know many of us are really just getting started in Skillin's Country for this season. But others here have also started early and even if you are just getting started you will find some very helpful tips for what plants can easily be paired with others as well as a good chart and suggestions on Succession Planting in the vegetable garden. She also features a great series of steps about basic "best practices" for any vegetable garden. I may refocus on these steps at this blog in a couple more days. This post by Margaret is well worth reading--it is a keeper!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012 Non Stop Begonias

We have some gorgeous non stop begonias in 3 packs right now. They are still available in many awesome colors. I have always recommended them as a shade plant (and most people do). But I was speaking to one of our customers, Mike D,  on Sunday about the nonstops. Mike D is a great gardener--he loves his tomatoes and grows them well! But in the past few years he has fallen for the non stop begonias as companion plants in his vegetable garden. I asked him where he planted them and he told me "everywhere". Well that means in the blazing hot sun as well. Mike D counters the heat of the sun by regularly giving the non stops deep waterings when he deep waters his tomatoes. So there you go!

Check out this piece from 2010 about Non Stop Begonias for more illustrations about this fabulous plant. (In that piece we refer to 4 packs. Beginning in 2011 we switched to 3 packs because we feel more room in the pack actually means for bigger plants and even more flowers.)

Monday, June 11, 2012 Peonies, A Classic and a Mike's Must Have

Anyone reading this blog loves flowers. After all, aren't flowers the reason we grow plants? (Except for vegetable plants and even then we need flowers!). We all have favorite flowers but in my mind some of the "classics" are roses, pansies, tulips, geraniums (like the classic pink Shoene Helena) and of course, the peony. These flowers are lovely; they catch my eye, they make me stop what I am doing and even hold my breath. Lovely. The Peony is one of those flowers and for that reason is a Mike's Must Have!

Peonies from My Garden in Skillin's Country. The Peony Flower is a Classic!

Check out this Primer on Peonies for some great info. Also good gardening friend Tom Atwell of the Portland Press Herald has just delivered a great article called Maine Gardener: Get Ready for an Explosion of Stunning Peonies. A great read!

Saturday, June 9, 2012  Cucumbers: Grow Them Up!

It IS a great time to plant cucumbers in the garden. They grow great in Skillin's Country. For many of us with small garden spaces I highly recommend "trellising" cucumbers or somehow growing your cukes off the ground. They grow very well as a vine crop and I think they will give you a better yield when their vines are more exposed to the sun and fresh air. Always plant your cukes with a good garden natural garden fertilizer like Garden Tone by Espoma. Also cukes don't like to get thirsty so make sure they get a good deep watering 2 to 3 times per week. My personal favorite is the pickling cucumber--you pick them when they are closer to the size of a pickle and their taste is so sweet!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012 Baptisia, False Indigo, A Mike's Must Have

This plant--the Baptisia, False Indigo, is one of my absolute favorites for the perennial garden. It is a Mike's Must Have because it is tremendously hardy. We sell several varieties and they are all great but I recommend the Prairie Blue--I just love the blue flowers countered by the blue/gray foliage. The plant is striking. It will stand about 3' tall and about 2' wide. Again the blue flowers in June and the foliage make it a standout in your perennial garden at this time!

Baptisia False Indigo--Just Starting to Flower in My Garden (Alongside Some Peonies). What a Hardy Plant! Also Looking Real Good Considering all the Rain We Have Had!

Sunday, June 3, 2012, Peach Leaf Curl

With this wet weather we are seeing many cases of diseases (spots) on plants and leaf curls. One example is Peach Leaf Curl which we have seen many examples of this past wet week. We will see more I am sure as the days pass this week. Peach Leaft Curl shows up as curled or even "humped" leaves on a peach tree. The air has been so moist that afflictions like this are quite understood. Tim, our Nursery Manager, recommends that we pick off any curled leaves on the peach tree. When the weather dries, spray the remaining healthier leaves with Copper Fungicide Spray (sold right here at Skillin's under the Bonide brand). This will help protect the remaining leaves for this time of year. Also keep your peach tree leaves raked off the ground. Keep the area clean--this leaves less of a "harbor" for fungus. In the fall and also in the early Spring use the Copper spray again on the plant as a dormant spray. These sprayings will go a long way toward protecting your peach in another year.

Lovely Example of Peach Leaf Curl

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