Thinking green

It is almost mid-January and I just got my first seed catalogue in the mail. In years past I would have had half a dozen or more by now, but thankfully, these businesses can take a hint when you don’t buy from them for several years. More...

Posted 1/15/2019 09:25 PM

Holiday gifts for gardeners

It is time for my annual gift shopping column. I don’t miss winter a bit after hearing about the cold and wet weather that has already hit most of the Capital District/Hudson Valley region. More...

Posted 12/26/2018 12:29 PM

Fiddler Manure (Crab Crap)

I have been in Florida almost 3 weeks now, but it feels like I got here only a few days ago. Time flies when you are warm and the fish are biting! More...

Posted 12/11/2018 11:41 PM

2018 Vegetable Garden, Part 2

Another new crop for me was spaghetti squash, also a gift from my friend Mac, who grows ridiculous amounts of vegetables from seed each spring and ends up giving most of them away to friends, whether you want them or not! More...

Posted 11/27/2018 08:59 PM

Growing American Ginseng

Those of you who know me personally or professionally, know that I have spent most of the past 35 years teaching people how to grow wild simulated American ginseng. More...

Posted 10/9/2018 06:53 PM

Gardens Don’t Judge

We had our first taste of fall weather last week, interspaced with a few mid-summer-like days. I fired up the woodstove for two days and nights since the temperature got down to the low 40s one night and a cold rain made it feel even colder.  More...

Posted 9/18/2018 08:09 PM

Be Careful What You Wish For!

I guess it pays to complain, sometimes. As I write this, I am looking at my rain gauge and see that more than four inches of rain has fallen this past week at my home in Conesville. More...

Posted 7/31/2018 07:49 PM

Summer weather is getting Hot, Hot, Hot!

I fear that I brought the hot, muggy weather back with me from Florida! Last week’s heat wave made it too hot to garden or fish for most of the daytime hours. More...

Posted 7/10/2018 07:09 PM

Chugging Chaga at Tea-Time

This week’s column was written by my friend Paul Hetzler. I am A BIG fan of Chaga myself and ingest some almost every day, either as tea, or in capsules I make myself. More...

Posted 6/26/2018 07:47 PM

Rose Rosete Disease

I wrote about this disease six years ago when it was first being reported in southern states, but this is the third year that I am seeing it quite commonly on many wild multiflora roses in my neighborhood and elsewhere in our region. More...

Posted 6/12/2018 08:58 PM

Organic Fertilizers

Before I forget to mention it again, I must caution those of you who are using Permethrin tick repellents on your clothes that this chemical is highly toxic to cats. More...

Posted 5/29/2018 09:32 PM

Home Again

I got home from Florida on April 22 after a 1,400 mile drive that I spread out over three days. I don’t mind this drive at all when there is good weather, little traffic and no incidents to deal with on the way. More...

Posted 5/8/2018 08:20 PM

Growing Mushrooms

You may have heard the expression “You are what you eat”. Some claim that certain fishes taste so good because of their diet. More...

Posted 4/17/2018 11:00 PM

Care of Easter Plants

Easter Sunday was April 1 this year and I hope you either give or receive a beautiful plant for this spring Holiday. Some Easter plants may also become part of your outdoor landscape for years to come. More...

Posted 4/3/2018 07:21 PM

Grafting

This week’s topic was suggested by a reader. If you have topics that you would like me to write about, send me an e-mail rlb14@cornell.edu. I do enjoy the correspondence. More...

Posted 3/6/2018 10:49 PM

Why Maple Sap Flows

This week’s column is by Paul Hetzler from St Lawrence County. It was prompted by the recent thaw that has some maple trees beginning to produce sap. More...

Posted 2/20/2018 08:09 PM

Fixing Broken Trees

Happy Groundhog’s Day! By February, winter weary Northerners are getting desperate for something to take their minds off the remaining winter weather. More...

Posted 2/6/2018 08:47 PM

Evaluating Hazard Trees Part 1

My last two columns on burning wood and the hazards of breathing wood smoke generated more e-mails than almost anything else I have written in a long time. More...

Posted 1/23/2018 08:13 PM

Firewood

It will take awhile to get used to writing 2018, but like it or not, another year has passed and this new one is beginning ominously. More...

Posted 1/9/2018 08:06 PM

Show love with an Amaryllis

I was planning to whine about the onset of nasty winter weather the past couple of weeks, but as we are getting ready to enter 2018, all I can say is that spring is only four months away! Four months is not such a long time when you reach my age. More...

Posted 12/26/2017 07:29 PM

Thanks for Giving

Now that Thanksgiving has passed and many of us are getting ready for Christmas or whatever end of the year holiday you celebrate, I thought I would share with you this essay written by Paul Hetzler, from Cornell Cooperative Extension of St. More...

Posted 12/12/2017 09:31 PM

Household Insect Invaders

The week before last we had some summer like weather for a few days that could be characterized as “Indian Summer” in areas which had previously had frost. More...

Posted 11/14/2017 07:46 PM

The 2017 Garden

I have yet to see any frost up here on my hill in Conesville as we enter the middle of October. It still feels more like mid-summer than mid-fall. I have not had to fire up the woodstove in weeks now. More...

Posted 10/17/2017 07:10 PM

Putting Up the Produce

It remains exceptionally hot and dry as I write this column in the last week of September, but the weatherman promises a return to “normal” fall weather by October 1. More...

Posted 10/3/2017 07:28 PM

Help Wanted!

Our streak of gorgeous weather is continuing as I write this column on September 12, despite the horrible conditions in Florida and Georgia due to Irma. More...

Posted 9/19/2017 10:39 PM

New Years Resolutions

Gardening Tips

Happy   New Year to all of you dear readers!  More...

Posted 1/8/2019 09:01 PM

Care of holiday gift plants

I hope that you had a lovely Christmas holiday, or whatever Winter Solstice holiday you happen to celebrate. If you were fortunate to receive a beautiful Poinsettia plant, or buy one for yourself, here is how to take care of it. More...

Posted 1/1/2019 11:40 PM

Local Christmas Trees

Much of this week’s column was written by Paul Hetzler. Paul is with Cornell Cooperative Extension of St Lawrence County. Check out paulhetzlernature.org where humor and science collide. More...

Posted 12/18/2018 09:58 PM

Too Cold, Too Soon

The record breaking cold and snow that arrived on Thanksgiving may have already done major damage to our landscape plantings. Snow is the least concern unless it broke branches on trees that had not yet dropped their leaves. More...

Posted 12/4/2018 08:18 PM

2018 Vegetable Garden, Part 1

The daily rain showers paused just long enough to allow me to finish harvesting the last of my vegetables and clean up my garden last week. More...

Posted 11/20/2018 10:48 PM

Fall planting tips

For those of you who are anxious to do some serious gardening in the cooler weather we are finally experiencing, there are lots of tasks that can be accomplished right now and some of this work will reduce your workload next spring. More...

Posted 10/2/2018 08:14 PM

Make room for mushrooms

Before I begin this week’s topic of mushrooms, I want to relay some important information regarding Japanese beetle control. More...

Posted 8/14/2018 08:23 PM

Gardening Tips

Giant Hogweed is to be avoided

The scattered and intermittent showers we have had this past week have been far too scattered and intermittent to provide enough moisture to address the continuing drought we are dealing with. More...

Posted 7/17/2018 09:26 PM

Timely Tips

Most of our region got a very much needed, rainy weekend, June 23 and 24. At my house in Conesville, the 2 day total was almost 3 inches! More...

Posted 7/2/2018 08:18 PM

A week in June in Florida

I returned to my winter residence in Florida this week to celebrate the wedding of my step-daughter. I was thrilled to be officiating at this happy occasion, on the beach near Clearwater. More...

Posted 6/19/2018 07:43 PM

Soil Amendments

The transition from a late, lingering, winter into an early summer has progressed too quickly to suit me this year. More...

Posted 6/5/2018 08:48 PM

Nuisance Wildlife

The woods have exploded with all sorts of wonderful wildflowers this past week, just in time for Mother’s Day weekend! More...

Posted 5/15/2018 10:16 PM

Windbreaks

This past winter certainly had its share of windy and snowy days, especially in the tumultuous month of March! More...

Posted 4/24/2018 09:15 PM

Time to Start Seeds

Although there is still very much winter weather outdoors, by now many of you are extremely anxious to get started on this season’s garden. It is still much too cold and the soil is too wet to even consider tillage of the garden right now. More...

Posted 4/10/2018 08:53 PM

2018 AAS Winners

We turned our clocks ahead one hour last week to usher in Daylight Saving time. More...

Posted 3/20/2018 08:23 PM

Backyard Maple Syrup

Last week I wrote about how maple trees produce the sap that can be concentrated and turned into maple syrup. This tasty liquid has become my favorite sweetener. More...

Posted 2/27/2018 10:54 PM

Roses are Frozen

Although February is the shortest calendar month, it is the longest in terms of winter misery in the Great Northeast. More...

Posted 2/13/2018 09:10 PM

Hazard Tree Diagnosis Part 2

Last week I wrote about the difficulties in determining whether or not a tree presents a hazard to people or property. More...

Posted 1/30/2018 09:03 PM

Firewood and Smoke

You know it has been a rough winter already when a + 30 degree day feels like a heat wave and you want to put shorts on and run around the back yard! Last week I wrote about the burning characteristics of certain types of firewood. More...

Posted 1/16/2018 07:37 PM

Goodbye 2017!

The weather this past week or so has destroyed all remnants of fall that sometimes lingers well into December. Now is the time to hope for a January thaw, but many would settle for plus 32 instead of minus anything.  More...

Posted 1/2/2018 08:32 PM

Holiday Gifts for Gardeners

I don’t miss winter a bit after hearing about the cold and snow that has already hit most of the Capital District/Hudson Valley region. This early start may portend a nasty winter for northerners in general. More...

Posted 12/19/2017 11:26 PM

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is perhaps my favorite Holiday and not just because I like to eat turkey so much. The turkey I enjoy most is wild turkey, but I did not hunt them seriously this fall. More...

Posted 11/28/2017 08:38 PM

Deer Ticks Active Again

For those of you who live in the Catskills and Capital District, east of the Hudson River, the much ballyhooed rain predicted for last Tuesday turned out to be far less than we expected, or needed. More...

Posted 11/7/2017 05:56 PM

And the Winner Is

Those of you who read these columns on a regular basis know that I test a few different tomato varieties each season. Usually these are plants that I have been given by friends that are in cell packs and often very overgrown. More...

Posted 10/10/2017 07:43 PM

Summer in September

It seems like September will turn out to be warmer than August this year. I am not complaining since I have lots of green tomatoes to ripen and my carrots are growing very slowly. More...

Posted 9/26/2017 08:06 PM