Tuesday, November 20, 2012

November Gardening Tips

--by historical interpreter and Master Gardener Pat Kriener

Did you enjoy our cold snap? Did you have your plants prepared for it? It came a little early this year but most of us who follow old plant lore started preparing at least 3 weeks ago: that’s when the Mexican Mint Marigold started blooming. According to plant lore, the Mexican Mint Marigold blooms within a few weeks of our first light frost. Usually this is in mid to late October, but seeing the Mexican Mint Marigold bloom jump-starts me into winterizing my garden. This is a wonderful culinary herb that has a licorice scent & taste and blooms in the spring & fall with small yellow marigold-like flowers.

  • Annuals for fall & winter - the hardiest are the pansies, violas, ornamental cabbage & kale.  Don’t overlook allysum, cyclamens, dianthus, English daisy, mums, primrose and stock even though they may die back if temperatures get below 25 degrees. Water well and cover if the temps drop. Check your garden center regularly for new arrivals. Plant in front of existing perennials where you can, so they will hide & shelter them as they die back.
  • Bulbs – Forcing Paperwhite Narcissus for blooming at Christmas takes 4 to 6 weeks from the time you plant until full bloom, depending on conditions. You can buy Forcing Bulbs Kits or plant bulbs in a glass bowl or container filled with rocks and water. Keep in dim light until first green shows, then put in bright light. Keep planting those spring bulbs.
  • Compost Bin – Throw all clippings, leaves, vegetable and garden waste in compost.  Top-dressing beds with compost is a wonderful slow release fertilizer.  For large composts, use a broom handle, piece of rebar, stick or shovel handle to make ventilation holes in the pile. Turning a compost pile is recommended by many experts, but there are also several who state ventilation works just as well. I would love to hear what you think.
  •  Container Plants – move tender plants inside this month or at least make space so they can be moved in quickly. Pots always come with visitors:  toads, ants or other bugs. Water heavily with the hose to get the toads out and then use orange oil solutions for the bugs:  follow the directions on the bottle. Winter pots--use winter annuals and hardy plants. When freezing temperatures are predicted, water and cover if needed. Make sure your pots have plenty of mulch.
  • Fruits & Nuts- plant B&B, bare root and container grown fruits peaches, apples, pears, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries. Strawberries need to be planted as early as possible to develop a good root system before it freezes (mulch heavily). Pecans & walnut trees can be planted this month. Existing plants:  mulch & top dress and remember to make sure they get watered.
  • Greenhouse – If you haven’t wrapped your greenhouse in plastic or cleaned out your glass green house, do it now! Take cuttings of any tender plants you want for spring. Make room for cold tender plants already in pots and plants you potted up last month.  This is the time to take cuttings of many of our woody plants such as rosemary. Winter annuals and vegetables – continue to propagate by seed and transplant all plants with true leaves but first harden them off a few hours every day  for 3 to 5 days outside before planting . Try an eco friendly way to heat your greenhouse using black buckets with water in them. They can have lids on them or not. I have hooked mine up to my sink so when I run water it goes into the bucket and I have the hose hooked up to the last barrel so I can use it for watering if need be.
  • Herbs - All of the evergreen herbs such as rosemary, thyme, parsley, oregano and others can be harvested all winter; if you do not have them in your garden plant them now. Grow tender herbs such as basil indoors or in the greenhouse. Use lavender cuttings in vases for a fresh scent, hang to let dry to create dried arrangements and wreaths or hang in closets for moth repellant.
  • Lawn –Don’t bag those leaves--mulch them for fertilizer, use them for mulch in your beds or create a compost pile. Overseed bare areas with rye-grass seed to avoid erosion.
  • Mulch – Check your mulch to see if you have at least 3 inches on your beds. This is a great time to get out there and mulch everything from your beds to your trees. Mulch will help protect them from our extremes in temperatures during this winter.
  • Plant for Fall Color – Trees – Shumard Oak & Texas Smoke Tree.  Shrubs – American Beautyberry & Holy, Possum haw.  Perennials – Mexican Bush Sage, Mexican Mint Marigold & Sedum, Autumn Joy.  Roses – Belinda’s Dream & Knock Out. Vines - Trumpet Vine & Virginia Creeper.  Fall Blooming Bulbs such as Autumn Crocus are planted in the spring.
  •  Perennials – Plant NOW! Get ready for the winter by mulching at least 2 to 3 inches. Deadhead but do not cut back until we have had at least 2 hard frosts.  Pot up tender ones to be easily moved into the house or greenhouse when the weather turns bad.
  • Rainwater -. Don’t forget to put out buckets to catch rainwater.  For more information on using rainwater wisely go to: http://twri.tamu.edu/newsletters/TexasWaterSavers/tws-v3n2.pdf
  • Roses – New stock of EarthKind Roses are showing up in the garden centers. Top dress and mulch existing roses. Stop deadheading to get rose hips for teas and jams for the upcoming winter. Climbers can be pruned back as soon as they stop blooming.
  • Vegetable Garden –. It’s time to plant Garlic! Other Vegetables to Plant: Beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, collards, cucumbers, garlic, kohlrabi, lettuce, kale, mustard greens, radish, shallots, snap beans, spinach and Swiss chard. Always check “Days to harvest” on the package and usually our first hard frost is in Mid-Nov. Plant your broccoli, cabbage, collards and lettuce you started from seed last month. Cleanup beds, add compost, and cover with mulch. If you are not replanting plant a “green manure”--Vetch, crimson clover and oats are good choices.
  • Watering – If we do not get rain, a 7-day cycle is best for your plants but you may want to water earlier when we are going to have a sudden temperature drop and your plants are on the dry side. Watering will help insulate the plants from the cold. Make sure you keep the water off the plants by ground watering or if you have to use a sprinkler system that you water when there is no danger of your plants freezing. I know I have driven down streets and seen icicles hanging off plants just because the system is on a timer.
  • Wildflowers - Hurry!  Time is getting short to get those wildflowers planted for spring blooms

If you haven’t already winterized your gardens, do it now.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Gardening tips for October...

--By Pat Kriener, Village historical interpreter and Master Gardener

I am sorry this month's article is so late, but it’s hard to tie me to the computer with so much fall decorating & gardening to do, clearance sales to haunt, fall events to enjoy and lectures to attend.. Every spring we rejoice in the first blooms of spring but for me fall has its own magic with the beautiful colors of autumn. Bringing these colors to your own landscape can be as easy as adding a few PLANTS FOR FALL COLOR.

  • Plant for Fall ColorTREES – Bald Cypress, Cedar Elm, Dogwood, Sycamore, Sweet Gum, Shumard Oak, Texas Smoke Tree.  SHRUBS– American Beauty berry, Possum haw Holly & Yaupon.  PERENNIALS– Mexican Bush Sage, Mexican Mint Marigold & Sedum, Autumn Joy.  Roses – Belinda’s Dream & Knock Out. VINES- Trumpet Vine & Virginia Creeper.  Fall Blooming Bulbs such as Autumn Crocus are planted in the spring.

  • Annuals – Plant now by hardiness. Hardy to Frost - Alyssum, Marigold, Petunia, Stock. Hardy to Freeze - Dianthus & Snapdragon. Hardy to Hard Freeze – Dusty miller, Flowering cabbage, Flowering Kale, pansy & Viola. Don’t forget pumpkins make wonderful planters. 

  •   Bulbs – It’s time to plant your favorite spring bulbs. Caladiums can be dug up once the leaves have fallen and look tired but before they are dead. Lay them out in a cool dry place to dry.

  • Compost Bin  – Spread compost, turn piles, Bins already full? Make a New Bin!

  • Containers with Fall Color – Use perennials & annuals recommended above with a mixture of shrubs such as Abelia, Beautyberry, American Holly, Indian Hawthorn, Mexican Orange, Yaupon Holly & Viburnum or evergreen arborvitaes. Use evergreen herbs for added scent and texture to your containers; Germander, Greek Oregano, Thyme and Rosemary. Don’t forget you can add any of these plants to your beds.

  • Herbs –Plant evergreen herbs in pots, beds or even as a hedge row, remove spent biannual and annual herbs, cut back perennial herbs, continue moving and dividing herbs, add compost to new plantings and top-dress existing plants, pot up tender plants such as basil to over-winter in the greenhouse or house for fresh basil all winter. Don’t forget to add mulch to help protect your herbs from the chill of winter. Plant indoor herb garden to enjoy all winter long. 

  • Fruit Trees- Remember to water your fruit trees even when they are not producing. An easy way to get those pears to ripen is to put them in a paper bag; lay the bag on its side so the pears are not stacked on top of each other.

  •  Greenhouse – If you cover your greenhouse in plastic for the winter, now is the time to pull out your supplies and see if you have enough or purchase more if needed. You will want to have your plastic up between mid-Oct and mid-Nov. Start taking cuttings of tender plants such as begonias, sweet potato vine, sedums, basil and others so you have will have stock for spring. Begin cleaning to make room for cold tender plants already in pots. Get your pots and your soil ready for any tender plants you need to dig up to winter-over. Continue planting seed for winter annuals and vegetables. Transplant all plants with true leaves, but first harden them off for 3 to 5 days.

  •  Houseplants – Start thinking about bringing your Outdoor House plants in. Check for pests on foliage and in soil. Soak your pots with water so the toads will vacate. Repot if needed, cut off all dead plant material, and give liquid seaweed to help with stress. 

  • Lawn – Lawn – It’s time to put down pre-emergent and fertilize for the fall. I use corn gluten meal with dried molasses, but ask your local garden center or extension agent to find the products that will work best for you. Leaves will be dropping soon; don’t bag those leaves use a mulching mower for FREE fertilizer & mulch.

  • Mulch – Texas gardener’s secret weapon is MULCH--Spring, Summer, Fall & Winter!

  • Perennials – Plant NOW! Haunt the clearance sales.

  • Problems – Molds, fungus, disease and an abundance of pests such as aphids, mealy bugs, scale and spider mites. To learn about your existing problems and what solutions are available contact your local Extension Agent, Master Gardener or Garden Center.

  • Roses – Mulch, fertilize, water during dry spells, deadhead and if you are an organic gardener collect rose hips for tea. Plant EarthKind Roses Now!

  • Trees – This is the best time to plant trees in Texas, so hit those clearance sales.

  • Vegetable Garden – Harvest snap beans, cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes and eggplant into November and early December. Vegetables to Plant: Beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, Chinese cabbage, collards, cucumbers, garlic, kohlrabi, lettuce, kale, radish, shallots, snap beans and Swiss chard. Always check “Days to harvest” on the package and usually our first hard frost is in Mid-Nov. Plant your broccoli, cabbage, collards and lettuce you started from seed last month. Start a Strawberry Bed. Clean up beds, add compost, and cover with mulch. If you are not replanting, plant a “green manure”, a crop allowed to grow for a few months, but before it seeds it is tilled in to provide organic matter for the soil. Vetch, crimson clover and oats are good choices. Use cold frames and covers for warm-season crops, such as basil, tomatoes, squash, and cucumbers to extend your harvest in fall.

  • Watering – A 7-day watering schedule is good for your pocket book and your plants, but remember the best way to protect your plants from a sudden dip in temperatures is to have plenty of mulch & water the SOIL before the temperature takes a nose drive.

  • Rainwater Harvesting – We have not had frequent rain, but enough to keep my barrels from becoming dry or to resort to using tap water for the greenhouse or container plants.  Recently I connected a rain barrel and a simple ball float system (like in the toilet) to the chickens' water so it automatically fills from the rain barrel as the water level lowers. http://twri.tamu.edu/newsletters/TexasWaterSavers/tws-v3n2.pdf

  • Wildflowers – Plant Texas Native Wildflowers now--they are the best for our climate and ecosystem
  • Wildlife in the Garden – I am always encouraging wildlife into the garden but it does create challenges. I used to put out wildflower seed just to watch it become a birdie buffet, but several years ago I learned about a Native American planting method called Seed Balls. This is very simple to do, get some soil wet it to the consistency of mud pies of old, then mix your seed into your mud.  Roll into several balls about the size of golf balls. Let the balls dry for 2 to 3 days, and then toss them in the desired location. No bed prep, no raking...just toss and walk away. It is great fun for everyone but the birds.

Hope to see you at the clearance sales!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

We're hiring!

Think you've got what it takes to come learn and work with us?  We are advertising for the position described below. If you are interested follow this link to the City of Fort Worth Jobs web site to apply. https://www.fortworthgov.org/hrappl/Job_Listing.asp  Just look for the Historical Interpreter position.

Thanks for your interest!

ANN# S01-471
CLOSING DATE: October 31, 2012


The position works approximately 29-34 hours per pay period (two weeks).  
Two schedule options:  
  • Every Tuesday 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. and every Saturday and Sunday 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. OR 
  • Tuesday and Friday 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. and every Saturday 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

High School Diploma or GED required and possess a working knowledge of 19TH century crafts.  Successful candidates must be able to display excellent interpersonal and communication skills in dealing with parents, children and other staff members.

The Log Cabin Village is looking for qualified candidates to serve as Historical Interpreter for the public.  This position provide programs for tourists and organized groups; provide historical information to visitors of all ages; demonstrates and produces 19TH century crafts; wear 19TH century historical attire at all times; assists Educator with family programs and maintains assigned cabin. 


Environmental Conditions:

Work outdoors and in historic buildings with no air conditioning or heat. A combination of heaters, electric fans, and wood stoves are used for climate control.

Physical Conditions: The position is responsible for cleaning (sweeping, dusting, and keeping viewing area glass clean) in assigned work area.

Friday, September 7, 2012

September Gardening Tips...

By Pat Kriener, Village interpreter and Master Gardener 

FALL IS FOR PLANTING! On average our winters are mild when compared to our summers so planting in the fall is less stressful on you and your plants. To survive a Texas Summer, newly planted plants need constant water because they do not have an adequate root system to support themselves. By planting in the fall, the plant has several months to develop a strong root system, which will give it a better chance to survive our Texas Summers.

  • Fall is for Planting – This is the best time to plant perennials, shrubs & trees in Texas.
  • Annuals -Mums are already in the garden centers. Soon many of the other fall & winter plants such as carnations, cyclamen, dianthus, kale, primrose, and pansies will arrive 
  • Bulbs - Don’t forget many bulbs are planted in the fall in pots and in the ground for blooming in the spring.  Start making plans now; order your bulbs and visit your garden centers to learn more about bulbs. Divide iris and calla lily at this time.
  • Compost Bin - I have so much waste from the garden and kitchen that is considered wet material that I am adding bagged compost and turning often to even out the balance. Top-dress your beds and vegetable garden with compost because as you water or it rains, it will slowly work its way into the soil for slow-release fertilizer
  • Containers – This is the time to check out the garden centers to freshen those containers with plants that thrive in the cooler temperatures.
  • Flower Garden - Trimming, deadheading and fertilizing will keep the garden looking well maintained and encourage their beauty to last until frost.
  • Fruit Trees- most of our fruit trees harvests are over for the season, except for a few varieties of apples and pears that are still producing.  Remember to make sure they get watered even when not producing
  • Greenhouse –Check for fungus related diseases & pests. Seed for winter annuals and vegetables. Transplant all plants with true leaves but first hardened them for a few hours outside and then plant after 3 to 5 days. Begin cleaning to make room for cold tender plants already in pots. Get your pots and your soil ready for any tender plants you need to dig up to winter over.
  • Lawn – Mid Sept. is time to put down pre-emergent and fertilize for the fall. Leaves will be dropping soon. Don’t’ bag those leaves: mulch them into the lawn for fertilizer and mulch, add them to your beds or the compost. 
  • Mulch - Mulch to conserve water and so you don’t have to Weed – Weed – Weed. If plants look over-watered, pull mulch away from them so they can have a chance to air out.

  • Perennials – this is a great time to get out there & divide, propagate and plant perennials.
  • Problems - Molds, fungus, disease and an abundance of pests such as aphids, mealy bugs, scale and spider mites are a few of the problems plaguing our plants. The grasshoppers will soon follow them, but if you need help with any problems such as these, contact your local Extension Agent, Master Gardener or Garden Center to help identify your problem and the appropriate solutions. 
  • Rainwater - Build a dry creek bed to help to redirect water to your gardens or to solve your drainage and runoff problems. Don’t forget to put out buckets to catch rainwater.  For more information on using rainwater wisely go to. http://twri.tamu.edu/newsletters/TexasWaterSavers/tws-v3n2.pdf. Mosquito prevention--cover with screens, use mosquito dunks or add mosquito fish to your barrels.
  • The Fall Vegetable Garden – Write down an evaluation of the garden successes and failures. Make notes on what changes you want to make for next year. Don’t rip out those tomato plants--cut them back and fertilize them. Most varieties will continue producing into the fall months. Harvest snap beans, cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes and eggplant into November and early December. All of the perennial herbs such as rosemary, thyme, parsley, oregano and others can be harvested all winter.  If you do not have them in your garden, plant them now. Vegetables to Plant: Beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, Chinese cabbage, collards, cucumbers, lima beans, snow peas, Irish potatoes, kale, leeks, lettuce, radish, rutabagas, shallots and snap beans. Plant your broccoli, cabbage, collards and lettuce you started from seed last month. Cleanup beds, add compost and add waste to the compost bin. Don’t have a garden? Or just don’t want to run out to the garden in the cold? Start a fall/winter container garden by the front or back door so you can enjoy vegetables & herbs all though the cooler seasons.
  • Watering – If we do not get rain, a 7 day watering cycle is best for your plants. New plantings may need to be watered more often to deal with the heat but soon they will have relief.
  • Wildflowers  Buy your wildflowers NOW!  We start planting soon.
  • Wildlife in the Garden - Mosquitoes a problem? One way you can help is to encourage wildlife that eat mosquitoes to your backyard such as: dragonflies, toads, frogs, lizards, bluebirds and bats.

Fall is for planting so get out there and plant the landscape of your dreams!.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

With apologies...aka "why we don't post very often"

First of all, thank you for your support (because if you're reading this, you are showing your support by attending to what we have to say)!  If you've followed this blog for any amount of time, you may have noticed that the posting frequency has become rather slow.  This is not due to a lack of things to talk about.  It is a result of quite the opposite:  so many wonderful things going on...and not enough time to sit down and tell you about them!

Two years ago, we lost one of our full-time staff members to budget cuts.  The unfortunate result is that we are faced with doing more with less.  The blog is one of the areas which has suffered due to lack of time and staff.  The good news?  We are seeing more and more visitors on site and providing them with amazing 19th c. experiences they won't soon forget.

But we haven't forgotten you...our "virtual" visitors.  We will continue to provide 1-2 blog posts a month.  We will post frequently on our Facebook page, sharing marvelous information about what's happening here AND on other related topics.  You can always find out the latest happenings on our Calendar of Events.  And you can always reach us via email.

We appreciate you always, and we're grateful that you've stuck around!  We hope to see you online or in person (or both) soon!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Gardening Tips--August

--By Pat Kriener, Village interpreter and Master Gardener

August is one of my favorite months to garden because it is so hot I usually spend most of my time sitting on the porch watching the beautiful Texas sunset as I wait for the temperature to drop. I guess you realize that the temperature does not drop much right now, so I must confess I am doing more sitting on the porch than gardening. I wish that meant there was nothing to do, but as we all know, the Texas garden is a never-ending challenge just to keep alive.  

  • Annuals – Plant heat loving annuals that require very little water; Cosmos, Impatiens (shade), Lantana, Moss Rose, Purselane, Scabiosa, Sun flower, Texas Bluebells, Vinca & Zinnias. Water & fertilize with liquid seaweed, top-dress & mulch plants to help combat the intense heat.
  • Bulbs – last chance to plant dormant bulbs of late summer & fall blooming lycoris & fall crocus. Thin out cannas & ginger shoots after they bloom. Dig up, divide & transplant Louisiana iris & Calla lily if needed. Use slow release fertilizers, 3:1:2 ratio is best. Watch for spider mites on oxalis and other plants. 
  • Compost Bin  Too hot to turn it? Use a long rod to poke holes in it for needed airflow.
  • Containers – Too hot to enjoy the garden during the day? Take a walk at night. Can’t see the Plants? Plant a few pots with night-blooming plants & scented plants, that are silver, white or lavender flowers or foliage they will show up in the moonlight or with a few well-placed solar lights. 
  • Greenhouse – It’s time to get the greenhouse ready. Propagate for your fall gardens by seed and cuttings.  Depending on your system you might want to start everything inside until temperatures drop.
  • Herbs – Collect seed for sowing and kitchen use. Dry & store as recommended.  Sow biennials such as parsley & sow winter salad herbs. Continue to take cuttings.  Check out your fall seeds catalogs.
  • Lawn – Unless you are watering every 3 days your grass is probably turning brown. With our heat it is almost unrealistic to expect a lush green lawn so embrace your brown yard as a welcome respite from mowing. Water at least every 7 days between 2 AM & 6 am for best results.
  • Mulch – Texas gardener’s secret weapon...MULCH! Last night I laid out paper and covered it with mulch around plants that are wilting during the day. Recycle by using shredded paper as mulch; don’t shred advertising pages that are made out of the slick paper or envelopes that have plastic windows. Paper is lightweight so it may blow away unless it is mixed with a heavier mulch.  You can also use it as a bottom layer.
  • Perennials –Water existing plants & fertilize with liquid seaweed, then top dress with compost, earthworm castings or humus, in combination or singular. A few perennials that can withstand the Texas heat; Russian Sage, Oxeyed Daisy, Blackfoot Daisy, Copper Canyon Daisy, Coral Honeysuckle, Ruellia, Turks Cap, Salvias, and Coreopsis
  • Roses – Prune roses about 25 percent to generate new growth, & fertilize with nitrogen products. Don’t forget to water thoroughly after you fertilize & prune. Add mulch if needed. Plant EarthKind Roses because once established, very little care or water or pruning is needed.
  • Trees – If you haven’t planted native trees this is the perfect time to do your research to get ready to plant in September.  A few good ones to add to your fall planting list would be Desert Willow, Magnolia, Bur oak, American Smoke Tree, Lacey Oak, Mexican plum, Pecan, Texas Redbud, Rusty Blackhaw, Texas Buckeye & Texas Mountain Laurel. Planting them in the fall will give them time to establish a strong root system for the 2013 Summer Heat.
  • Vegetable Garden –START PLANTING YOUR FALL GARDEN NOW! I always look forward to my fall garden because it is not as much work to keep it alive and as the temperatures lower, every chore is more enjoyable. Plant Now: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, bunching onions, cabbage, cauliflower, collard, Swiss Chards, Chinese cabbage, cucumbers, lima beans, mustard, snap beans, Southern peas, peppers, Irish potatoes, rutabagas, shallots, squash, tomatoes & turnips.  Top dress existing vegetables with a mixture of compost & worm castings; also add mixture to the soil when planting and water in with liquid seaweed. 
  • Watering – Training your plants to a 7-day watering cycle is one of the best ways to beat the summer watering bill.  Water in early morning between 2 AM & 6AM with soaker hoses, a drip system or hose ground watering for best results. 
  • Wildflowers – fall is coming--order your fall wildflower seed now & make your seed balls 
  • Wildlife in the Garden – I know all of my hard work is paying off while I sit on the porch watching the hummingbirds hovering over the Turk’s Cap, marveling at the colors of the butterflies and relaxing to buzzing of bees.

Remember that the heat is not only hard on your plants but on you as well. I for one will be spending more time on the porch with a cool drink than out in the garden with a shovel or hoe.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Coming events!

August 25 - September 10, 2012
Log Cabin Village will be closed for maintenance. We apologize for any inconvenience.

September 22, 2012
10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Celebrate Fort Worth’s “Day in the District” at the Village! Enjoy a day full of music and living history for the whole family. Admission is FREE for this day only! More information at http://www.fwdayinthedistrict.org.

October 13, 2012
1-4 p.m.
Grab your pumpkins and shuck your corn...it’s time for a good old-fashioned Frontier Fall Fest! You’ll be able to grind grain by hand, shell corn, thresh wheat, “bob” for apples, press tortillas and more. We’ll also have help celebrating the harvest with flintknappers, the Greater Fort Worth Herb Society, drovers from the Fort Worth Herd (minus the longhorns), the Embroiderer’s Guild of America, Wyatt Earp dealing the card game Faro, Cooper Dan “Five Buckets” Tatum, and Buttermilk Junction Old Time String Band, just to name a few! Bring your own carved or painted pumpkin to enter our “best design” contest (judging at 3 p.m.) This will also mark the official launch of Log Cabin Kitty, a children’s book inspired by legendary Village feline Pepper the Cat. Author Donna Rubin will be here to sign your copy (available soon in our museum store)! For a small additional fee, you can even make your own festive corn husk doll to take home! Cost is regular Village admission plus $3 craft fee for corn husk doll . 

November 10,11, 17, & 18, 2012
1-4 p.m.
It’s candle-making time! Come dip your own candles to take home. No reservations required. Cost is regular Village admission plus a $3 fee to dip candles.

November 17, 2012
1-4 p.m.
Time to start thinking about those holiday cards! Come have your photos taken with our historic St. Nick! No reservations required. Cost is regular Village admission plus a $5 fee for photo and folder.

December 15, 2012
1-4 p.m.
Enjoy holiday music, string popcorn and cranberries, spin the dreidel, help make pomander balls, tamales, paper chains, embossed cards, ornaments, and more! You can even have your photo taken with our historic St. Nick ($5 fee for photo and folder). No reservations required. Cost is regular Village admission plus a $2 craft fee to make a punched tin ornament.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Gardening Tips for June

By Master Gardener and Village interpreter Pat Kriener

Vacation Time is here and as a gardener even the word VACATION can strike terror in me. How is the garden going to survive without me? To ease my mind on vacation I use many of the tips & tricks listed throughout this month's Garden Tips.
  • Watering – The key to that summer vacation is training your plants to a 7-day watering cycle if we do not get any rain. Your plants and lawn are already on the schedule so when you leave for that much-needed vacation they are no worse off than if you were at home. Water in everything heavier than usual just to ease your mind. Always water in early morning with soaker hoses or hose ground watering for best results. If you will be gone longer than seven days, invest in timers. 
  • Annuals – Plant heat loving annuals that require very little water; Comos, Impatiens (shade), Begonia (green leaf shade – bronze leaf sun), Lantana, Moss Rose, Purselane, Scabiosa, Sun flower, Texas Bluebells, Vinca & Zinnias. Again water, fertilize with liquid seaweed, top-dress & mulch plants to help combat the intense heat 
  • Bulbs –You can still find container grown summer bulbs in the nurseries. Bulbs such as ginger, crinum, gloriosa lily, achimenes, oxalis, caladium and society garlic create a beautiful show in mid-summer.  If you did not plant any this year, put them on your list for next year. As always do not cut foliage back until they yellow. To disguise, plant annuals in front. Once your gladiolas die back, dig them up and store in cool dry place. 
  • Compost Bin  – Works just as well as when you’re gone as when you’re at home.
  • Containers – Cut up sea sponges and add to your soil when you plant or add later. The sponges will help hold in moisture between watering. Another trick is poke very small holes in the sides of the 1 gal plastic milk jug or plastic pop bottle above the upwards curve, then fill it with water. This will slowly water your larger pots. Use smaller containers for smaller pots. Do this before you go on vacation to see how long it takes until they are empty. Mine usually last 2 days with very tiny holes. You can also place them by plants that struggle in the heat or new planting that need extra watering.
  • Greenhouse – Hopefully your shade cloth is up. Next create a way to keep the extreme west sun off your plants.  My green house is located on the north side of a pear tree and a permanent plywood wall cuts down on the extreme heat from the west. Usually this time of year I am propagating very little but because of these changes the past few years I continue to propagate herbs, vegetables, perennials and annuals throughout the summer. Add buckets with water to use for spot watering and help with humidity.  Cover the top of the buckets with window screens and large rubber bands. When I go on vacation, I add misters or soaker hoses on timers.
  •  Herbs – Harvest flowers & leaves, preserve by drying or freezing, sow seeds, take softwood cuttings, pinch out flowering shoots to promote leaf growth.  Don’t forget to take your dried herbs on your camping or fishing trip, in labeled-baggies to save room. Basil, lemongrass, fennel, dill, rosemary and oregano are great herbs to have for salads, soups, chicken, beef or fish. A good watering before you leave is usually all they need & follow tips above for your container herbs.
  • Lawn – They plant summer lawns all through our intense heat, but realize that you will be watering several times a day and you might want to wait on this project for late summer, early fall or spring..  Also it is very important that the sod be laid soon after it is harvested for best results.  This is chinch bug season for St. Augustine especially in dry weather. Mowing regularly at recommended heights with sharp blades is one of the best things we can do for a healthy lawn. Water every 7 days unless it rains and, before you leave on that much needed vacation, water heavily.
  • Mulch – Think of mulch as that much needed plant-sitter, it helps the ground stay moist & cool. 
  • Perennials – The garden centers still have perennials that can be planted but if you were leaving on a vacation I would wait until you get back to purchase. Water existing plants and fertilize with liquid seaweed, top dress with compost, earthworm castings or humus, in combination or singular.
  • Problems –Mosquitoes a problem?  Standing water is a great breeding ground for mosquitoes.. Dump all standing water, cover buckets or rain harvesting barrels with window screening, add Mosquito dunks to all water sources such as ponds, birdbaths or other water features. Encourage bats to your yard , 1 little brown bat can eat 1000 mosquitoes. Fungus gnats are horrible this year. Set out traps  (sugar water in a pickle jar), keep all fruit & other food put up, do not over water inside plants or let them stand in water, add Venus flytraps or pitcher plants to your kitchen.
  • Prune – Prune dead foliage and limbs off all flowers, shrubs and trees so they are not stressed by supporting them   Do Not Prune Oaks until it is over 100 degrees.
  • Rainwater – Hurray we have been getting rain and I have to say I am thrilled that all of my rain barrels are full. If you don’t have rain barrels put out buckets, plastic containers, pots with small holes in your beds and pots to catch rainwater to be released slowly. 
  • Roses – Plant EarthKind Roses because once established very little care or water is needed.
  • Trees – Hopefully your newly planted trees are now on the 7 day watering cycle and you can leave with a light heart. If not, invest in a tree water bag or tree ring waterer, fill with water and it slowly releases it over a period of time. Remember to water-in heavily with a hose and add mulch.
  • Vegetable Garden  Everything in the vegetable garden is doing wonderful and I am still planting odds and ends as one crops finishes I plant another in its place. PLANT NOW:  Amaranth, Black-eyed peas, cantaloupe, collards, eggplant, luffa, okra, peppers, pumpkin, Southern peas, sweet potatoes, Swiss chard & watermelons.  Watering tips for any garden – save your 1to 5 gal. pots that have drainage holes. Dig holes next to your plants almost the depth of your pot. Place your pot in the hole & back fill with dirt on the outside of the pot. Put a little cow manure or humus in the bucket then fill with water. Use soaker hoses on timers when on vacation.
  • Wildflowers – Don’t forget your North American Wildflower book on your vacation to help identify the native wildflowers as you speed down the highways of America. I always try to take plant I.D. books or Pocket Guides for the area where I am vacationing. Digging up wildflowers to transplant rarely works, it’s better to wait and harvest the seeds after it blooms. Remember  if you take all the seeds or kill it by digging it up we damage our flowers for next year.
  • Wildlife in the Garden – Encourage Bats to your yard by adding Bat Houses or Bat Gardens. Create a garden that attracts night insects gardenias, evening primrose, stock,  For more information about bats, visit http://www.batcon.org

From June to August is a great time to vacation because the major gardening chores are done but the destruction we find when we return due to the heat almost makes it not worth the trip. So my best vacation advice is to find gardening friends and neighbors that have the same problem and create a gardening co-op so when you go away someone who understands can stop by and check on your gardens.

Enjoy your VACATION!