Saturday, November 26, 2011

FREE Fertilizer

PSU Fact Sheet “Home Compost: a Guide for Home Gardenerscontains information on making compost.
Over the last 20 years I’ve put compost on the garden almost every year. The garden’s soil is rich and black. I rarely use other fertilizers. You can buy a bin or simply make a pile (heap composting). I used the heap method for many years. Plans for “ConstructingCompost Bins” from PSU Center County Extension.
I simplify the recipe: Three parts brown (leaves) to one part green (garden cuttings. weeds, vegetable scraps). Water if it looks dry, Mix it once in a while to aerate. If I don’t get the ratio exactly right, It’ll turn into compost anyway.

I try to avoid adding weeds that have gone to seed. My pile may not get hot enough to destroy the weed seeds. I also don’t use anything twiggy or woody because it takes too long to break down. Newspaper counts as brown, if I run out of leaves. Coffee grounds count as green. (We drink a lot of coffee.)

You can spend time making compost or spend money on fertilizer. I choose to make compost.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Thinking of Spring

Not much time for garden cleanup this week. As I cleanup I dream of spring.
I managed to get some compost on the garden from my little compost bin – 3 wheelbarrows of wonderful black organic matter to be exact.
Leaf raking is in full swing. A pile of leaves, chopped and collected with the mower will help produce next year’s compost.

A few more plants need to be cleaned up.
The hostas are a mushy mess.

Some lilies need to be cut back.
The garden phlox is waiting to be lopped off.
There is more to do before the snow arrives but I’ve got a good start for spring.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Garden Cleanup

Since the Halloween snow and a hard frost most of the garden is looking sad. I’ve been working steadily on cleanup. I think I’m doing better this year than usual. I want to make sure I don’t have a lot of cleanup to do in spring when it’s time for mulch.
Canna tubers (above) have been dug up and stored.
Autumn Joy blooms have been cut back. I usually leave the seed heads for the birds but the snow smashed them to the ground. Iris and hibiscus have been cut in the background.
Most of the mums are cut.

The annuals are gone.

The pile awaits delivery to the city’s compost site.

More to do before the garden is ready for fall compost but I’ve got a good start.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Halloween Storm

Last Saturday, Mother Nature dumped 6 to 12 inches of heavy, wet snow on the Northeast US. Trees fell everywhere under the weight. Approximately 375,000 homes and businesses lost power. Almost 1,500 were still without power as of Friday morning.
Entire trees toppled pulling up sidewalks.

Some branches remain dangerously hung up.

Piles of trees and brush are everywhere.
Chain saws hum in the neighborhood. It seems everyone is working on cleanup.


The Morning Call Master Gardener Blog has some excellent advice in “Snow Storm Damage to Trees”.
This timely blog deals with if and when to hire an arborist. How to make cuts where branches are broken. It contains links to help assess the damage as well as advice when replacing trees. Good information even if you don't have fallen trees everywhere.