Gardening Tips by Bob Beyfuss

"Gardening Tips" is a column about all things flora written by Bob Beyfuss of the Cornell Cooperative Extension.

Gardening Tips: August 27, 2014

A New Lawn
This is my annual lawn column. We have had a great summer season, with just enough timely rainfall to keep the grass green, but not so much rain as to turn it into a jungle. Mid to late August is the best time to completely redo or establish a new lawn in our part of the world. It takes at least four to six weeks of good weather for desirable lawn grasses to become fully established. The grasses we grow in the Northeast are known as “cool season” grasses, which means they grow best when soil and air temperatures are in the 60s and 70s. Up until earlier this week conditions had been a little too dry to plant grass seed, but the showers and storms we had recently have helped that situation.

Gardening Tips: August 20, 2014

Q and A
I must begin this week’s column by thanking everyone who pointed out last week that I neglected to mention that there are also timber rattlesnakes in our region. They are not as common as copperheads but they may occasionally be encountered in remote rocky areas in both the “Gunks” and the Catskills. Unlike copperheads, which have no rattles, Timber rattlesnakes vibrate their tails quite nosily when threatened. Most people should notice this warning, but I have to admit that my only close encounter with a rattlesnake was near Lake Champlain and I was so interested in a patch of ginseng plants that I failed to hear a rather large rattlesnake less than six feet away. Fortunately, my hiking companion did hear the snake and yelled for me to “freeze” before I almost stepped on it! I will not go back to that spot anytime soon (ever).

Gardening Tips: August 13, 2014

The dangers of country life
Last week I wrote about a couple of poisonous plants that may be encountered by both locals and especially tourists. Sometimes I forget that most people do not pay as much attention to plants as I do. This week I will focus on some of the other hazards that people should be aware of when spending time in the Catskills.

Gardening Tips: August 6, 2014

Poisonous plants
The summer season continues to race by as we enter the month of August. Weather wise, the summer of 2014 has been close to perfect in our region. This is the month when many people from down state, Long Island and New Jersey take their vacations to visit our beautiful Catskill Mountains. Most of us take the weather and scenery we enjoy on a daily basis for granted, but a century ago the cool mountain air provided a welcome relief from cities that had not yet invented air conditioning.

Gardening Tips: July 30, 2014

Garden Problems and Solutions
Late July to early August is usually when we begin to seriously harvest some of our favorite vegetables and of course, this is when the problems usually begin in earnest. The following disorders are commonly observed at this time of the year. I think I first wrote this in 2004 but some things never change!