Gardening Matters with K.C. Fahy-Harvick

Timely Tips
DEER PROBLEMS Tree Guard and Ropel, both really work! There's no such thing as a deer-proof plant!

WATERING Most people don't water deeply enough for perennials. The moisture needs to go down at least 12 inches for the optimum root growth. If you don't water long enough, the water doesn't go down deep enough and the plant's roots will start to grow up near the surface. You'll have to water more often and the plants will not make it through the winter. You should be watering once a week for perennials, twice per week for shade plants. BUT, when it comes to lawns, the opposite is true, because grass roots are very shallow. Watering for more than an hour is a big waste of water. So for lawns you water more often, but for shorter periods.

GARDEN PONDS Never completely empty your garden or fish pond to clean it. Only empty 1/3 to 1/2 the water. This gives you a 'starter' for the balance of your pond. Skim out the debris in the bottom, all that stuff is going to cook up a great crop of algae. But don't throw it away. If you can save the stuff and let it dry, then you can mix it into your garden soil, it's pure nitrogen.

PLEASE DON'T Don't ever use the 'so called' weed barrier fabric, or landscape cloth in your garden, or anywhere else for that matter. It does not work, you'll still get weeds, the plants won't grow as well because they're not getting the water, nutrients, and air that they need, and YOU'LL STILL GET WEEDS! It's a huge awful job to get the stuff back out after it's been in for a couple of years.

MULCH In the cover story I talk about using composted leaves on the garden as a mulch, but that doesn't mean that covering the garden with leaves in the fall is just as good. It's not. The leaves and plant material should decompose outside of the garden. Covering the crowns of perennials for the winter is especially bad for increasing insect and disease problems.

OSMOCOTE The best fertilizer for perennials. Beware of the cheap imitators. Osmocote is granulated, but what is patented is that each granule contains all of the ingredients, so it makes little difference how you spread it. The plants will get all they need when they need it. The others are not made that way, so the nutrients may not be evenly distributed. It releases by soil temperature, so the plants get the fertilizer when they need it, and as much as they need. It doesn't get any easier than that.

See Timely Tips - page two for MORE INFO on SLUGS, DEER, WEEDS.

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K.C. Fahy-Harvick
240 Sylvan Road
Rochester, NY 14618
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