Thursday, October 27, 2011

Snow in parts of Wisconsin

Parts of way northern Wisconsin
have received snow already. Which reminds me that if you have any tender perennials or other plants that can't take a hard frost, it's time to bring them inside at least the garage for now. I like to put them in the garage for a short time before bringing them in the house. I've learned my lesson after bringing many a spider or insects into the house with the plants. So now I put them in the garage and spray them with an organic bug spray, and let them then sit for a week or two before bringing them in the house.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Rain barrel clean up

While the weather is still nice out, remember to drain and store your rain barrels for the winter.  Last winter I forgot, but I did at least leave my spigot open so all was good!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fall is Great Time to Collect Seeds

Fall is a great time to collect seeds for next year's garden.  Some of the flowers/plants in your yard that are easy to collect seeds from are hosta, morning glories, tiger lilies, annuals such as marigolds, etc.  I usually go around the my yard armed with paper envelopes (you can use cheap dollar store envelopes, or make your own out of recycled magazine pages or paper following a pattern such as this) and pens/markers.  I keep the seeds in paper envelopes to make sure they are fully dried out, if there is some moisture still in them and you place them in plastic bags they will grow mold.  Once the seeds are collected I keep them in my unheated garage (they could also be kept in a refrigerator for a short time) until I am ready to use them again in spring.  Perennials seeds may require a cold stratification, where you store them in the refrigerator in a bag with something like sphagnum moss that has been moistened.  You can also winter sow a lot of perennial seeds.  By winter sow, I mean to plant them in containers and place them outside in winter and allow the natural elements do their thing.  I have winter sowed hosta and coneflowers with success.  I take a plastic bottle or old milk gallon and cut it in half.  I put a slightly moist sterilized soil in the bottom of the container and plant the seed(s), and then use duct tape to join the top and bottom halves of the containers once again.  Make sure the cap is off of the container  so it can collect rain or snow and place outside.  The container acts as a small greenhouse, and in spring when they plants are ready they will start to germinate.
The are the "seeds" (really bulbils) from my double tiger lilies.
Close up of tiger lily bulbil. These can be planted directly in the ground or stored with cold stratification method described above.
Scarlet Runner Bean seeds and Four o'clock seeds
Harvesting Scarlet Runner Bean Seeds.
Seeds inside the pods of my hardy hibiscus.
Blackberry lily seeds.
Four O'Clock seeds
Hosta seeds (sorry for fuzzy picture my husband has my camera hunting with him) they are the papery black seeds found inside the pods.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Stealing my Leaves

The leaves really started to fall last week.  I woke up Saturday morning to see my neighbor boy, who is 8, raking all of the leaves out of my yard into his.  I wasn't about to stop him that's for sure.  The next morning he was at it again.  My husband and I went to breakfast, and when we came back he was still raking all of the leaves into his yard.  He spotted me getting out of the car and yelled to his younger sister, "Quick hide, we're stealing their leaves!"  

The neighbor's yard with our leaves.

Monday, October 3, 2011

How to tell sucker roses from your roses

A lot of the roses that are grown in Wisconsin are roses that are grafted onto stronger, cold hardy rose root stock.  Often the stronger rose branches will start to emerge from the rootball and start to take over the roses you wanted originally.  These roses branches are called sucker roses.  In order to get rid of them you need to follow the branches all the way down to the bud union and twist and pull off these branches.  If you cut them off it will only encourage the sucker roses to grow even more, so instead you need to off the branches.  How can you determine if you have sucker roses?  Sucker roses often grow much faster then the original roses you bought.  The leaves are usually colored differently, and some times they will have a different number of leaves from the original roses you bought.
Climbing Roses from my yard.

William Baffin and John Cabot are winter hardy climbing roses.

This leaf segment has 7 leaves.

This leaf segment from sucker roses has 9 leaves.

Notice the color difference, the sucker roses are a lot lighter in color.