Gardening Daily Tips August 1

Monday August 1, 2011

Arborvitae, Northern White Cedar (Thuja occidentalis)

Today’s Featured Plant
Arborvitae, Northern White Cedar (Thuja occidentalis)

Read the full profile of this plant at

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Q&A: Planting Perennials

Question: Can I plant perennials any time in the year such as late summer or early fall?

Answer: You can plant perennials from spring through early fall. I try to avoid planting during the hottest months of the summer just because the heat can really stress a plant while it is trying to establish itself in the garden.

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Q&A: When To Pick Brussels Sprouts

Question: This is the first year I have planted Brussels sprouts, and the sprouts look very big already. I am unsure when I should pick them as well as what to look for. How can I tell if they are ready to be picked and why do they now look so big?

Answer: Usually Brussels sprouts are picked from the bottom of the stem working upward. They can be picked as soon as they are large enough to eat (about 1″ in diameter, with tightly curled leaves). As you harvest, remove the leaf associated with the sprout. To harvest, cut the little heads off with a sharp knife. If your sprouts are starting to “unfurl”, they may not taste very good. They may even start to form flower buds and blossoms. Harvesting them should encourage the plants to continue producing more sprouts. Continue to harvest regularly to keep the plants in production. Most often they are planted about four months before the expected harvest, with harvest tradtionally being done in the fall. The reason for this is that they taste better when they mature during cool weather and can even withstand frosts and snowy weather.

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Q&A: Geese Eating Flowers

Question: What flowers can I plant that geese and ducks will not eat? We live by a pond and are under seige!

Answer: Unfortunately these birds seem to be fairly indiscriminate in their rampages. Rather than adjusting the plant selection you may need to consider either fencing them out or otherwise deterring them from approaching the plants. Some gardeners report success using the inflatable “scare eyes” and flash tape sold for scaring birds from the garden. Maybe that would also work for you.

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Tip: Rip Those Rose Suckers

Tear, don’t just trim, rose suckers off at the base with a harsh downward and outward pull. Don’t be gentle- the suckers will not return only if you remove or damage the sucker bud at the base.

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Tip: Add Berry-Producing Shrubs to Entice Birds

Plant shrubs that hold onto their berries into fall and winter, such as beautyberry, firethorn, holly, nandina, rugosa rose, viburnum, and winterberry, to entice birds to your landscape.

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