Monday, September 21, 2009

Fall Garden Questions and Answers

The leaves fall, the wind blows, and the farm country slowly changes from the summer cottons into its winter wools. ~Henry Beston

Good Morning! I have several garden question and answers today.

Can you help me with information on Tent Worms? They are all over the trees at my condo. ~Anita

Every year we snip off the branches that have them and throw them in the fire. They are harmless to us, but can cause damage to trees or shrubs. The Minnesota DNR has suggestions for prevention:

"you may be able to prevent migrating caterpillars from climbing up the trunk by the use of barriers. Basically,you construct a barrier band around the trunk made of duct tape, tin foil or tar paper and coat it generously with grease (Tanglefoot or Vaseline). Never apply the grease directly to the tree bark. The barrier band should be in the shade or you run the risk of killing the bark and cambium under the band. Check the barrier band daily to see if more grease or Tanglefoot is necessary. Remove the band in early July after the caterpillars have formed cocoons."

You can also use gloves and pull the "tents" off the trees or shrubs then dump them in a bucket filled with water that you've added a little bleach and dish soap.

What is the best way to store the roots from Four O'Clocks? Some years they *make it* through winter storage and sometimes they don't. I really like planting previous year's roots because you get more robust plants that bloom much earlier than starting from seed. ~Debbie

Thanks Debbie! I've always grown my Four O'Clocks from seed, so this is a neat thing to try. Four-O'Clock, Marvel of Peru, Mirabilis Jalapa, is a perennial in warm climates, but it can't take frost. As Debbie mentioned, those of us in colder climates, can dig up the tubers can store them until fall. They should be stored in a dark, dry location either in peat moss or sand-- but don't use plastic or any type of container that is closed because they can rot. Use cardboard boxes, and store the tubers between layers of paper. A basement should work fine for storage.

My mother and I just planted Kale plants and was told we can eat the tender parts of the Kale but wasn't told which was the tender parts. We would like to know which is the tender parts if you or anyone else knew. ~Debbie

Kale is usually harvested by removing the outer leaves, and then the plant will produce more leaves. The mature leaves are the most tender, so those are on the outside. You can also allow the plants to stay out in the garden for a light frost then harvest the entire plant. You should be able to harvest some plants through early winter. Pick the kale and store at about 32 degrees F. It will keep for about 2-3 weeks.

We have tulip growing tips on OFL:


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