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MASTER YOUR GARDEN – April 27,2012 Edition

by Barbara Kozlowski, Master Gardener

Mother Nature sure knows how to a monkey wrench into the works!  12 + inches of heavy, wet snow.  My birds are very happy I filled their feeders before the snow hit.  Hopefully the robins and bluebirds that are making their home at my home found nourishment.  There may have been enough to sustain them under the evergreens that escaped the snow fall.

This snowfall has also raised havoc with our trees and shrubs, not to mention the tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and grape hyacinths and any other Spring flowering bulbs.  When the snow has finally dissipated, survey your gardens, trees and shrubs for damage, broken branches or split tree trunks.  I was amazed at the amount of damage done to the trees and shrubs in the Village.  Looks like those owners have their work cut out for them once the snow melts.  I know I have a few branches to trim but for the most part, the trees and shrubs escaped a lot of damage.

I am a book lover and I am always on the lookout for a new gardening or a cookbook that incorporates fresh grown herbs and vegetables.  Recently a friend gave me a gardening book titled ‘TROWEL & ERROR’ written by Sharon Lovejoy.   This book is filled with over 700 shortcuts, tips and remedies for the gardener.  Its filled with common-sense ideas for the outdoor garden, your tools, getting the best of pesky pests, repellents and preventatives, luring allies, seed starting, potions, compost, mulch & soil, lawn & weed, outdoor decor and indoor gardening.

My favorite chapter deals with potions.  She deals with all types of potions easily made in your kitchen that you will find in your pantry.  These staples include uncoated aspirin, baking soda, boric acid or borax, canola oil, castor oil, chili powder, cinnamon powder, corn gluten meal, epsom salts, essential oils, fermented salmon, fish emulsion or kelp, white flour (not self-rising), honey, isopropyl rubbing alcohol, molasses (blackstrap or horticultural grade), petroleum jelly, liquid soap (not detergent), tabasco sauce, vegetable or mineral oil, vinegar and white glue. These various ingredients in various combinations can create just about any remedy for almost any gardening problem plus first aid for our plants.

One of the ‘recipes’ in this book is a Cornell University proven formula.  This formula can be sprayed on tomato and potato plants early in their growing season to prevent susceptibility to both early and late fungal blights.  Mix 1 tbsp canola or mineral oil, 1 teaspoon baking soda with 1 gal of water.  Shake thoroughly before each use.  This is just one of many formulas in this book and I highly recommend it for yourself and/or your favorite gardener.

Have fun in your garden and enjoy the many benefits it can offer.  Whether you grow flowers, vegetables, herbs or just have trees and shrubs, all can offer a sense of tranquility and beauty.  Any questions, contact me via this paper and I will address your questions with timely answers.

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