Gardening Tips by Bob Beyfuss

"Gardening Tips" is a column about all things flora written by Bob Beyfuss of the Cornell Cooperative Extension.

Gardening Tips: January 28, 2015

Backyard Bird Feeding
Before I begin this week’s column I want to pass on a suggestion from a reader that was prompted by my comment last week about supporting your local food pantry. Many people who need food from these pantries also have pets and pets must be fed also. My late friend Kathy loved her cats dearly and sometimes she would spend her last money on cat food instead of food for herself. If your local food pantry allows it, consider donating some pet food along with groceries. Most privately run pantries will not object and you will be doing a really nice service to those less fortunate than most of us.
Many gardeners are also bird lovers and for good reason! Birds are important predators of insects that damage our gardens during the growing season. They also provide us with beauty and amusement during the cold winter as they flock to our bird feeders.

Gardening Tips: January 21, 2015

2015 All American Vegetable Variety Selections
Since the 1930s new or improved, vegetable and flower varieties have been tested at various locations around the country. The ones that perform the best are designated as AAS winners for each year. Some of these varieties go on to become more or less mainstay selections for thousands of gardeners all over America. Some never become popular and quietly disappear from seed catalogues, despite their glowing reviews.

Gardening Tips: January 14, 2015

Full Moons and Food
The Arctic chill has descend­ed on the region, as January cold has extinguished the last sparks of fall and the December Holidays are just expensive memories now. This is normal for this time of year, but normal does not mean nice when it is close to zero. One of the drawbacks of winter life is that it is pretty uncomfortable to sit out at night and watch the stars, or the moon even. The full wolf moon has just occurred.

Gardening Tips: January 7, 2015

Happy New Year!
It is time to try to remember to write the year 2015 on checks and other written correspondence. Every year this seems like less and less of a concern, as the computers that run our lives and keep track of pretty much all of our day to day activities automatically remember everything for us. We are immersed in a cyber-age that has changed the world more profoundly than any natural event in memory.

Gardening Tips: Dec. 31, 2014

Care of Holiday Gift Plants
I hope you were lucky enough to receive a pretty plant as a Holiday gift this past week. I gave my daughter an amaryllis bulb as usual this year. They are long lived, potted houseplants for us in New York, but they are hardy outdoors in central Florida. She has quite a collection of them in a shaded location in her backyard.