Sunday, November 22, 2015

DIY Thanksgiving Table Decorations

If you're thinking about how to decorate your table for Thanksgiving, look no further than your own backyard. Decorating your table with natural elements will give your table the perfect rustic look you've seen in the magazines. 

Have your kids help you by collecting as many pine cones and acorns as they can find and fill a bowl or a tall glass vase.
On the day of your celebration, look for freshly fallen leaves that still have their beautiful color. For the finishing touch, add a couple tea light candles to illuminate your beautiful centerpieces.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Planting Hardy Bulbs in Containers for Indoor Blooms

Choose a pot of the desired size for planting your bulbs. Although most sizes will work, a 6– to 8–inch pot will give your bulbs enough growing room. If the pot has no drainage hole, place a one-inch drainage layer in the bottom of the pot. Use gravel, stones or perlite. Add sufficient potting mix so the tips of the bulbs will be even with the top of the pot. Arrange the bulbs on top with the pointed ends facing up.

Cover the bulbs with more potting mix to with- in 1/4” of the pot lip. The tips of the bulbs should be visible. Water the bulbs and move the container to a cool area such as a shed or unheated garage, or the refrigerator. The bulbs require 13 weeks at 35–48 degrees Fahrenheit. Water as needed. In a few months, you’ll begin to see signs of growth. At this point, bring the container indoors and water regularly. Place in bright light until flowers show color (3–4 weeks). Once color is visible, move to bright indirect light. Soon you’ll be rewarded with beautiful blooms.

If you’re preparing a container of flowering bulbs to place on your deck or patio, keep the container in a garage or a basement where the temperature stays around 35–40 degrees Fahrenheit. A cold frame can also be used. If kept outside, the bulbs will be subjected to a damaging freeze/thaw cycle. In March you can safely place your container of bulbs in their outdoor location and enjoy the emerging spring color.

Monday, November 2, 2015

November Garden Tasks

Vegetable Garden 

  • Clean out old plants and compost including Asparagus beds as the fronds fade. Harvest Jerusalem artichokes, broccoli, radishes, peas, parsnips, lettuce, leeks, potatoes, kale, collards, celery, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts.
  • Prepare beds for early plantings of peas this allows for an earlier planting in the spring before the soil dries out enough to be worked.
  • Plant Fava beans (cover crops can double as a source of beans for the table), garlic, onions, rhubarb and artichokes.
  • Prune the fruiting top sections of evergreen raspberries once they finish producing fruit and leave the lower section of branch for next years early crop. Other raspberries can be topped off at 5 feet and staked.
  • Store your bounty by freezing canning or hanging in a cool garage.

Flower Garden

  • Plant pansies outdoors now and enjoy the flowers until late spring. Mound soil or leaves around the base of hybrid teas and other grafted roses to protect the graft union from frost.
  • Prune rampant suckers from the base of lilacs which will take away from next years bloom.
  • Prepare and plant wildflower bed and broadcast seeds. This can be done in the spring as well but you can get a head start now and focus on other tasks come spring.

General Landscaping 

  • Prepare open beds in the flower and vegetable garden with organic matter and organic fertilizers. Chopped leaves, peat moss or compost can be added now to improve the soil’s humus levels. This improves the structure, drainage and nutrient holding capacity of your soil. For established beds work in organic matter and fertilizers around the plants and cultivate them into the to few inches of soil.
  • Mow lawn to 1.5 to 2 inches for the winter This keeps the lawn healthy and prevents the lawn from matting down.
  • Keep leaves and compost or make a dedicated leaf mold pile for future mulch unless they are from allelopathic trees (producing chemicals that inhibit other species growth) like the genera Juglans (e.g. Black Walnut or Aesculus (e.g. Horse Chestnut).
  • Drain and clean man made pools and ponds. Remove tropical plants and store hardy lilies.
  • Very last call for planting trees and shrubs including woody fruiting plants.