September 2005/Volume 5
IN THIS ISSUE
Tropicals / Cold Sensitive
Tips and Tricks
Getting Your Greenhouse Ready For Winter
Summer is coming to a close. It won't be long before we see the first colors of Autumn begin to decorate the trees. Now is the time to start preparing your outdoor plants/gardens for winter. Tropicals and more cold sensitive plants will have to be brought indoors, perennials cut back, and annuals removed completely.
There is more to consider than simply bringing these showy plants indoors. During the warmer months, some unwanted pests may have taken up residence in the soil, and/or on the foliage. One of the best ways to prevent unknowingly inviting these insects into your home, is to give the plant a good cleaning. Either a mild dish soap or laundry detergent works well. First, using your garden hose, give all foliage a good spray that will knock off unwanted pests. Next, let your garden hose soak the pot for 4-5 minutes, washing away any insects that may be living in the soil. Using the insect repellent of your choice, spray the entire plant. Wrap the plant in a large plastic bag for 2-3 days. If unwanted guests appear at a later date, repeat the process.
All perennials can be cut back. Always use a very sharp blade for clean cuts, and make sure the cut is always slanted down to prevent water from leaking in and rotting out the stem. Cut back to approximately two to three inches above ground. Larger woody perennials such as Butterfly Bush can be cut back to one third their original size.
Completely remove faded annuals and turn the soil well. Plants that have gone to seed will inevitably start to sprout next year. The soil will need to be turnedagain, several times in the spring to keep any seedlings from popping up.
Sensitive bulbs, such as Dahlias, will need to be dug up and stored in either a paperbag or open container, filled with peat moss. Store in a dry, dark, cool place over winter and re-plant next spring when all danger of frost is gone.
Autumn is a good time to divide up larger perennials that have become too largefor their intended space. This is a great way to fill in empty spots you may havenoticed during the summer. A good way to divide is by using a pitch fork and gently easing a split. Most perennials are hardy enough that they can take a good clean cut with a spade if quickly transplanted and watered well.
Tips and Tricks
Did you know that fertilizers that are rich in nitrogen may actually attract aphids. If you find that your garden has become an all you can eat buffet for aphids, try ladybugs. Ladybugs can be purchased at any good nursery/garden center. Set them loose in your garden and before you know it your aphid problem will be under control.
Flea infestations can be higher in the spring and the fall, than any other time. One way to slow the population in your yard is to water your lawn frequently. Fleas live and breed in dry dusty areas. That is why they love your carpet so much. By frequently watering your grass, you keep egg and larva populations deep down, protecting you and your pet from bringing one into your home. Along with watering, another preventative measure is to allow a little thatch. Thatch is a build up of grass cuttings, dead grass, etc.close to the soil surface. Most lawn care specialists will tell you that thatch is a severe problem, but a little is OK. It won't kill your grass if kept under control, and helps to keep any cycle of the fleas life from entering your home on a pet or a shoe.
Getting Your Greenhouse Ready for Winter
Autumn is an excellent time to prepare your greenhouse for the approaching winter months. I like to give my greenhouse a thorough cleaning at this time of the year. Keep your glass sparkling clean by using one of the cleaning products designed to attach to the garden hose.its quick and easy to do the greenhouse inside and out. Hose down any plants for pests along with unused pots so they'll be clean when you want to use them. Recycle dead plants or cuttings into the garden or compost. Recycle soil where seeds haven't sprouted and organize all your tools and pots. Add styrofoam, polycarbonate or plastic panels as extra insulation on your greenhouse walls. If you don't already have a thermal shade curtain.consider purchasing one. It'll save you approximately 20% on heat loss, making it a worthwhile investment. Adding a large dark colored container filled with water will act as a heat sink, retaining more heat efficiency. Test your heating system, whether it is electrical, gas or propane, ensuring it is all set and ready to go. Being organized ahead of time is good for both you and your plants, allowing you a comfortable retreat no matter what the weather is outside!
The cat's out of the bag! We are no longer sworn to secrecy. We had supplied a company in Windsor, Ontario, Acrolab Ltd. with one of our greenhouses. This month they will be installing a second greenhouse for testing. Acrolab has just patented a process that uses naturally decomposing leaves and other composites to heat greenhouses, expected to save greenhouse growers millions of dollars. An article appeared in The Windsor Star on August 30, 2001, written by Mr. Bob Meyer, Star Business Reporter. The view this article, click on the title below.
Turn up the heat, naturally
A div. of Ecolad Corporation