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Preview: Gardening Conversations: Four seasons of gardening with Cooperative Extension horticulturist Amy Ivy. Matha Foley hosts

Gardening Conversations: Four seasons of gardening with Cooperative Extension horticulturist Amy Ivy. Matha Foley hosts

Latest North Country Public Radio regional news by topic. Topic=gardening.

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Easy DIY planters and baskets from scratch, or not

Mon, 22 May 2017 00:00:00 -0400

(May 22, 2017) You know those gorgeous hanging baskets, those urns and planters that are so tempting in the greenhouses right now? Here's the formula Amy Ivy likes: a thriller, a filler and a spiller. To put it another way: something eye-catching. Something to add color and fill in the space, and something that'll trail over the sides. Fill the container with potting mix, arrange the plants side by side, add water, and a good measure of patience. [full story]

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What to look for at the local greenhouse

Mon, 15 May 2017 00:00:00 -0400

(May 15, 2017) Greenhouse people say the plants that sell best are the plants that are already blooming. It makes sense: they're pretty, and so appealing early in the season, when gardeners are yearning for some color. And, when you see a bloom, you know what you're getting. Pink cosmos or white? Orange or yellow marigolds? But Cooperative Extension's Amy Ivy says there are risks in buying plants that are that far along in their growth cycle. She shares tips on what to look for, and how to mitigate some common downsides. [full story]

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Tackling perennials, and the weeds that love them

Mon, 08 May 2017 00:00:00 -0400

(May 8, 2017) It's time to tackle perennials — dividing, replanting, moving, and cleaning out the grass and weeds. That's what the calendar says. But continuing cold rain and occasional snow showers don't add up to ideal gardening weather. It's just not much fun out there, and messing around when the dirt is wet makes weeding harder and is bad for soil structure, according to Cooperative Extension's Amy Ivy. So wait till weather clears, then follow her practical tips on how to proceed. [full story]

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It's all things lilac at Moore's Hill Farm near Potsdam

Thu, 04 May 2017 00:00:00 -0400

(May 4, 2017) One of the joys of spring is the appearance, and fragrance, of lilacs. Most old farmsteads and gardens have at least one lilac tree. A Potsdam couple has started a second career of bringing lilacs back to more yards.About ten years ago, Janice and Cliff Westerling sold their home in the village of Potsdam and bought a 50-acre farm near West Potsdam. Now retired, they're focusing on growing and selling lilacs. Their gardens at Moore's Hill Farm include more than 30 varieties. One of the most fragrant flowers in the plant world, lilacs are available in lots of colors - including royal purples, presidential blues and creamy yellows.Todd Moe stopped by for a tour of the Westerling's nursery and display gardens. It's still too early for blossoms. Janice says the flowering season is typically Mother's Day to Father's Day, but she and Cliff love to show off the plants to curious visitors. So, why lilacs? Cliff says the hardy varieties are easy to grow in the North Country, despite pesky deer. [full story]

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Helping the garden "reach for the sky"

Mon, 01 May 2017 00:00:00 -0400

(May 1, 2017) It may not seem like it now, but soon the garden will be reaching for the sky. Some plants needs a little help to climb. Amy Ivy put in some plastic mesh fencing as a trellis this weekend to assist her peas and beans to reach their full potential. The same, with ties to hold heavier produce, can keep your cucumber and tomato bounty at a dry and healthy altitude.Almost anything from chain link to snow fence to woven twigs will do to add an upper story to the garden. [full story]

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How to give tender early row crops a little TLC

Mon, 24 Apr 2017 00:00:00 -0400

(Apr 24, 2017) Getting an early start on the vegetable season can be tricky. The weather can be sunny and warm one day, chilly and windy the next. Young lettuces, spinach and other early season starts have to get through it all. Cooperative Extension's Amy Ivy shares advice on using row cover - that light, porous fabric - to moderate the extremes. One warning -though row cover looks like a way to protect against frost, she says it isn't. You need a little more when temperatures fall that far. [full story]

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"Aggregates" key to keeping good soil together

Mon, 17 Apr 2017 00:00:00 -0400

(Apr 17, 2017) Think chocolate cake. A handful of good soil will look like a handful of chocolate cake: dark and rich, holding together but a little crumbly at the edges. Space for whipped cream to soak in (in the case of cake) or air and water, in the case of soil. Cooperative Extension's Amy Ivy says it's the aggregates that keep the texture right. She explains what aggregates are and how they work. She has tips on how protect and encourage them. [full story]

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Spring chores? Don't go crazy

Mon, 10 Apr 2017 00:00:00 -0400

(Apr 10, 2017) There's so much to do when winter finally does go away, and the breezes warm up. Between the yard and garden(s), you could go crazy. But no need. Cooperative Extension's Amy Ivy starts slow-ish, loosening up the winter accumulations of leaves and debris from the perennials and giving what's up some light and air. Clearing out the dead stalks and remains of last year. Giving the yard a light raking. And doing some thinking! [full story]

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Warmer soil's your cue to start planting

Mon, 03 Apr 2017 00:00:00 -0400

(Apr 3, 2017) Sunny Spring days are a temptation to plant the year's earliest vegetables: peas, spinach, arugula and other hardy seedlings. But as warm as the breezes might be, it's still too early if the soil isn't registering 50 degrees F. So says Cooperative Extension horticulturist Amy Ivy. [full story]

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A good day for some serious pruning

Mon, 27 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0400

(Mar 27, 2017) Pruning time has arrived, but there's no rush. You have the month of April, at least until the buds come, to get it done.Amy Ivy and Martha Foley share some tips for a good pruning strategy. Get the dead stuff out, obviously, but with flowering shrubs like lilac or mock orange, you might want to get rid of dominant gnarly older stems, too, since young growth flowers more abundantly.And lopping shears are fine for smaller branches, but move up to a saw if you find you are straining yourself, or your tool. [full story]

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Another sign of Spring: those bugs inside your house

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0400

(Mar 20, 2017) Happy Spring! The warmer sun of March wakes up the trees and brings birds north. It also wakes up the bugs that live inside your house. Box elder bugs, lady bugs and cluster flies are three common ones. They're all a nuisance, but harmless. Cooperative Extension's Amy Ivy has more on these mostly unwelcome visitors, and what to do, and not do, to deal with them. [full story]

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Chill out — no need to prune yet

Mon, 13 Mar 2017 00:00:00 -0400

(Mar 13, 2017) Justin case you're watching the thermometer drop and getting antsy about pruning your trees and shrubs, there's no hurry. Especially with the weather this week (New England states broke the record for cold on Saturday, the AP reports), it's not a good idea for person or plants to get stressed about this spring chore. Cooperative Extension's Amy Ivy says there's time. She advises sitting back and thinking through your pruning plan, and she's got some tips. Then wait for a nicer day to actually do the work. [full story]

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Local farms produce a bounty for winter

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0500

(Feb 27, 2017) Even in winter, it's likely there are local foods available near you. Shops, coops, and food "hubs" are providing access to more local produce in more places. Cooperative Extension's Amy Ivy says it's a chicken-and-egg sort of thing. The more we buy, the more they'll grow, and vice versa.To prove it, local chefs will work with foods from 27 local farms, cheese makers, brewers and vintners in the annual Food from the Farm event Saturday in Plattsburgh. [full story]

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Know your strawberries

Mon, 20 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0500

(Feb 20, 2017) Strawberries are a good fruit for a home gardener. They're inexpensive to buy from a catalog. And according to Cooperative Extension's Amy Ivy, they're pretty easy to tend.You've got to decide which type to plant: June bearing or day neutral. The former produce all its crop in one big rush, and they don't bear fruit till the second year in the ground. Good for making pies and am, or anything needing a lot of berries at once. The latter bear fewer berries at once, but produce whenever the temperature is between 45 and 80. Insect pests can be a real bother to day-neutral varieties, getting worse as the season goes along. [full story]

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Start the growing season right. Indoors.

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0500

(Feb 13, 2017) Everybody's got a system for starting seeds indoors. One thing everyone has to sort out right is the lighting. Cooperative Extension horticulturist Amy Ivy unpacks questions about what bulbs to choose (should you upgrade to LEDs?) and how to set them up.Short version: she's sticking with conventional fluorescent shop lights, one warm, one cool. There are increasingly efficient ones. LEDs are most efficient, but switching can be costly.And she's got a cool way to set them up. See the links. [full story]

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DO plant potatoes. . . just for the fun of it

Mon, 06 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0500

(Feb 6, 2017) In the past few weeks, we've paged through those tantalizing gardening catalogs, talking about flowers and vegetables to start from seed indoors in the coming weeks. And we've touched on which varieties can be seeded right in the garden once it's time to plant. But there are other gardening staples that don't quite fit either conversation.So today, Cooperative Extension's Amy Ivy talks how to get started with onions, leeks (order seedlings or sets) and shallots. And she shares her special enthusiasm for planting potatoes. So much fun for kids, and you can plant a hill right in a five gallon bucket! [full story]

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Starting a garden plan? Consult your best seed catalog

Mon, 30 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0500

(Jan 30, 2017) Sharpen your pencil! That's the first thing Cooperative Extension's Amy Ivy does when she gets ready to think about ordering vegetable seeds for the coming gardening season. A pencil, a piece of paper, and a good seed catalog, and she's ready to list, A to Z, all the vegetables she MIGHT want to have in the garden. It's a long list to start with. It gets more realistic before she places an order. This week she shares what's important to consider when making the final choices. [full story]

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Dreaming in color...the catalogs are coming

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0500

(Jan 16, 2017) Snow or no snow, winter is a time of subtle, even monochromatic landscapes. And sometimes a person needs a little color. Gardeners have an advantage: all those seed catalogs coming in the mail, offer an explosion of flowers... just not right now. Cooperative Extension's Amy Ivy is one who's taking advantage of the glossy possibilities, planning for her summer garden. [full story]

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How winter can hurt trees and shrubs

Mon, 09 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0500

(Jan 9, 2017) It isn't just the deep cold of winter, it's also the combination of temperature swings and dry wind that hurt shrubs and trees in winter. We can't do anything about the weather, but understanding the limits of "hardiness" and which species tolerate severe conditions best can help. Cooperative Extension'sAmy Ivy has some tips and suggestions. [full story]

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A little TLC keeps holiday blooms looking good longer

Mon, 02 Jan 2017 00:00:00 -0500

(Jan 2, 2017) Poinsettias and cyclamen are favorite holiday gifts. They're timed to bloom just right to brighten the indoor scene—for a while. Cooperative Extension horticulturist Amy Ivy says they really aren't meant to last forever, and it's OK to pitch them when they're played out. But that doesn't mean you can't keep them healthy and looking good for longer with a little TLC. [full story]

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