Sunday, April 28, 2019

THINGS TO DO IN MAY

            This is the month for planting everything that's anything, so go out and dig and plant, water and weed.

VEGETABLES:

            Early in the month make the first planting of snap beans, Swiss chard, and herbs. Check seed packets for suggested spacing. In smaller gardens, space rows a little closer than recommended. Do not crowd them any closer in the rows, the plants won't have enough space to develop properly.  Thin radishes, lettuce, spinach, carrots, and beets as needed.

            Cultivate shallow at least once a week to keep soil loose and weeds down. Side-dress with fertilizer and mulch when plants have established themselves. Asparagus will continue heavy production through early May. When emerging spears are pencil thin, stop picking, but do fertilize and mulch heavily.

            About mid-month, plant warm-weather crops such as corn, lima beans, pole and bush beans, pumpkins, summer and winter squash. Continue making succession plantings (plant some radished – wait two week – plant some more radishes – wait two weeks…) of beets, carrots, radishes, spinach and lettuce.

            In mid to late May, transplant peppers, eggplant, squash, melons and herb seedlings into the garden. Water heavily and frequently if spring is dry, but do not mulch yet.

            When buying tomatoes pick those that are dark green in color, with thick stems and no yellow leaves. Pick off all flowers and tomatoes, they will sap the plant's energy now when it's trying to establish itself in a new environment. When planting, burying as much as 3" of the stem; the little hairs you see are potential roots. Tomatoes need full sun but plant them on a cloudy day, so they can adjust to their new home before getting a daylong dose of sunshine. 

FLOWERS & SHRUBS:

            As new shoots appear in perennial beds during early May, side-dress generously with a good organic fertilizer. Divide Mums and Shasta daisies as soon as growth begins. After the last frost, sow snapdragons, four-o'clocks, marigolds, asters, nasturtium, tuberoses, zinnias, and other tender flowers and bulbs.

            Pinch back mums at the end of the month. Prune mock orange, forsythia, flowering almond, and other spring-flowering shrubs after blossoms fade. A good rule when it comes to pruning flowering shrubs is to prune them after their flowers fade. Most flowering shrubs set their flowering sequence for next year soon after the flowers die.

            Keep an eye open for bagworms on evergreens and shrubs. Also tent worms are starting at this time. Check lilacs for scale; scrape off now before it spreads.

            Do not cut off leaves of spring bulb flowers until they have yellowed naturally. But do snip out the seedpods that form after the flower fades.

            Do not remove ants from peonies; no ants no blooms. To get bigger blooms remove the inferior buds that surround the terminal or main bud at the end of each stalk.

            Remove seedpods after lilac have flowered.

            Start spraying your roses with a fungicide every 10 days until a temperature of 85 degrees prevails during the day.

            Remove spent Rhododendron flowers, the seeds they try to grow will only sap energy better used else where on the plant. Feed them at this time with a Rhodo fertilizer.

FRUIT TREES:

            Early in the month, fruit set on trees should begin fleshing out. Remove misshapen or damaged sets. Thin lightly if trees are exceptionally crowed, but hold off on serious thinning until after June fruit drop. Remove suckers and water sprouts from apple trees.


            Check trees for codling moth (tiny white moths laying white eggs that hatch into thread-size worms, which burrow into immature fruits). Spray as necessary, which is every time you think about it. Do not spray insecticides while flowers are setting fruit, bees may be killed.

            Cut back black raspberry shoots when they reach 30 inches.

            Pinch blossoms from this year's planting of strawberries. Mulch between them with pine needles, clean straw, grass clippings or well-rotted compost. In established beds, remove and destroy strawberry plants showing signs of disease.


            Plant strawberries at this time. Make sure that the crowns are planted at ground level. If planted to deep the struggle to push foliage through the dirt will exhaust the plant and berry production will be light. If to the crown is to high it will freeze and die.

LAWNS:

            Reseeding can begin at this time. An application of a seed starter fertilizer would give the grass seed a jump on the weed seeds that may blow in.

            If the month has been warm Weed-N-Feeds may be applied to established lawns at the end of the month.

   If you have questions NiemeyerLandscaping@gmail.com A You Tube enhanced version of this article is on our WEB site at www.NiemeyerLandscaping.com. along with a daily gardening Blog with timely information. Also, like us on Facebook at Niemeyer Landscaping.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

GARDENING IN APRIL

THINGS TO DO IN APRIL:
   
This is it, the whining is over, this is the month you've waited for; the month you've longed for all winter, the month to go out and sling that compost, till up that topsoil, and spread that sweet golden oldie of "the cow"!  YEA it’s April!!

VEGETABLES:
            Prepare planting areas for warm-weather crops by the end of the month. Turn under winter mulches, cover crops and fertilizers. Leave the soil rough to reduce erosion and speed drying.



            Early in the month, harden off (to place outdoors for short periods of time each day, and increasing this time each day as well) transplants of cool-weather crops such as cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower for planting into the garden by mid-month. Keep plant covers handy to guard against killing frosts. Sow Endive, Kohlrabi, Lettuce, Onion Sets, Parsley, Peas, Radishes, Spinach, and Turnips as soon as ground can be worked.
            In early April, sow more peas, spinach, turnips, lettuce, radishes, carrots, parsnips, and beets. Set out and plant potatoes and onion sets. In mid to late April, make succession planting of these crops. Asparagus and rhubarb bed can be planted at this time.
            Your established asparagus bed should be into full production by the end of April. Beds more than 2 years old can be picked daily by snapping off 6 to 8 inch spears.

FLOWERS & SHRUBS:
            Gradually remove winter mulches from roses. Prune to remove winter-killed wood and give them their first feeding. Plant new roses this month but do not feed until you see 1-2 inches of new growth.
            After they have leafed out cut out the dead sticks in the Nikko blue hydrangeas and bob back the entire Butterfly bush if you have not do so last fall.
            Also remove mulch from perennials. Side-dress peonies and delphiniums with compost and bone meal. Pinch peonies to one bud per stalk if you want larger blooms, and don't blow off the ants Mom!
            Remember the general rule about transplanting perennials; dig those that flower in the summer in the spring; and those that flower in the spring in the fall.
            Get new perennials, shrubs, trees, and ground covers into the ground as soon as they arrive in the garden centers.
            Toward the end of the month, sow perennials that germinate well in cool soil, such as cornflowers, baby's breath, phlox, straw flowers, sweet peas, larkspur, and poppies. Prune lilacs, forsythias, and dogwoods after flower petals drop.
            Annuals that can be planted now are pansies and Johnny-jump-ups. Just remember, Johnny-jump-ups not only “jump up” but “out” and “over” and “into”; they will take over the world some day so be sure you want them; and where you want them.

FRUIT TREES:
            Plant new fruit trees, bushes and vines as soon as the soil can be worked. Do not fertilize them this year though; the good rich top soil-peat combination you planted them in will be all they need.
            If spring has been warm, fruit bloom may begin during April on peaches, nectarines and apricots. Just as the bud swell begins, prune winter killed and unproductive wood.
            Fertilize bushes, vines and trees by spreading a generous layer of either compost, manure (aged), or fertilizer spikes, in a ring around each. Remove winter trunk protectors from fruit trees and check around the soil line for holes in the trunk with gummy sawdust coming out of them; this is a sign of borers. Kill these borers by running a stiff wire into the holes. If the trees have not leafed out yet spray them with a dormant oil spray, when the temperature is above forty degrees. This will smother any over-wintering insects or eggs.
            Treat bark cracks, caused by winter weather, with tree wound dressing. Prevent this injury next year by painting trunks and large branches with white latex paint in the fall, or by wrapping trees with brown tree wrap.
            Plant strawberries and mulch after planting.
            Spray Paper Birches now to kill leaf miners; and Crabs with a multi-purpose fungicide to control leaf spots and scab.

LAWNS:
            Crabicides can still be applied in this month. The way the crabicides work is that they kill the seed just after it germinates. The seeds of last year are the ones you will be going after now.
            If the month has been warm, sowing grass seed can be done now. Keep spring lawns mowed at 2 inches.
            Lawns in West Michigan have always been, and will always be, low in calcium. Calcium helps the grass plant absorb the fertilizer you apply; with out it your grass begins to starve, thus the assumption - "My lawn is just getting old". Applying a granular "High Calcium" lime once a year at this time, it's cheap, and it's the best thing you can do for your lawn. Apply 10 -15 pounds per 1000 square feet with any spreader. This does not have to be exacted, just get close.

            If you have any questions feel free to e-mail me at NiemeyerLandscaping@Gmail.com or post a comment on this Blog

Friday, March 1, 2019

Gardening in March

WHAT TO DO IN MARCH                        
   Welcome to another year of gardening, landscaping, weeding, mowing, pruning or whatever gets your hands dirty.

             There are a lot of lawn and garden activities that need to be done before the spring growing season starts. What you do now will free up your time in April 

VEGETABLES:

            Early in the month if the ground has thawed, turn under, or roto-till, the leaves, compost, rye cover crop or anything else you may have spread over your garden last fall. Leave it rough and ungraded to limit erosion and to speed up the drying time.



            Work up beds for cool-weather crops now so the soil will have settled by planting time. Late in the month, during the first break in the weather (a few good warm days in a row) it's safe to plant peas, radishes, beets, leaf lettuce and spinach. Early potatoes may also be planted as well as other roots such as asparagus, horseradish and rhubarb.

            All early plantings, when sprouted, will have to be covered on frosty nights, so keep "what ever you cover them with" handy.

            An early march indoors sowing of peppers, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and tomatoes indoors will give them a head start. Remember, tomatoes are under fluorescent lights for more than six-week will get leggy and spindly, making inferior plants that seldom fully recover when planted outdoors.  

            Fertilize asparagus beds with 10-10-10 or a good organic fertilizer.

FLOWERS & SHRUBS:

            You can start an indoors sowing of verbenas, Dianthus, French marigold, sweet alyssum, moss roses, salvia and dusty miller. Put new fluorescent bulbs in at the start of every season, this will maximize the light output. Suspend these lights 3 - 5 inches above the seed containers and put them on timers set for 12 -14 hours of light each day. Raise the lights as the plants grow so they are always 3 -5 inches away from the plants.

            Direct seed sweet peas as early in the month as possible.

Late in the month, begin removing mulch from perennial beds. Work in fertilizer among the plants, being careful not to damage tender shoots. DO NOT and I repeat DO NOT scratch around the bases of Rhododendrons or Azaleas, their roots are very shallow and small, they need every root they've got. Simply pull back, and sprinkle the recommended amount of fertilizer and replace the ground cover. The fertilizer will leach through the soil to their roots.

            With frost out of the ground, this is a good month for digging and dividing most perennials. The basic rule is to transplant summer and fall-blooming kinds in the spring, and spring bloomers in the fall.

            Bearded irises need dividing about every third year and can be done now before their leaves start to grow.

            Check your stored spring bulbs and discard all the bad ones.

            Begin to lower dirt mounds around roses; also, be careful not to leave rose cones on the roses when day time temperature get higher than the 60's.

FRUIT TREES:

            If you didn't prune during February, do so in early March. Apply dormant oil spray on a 40-degree day after you have pruned. Most people do not do this, and miss out on one of the best ways to eliminate the insects that over winter on your trees. To kill these pests at this time is to greatly reduce the springtime insect population.

            Fruit trees, vines, and berry bushes prefer their largest feeding of the year during March. Spread well-rotted manure or any fertilizer high in phosphorus and potash, (the last two numbers on the fertilizer bag) and moderate in nitrogen, around the trees out to the drip line. Go easy on the nitrogen, which encourages leaf growth at the expense of the fruit.

            Remove mulch from the strawberry patch (or remember the mulch this fall so you can remove it at this time next year) Do this a little at a time until the plants are thoroughly hardened to the cold nights.

            Last years fruiting raspberry canes should be pruned out and weaker canes thinned. Plants that are not supported can be pruned to about 4-1/2 feet to make them self-supporting.

LAWNS:

            Carbides can be applied in this month or before the forsythia bloom. The way the Crabicides work, is that they kill the seed right at the point of germination. Seeds from last year are the ones you are going after now.

HOUSE PLANTS:

            Repot houseplants whose roots are so thick and matted you can hardy see the soil they are growing in. Use a container 2 to 3 inches wider than the old one for repotting.


NiemeyerLandscaping@Gmail.com or post a comment on this Blog. And like us on Facebook at Niemeyer Landscaping. For more Landscape and garden info and pictures on the subject check us out at www.NiemeyerLandscaping.com

Friday, February 1, 2019

FEBRUARY 

WHAT TO DO IN FEBRUARY                Doug Niemeyer
   
   I bet you've had your fill of snow and cold, February is the perfect time to begin planning and preparing for your spring garden.

VEGETABLES:
  Plan now for the vegetable garden, and order the needed seeds. Try some novelties like: oriental vegetables, kohlrabi, purple cauliflower, or purple beans.
Toward the end of the month, if the weather really changes and warms up, remove mulch from the areas where you intend to plant early crops so the soil has some time to warm up and dry out. If the ground is not too wet, spread manure on the garden in preparation for tilling in the spring.

FLOWERS:
  Weather permitting near the end of the monthwhich is very hard to even imagine right now, rake away any accumulated debris of old leaves from under trees, hedges, and on the lawn. If left in place, they could cause roots to suffocate and breed disease.
  Check perennials for signs of heaving. Heaving happens when the frost is coming up out of the ground and it pushes those bulbs and root crowns that are closer to the surface out of the ground somewhat.   Press exposed crowns back into the soil and cover with an inch or two of soil and mulch.
  Cut bagworm cases off evergreen trees and shrubs now to quell feeding injury later.
  Check regularly all bulbs that are being stored over winter (dahlia, gladscanna, etc.). Remove any that are decaying.
   Remove sprouts on tuberous begonias.  
  Prune back geraniums growing indoors in preparation for repotting next month. Be careful not to over water them.
  If you are sowing your own annuals under the lights like pansy, delphinium, impatiens, petunias, snapdragons, periwinkle, lobelia, coleus, browallia, and verbena, be sure to get potting soil and planting trays. When March comes you will be ready to begin planting your seedlings into the trays. 

SHRUBS:
  If there is a warm spell in this month be sure to water all evergreens, especially those in the Rhododendron and azalea family. When the air is warm the plant will call for moisture, but many times the ground is still frozen and the roots are unable to fill the request. This will cause the leaves to dry out and die.   

FRUIT TREES:
  February is a good month to prune most fruit trees, bushes, and vines. Prune trees for shape and to remove dead, diseased, or damaged wood. Be careful not to prune off fruit producing spurs. Do not prune peach or apricot trees until just prior to bud swell.
  Prune grape vines also this month.
  Dormant oil sprays should be applied on a 40-degree day to smother any over wintering insects and eggs. Make sure rodent and deer barriers are intact. 
  Tapping maple trees will also begin sometime this month.

HOUSE PLANTS:
  Wash or shower the foliage at the kitchen sink weekly to keep them healthy and beautiful. In doing so bugs are also washed down the drain.   
 Keep cactus plants in a bright sunny window. Avoid over watering and over fertilizing and beware of poor pot drainage.  Both encourage diseases.
  Peperomias should be watered sparingly or they will rot at the soil line.
  When rubber plants lose an excessive number of leaves, it is a sign of too much water or not enough light. Spathiphyllum leaves will turn yellow at the tips when there is a lack of fertilizer or improper watering.
  If African violet leaves touch the rim of the pot they often rot and fall off. Coat the rim with paraffin or foil. 
  Swedish ivy stems will become woody if plant is being over fed. Norfolk Island Pine tolerates low humidity and indirect light but prefers a cool spot. 

If you have questions NiemeyerLandscaping@gmail.com A You Tube enhanced version of this article is on our WEB site at www.NiemeyerLandscaping.comalong with a daily gardening Blog with timely information. Also, like us on Facebook at Niemeyer Landscaping.

  


Wednesday, January 2, 2019

GARDENING THINGS TO DO IN JANUARY

   Gardening in January!   What in the world can be done in January?   Lots!                                             

  Here we stand on the threshold of "Gardening 2015"


VEGETABLES:

   With winter biting at our cheeks, blowing its bone chilling air over our hibernating garden, take a moment and curl up on the couch with your seed catalogs and plan for spring.

   Walk though your garden and decide where and when you would like to plant each item - making improvements, rotating crops, adding new vegetables varieties and deleting some. Carefully plan your garden with taller varieties toward the northern side.

   If you plan to order seeds do so now for late Feb. or early Mar. indoors planting. If you have seeds left over from last year check their germination rate by wrapping 10 to 15 of them in a moist paper towel and check them daily for sprouts. Buy new seeds if less than 70% germinate.

   If you have access to manure, now is the time to spread on the garden, especially on the asparagus. It will leach into the soil during thaws.

   Spread fireplace ashes on your garden, ashes are rich in calcium, potash, phosphorous, and trace elements.

   Clean and sharpen any garden tool. Make repairs on any other garden equipment such as cold frames, greenhouses, or trellises.

  

TREES & SHRUBS:                                              

  

   Early in the month move your live Christmas tree from the garage to the pre-dug hole. Water it thoroughly, stake and mulch heavily.                     

   Spread manure on peonies and around shrubs and young trees, but not around spring bulb beds. Replace mulch around perennials if it has blown away.

   Inspect stored bulbs and corms for signs of rotting or sprouting, which can be caused by too much moisture, warmth or light.

   If you plan on tapping maple trees, get your supplies ready this month.


FRUIT TREES:  If ordering any fruit trees do so by the end of the month to ensure arrival at the earliest planting time.

   Provide food and water for birds. They will feed on over-wintering orchard pests.

   Remove damaged twigs and branches but hold off on main pruning. Watch for rodent damage and replace mulch around trees where thin.


HOUSE PLANTS:

   Supplement the brief periods of natural light your plants receive during these short winter days with plant lights. Insufficient plant light is marked by spindly growth and dropped leaves; with newly formed leaves are noticeably farther apart on the stems.

   Do not over water your plants, water only when the topsoil layer is dry or when the pot feels lighter than normal.

   Spider mites, mealy bugs, and scale should be watched for, if found organic or chemical spray will take care of then in short order.

   If fertilized every four or five days with water soluble fertilizer and given six hours of indirect bright light daily, Christmas poinsettias will continue growing. Feed and water them until their leaves drop. Leaf shedding is normal and lets us know the plant is entering dormancy. When this occurs, place the poinsettias where they'll rest comfortably at about 50 degrees, and water them occasionally. They will remain dormant until April or May when after being cut back, they'll start growing again.

NiemeyerLandscaping@Gmail.com or post a comment on this Blog. And like us on Facebook at Niemeyer Landscaping. For more Landscape and garden info and pictures on the subject check us out at www.NiemeyerLandscaping.com

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

ASPARAGUS

ASPARAGUS   by Doug Niemeyer

            The stuff just tastes like it’s good for you, and it is!!
            People back in the olden days saw asparagus as a Spring Tonic. After a long winter, pickins in the root cellar got kind of slim; and, things aren’t quite as fresh and abundant as they were in the fall, or early winter for that matter. Even the nutritional valve starts dropping away the longer it calls the subterranean vault its home; but even an elderly potato is better for you than a newborn Twinkie.
            Asparagus is a wonderful vegetable, even though the kids might not agree. Not only is it good for you, it is a perennial; that means it comes up every year whether you plant seeds or not. It is the first vegetable you harvest in the spring, and will last as a harvestable vegetable until other crops take over your dinner table.
            Its care basically involves planting it right, which we will talk about next. Weeding involves some in the spring, but is reduced as the summer progresses for the thick mature fronds choke out a lot of sunlight to what’s under them on into the  fall.

            Spring time and planting are the most important parts of growing asparagus. You can start them from seed but buying roots, or crowns as they are called, to plant is the best planting plan. One year old crowns can be purchased on line, by mail, and from local garden centers.
Asparagus needs sandier soils in areas exposed to the full sun; clay soils are out of the question; clay doesn’t drain well. You can create a sandier environment in clay however, but it takes a lot of work. Dig the trench 16 inches wide by 20 inches deep with a perforated drainage tile in the bottom of the trench; do not use any of the clay as backfill. For those blessed with good drainable soil the trench or trenches you dig are 12 inches deep by 12 inches wide.



Once dug, put a three inch layer of composted manure in the bottom, and mix it well into the soil. Take the Asparagus crowns and place them in the trench 18 inches apart; multiple trenches should be spaced three feet apart. Cover them with two inches of sifted compost humus soil and water in well. Throughout the summer the trench should be filled in gradually with an original topsoil / compost mix. If these directions are followed you will have a viable asparagus bed for years and years and years.
The big temptation, this year and the following spring, will be picking the new spears. Don’t give in to this temptation, the roots need these first year spears to grow up and develop into fronds that catch the sunlight and strengthen the root for next years production. No fronds, no sunlight catchers; no sunlight caught, no energy for the root; no energy for the root, no root eventually. So don’t pick any this year or the next!
Picking in the second year can happen until they get “pencil thin”. Once the spears start getting pencil thin, stop! Let these grow up and become energy suppliers for the root. As the years click by the picking season will get longer and longer, leveling off in about five to six years. But the “pencil thin” rule still applies; I can’t stress enough that you need some summer growth to rejuvenate the crowns for next year.

As for harvesting, some cut, some snap; we snap them. We find if you snap the spears off you harvest only the tender part of the Asparagus, leaving the woodier part in the garden.
Bugs in your asparagus bed revolve around the Asparagus Beetle; but they only become a problem if the fronds and the beetle eggs they host, are allowed to over winter. This is why good fall cleanup practices are a must. Cutting and burning the dried up fronds in the late fall is your best defense. If you can burn them, I guess the land fill is your second best option; just get them away from your garden and into something that traps the little buggers forever.



Lastly, adding compost directly over the crowns in the early spring will add nutrients to the soil; always a plus when growing these heavy feeders.
After saying all this, I don’t want you to get the impression that growing asparagus is tough, it’s not. I am just explaining to you its best growing environment. I have seen healthy robust asparagus growing on old, “long been torn down” homesteads properties and abandon city gardens. Something this hard to get rid of must be meant for our consumption.
Whether you pickle them, fry them, freeze them, steam them, cook them, or just plain eat them raw, you will never find a more healthy vegetable anywhere than this funny looking thing call asparagus.
Tune in this fall when I will talk to you about another childhood favorite, the vegetable that gets you ready for winter, the last harvestable veggie of the season, the Brussels Sprout. Yea Baby!!

If you have any questions feel free to e-mail me at NiemeyerLandscaping@Gmail.com or post a comment on this Blog

Tuesday, April 10, 2018


      "Think Spring"
      We start hearing that in April, sometimes in March when the thermometer pokes it's nose over the fifty mark. But then it snows and we get all bummed thinking it's
 a fluke of nature... No, this is what happens in Spring, it snows and gets cold. Yes, sometimes it gets warm and sunny, but don't get your hopes up. Yes, sometimes the Crocus come up early on the south side of the house. But that doesn't mean you start harassing the Garden Center people on why they might only have pansies out (pansies are the only annual you can plant now, but they will croak in the summer heat) but none of the rest of their annuals yet.
     I believe the Crocus is perfectly named as a reminder for when we get a little antsy and want to rush the spring planting schedule. It's name speaks to us a warning and gives a voice to the tender annuals that people will plant too soon if they had their way. It says, "You will 'Croak Us' for sure if you think now is a good time to plants us tropicals outdoors!"
      Only the Crocus, Snow Drops, Bachelor Breeches, Grape Hyacinth and so on can take the wide temperature mood swings Spring can dish out. You throw a tropical annual like the Petunia, who calls South America home, out in this weather and you will be making another trip back to the store in May. These guys, and other family members of the rain forest, should stay in their climate controlled poly-houses until middle of May at least!
      If you are just itching to get out into the garden then do some of the Spring clean up chores like tilling under the leaves, or removing the mulch from around roses, or even spreading mulch in the landscaping. I know these are the back breaking non-glorious jobs, but they need to be done.
     You can start growing annuals in seed flats if you feel adventuresome. All you need are some very clean, flat, flower trays,with potting  soil, your seeds of choice of course, and a big sunny window on the south side of the house. Get a jump start on the vegetable garden, and finally be that Gardener that has the first red tomato of 2018!
     There are many things to do before it's actually annual flower planting time. Don't rush it, you'll only lose and spend unnecessary cash. Gardening is an exercise in patience, not a trip to the fast food joint.
     I know you want to get out there and do something colorful, something cheery, something that replaces the drab colors of what's left after the melting snow. And try as you might repeating that dumb little saying ;  "Think Spring Think Spring Think Spring!" Just know, "It Is"!
    If you want to chant something chant what you really want! Think Summer! Think Summer!