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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

I have the first of a "how to" video series professionally made. This one is on apple tree pruning.
see before and afters below...
http://www.hilltowntreeandgarden.com/how-to-videos-pruning-old-apple-tree.html



Friday, April 12, 2013

Roots and taxes.

People often ask me "when can i start planting my vegetable garden?" The short answer is now. The soil temp in my gardens has reached 50 degrees. While under the black plastic (I use to heat up the soil) has a soil temperature of 60. All vegetable gardeners should own their own $10 soil thermometer. In general we reach these soil temperatures around April 15th, tax day, hence roots and taxes.
The majority of crops you would plant at this time of year (potatoes, lettuces, kale, spinach, beets, carrots radishes, etc...) will germinate at these soil temps. See link for exact soil temps... http://ag.arizona.edu/pubs/garden/mg/vegetable/temperature.html

But... if you see many days of cold wet weather coming, hold off on planing. Because cold wet weather for to many days will often rot the seed. I will plant this weekend because next week looks warm (60) and dry. Plant a victory garden this year, feed your family and thumb your nose at the corporate agro business!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Northampton Gazette did an article on the Elm Project. see link below

http://www.gazettenet.com/home/5428090-95/nature-conservancy-project-seeks-healthy-american-elms

By FRAN RYAN
Gazette Contributing Writer
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
HATFIELD

Once the dominant tree species in Massachusetts, a healthy mature American elm is a relatively rare find these days. That is why scientists from the Nature Conservancy are on the hunt for the few remaining mature elms in New England with hopes of propagating traits that have protected them from the devastating Dutch elm disease.

“You can go into the forest now and see hundreds of American elm saplings, but they rarely live past five years due to this disease,” said Kim Lutz, director of the Connecticut River Program for the Nature Conservancy.

Three years ago, Nature Conservancy ecologist Christian Marks began a project to restore the American elm to Connecticut River floodplain forests using a population of disease-resistant trees.

To accomplish this, Marks travels throughout New England to locate mature healthy elms. His team then harvests 15 to 20 branches from each tree in the spring before the leaf...
Pruning Blueberry Bushes

April is a great month to get the family out into the landscape. There are all the obvious things to do like rake the leaves you missed in October, pick up fallen branches & cut any perennials back to the ground. But the pruning of shrubs is not quite as obvious of a chore. Many kinds of shrubs can be pruned at this time of the year but our native blueberries thrive with regular pruning. Pruning is one of those subjects that often can cause a state of paralysis to even the most seasoned gardener. But when it comes to blueberries, fear not. It is so simple that even your child can do it (providing you tell her her goat can stay near by).
Just follow the 4 steps below:

1)Get the proper pruning tools. If you have shrubs of any kind you need the following (see image left to right): a folding saw, lopper and hand pruner. All of these I purchased locally in Conway at the family owned and operated Oesco. http://www.oescoinc.com/ The long handled loppers are good for kids. Fingers are away from blades and the long handles give them the leverage to cut sizeable branches.







The image below shows a blueberry bush that has not been pruned for 5 years. It has dozens of branches that are too old to produce much in the way of quality fruit. The interior is cluttered with deadwood and the canopy is filled with branches rubbing against one another.


2) Remove any dead, dying or diseased branches.
3) Remove 1/3 of the oldest branches. Cut the stems at the base as low as possible. Your children can keep up with the brush pulling to clear you an area to work in and to see your progress.
4) Repeat next year.

The bush should now be: a) narrow at base, b) open in the center, and c) free of vegetative clutter



If you do this to your blueberry bushes every year or so you will find them producing at least twice as much berries then they did in the past.