What’s that goo?

You may have noticed greenish/brown jelly like blobs appearing in your drive way or lawn. That is called Nostoc. It is a type of bacteria that gets its energy from photosynthesis like plants do. Following a period of rain, it may appear suddenly in lawns, pastures, paved surfaces, roofs or stones. Nostoc has many colorful names including witches’ butter, mare’s eggs and meadow ears, among others. In fact, one of the earliest names for it was star jelly, based on the belief that it was a remnant of shooting stars fallen to earth. Continue reading

Butterfly Gardens

This summer, many families plan to travel for vacation.  Maybe a trip to the beach or out west to the mountains.  Some of these trips require a day or two of driving long distances.  One species of butterfly could be considered the ultimate trip planner. Continue reading

Can I Garden over my Septic System?

As we start to think about gardening and lawn care this year, one question may pop up: Can I garden on my septic system? Well, there are a couple of questions to consider:

  1. Can a garden be contaminated by bacterial and viral hazards which may be found in septic drainfields? A properly operating septic system will not contaminate the soil with disease organisms, but it can be difficult to tell if the system is working at optimum efficiency.  Also, the soil type can make a difference. Clay like soil will eliminate any organism within a few inches of the system, while a sandy soil could allow for movement of bacteria several feet.

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Tool Clean Up & Care

At the end of the gardening season, it’s so easy to just walk away from your garden and “deal with it” in the spring. And when it comes to tools, as long as they are back in the shed, well, you’ve done great and can find them again when you need them. However, even your gardening tools need a little TLC to keep them fresh (and disease free) for next year. So over the winter, spending some time caring for your tools will help them last longer and keep your garden healthier for the next season. Continue reading

Fall Care

Fall is a time to give some care to woody plants. Most shrubs and trees do not need to be fertilized, if the lawn is fertilized. Also, if leaf litter (fallen leaves) is allowed to remain on the ground below the canopy, then there is a good chance that is a source of nutrients. But if soil testing reveals a need for supplemental nutrients, then fall of the year is good for fertilizer application. Continue reading