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: Nov. 12, 2014

Apple season
The fresh vegetable season is pretty much over for 2014 with a few exceptions, such as parsnips, spinach, hardy kale, and a few other members of the cabbage family. I will harvest most of my Brussels’s sprouts this week before the deer decide to invade the garden for a few last snacks. The Asparagus ferns have turned yellow but garlic, shallots as well as other bulbs are still growing new roots. I hope you a good garden and were able to preserve some of the season’s bounty for fall feasts.


Gardening Tips: October 29, 2014

Household insect invaders
Last week we had some summer like weather for a few days that could be characterized as “Indian Summer” in areas, which had previously had frost. Indian summer has been defined as a period of warm weather following a hard frost. Now that most of our region had a hard or “killing” frost, we can look forward to more Indian summer. At least I hope so! Sometimes we get Indian summer in October and sometimes it occurs in November.


Gardening Tips: October 22, 2014

Fall Food
There are not too many evenings in October when I can sit outside in a light jacket and look at the stars. This is especially rare after Columbus Day, but tonight as I write this on October 14th, the temperature is 65 degrees at 8:30 PM and I am savoring these few remaining days of Indian Summer. It has been a beautiful summer and fall here in the Hudson Valley and Catskill Mountain region except for the serious lack of rain we are now experiencing. The creeks are low and even the forest soils are powder dry. Winter still seems very far away despite the noticeably shorter days, but that will change soon. Our fall colors are at peak in the valley, but past peak in the mountains.


Gardening Tips: Sept. 24, 2014

Houseplants indoors
Within a few short weeks, much of our region will have had its first hard frost. In fact, parts of the mountainous areas in Greene, Ulster and Delaware counties as well as the Adirondack region had a frost warning out for the morning of September 19. If you have tender crops such as tomatoes, beans and peppers at risk, you may want to cover them with a cloth (not plastic) blanket when frost is threatened. I plan to pick most of my tomatoes tonight and hope the rest make it through the weekend. I am making tomato sauce and hope to finish that up in a week or two, weather permitting.


Gardening Tips: Sept. 17, 2014

Hope for impatiens?
This week’s column was posted on the Cornell University “Mushrooms List Serve”. It was posted by Megan Daniels, a talented mycology grad student at Cornell. As little as four years ago, hybrids of Impatiens, were the most popular annual flower in America. Now, they are not even being sold at many garden centers.
This year grandma couldn’t find impatiens (Impatiens walleriana) to plant in her flowerbeds. She’s always planted impatiens! But lately, impatiens have been sickened by downy mildew, caused by Plasmopara obducens. This plant disease has received attention the past few years because it decimates the most popular varieties of this annual garden plant. What you probably haven’t heard yet is the story of how impatiens, through sex, sheer luck, and the attention of one man, rose to the pinnacle of popularity only to be suddenly destroyed, all thanks to an unassuming downy mildew that has been lurking close to our back yards.