Gardening Tips by Bob Beyfuss

Gardening Tips: November 19, 2014

Putting the Garden to Bed
Well, it is time for my annual “putting the gardens to bed” column. Here are some tips for your home landscape.

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Gardening Tips: Nov. 12, 2014

Apple season
The fresh vegetable season is pretty much over for 2014 with a few exceptions, such as parsnips, spinach, hardy kale, and a few other members of the cabbage family. I will harvest most of my Brussels’s sprouts this week before the deer decide to invade the garden for a few last snacks. The Asparagus ferns have turned yellow but garlic, shallots as well as other bulbs are still growing new roots. I hope you a good garden and were able to preserve some of the season’s bounty for fall feasts.

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Gardening Tips: October 29, 2014

Household insect invaders
Last week we had some summer like weather for a few days that could be characterized as “Indian Summer” in areas, which had previously had frost. Indian summer has been defined as a period of warm weather following a hard frost. Now that most of our region had a hard or “killing” frost, we can look forward to more Indian summer. At least I hope so! Sometimes we get Indian summer in October and sometimes it occurs in November.


Gardening Tips: October 22, 2014

Fall Food
There are not too many evenings in October when I can sit outside in a light jacket and look at the stars. This is especially rare after Columbus Day, but tonight as I write this on October 14th, the temperature is 65 degrees at 8:30 PM and I am savoring these few remaining days of Indian Summer. It has been a beautiful summer and fall here in the Hudson Valley and Catskill Mountain region except for the serious lack of rain we are now experiencing. The creeks are low and even the forest soils are powder dry. Winter still seems very far away despite the noticeably shorter days, but that will change soon. Our fall colors are at peak in the valley, but past peak in the mountains.


Gardening Tips: Sept. 24, 2014

Houseplants indoors
Within a few short weeks, much of our region will have had its first hard frost. In fact, parts of the mountainous areas in Greene, Ulster and Delaware counties as well as the Adirondack region had a frost warning out for the morning of September 19. If you have tender crops such as tomatoes, beans and peppers at risk, you may want to cover them with a cloth (not plastic) blanket when frost is threatened. I plan to pick most of my tomatoes tonight and hope the rest make it through the weekend. I am making tomato sauce and hope to finish that up in a week or two, weather permitting.


Gardening Tips: Sept. 17, 2014

Hope for impatiens?
This week’s column was posted on the Cornell University “Mushrooms List Serve”. It was posted by Megan Daniels, a talented mycology grad student at Cornell. As little as four years ago, hybrids of Impatiens, were the most popular annual flower in America. Now, they are not even being sold at many garden centers.
This year grandma couldn’t find impatiens (Impatiens walleriana) to plant in her flowerbeds. She’s always planted impatiens! But lately, impatiens have been sickened by downy mildew, caused by Plasmopara obducens. This plant disease has received attention the past few years because it decimates the most popular varieties of this annual garden plant. What you probably haven’t heard yet is the story of how impatiens, through sex, sheer luck, and the attention of one man, rose to the pinnacle of popularity only to be suddenly destroyed, all thanks to an unassuming downy mildew that has been lurking close to our back yards.


Gardening Tips: September 10, 2014

Harvest season
The last week of August felt more like the dog days of July than early fall, as the heat and humidity pushed the heat index well into the 90s. It is very dry as I write this, due to hit or miss thunderstorms, which have mostly missed my garden the past week. I am not complaining, as the heat spell helped to ripen my tomatoes. I finally have enough to indulge in my BLTs and salads. Soon I will be canning sauce made with the garlic I harvested back in July and the peppers and onions I am now picking. It was much too hot to can last week anyway.


Gardening Tips: September 3, 2014

Labor Day Planting
Labor Day weekend was early this year and it marked the unofficial end of the summer season as the kids returned to school. It is certainly not the end of the gardening season! I have harvested exactly one of my Big Beef, full-size tomatoes. My first variety of sweet corn was harvested and eaten on the spot by a raccoon, just a few days before I was planning to pick it!


Gardening Tips: August 27, 2014

A New Lawn
This is my annual lawn column. We have had a great summer season, with just enough timely rainfall to keep the grass green, but not so much rain as to turn it into a jungle. Mid to late August is the best time to completely redo or establish a new lawn in our part of the world. It takes at least four to six weeks of good weather for desirable lawn grasses to become fully established. The grasses we grow in the Northeast are known as “cool season” grasses, which means they grow best when soil and air temperatures are in the 60s and 70s. Up until earlier this week conditions had been a little too dry to plant grass seed, but the showers and storms we had recently have helped that situation.


Gardening Tips: August 20, 2014

Q and A
I must begin this week’s column by thanking everyone who pointed out last week that I neglected to mention that there are also timber rattlesnakes in our region. They are not as common as copperheads but they may occasionally be encountered in remote rocky areas in both the “Gunks” and the Catskills. Unlike copperheads, which have no rattles, Timber rattlesnakes vibrate their tails quite nosily when threatened. Most people should notice this warning, but I have to admit that my only close encounter with a rattlesnake was near Lake Champlain and I was so interested in a patch of ginseng plants that I failed to hear a rather large rattlesnake less than six feet away. Fortunately, my hiking companion did hear the snake and yelled for me to “freeze” before I almost stepped on it! I will not go back to that spot anytime soon (ever).


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