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Four Seasons of Gardening Conversations

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Canton, NY




With winter, gardening goes indoors

(Nov 12, 2018) Not only is it getting consistently frosty, we've had a string of wet days. Conditions haven't been ideal for gardening outdoors. But there can be a whole host of chores involving plants and dirt indoors. Cooperative Extension's Amy Ivy took a call from a concerned Christmas Cactus owner last week. It was blooming on Election Day. What? And can it be re-potted anyway? So, this week, answers to those questions, and more about plants that have come indoors for the duration....


Time to put down the hedge clippers!

(Nov 5, 2018) Shrubs and trees are on the way into winter. They're literally shutting down for the coming cold. So it's a bad time to do any unnecessary pruning or trimming of ornamental shrubs, hedges and the like. [full story]


Grasses are stand-outs in the fall garden

(Oct 29, 2018) There are a few blossoms left in the perennial garden, if you're lucky and have a really hardy mum or showy Autumn Joy sedum. But, mostly, what's left are dramatic dried seed heads and foliage that turns bright as the season changes. [full story]


Those fallen leaves - blessing, or curse?

(Oct 22, 2018) If it's a matter of raking and disposal, the thick fall of leaves from your maples or oaks can be a real headache. But gardeners can turn that work to real advantage, as mulch and compost. Cooperative Extension's Amy Ivy has lots of advice to turn the curse of those deciduous leftovers into a blessing for the gardens. [full story]


Get ready for frost

(Oct 15, 2018) We're expecting a killing frost across the region this week. Time to dig up and/or bring in plants you want to keep through the winter. Cooperative Extension's Amy Ivy takes cuttings from her geraniums - it's very easy to propagate those in potting mix for blooms in mid-winter. Nasturtium cuttings flourish in a jar of water on a window sill. You can always try digging up and potting herbs and other favorites to bring inside — some do better than others. And a note: tender...


Get set - it's go time to plant garlic

(Oct 8, 2018) Garlic is one of those spring bulbs you plant in the fall, like daffodils, tulips and crocuses. Cooperative Extension's Amy Ivy offers lots of detail in this week's conversation. What kind, how, where and how deep, and how to snug it in for growth over the winter. Short version: get big, healthy local bulbs, split them into cloves, plant root end down 2" deep and 4"-5" apart. And cover with loose mulch. [full story]


Raised beds - the basics

(Sep 17, 2018) What are they? Why bother? And, how do you make them? Cooperative Extension's Amy Ivy answers the basic questions of raised beds: what? why? and how? And she adds in a few details, too, about how big, how high, and other questions to consider before you start. One question we didn't get to: if you're concerned at all about pressure treated lumber, don't use it or lay plastic between the wood and your soil. Amy uses pine, 2X10, untreated. Next week: what to fill them with?...


Cleaning out. Looking ahead.

(Sep 10, 2018) In mid-September some of a gardener's work is deconstruction, some is preparation, and some is just thinking. Cooperative Extension's Amy Ivy is pulling out spent zucchini; Martha Foley's getting rid of some really tired tomatoes and hoping the remainder will have time to ripen this month. Both are prepping an area for planting garlic later in the fall, and talking about moving all or part of the garden. First step in that process: killing the existing grass with a thick cover...


Keeping annuals blooming and other late season tips and chores

(Sep 3, 2018) The late warm weather helps extend the blooming season. Deadheading annuals like zinnia will also help. You can divide perennials that are not in bloom and thin out and move around early bloomers like lilies and iris. And it's a good time to beef up the soil while you're at it. Cooperative extension horticulturist Amy shares tips and to-do lists with Martha Foley. She is a regular Monday morning guest on The Eight O'Clock Hour. [full story]


What's your garden favorite in late summer?

(Aug 27, 2018) Gardens have a distinctly different look as August winds down. There's usually a lot of browned-out foliage to clean out (if you've been away or been too busy). But whether it's vegetables or flowers, there are some old, and new favorites that really come into their own. Home grown tomatoes, of course, and the strong colors of zinnias and black-eyed susans. Cooperative Extension's Amy Ivy is enjoying pole beans now, too, and sweet peas - the flowers, that is! [full story]


The joy of gardening in late summer

(Aug 20, 2018) Are you back from out of town, or finally able to focus on the late summer garden? Are there parts of the garden overrun by weeds? How can you keep some of the perennials looking their best? Horticulturist Amy Ivy says don’t give up on the garden if it looks like a mess in late August. She has some advice for reinvigorating the late summer garden. [full story]


August in the garden: time to hoard the garlic!

(Aug 13, 2018) Cornell Cooperative Extension Horticulturist Amy Ivy says now is the time to start thinking about next year's garlic crop. Her advice, if you're planning to use your own seed garlic, is to put aside a few of your largest, healthiest bulbs to plant later this fall. Amy Ivy shares more garlic growing and storing tips with Todd Moe. [full story]


It's bugs and beetle time in the garden

(Aug 6, 2018) There's lots of talk among gardeners right now about that annual, persistent, pesky visitor, the Japanese Beetle. Cooperative Extension's Amy Ivy describes them as "little tanks" - hard shelled, slow, and largely impervious to our weaponry in defense of vegetables and flowers. [full story]


Tuning up tomatoes for ripening, and a little planting for fall

(Jul 30, 2018) Lots of heat and sun, and just enough rain has given most tomato plants are real boost. [full story]


In the garden: Dry, drier, but not yet driest

(Jul 16, 2018) The upside: this is great sunny summer weather for swimming, boating, picnics and parades. But gardeners' flowers and vegetables are bearing the brunt. Cooperative Extension's Amy Ivy talks about one dry-weather tomato problem, blossom end rot, and what to do about it. [full story]


Early warning on late blight, and how do biennials work?

(Jun 18, 2018) No details yet, but late blight - which can devastate tomato and potato plants - has been confirmed in several tomato pants in Onondaga County. Cooperative Extension's Amy Ivy says more information should be coming soon. Call your local Cooperative Extension office if you think you're seeing late blight.That, and an explanation on biennials in our weekly conversation. [full story]


A cool spell this week could pause the growing season

(Jun 4, 2018) Just when we thought the cool air had left the garden, the forecast this week is predicting overnight temps in the 40's. Horticulturist Amy Ivy says some veggies, like lettuce and spinach, thrive in the cooler weather. But it could mean a set back for young tomato plants and basil seedlings. Amy's advice - "Hang in there." [full story]


Plants need room to grow

(May 28, 2018) It sounds simple, right? But being realistic about the space a slender transplant will need as it grows to maturity, and keeping to the space recommendations isn't. [full story]


It's all things lilac at Moore's Hill Farm near Potsdam

(May 25, 2018) One of the joys of spring is the appearance, and fragrance, of lilacs. Most old farmsteads and gardens have at least one lilac tree. A Potsdam couple has started a second career of bringing lilacs back to more yards. [full story]


Take good care of those transplants

(May 21, 2018) Whether you're putting in flats of tender "starts" or one treasured, rare perennial, TLC counts.Cooperative Extension's Amy Ivy has tips on being efficient, and effective. She says prepare the soil and have water standing by. And if a plant is root-bound, whether it's a tiny pansy in a six pack or a big perennial in a pot, free the bound roots.Amy teases the roots loose with her fingers if possible, but will snip through a denser, tougher tangle is necessary. And she adds,...