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Archive | Diggin’ Spring

Volunteers needed for community garden

Calling all green thumbs and master gardeners in the Northern Kent County area!

The North Kent Service Center is again getting ready to plant their one-acre family garden. They have set aside the week of May 24 to start our planting, weather permitting. They are hoping those who love to grow vegetable, fruits and love to plant and care for gardens will come out and assist them with providing healthy foods items for their clients during the growing season.

This is a great way to assist the North Kent Service Center meet the needs of 10,000 families, plus meet others in the community who also love to garden.
The NKSC also asks that gardeners consider planting a few extra tomato plants, peppers, cucumbers and squash that could be given to clients at the center.
For more information please call project coordinator Tom Nederveld at 874-3256, or NKSC volunteer coordinator Deb McIntyre at 866-3478, deb.mcintyre@nksc.net.

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Winning daylily packs powerful performance into pretty proportioned plant

The toy cameo daylily is a winner for 2010

(NAPS)—Hemerocallis, the scientific name for daylily, combines two Greek words meaning “beauty for a day,” but don’t be misled. The phrase refers to each individual bloom and doesn’t reflect the long-term, luscious color many new varieties display from early spring until late in the season. These versatile, easy-to-grow flowers provide ground cover, add focal points of visual interest, and fill your garden with drifts of color.

The All-American Daylily Selection Council’s 2010 All-American Winner is “Toy Cameo,” which is also a winner in the Landscape Category. The benchmarks for excellence are based on the data collected from more than 6,000 varieties, and the winners are the rare cultivars that score highest across five USDA hardiness zones.

“Toy Cameo” packs powerful performance into a petite, perfectly proportioned plant. Its compact habit, graceful foliage, well-groomed appearance and repeat blooming habit makes it a top choice in its color category for a low ground cover, border plantings and patio containers. The peppy, peachy-pink petals surround a chartreuse-green throat and harmonize well with tropical sunset colors in the landscape. The 31⁄2-inch blossoms are perched atop 15- to 20-inch bloom scapes, surrounded by tidy, vigorous, deciduous foliage.

The initial blooming period is mid to late season, with repeat blooming providing late-season color. “Toy Cameo” increases rapidly, is rust resistant, thrives in USDA zones 4–9, and blooms an average of 45 to 80 days a year. “Toy Cameo” joins the ranks of 17 other All-American Daylily winners that have proven themselves in this unsurpassed test program, as well as in gardens across the nation. While growing daylilies is easy, here are a few tips that can help improve their performance:

1. Before planting, incorporate organic matter into loose soil. Daylilies require a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight daily for best performance. Daylilies will thrive in any good garden soil as long as it is well drained.

2. Plant in a hole 11⁄2 times the size of the root-ball and place the crown (where the roots and fan meet) of the plant at one inch below ground level. Space the plants 12 inches apart. Cover the roots and pack the soil firmly around the plant base.

3. Water thoroughly and keep watered well for the first 30 days. Give extra water if you experience especially warm weather; otherwise, daylilies should be happy with the same amount of water the rest of your garden receives.

4. In USDA zones 6 or cooler, protect your daylilies from hard freezes with one to two inches of mulch.

Other All-American Winners include Dream Souffle, Summer Valentine, Buttered Popcorn, Chorus Line and Frankly Scarlet. For more information on these and other winners, visit the All-American Daylily website at www.allamericandaylilies.com.

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Growing your first rose garden

(NAPS)—Millions of people send roses to loved ones on special occasions. But when dinner-table talk turns to growing your own roses, one thing comes to mind—you consider running away because you’ve heard it’s just too difficult.

“Growing roses has gotten a bad rap over the years because homeowners are basing their opinion on old information,” says Bayer Advanced™ Rose Care Expert Lance Walheim, author of Roses for Dummies. “There are new roses and products that make it easy to grow Rose Parade–quality roses in your own backyard.”

Landscape roses like “Knockout” can make the front of your home stand out and add curb appeal in a competitive real estate market. Knockout roses are the best-selling roses in North America because they’re beautiful and easy to grow and come in a wide variety of colors that can fit into any landscape.

Here are a few tips to help make your first rose garden a success:

Pick a sunny spot to give you the most bang for the buck: Roses should be positioned to create the “wow” factor when visitors see your home. They require 6–8 hours of sunlight a day to grow big and healthy.

Roses require six to eight hours of sunlight a day to grow big and healthy.

Roses require six to eight hours of sunlight a day to grow big and healthy.

The melted-box-of-crayon look is out: It’s best to choose a color theme for a border, either with the same color rose or with colors that complement each other.

Mulch and water around the roots: Mulch keeps weeds out and roses moist. Water deeply around the roots once or twice a week during dry spells. Stick a finger in the soil to check for moisture. If your finger comes out dry, it’s time to add water.

Save money on rose care products: Roses need to be fed and protected against destructive diseases and insects. In most cases, that means buying three different products. One money-saving option, Bayer Advanced All-in-One Rose & Flower Care, provides all three solutions in one easy-to-use product. Just measure, mix with water and pour around the plant base every six weeks. It’s tested and endorsed by the American Rose Society. Always read and follow all label directions. (Product not registered on Long Island, N.Y.) For more gardening information and how-to videos, visit BayerAdvanced.com or call (877) BAYERAG.

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Gardening With Charlie

Kathy Bond-Borie, Guest Columnist

Selecting Tomato Varieties

(Family Features) – With store-bought tomatoes nearly devoid of flavor, growing your own is the best way to truly savor the taste of this vegetable that captures the essence of summer. But with thousands of varieties available—from cherished heirloom types to the hottest new hybrids—how do you narrow your choices?

Ripening time. If you’re buying seeds to start your own plants, read catalog descriptions carefully to discover “days to maturity.” This indicates approximately how soon you can expect ripe fruit once you’ve transplanted seedlings to the garden. Plants sold at garden centers are often labeled “early,” “midseason,” or “late” to indicate when the variety should start ripening.

Determinate vs. Indeterminate. Determinate plants stop growing once the flower buds emerge. Because of their more restrained size, many determinate varieties need no staking or caging, but providing support can improve the quality of the fruit. All the fruit ripens within a relatively short period of time, usually about a week to 10 days. This can be a boon if you’re canning, but for the gardener who prefers to have a fewer number of tomatoes over a longer period of time, indeterminate varieties are a better choice. The vines continue to grow and set fruit throughout the season and won’t quit until the weather turns too hot or too cold to sustain fruiting and growth.

How you will use the fruit. When selecting a tomato variety, keep in mind what you plan to do with the fruits. There are varieties suited for just about every purpose—eating fresh, making tomato paste, canning, drying—even for grooming into a county fair prizewinner.

Seeds or transplants. The easiest way to get your tomato patch started is to purchase young plants, also called transplants or starts. You can pick up plants at garden centers or order them through catalogs or the Internet.

That said, starting your own seed gives you an almost endless list of varieties to choose from, allowing you to get just the type that will suit your growing conditions and tastes. Starting seeds gives you a chance to exercise your green thumb earlier in the season, and nurturing plants from seed to harvest is a rewarding experience.

Plant seeds six to eight weeks before the last frost date for your region, and place them under fluorescent lights. Contact a nearby Extension Service office or your local weather service to find out your last spring frost date.

Disease resistance. By planting tomato varieties with built-in resistance to diseases, you can have a bit more control over your garden’s success.

For instance, many tomato varieties are resistant to soil-borne diseases such as Verticillium and Fusarium wilts and nematodes. Most seed catalogs indicate resistance to these diseases by putting F (Fusarium), V (Verticillium), N (nematodes) after the variety name. You’ll also see varieties with resistance to viruses such as tomato mosaic virus (T), and to Alternaria (A), the fungus that causes early blight.

Talk to a nearby Extension Service office or to other home gardeners to find out if any tomato diseases are common in your area.

For more tips and garden information visit www.garden.org

A former floral designer and interior plantscaper, Kathy Bond-Borie has spent 20 years as a garden writer/editor, including her current role as Horticultural Editor for the National Gardening Association. She loves designing with plants, and spends more time playing in the garden planting and trying new combinations than sitting and appreciating it.
Courtesy of Family Features

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