August 2011 Newsletter
Mums the word at Viola’s! This is the time of year to try one of these great Fall perennials. Mums can last through the cooler parts of the season and withstand a couple of moderate frosts. Make sure to come on in to take a look at all the colors for Fall.
While you’re in taking a look at the mums, don’t forget about our great trees and shrubs. This is a great time to put in a new tree or a couple of shrubs before the winter. We have a great selection of trees and shrubs, so if you need something flowering, shady, or even evergreen, we got you covered.
This season’s been flying by with incredible speed! It seems as though it was just yesterday we were pulling in the tender plants from the frost, and now those little sprouts are bigger than ever. Our employee garden is doing amazing! Come on in and sneak a peek at what the girls and guys at Viola’s can do with a veggie garden.
This month’s garden pests aren’t insects, but are still considered a nuisance this time of year. They crawl along the garden devouring roots, leaves, and stems. An infested garden can easily lose any newly transplanted perennials and annuals. These pests are both members of the phylum Mollusca, and are related to squids, cuttlefish and clams. That’s right; I’m talking about Slugs and Snails.
Slugs and snails are both Gastropods, they have soft, un-segmented bodies that, in the case of snails can produce a hardened, protective shell. In the garden they wreak havoc by devouring plant tissues, scraping away soft plant matter with the file-like radula inside their mouths. Determining an infestation is actually easy, the most noticeable proof of the little guys is the “slime-trail” they can leave behind. This trail, when dry, is shiny and can be viewed on leaves and flowers of garden plants.
These guys are mostly active at night, and during the day they try to keep out of the heat of the sun. To prevent the accumulation of a large population of these invertebrates, proper garden maintenance is a must! Clean-up and trim any decaying organic matter (leaves, grass clippings) to cut down on places snails and slugs will want to lay eggs and hide during the day. A simple relocation of found snails and slugs can cut down on their population. Also a simple yeast trap made with a shallow bowl (I use a Styrofoam bowl) buried up to the rim in the garden and filled with leftover beer will attract snails and slugs. If you prefer not to waste a cold one on the little invertebrates, then the use of a slug and snail bait is the best method. We carry the Bonide Slug Magic, which is a granular slug and snail bait that is made with iron phosphate, this means that Slug Magic will decompose back into the soil if not ingested by slugs and snails. This bait is also safe to use around pets and can be used up to the day of harvest on fruits and veggies.
Back to Basics
A question that we always seem to answering this time of year, “Is this a good time to plant?” With the imminent onset of Fall and (dun dun dun…) the frost, it can be perplexing to gardeners to plant with the arrival of the Fall season, but right now is a great time to put in something new!
Perennials, trees and shrubs can be added to the garden or landscape. If you want to spruce up the flower beds and try some color that can take a few freezes, then perennials such as Mums, Asters and annuals like Violas, Pansies, Ornamental Cabbage and Kale will be what you want.
It’s also advised to take some notes about how the garden went this year. A garden journal with pictures can be a great help for next season’s plantings. Have any vegetable varieties that did amazing this year? Before consuming the fruits of your labor, take a picture or two and jot down that variety of squash or tomato that is the centerpiece of the veggie garden. Also, taking a snapshot of how your garden looks now can go a long way to tweaking what you want to fill in next year.
We are officially at the transition of seasons, with the daily weather fluctuations between midsummer monsoons to cooler autumn evenings. This time of the year is very tricky to decide when and when not to water. Many plants are lost at this time due to over or under-watering.
The number one rule is to actually check the soil, if the soil is dry and the plant is wilty, a watering is required. When the soil is saturated and plants look wilted, the case may not be too little water but too much, it would be advised to allow the plants to dry a bit before returning to the regular watering schedule. Too much over-watering can be just as damaging as under-watering, the roots can rot, as well as develop fungi, and molds. So to be sure, always check the soil!
What To Do
It’s time to clean-up the garden! Dead-heading both annual and perennial flowers can help maintain the blooming season. Perennials that look leggy or shaggy can be cut back; they will regrow and be easier to manage.
Be ready to fertilize! Giving everyone a boost of Yum-Yum will ensure proper growth and blooms.
Enjoy and share the garden! A good gardener knows that bringing the garden indoors is the best way to enjoy the season. Fresh cut flowers or veggies make a great gift to neighbors or are pleasant to enjoy at home.