Garlic is here, soft and hard neck. I am selling the bulbs for what they cost me. . 75 each. I haven't never sold these so just want to help out with your fall gardening.
We got our garlic in this week. They came from Canada so as with the fall planting bulbs had to go thru customs and all of that. We have two kinds Hardneck garlic Krandassger Red, and soft neck garlic Transylvanina. With help from Lyle and Ann we got what I wanted inside the greenhouse before the possible frost Friday morning. The plants are taking up more of the cart space than I thought they would so will need to get more carts to do the growing on for next year. How are you doing with this prediction of possible frost?
WHEN TO PLANT GARLIC
Fall is traditionally the best time to plant garlic in most regions. A good rule of thumb is to not plant garlic until after the autumnal equinox in late September. Just like onions and other plants in the Allium family, garlic is sensitive to daylength and matures during the longest days of summer. Fall planting gives it a jumpstart on the growing season and it will be one of the first things to come up in the garden next spring.
HOW TO PLANT GARLIC
Garlic is extremely easy to grow, but good soil preparation is necessary if you want to produce the best and biggest bulbs. They need deeply cultivated, well-drained, rich soil with a pH of 6.4-6.8. Add 2-3 inches of compost and well-rotted manure to the bed before planting.
Use quality seed garlic and plant several different varieties just in case one does poorly. Separate the cloves no more than 48 hours before planting to keep them from drying out. The largest cloves will produce the biggest bulbs. Plant individual cloves, peels intact, pointy end up, 2 inches deep and 6 inches apart.
Mulch 5-8 inches deep with seedless straw. It will pack down over the winter to about 2 inches by spring and help to keep the weeds down during the growing season. Your garlic will form roots but little or no top growth before the ground freezes solid.
Early next spring, you garlic will be ready to grow, sending up tiny green shoots as soon as the ground thaws.
CARING FOR GARLIC PLANTS
Feed the plants every other week with a liquid fish emulsion fertilizer from the time shoots emerge in early spring until approximately June 1. Water is critical during the bulb forming stage in early summer, so try for an inch a week, including rainfall.
If you are growing hard neck garlic—the best type for the northeast—around the time of the summer solstice, your garlic will send up a seed stalk called a scape. This should be cut off to encourage the plants to put all their energy into bulb formation.
These stalks curl into a loop and are delicious. Chop them and add to salad, stir fry, soup, scrambled eggs, or any dish you want to enhance with a little garlic flavor. Buzzed in the blender with a little olive oil and parmesan cheese, they make especially good pesto.
Leave one or two flower stalks standing to help you decide when to harvest your garlic. About four weeks prior to harvest, the outer wrappers on the garlic bulbs start to dry, so stop watering in July. Too much water at that stage can stain the wrapper or even cause mold.
GARLIC PESTS AND DISEASES
Not too many pests bother garlic, but don’t plant it where you have had trouble with wireworms or nematodes. Disease is more of an issue in poorly drained soils. See our Pest & Diseases Pages for more information.
HOW AND WHEN TO HARVEST GARLIC
Harvest your garlic around the end of July or early August, when the lower third to half of the leaves have turned brown and wilted, but the upper leaves are still green.
It can be tricky deciding exactly when to harvest, which is where the flower stalks can come in handy. If the leaves are starting to turn brown and the scapes uncurl and stand up straight, it is time to harvest.
Hang bunches of newly harvested garlic to dry in a cool, well ventilated, shady spot for 3-4 weeks to cure. After the leaves, roots, and outer wrappers are completely dry, brush off any loose soil, trim the roots to 1/4 inch, and cut the tops back to an inch or two above the bulb before storing. Under optimum conditions of near freezing temps and 65-70% humidity, hard neck garlic will keep for five months and soft neck for eight months.
Save your biggest cloves to replant for next year. Old timers say that garlic “learns” because it adapts to your growing conditions and improves each year. Grab life by the bulbs and plant some garlic this fall!
ABOUT THIS BLOG
Get inspired by Robin Sweetser’s backyard gardening tips and tricks. Robin has been a contributor to The Old Farmer’s Almanac and the All-Seasons Garden Guide for many years. She and her partner Tom have a small greenhouse business and also sell plants, cut flowers, and vegetables at their local Farmer’s Market.
[BL1] Taken from https://www.almanac.com/news/gardening/gardening-advice/planting-garlic-fall
Till next time this is Becky Litterer, Becky’s Greenhouse Dougherty Iowa firstname.lastname@example.org 641-794-3337 cell phone 641-903-9365
image from Pinterest
BRR it is colder out, and getting more and more colder. Cloudy now, very windy and feels like fall. We worked outside this morning, and it was very enjoyable. We put all the succulents on tall racks, and moved them inside. Other years I would put them on our planting tables, so before we could plant I would have to move the succulents. Tomorrow move plants in from one of my favorite spots to sit and relax, but they are mostly house plants and succulents. I don’t’ want to cover. Friday morning could be cold enough for a light frost. Covering your plants will work as the low is to be at 36 degrees. I just can’t believe this is what we are doing. Where did the season go? Garlic came in today, so will get that unpacked and figure out the price. I have been told that the online catalogs are sold out. I have soft garlic and hard garlic. More about that tomorrow. I still have mums, so if you are looking for some. $12.00 per mum or if you buy 3 or more $10.00 each. Just budding out so will last a long time. I always get this question about cutting back perennials, which you can do now. So here is the information.
HOW TO CUT BACK PERENNIALS IN FALL PREPARING PERENNIAL PLANTS FOR WINTER By Robin Sweetser
How do you cut back perennials? Some can be cut down after the first killing frost; others can be left to help birds and beneficial insects during the winter months. Let’s talk about which perennials to tackle, which to leave, how to cut back perennials properly, and other ways to prepare your perennials for winter so they survive and thrive next spring.
WHEN TO CUT BACK PERENNIALS
After several hard frosts, many herbaceous perennials have old foliage and dying stems. It’s a good time to cut down to the ground, allowing the crown (base of plant) to remain dormant over wintertime. Diseases can overwinter in dead and rotting foliage, as can slugs and other pests. Old stems can also get battered about by fall and winter winds which will damage the plants crown and roots.
Don’t be in a rush and be sure until a few hard frosts. Even if the flowers or leaves are dead, the roots are reclaiming energy from the dying plant for healthy growth in the spring.
Not all perennials need to be cut back. Some perennials with seed heads add winter interest and also provide food for birds and wildlife. These can wait until spring to be cut back—when new growth appears.
WHICH PERENNIALS TO CUT BACK
Bee balm and phlox are prone to powdery mildew so cut them all back once they’re gone. Remove all hosta after a hard frost, including any leaves on the ground, as they harbor slug eggs.
Other perennials that can be cut down to the ground in autumn include:
Clematis be careful with this one. I need to research on the ones to cut back and the ones to leave.
HOW TO CUT BACK PERENNIALS
To cut back your perennials, remove spent flower stems. Use bypass pruners and make clean cuts at an angle through the stems of the plant. I usually leave 6-inch stubs so I can find the plants next spring.
Many perennials, like this penstemon, have already started to form leaves for next year at the base of the plant. When cutting back be sure to leave these rosettes of green.
To prune clump-forming perennials such as hardy geraniums, reduce clumps to the ground level in the fall. Cut away all the dead foliage. Any perennials and grasses that die back can be died up this way in autumn, too.
After cutting back your plants, apply a light mulch. Then, wait to feed until the spring for healthy growth.
LEAVE SOME WINTER INTEREST!
The blackberry lily Belamcanda looks great until heavy wet snow finally knocks it down. Ornamental grasses add movement and sound to the landscape.
I let the agastaches and coneflowers and rudbeckia stand for the birds to enjoy. Self-seeding plants will provide you with volunteers next spring to move to new spots or share with friends.
Thistles and plants with seed heads also add interest, food, and shelter to wildlife over winter. See plants with seedheads to feed the birds.
PERENNIALS NOT TO CUT BACK
Some perennials (including the alpines below) and evergreen perennials such as epimediums, hellebores, and euphorbias should be left alone.
Candytuft, primulas, dianthus, hens & chicks, heaths, and heathers are also considered evergreen and should not be cut back in the fall.
Pulmonaria and penstemons should also be left in place until spring.
This hellebore is considered an evergreen and should not be cut back in the fall.
Do not cut back marginally hardy perennials such as garden mums (Chrysanthemum spp.).
CLEAN UP GARDEN DEBRIS
As with the vegetable garden, any diseased or bug infested plant material needs to go—far away. Don’t put it in the compost pile. Debris from things like rusty hollyhocks, peonies with powdery mildew, leaf-spotted delphiniums, and other fungal-infected flowers should be removed from the garden.
DON’T FERTILIZE IN THE FALL
Fertilizing in autumn encourages new growth that will just get killed when cold weather hits. Compost is not considered a fertilizer; it is a soil conditioner so feel free to add that in the fall. If your soil test indicates that you need lime, it can be applied in the fall also.
WEED BEFORE THE FREEZE
Before the ground freezes, do a final weeding. The more weeds you can get out now, especially those that have seeds, the fewer weeds you’ll have to deal with in the spring. Edge your beds for one last time and you’ll start the year with a neat and tidy look. This is what I need to do on a couple of flower beds to help with next spring. I want to plant fall bulbs for spring bulbs so need to weed first. Looks like next week will be good weather.
TO MULCH OR NOT TO MULCH?
If you are growing plants that are hardy in your zone and live where snow cover is plentiful each winter you probably don’t have to worry about mulching your garden, though it’s always insurance to give them some extra protection. It’s newly planted perennials that are the exception. Definitely tuck some mulch around them for their first winter.
The purpose of a winter mulch is to keep the soil temperature even and prevent heaving of roots due to alternate freezing and thawing of the ground. Waiting until the ground is frozen before mulching is not only best for your plants but also discourages rodents from making a cozy home there. Use a mulch that does not pack down and smother your plants. Shredded leaves, pine needles, straw, or evergreen boughs are good choices. Snow provides the best insulating mulch, it goes down gradually and melts gradually.
WATERING THE GARDEN
If you live where it has been dry this growing season, keep watering your garden until the ground freezes. Usually there is plentiful moisture in the fall but many areas experienced drought conditions this summer and the ground is dry. Plants that are water stressed will have a tough time surviving the winter.
The more work you do in your perennial garden this fall, the less you’ll have to do next spring.
Taken from https://www.almanac.com/news/gardening/gardening-advice/cutting-back-perennials
Till next time this is Becky Litterer, Becky’s Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa email@example.com 641-794-3337 cell phone 641-903-9365
WOW has our weather changed. From being closed to 90 last week, to day where it is cloudy, breezy and cooler. Feels like fall. You have probably heard gardeners that Friday morning the temperature is to be at 34 degrees, so there will be a frost. You can cover with that temperature to save your tender plants. We will be moving in all the succulents which is a big over the greenhouse. Now time to start thinking moving in your house plants. The colder temperatures for a couple of mornings, then warming up. Tomatoes and peppers should be covered. I am finishing up with the canning I have been doing 5 weeks, moving the jars downstairs. I am also wanting to finish up cleaning up the jars of produce that needs to be cleaned up. Then the jars will be ready for the next time I process or can. I haven’t really canned for 2 years, but getting the knees done last year has freed up the pain so I can do this. Very fulfilling to see all those jars on the shelves. How about you? Still canning and processing? Now time to plant the bulbs for spring flowers. AND you guessed it I have very high quality Holland bulbs here for you to do that. Stay safe, stay warm and begin the work of getting ready for the colder temperatures.
BULBS TO PLANT IN FALL
FALL-PLANTED BULBS FOR SPRING FLOWERS By Catherine Boeckmann
Fall is bulb-planting time! It’s so easy to stick bulbs in the ground—and so magical to see their colorful blooms emerge in early spring to lift your spirits. Our Fall-Planted Bulb Chart covers tulips, daffodils, crocus, hyacinth and more beauties, detailing hardiness zones, sun/shade, planting depth, and spacing.
WHEN TO PLANT FALL BULBS
Planting time for fall bulbs is usually late September to mid-October in northern climate so that bulbs can grow roots before the ground freezes. (Tulips are one exception—you can plant these as late as you can get them into the soil.) This gives them ample time to grow roots during winter in preparation for the spring show.
In parts of the South where you may not have a hard freeze, early November is a good time to plant. You can plant them as late as December, but the later you wait, the less able the bulbs will be to establish themselves.
In the warmest parts of the South, you may need to pre-cool some bulbs. Most spring-flowering bulbs require a 12 to 16 week cold period in ventilated packages in the bottom of your refrigerator at 40 to 50 degrees F before planting. Check with your bulb supplier to determine whether the bulbs you purchase have been pre-cooled or whether you may need to give them a cold treatment.
Also, in warmer climates, note that some bulbs will only bloom once and then they’re done for the season. For example, you will have to plant tulip bulbs again each year. Still, they are a beautiful sight to behold and well worth the effort! Other fall bulbs, such as daffodils, will act as perennials and come up year after year.
Bulbs can be ordered from a mail-order catalog ahead of time, so that the bulbs arrive right in time for fall planting. Or, make sure you buy your bulbs from a reputable nursery or garden center. Remember, second-rate bulbs produce second-rate flowers, don’t sprout at all, and often don’t return year after year. Don’t forget to plant extra for cutting so you can bring some of that spring color indoors. What can I say? These bulbs are first rate and will make a very nice bloom next spring.
Good bulbs should be fresh and firm, not brittle or rotted or moldy. Also, choose bulbs with intact husks to better fight any disease.
When you receive bulbs, plant immediately or store in a cool, dark, dry place at around 60 to 65 degrees F. Temperatures above 70 degrees F. may damage the flower buds.
SELECTING BULB VARIETIES
Here are some of the most popular spring-blooming bulbs planted in the fall.
Daffodils are a favorite because they are vole- and deer-resistant.
Jonquils have tiny blooms and naturalize. They’re one of the first flowers to bloom—and look especially lovely when planted in a grove or field together.
Crocus are a spring-flowering favorite, and come in a range of colors.
Snowdrop (Galanthus) are little white bells that bloom in early spring.
Hyacinth (including grape hyacinths) are small blue clusters of tiny bell-shaped blooms which are good for naturalizing.
Tulips looks beautiful when planted en masse and bloom after the daffodils. They look great paired with grape hyacinth.
Irises are hardy, reliable, and easy to grow, attracting butterflies and hummingbirds and making lovely cut flowers. I have iris that are reblooming. Bloom is the spring and again in the summer. Need to try these.
BULB PLANTING TIPS
Select a site where the bulbs will receive at least part sun throughout the spring.
Bulbs will need soil that drains nicely or they will rot. Work a few inches of compost or organic matter into the soil before planting for nutrients and drainage, especially if you have heavy clay soils.
Bulbs look great planted en mass—in a grove, near the mailbox, as swaths of colors in garden beds, and as colorful borders.
In general, plant bulbs at a depth of three times the width of the bulb. (That means about 4 to 6 inches deep for small bulbs like snowdrops, crocuses, and grape hyacinths, and about 8 inches deep for large bulbs like hybrid tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths.)
You can use a bulb-planting tool but if you are planting en masse by the dozens, just use a shovel and make a wide hole for planting many bulbs at once.
Place shorter bulbs in the front of beds and borders.
Plant bulbs generously in case some do not sprout. And plant them in random order and spacing for a more natural appearance. If you love groves of daffodils and blanketed landscapes of tulips, be prepared to buy and plant a large quantity of bulbs!
After planting, apply fertilizer low in nitrogen, such as a 9-6-6 formulation. If your soil is sandy, plant bulbs slightly deeper; in clay soils, slightly shallower.
Water well after planting.
Apply mulch to the planting area to keep the weeds down, hold in moisture, and avoid heaving from wintertime thawing and freezing.
Do you have voles or squirrels? Consider planting your bulbs in a “cage” fashioned with chicken wire. Also, check out our tips for preventing vole damage and squirrel damage. Or try planting some rodent-proof bulbs.
Consider bloom time for each bulb (early spring, mid-spring, late spring) so you have blooms throughout spring!
till next time this is Becky Litterer, Becky’s Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa firstname.lastname@example.org 641-794-3337 cell 641-903-9365
Wonder if you have heard: Next Friday morning (October 2) could be frost. Predicted now the temperature is 36, but....so here is some information on how to get ready for that frost.
image from leslieland.com
I have May 15th as the last day in the spring for a killing frost. But have never research on the fall frost. So Old Farmers' Almanac says Sept 27. Darn we are close to that and like the rest of you not ready for frost.
Nearest Climate Station Altitude Last Spring Frost First Fall Frost Growing Season
MASON CITY, IA 1105' May 6 Sep 27 143 days
Last and first frost dates are 30% probability. Calculated using 1981-2010 Climate Normals.
HOW TO PREDICT A FROST
PREPARING AND PROTECTING YOUR GARDEN FROM FROST By Catherine Boeckmann
Frost is one of a gardener’s worst foes! Learn how to predict frost, differentiate between a light frost and a hard freeze, and protect your garden from frost with these tips!
KNOW YOUR FROST DATES
Know your average frost dates. Put your zip code in our Frost Dates Calculator to find frost dates for spring and fall in your area. Warning: These are averages so it’s what is typical. Every year will be different.
Also, the frost dates are based on a 30% probability, meaning that there is a 30% chance of a frost occurring after the given spring frost date or before the fall frost date. (In other words, these dates are NOT absolutes and should only be used as rough guidelines!)
Know Your Microclimates
Keep in mind that the occurrence of frost can vary greatly by microclimate, too. In fact, while you may have frost in your garden, your neighbor across the street may see no sign of it!
A microclimate is exactly what it sounds like: a climate on a small scale. For example, if your garden is located at the bottom of a hill where cold air settles, it’s likely to be impacted by frost earlier than a garden at the top of the hill. Or, if your plants are abutting a rock wall in full sun, they’ll be kept warmer to some extent by the heat given off by the rocks.
5 TIPS FOR PREDICTING FROST
Consider these factors when the radio and TV reports say “frost tonight”:
Temperature: How warm was it during the day? It may sound simple, but one of the best ways of determining of a frost is due overnight is to gauge the temperature. If the temperature reached 75ºF (in the East or North) or 80ºF (in the desert Southwest), the chance of the mercury falling below 32ºF at night is slim. See our 7-day forecasts to check your weather forecast.
Is it windy? A windy night is also likely to reduce the likelihood of a frost. A still night allows cold air to pool near the ground; a light breeze stirs things up; a heavy, cold wind sweeps away warm air near the ground.
Is it cloudy? Observe the sky. If the Sun sets through a layer of thickening clouds, the clouds will slow radiational cooling and help stave off a frost. With clouds, the risk of frost is reduced.
Slope: How is your garden landscaped? Gardens on slopes or high ground often survive. However, cold air sinks and will puddle down into the valleys and hollows. If your home and garden are at the bottom of a slope or in a valley, and there is no wind, then there is higher risk of frost. A landscape with trees can assist in preventing frost. Trees transpire a lot of moisture through their leaves.
What is the dew point? As a rule of thumb, don’t worry about a frost if the dew point (the temperature at which the air is no longer able to ‘hold’ all the moisture within it) is above 45°F on the evening weather report. The more moisture in the air, the less likely a frost. A light watering of the garden a day or two before a frost is predicted can help stop it settling.
Row covers can protect tender crops from a light frost. Photo by NataliaL/Shutterstock
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A LIGHT FROST AND A HARD FREEZE?
A light frost occurs when the nighttime temperature drops to below 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0°C), and refers to the conditions that allow a layer of ice crystals to form when water vapor condenses and freezes without first becoming dew.
A hard freeze is a period of at least four consecutive hours of air temperatures that are below 28 degrees Fahrenheit (-2°C). Many plants can survive a brief frost, but very few can survive a hard freeze.
WHAT TEMPERATURES CAUSE FROST DAMAGE?
For many vegetables, frost causes damage and crop failure. But also there are other vegetables which actually benefit from a frost. The flavor of broccoli, for instance, actually improves if the plant has experienced a frost, while carrots get sweeter as the temperature drops.
How low can you go? The temperatures shown in the graphic below tell you when the frost will cause damage to the respective vegetable.
HOW TO PROTECT PLANTS FROM FROST
General Frost Protection Tips
Frost can hit in spring or fall in most areas. Generally, covering plants to create a temporary pocket of warmer air is the best way to protect plants.
Keep an eye on the weather forecast. If it looks like temperatures are going to drop, get ready to protect tender plants.
Make use of season extenders like row covers, cold frames, or cloches to protect tender plants, such as seedlings or warm-weather veggies. Row covers or garden fleece can be used to help create a warmer environment beneath them. You’ll need to use posts, bamboo, or flexible PVC piping to create space for the plants to grow, then drape landscape fabric or plastic over the frame; weigh down the edges with rocks or bricks or pegs so the covers do not blow away. To protect young plants from frost, use 2-liter soda bottles cut in half as cloches.
It’s best to have all covers in place well before sunset. Drape loosely to allow for air circulation. Before you cover the plants in late afternoon or early evening, water your plants lightly.
Remove any covers by mid-morning so that plants can get full exposure to the warming sunlight.
Protecting from a Spring Frost
It can be a real bummer to lose your young plants if a late spring frost hits. Here are some tips for preventing frost damage in spring:
While frosts are still possible, plant cool-season crops that are more tolerant of colder temperatures. Crops like peas, spinach, kale, and cabbage can power through a light spring frost.
Start tender or warm-season crops—like tomatoes and peppers—indoors or after the threat of frost has passed. Consult our Planting Calendar to see recommended planting dates.
Tips to Protect Your Garden From Frost
If you’re a gardener, it’s the first fall frost which is most concerning, as it can result in a lot of lost crops. Here are a few fall frost damage prevention tips:
In the fall, the first frost is often followed by a prolonged period of frost-free weather. Cover tender flowers and vegetables on frosty nights, and you may be able to enjoy extra weeks of gardening. For coverings, choose an old sheet or material that won’t damage the plants beneath. Drap loosely and secure to ground with rocks or bricks.
If you have a day or two before the frost is expected, watering the soil around the plants can help, as water holds heat better than soil. However, avoid soaking the ground as this can lead to the water freezing within the soil and damaging the roots.
Mulch your garden beds. Mulching with materials like straw, pine needles and wood chips helps preserve heat and moisture and so prevents frosts forming.
Bring houseplants (especially topicals) and other tender plants indoors before the first light frost arrives. Keep them in a sunny window in a relatively moist room; the kitchen is often best.
Before a light frost: Harvest basil and other tender herbs. Even if they survive the frost, they don’t do well in cold temperatures. The same is true for most annuals.
Before a light frost: Harvest all tender vegetables and tender greens, including: tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, beans, cucumbers, watermelons, cantaloupe, okra, squash, and sweet corn. Here are a few tips for ripening green tomatoes specifically.
For plants that can survive a light frost, add a heavy layer of mulch to keep the ground around them from freezing. You can still harvest late into the fall as long as the ground isn’t frozen. These veggies include: beets, broccoli, cabbage, celery, lettuce, parsnips, arugula, swiss chard and other leafy greens.
Harvest plants that can survive a hard frost last, such as: carrots, garlic, horseradish, kale, rutabagas, leeks, parsnips, radishes, spinach, and turnips.
Following these tips should help prevent your garden from taking too much of a hit when frost occurs!
till next time this is Becky Litterer, Becky’s Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa email@example.com 641-794-3337 cell phone 641-903-9365
Woolly bear caterpillar, does the stripe predict our winters? For sure I can't bet yesterday's post almost 300 hits. Thanks for sharing.
image from petunias-garden.blogspot.com
Sunny first thing this morning, then the clouds moved in mid morning, now mid afternoon it is clearing off. I know the combines will be running this afternoon. Still warm out, but there is a little touch of fall in the air. Looks like next week it will be cooler out. There is talk of a low of 36 degrees Saturday morning, but Thursday, Friday morning will be in the upper 30’s. Time to think about that darn frost. I will be moving plants back into the greenhouse, I don’t want to think of that but that is the way of the seasons. Enjoy this weather we are having, and stay safe.
DO WOOLLY WORMS REALLY PREDICT WINTER WEATHER? By Catherine Boeckmann
Woolly bear caterpillars—also called woolly worms—have a reputation for being able to forecast the coming winter weather. If their rusty band is wide, then it will be a mild winter. The more black there is, the more severe the winter. Just how true is this weather lore? Learn more about this legendary caterpillar and how to “read” the worm!
THE WOOLLY WORM LEGEND
First of all, the “woolly worm” is not a worm at all! It’s a caterpillar; specifically, the larva of the Isabella tiger moth (Pyrrharctia isabella). Nonetheless, the name “worm” has stuck, at least in some parts of the United States. In others, such as New England and the Midwest, people tend to call them “woolly bears.” (Worm or not, at least we can all agree that they’re not bears!)
In terms of appearance, the caterpillar has 13 distinct segments of either rusty brown or black. Often, it is black on both ends with rust-colored segments in the middle, although it may sometimes be mostly black or mostly rust. (Note: All-black or all-white caterpillars are not woolly bears! They are simply different species and are not part of the woolly worm lore. So, if you spot an entirely black caterpillar, it isn’t forecasting an apocalyptic winter!)
The wider the rusty brown sections (or the more brown segments there are), the milder the coming winter will be. The more black there is, the more severe the winter.
HOW THE WOOLLY BEAR CATERPILLAR BECAME “FAMOUS”
In the fall of 1948, Dr. C. H. Curran, curator of insects at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, took his wife 40 miles north of the city to Bear Mountain State Park to look at woolly bear caterpillars.
Dr. Curran collected as many caterpillars as he could in a day, determined the average number of reddish-brown segments, and forecast the coming winter weather through a reporter friend at The New York Herald Tribune.
Dr. Curran’s experiment, which he continued over the next eight years, attempted to prove scientifically a weather rule of thumb that was as old as the hills around Bear Mountain. The resulting publicity made the woolly worm one of the most recognizable caterpillars in North America (alongside the monarch caterpillar and tomato hornworm).
WHAT IS A WOOLLY BEAR CATERPILLAR?
The caterpillar that Dr. Curran studied, the banded woolly bear, is the larval form of Pyrrharctia isabella, the Isabella tiger moth.
The Isabella is a beautiful winged creative with yellowish-orange and cream-colored wings spotted with black. It’s common from northern Mexico throughout the United States and across the southern third of Canada.
DO WOOLLY BEAR CATERPILLARS REALLY FORECAST WINTER WEATHER?
Between 1948 and 1956, Dr. Curran’s average brown-segment counts ranged from 5.3 to 5.6 out of the 13-segment total, meaning that the brown band took up more than a good third of the woolly bear’s body. The corresponding winters were milder than average, and Dr. Curran concluded that the folklore has some merit and might be true. But Curran was under no scientific illusion: He knew that his data samples were small. Although the experiments legitimized folklore to some, they were simply an excuse for having fun. Curran, his wife, and their group of friends escaped the city to see the foliage each fall, calling themselves The Original Society of the Friends of the Woolly Bear. Thirty years after the last meeting of Curran’s society, the woolly bear brown-segment counts and winter forecasts were resurrected by the nature museum at Bear Mountain State Park. The annual counts have continued, more or less tongue in cheek, since then. For over forty years, Banner Elk, North Carolina, has held an annual “Woolly Worm Festival” in October, highlighted by a caterpillar race. Retired mayor Charles Von Canon inspects the champion woolly bear and announces his winter forecast.
Most scientists discount the folklore of woolly bear predictions as just that, folklore. Says Ferguson from his office in Washington, “I’ve never taken the notion very seriously. You’d have to look at an awful lot of caterpillars in one place over a great many years in order to say there’s something to it.”
Mike Peters, an entomologist at the University of Massachusetts, doesn’t disagree, but he says there could, in fact, be a link between winter severity and the brown band of a woolly bear caterpillar. “There’s evidence,” he says, “that the number of brown hairs has to do with the age of the caterpillar—in other words, how late it got going in the spring. The [band] does say something about a heavy winter or an early spring. The only thing is … it’s telling you about the previous year.”
HOW TO “READ” THE WOOLLY WORM
To find a woolly bear, start looking under leaves and logs! Some are just crossing the road. Once you spot a woolly worm inching its way along the ground or a road, you’ll see them everywhere! The caterpillars are most active during the day (not at night). After filling up on food—including violets, lambs quarter, and clover—their goal is to find a place to hide for the winter. Interestingly, the woolly worm overwinters as larva. Their entire body will enter a “frozen” state until May when it will emerge as the Isabella moth.
Every year, the wooly worms do indeed look different—and it depends on their region. So, if you come across a local woolly worm, observe the colors of the bands and what they foretell about your winter weather. Remember:
If the rusty band is wide, then it will be a mild winter. The more black there is, the more severe the winter.
Taken from https://www.almanac.com/woolly-bear-caterpillars-and-weather-prediction
Till next time this is Becky Litterer, Becky’s Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa firstname.lastname@example.org 641-794-3337 cell phone 641-903-9365
Here is some good advice with your fall mums you have picked up. We have sold lot for us, so hopefully everyone will take time to water every day. If you have time repotting is the answer. Here is why? We are having some awesome summer like temperatures so enjoy because next week it will be more fall like. Be safe.
How to Avoid Killing Your Mums Written by Kerry Michaels
Come September in the U.S., mums are as ubiquitous as pumpkins during fall harvest. You can find them everywhere and anywhere from nurseries to supermarkets to gas stations. However, once you get them home, they are incredibly easy to kill. They dry out in a nanosecond and need to be watered at least once a day. After any repeated stress periods of drying out, they often just die. Take a look at five tips to keep your mums from shriveling.
The single most important thing you can do to increase the longevity of your mums is to repot it as soon as you get it.1 Most mums are completely rootbound when you get them. The roots have taken up the entire pot, which makes it really hard for the soil to retain any water.
The best way to preserve your plant is to provide it with fresh soil. You can do this by choosing a container that is a little bigger than the container your mums came in. Fill the bottom of the new pot with good quality potting soil.
Carefully remove the mum from its nursery pot. Break up any roots you can, or simply rough them up by rubbing them. Put the plant in the new pot, making sure the surface of the soil rests at least an inch below the lip of the new pot. Make sure there is room for water to trickle down into the soil, instead of running off the sides and out of the pot.
Fill in the space around the plant's root ball with the potting soil; you want soil, not air surrounding the roots. Tamp down the soil gently. Give the pot a good watering until it flows out of the bottom of the pot. You may need to add more soil after watering the first time.
Give Mums Lots of Sun
Mums are sun-lovers, so make sure your pot gets four hours of direct sun a day, at minimum.1 As the fall days are short and the sun has already moved across the horizon since the summer, you may find that the places you get the most sun have moved. Where you once had full, unobstructed sun, a tree or building may now be blocking the light. You can use a sun calculator or roughly observe how long the sun is hitting your pot. You might be surprised.
Water, But Not Too Much
Mums do not like to get dry. When their leaves are drooping, which can happen incredibly quickly, they are way too dry. Try to water them before they get to that point.
If you have not repotted your mum, there are two ways to tell if it is dry. You can stick your finger into the soil up to the second knuckle to see if it feels dry. However, sometimes this is not even possible because the plant is so rootbound and the soil is so hard.
You can also try picking up the pot. If it is light, water it deeply. Usually, you water a plant until the water pours out the bottom; however, with a potbound mum, it is possible that the water will go around the roots, down the sides of the pot, and out the bottom without the plant getting much water.
Also, if you have let the plant dry out, soil contracts and the same thing can happen, leaving spaces along the sides of the pot for water to flow out without touching the soil.
To avoid this and rehydrate the dry soil, put the mum pot in a bucket of water with a few inches of water and leave it to soak for a few hours. Do not forget it, because the plant can drown if you do. You can also fully submerge the pot in a bucket of water to rehydrate the soil. Stick a skewer or a pencil in the soil at the top to make sure the water soaks in.
Deadhead Your Mum
Deadheading, or removing dying flowers, is one of those tedious garden chores that almost as soon as you finish it, you have to start over again. Deadheading mums are worth the trouble. The plants benefit greatly from it and will look much better when finished. Chances are great that they will last longer and may repeat bloom.
Choose a Strong Plant
Choosing the right plant is key to having it thrive. A plant that has repeatedly dried out will be stressed and not a good candidate.1 If you buy a mum at a supermarket or big box store, be particularly careful because they often are underwatered. Ask the store what day they get their new shipments and try to buy a plant on the day they get there before they have had too many chances to be neglected. Look for plants with leaves that are deep green and healthy, not droopy. Find plants that have lots of buds and not too many blooms.
While some people try to overwinter their mums, it is very difficult to pull off successfully (unless you get a hardy mum). In most cases, it is best to treat it as an annual and pitch them onto the compost pile after they die off with the first frost.
Taken from https://www.thespruce.com/how-not-to-kill-your-mums-847862
Till next time this is Becky Litterer, Becky’s Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa email@example.com 641-794-3337 cell phone 641-903-9365
Do you know the difference between yams and sweet potatoes? They are different. Here is harvesting your sweet potatoes.
image from blogs.cornell.edu
We are back to warmer temperatures which is great for the harvest has started here in Northern Iowa. It is going to be dry this week, which will lead to lots of watering of our plants. How is your gardens doing? I know some of them are at the end of the season. We have mums to add to your garden color. Larry just went to get another load of them. 25 plants, and 2 are sold out of this bunch. So I guess come when you can this week to get your mums. I am open till 9-6 Monday thru Friday. I will stay open on Saturday to help with the sales. Also, we have fall planting bulbs to add color for your spring garden. Lots of time to plant these bulbs so stop and pick them up also. It is amazing how well the mums are selling but price for the size is what is helping. $12.00 per mum or buy 3 or more for $10.00 each.
PLANTING, GROWING, AND HARVESTING SWEET POTATOES By The Editors
Are you growing sweet potatoes? With their deep orange flesh, these edible roots have a naturally-sweet flavor and are a top source of beta-carotene. Thriving in warm soil, unlike regular potatoes, sweet potatoes will be ready to harvest just as the ends of the vines begin to turn yellow, or just before frost. Perfect timing for autumn foods and the holiday table!
The sweet potato is a large, sweet-tasting root of the morning glory family. (Regular potatoes belong to the nightshade family). This is a very undemanding crop to grow; sweet potatoes are drought- and heat-tolerant and have few pests or diseases. The sweet potato is also very nutritious and relatively low in calories. In addition, we think that the sweet potatoes’ lush vines make a lovely ground cover for beds.
The only major requirement for sweet potatoes is sun and warm soil; this is a tropical plant.
Though traditionally more of a Southern crop, there are many short-season varieties of sweet potato today which will grow in the North (even Canada!) as long as they have several months of warm weather. Mulching planting beds with black plastic warms soil in northern regions.
Sweet potatoes aren’t started by seed like most other vegetables, they’re started from slips—small rooted pieces of tuber which are sliced right off the sweet potato.
Sweet Potatoes vs. Yams
True yams” are rarely found in U.S. grocery stores and are starchy, dry tubers from Africa. They are related to lilies and have a cylindrical shape with blackish or brown, bark-like skin and white, purple, or reddish flesh. You can often find them in specialty stores.
In U.S. grocery stores, you’ll often find two different type of sweet potatoes: “firm” and “soft.” Groceries stores will often call the “firm” type a “sweet potato” and the “soft” type a “yam” to differentiate the two, even though neither is a true yam. To add to the confusion, it’s the “soft” sweet potato with the deep orange flesh and copper skin that we usually plant and eat. Even if stores call it a yam! Just look carefully at the flesh and skin to confirm which is which.
HOW TO HARVEST SWEET POTATOES
You can start digging up the potatoes as soon as they are big enough for a meal. Often, this is 3 to 4 months from when you planted the slips (most varieties take at least 100 days to reach maturity).
Usually, sweet potatoes are ready to harvest when the leaves and ends of the vines have started turning yellow, but you can leave them in the ground up until the fall frost.
Since the roots spread 4 to 6 inches deep in the soil, a spade fork is useful when digging up the potatoes. Loosen the soil around the plant (18-inch diameter) so you do not injure the tubers. It’s fine to cut some of the vines away.
Pull up the primary crown of the plant and use your hands to dig up the tubers. Handle the sweet potatoes carefully, as they bruise easily.
After digging up the tubers, shake off any excess dirt, but do not wash the roots.
You must cure sweet potatoes or they will not have that delicious, sweet taste. Curing the potatoes allows a second skin to form over scratches and bruises that occur when digging up the potatoes. To cure, keep the roots in a warm place (about 80°F/27°C) at high humidity (about 90%) for 10 to 14 days. A table outside in a shady spot works well. For best curing, make sure that the potatoes are not touching one another.
After curing, throw out any bruised potatoes, and then wrap each one in newspaper and pack them carefully in a wooden box or basket. Store the sweet potatoes in a root cellar, basement, or other place with a temperature of at least 55°F/13°C.
If stored at a temperature range of 55–60°F (13–15.5°C) with high humidity, the tubers should last for about 6 months. When removing the potatoes from storage, remember to be gentle; do not dig around or else you will bruise the potatoes.
Sweet potatoes will retain their color better if cooked with a slice of lemon.Sweet potatoes are a very healthy root vegetable, and they provide many benefits.
Taken from https://www.almanac.com/plant/sweet-potatoes
Till next time this is Becky Litterer Becky’s Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa firstname.lastname@example.org 641-794-3337 cell phone 641-903-9365
I will be open Saturday Sept 19,2020 from 9-5 if that helps you pick up your mums and fall planting bulbs.
reblooming iris Sugar BLue
reblooming iris Summer Olympics
I will be around on Saturday if you want to come and pick up mums or any fall planting bulbs. I will be closed on Sunday. I will be working at the house, but will see you drive up and come over to the greenhouse. Becky Litterer
Here are the rest of the bulbs I have in for your fall planting season.
Muscari Blue Spike Grape Hyacinth 9/+
Crocus Remembrance 9/10
Daffodil Dutch master 14/16
Daffodil Ice follies 14/16
Tulip Blood Red
Tulip Big Smile
Tulip Tom Pouce
Narcissi Tete a tete 12/+
Narcissi February Gold 14/+
Hyacinth Blue Eyes 16/17
Hyacinth Pink Pearl 16/17
Hyacinth Carnegie 16/17
Bearded iris Sugar Blues Rebloomer
Bearded Iris Summer Olympics Rebloomer
Stop in Monday thru Friday 9-6. Tomorrow Sept 19th I will be open from 9-5. Thanks hope that helps. Till next time this is Becky Litterer, Becky’s Greenhouse Dougherty Iowa email@example.com 641-794-3337 cell phone 641-903-9365
image from Pinterest
Chilly this morning, temperature after sunrise was 40. But it is going to warm up. High today of 67 with a low of 44. Looks like the next 10 days the temperature will just get warmer, and no moisture predicted. Fall starts next week, so it looks good, no frost yet. I have mums, fall planting bulbs, succulents, house plants for your gardening needs. I will be here tomorrow Saturday if that helps with you coming to get plants. But I will be closed on Sunday.
I sometimes wonder why I am in the climate business. According to folklore, those leaves you have to rake up will tell you all you need to know about winter. Are your chrysanthemums really pretty? Get out the mittens. The birds and bees are not only into living apparently, they are weather forecasters as well.
Here is a sample of rodent wisdom: Squirrels gathering nuts in a flurry, Will cause snow to gather in a hurry.
In addition, a tough winter is ahead if squirrels’ tails are very bushy. (Are you polishing the snow shovel yet?)
Weather folklore claims squirrels know about winter! Source: National Park Service
Birds and bees are giving you hints as well. When birds migrate early or bees build their nests high in the trees, the winter is going to be a Old Farmer's Almanac
Did you know that bird behavior can help us predict the weather? Closely observe nature and your feathered friends—and you might be surprised by what you learn!
Look up one of these days. Watch birds in flight. Birds flying high in the sky usually indicate fair weather. As the adage goes …
Hawks flying high means a clear sky. When they fly low, prepare for a blow.
Geese fly higher in fair weather than in foul.
Air pressure does indeed affect birds. For example, swallows have sensitive ears; when the barometric pressure drops, they fly as close to the ground as possible, where air density is greatest. Generally, low-flying birds are signs of rain; high flyers indicate fair weather.
Migrating birds can fly more easily in dense, high pressure conditions. Therefore, geese may fly high when a high pressure system moves to the area. High pressure systems are associated with fair weather.
Birds tend to stop flying and take refuge at the coast if a storm is coming. They’ll also fly low to avoid the discomfort of the falling air pressure.
When seagulls fly inland, expect a storm.
When fowls roost in daytime, expect rain.
Petrels gathering under the stern of a ship indicates bad weather.
Birds tend to get very quiet before a big storm. If you’ve ever been walking in the woods before a storm, the natural world is eerily silent! Birds also sing if the weather is improving.
Birds singing in the rain indicates fair weather approaching.
Here are more bird proverbs and prognostics. Enjoy!
If crows fly in pairs, expect fine weather; a crow flying alone is a sign of foul weather.
The whiteness of a goose’s breastbone indicates the kind of winter: A red of dark-spotted bone means a cold and stormy winter; few or light-colored spots mean a mild winter.
Partridges drumming in the fall means a mild and open winter.
When domestic geese walk east and fly west, expect cold weather.
If birds in the autumn grow tame, the winter will be too cold for game.
When the rooster goes crowing to bed, he will rise with watery head.
When the swallow’s nest is high, the summer is very dry. When the swallow buildeth low, you can safely reap and sow.
See how insects predict weather. A narrow band of brown on a woolly caterpillar means the same thing.
Plants are in the weather business as well. When leaves drop early, autumn and winter will be mild; but if they fall late, winter will be severe. Other signs of a bad winter are Flowers blooming in late autumn, Cornhusks are thick and tight, Apple skins are tough, Onion skins are tough and Berries and nuts are plentiful. (That might be why the squirrels are so busy.)
Some of these are based on old-fashioned observation. La Niñas tend to be dry in summer and cold in winter, so if birds leave early, the leaves fall quickly, onions and apples are tough, and caterpillars are short, it may be due to the La Niña drought. A miserable La Niña winter will follow.
Some folklore is warning of a cold La Niña winter.
Other folklore is just based on the idea that you shouldn’t let your guard down. Lots of berries, nuts and flowers may be the sign of a lovely warm November. However, look out, winter will probably be awful.
As for the squirrels—ignore them. They’re just squirrelly!
Time to plant fall bulbs for spring bulbs. Here are the tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and allium I have now. Tomorrow I will post the rest of the bulbs.
Cool for the next 3 days, then the temperature will warm up for next week. Still we can’t complain about this weather. I am posting pictures of the fall planting bulbs we have here. They are high quality bulbs from Holland. I am really impressed with them and I know you will love them to plant this fall, and what they look like next spring. Also we have the mums here so you can still do gardening at Becky’s Greenhouse. Till next time this is Becky Litterer, Becky’s Greenhouse, Dougherty Iowa firstname.lastname@example.org 641-794-3337 cell phone 641-903-9365
Hi! My name is Becky and I am a Master Gardener. I own Becky's Greenhouse in Dougherty, Iowa.