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Your guide to Chesaeake Country's freshest produce and more!

The Bay Gardener by Dr. Francis Gouin

Depends on how you define it

 

That’s a choice you have to make in buying cherries, peaches, plums and nectarines

 

There’s a big difference between household vinegar and horticultural vinegar

A few years ago, I wrote about using horticultural vinegar to kill weeds. At a recent Deale Farmers’ Market, a customer who bought peaches from me insisted that my recommendation to use vinegar does not kill weeds. She even went to the trouble of boiling the vinegar, thinking she would be concentrating it. What she did not realize is that boiling vinegar dilutes the acetic acid, which is why vinegar gives off a strong odor when heated.

Bet you didn’t know these tricks

If you examine a rose plant carefully, you will notice that it has compound leaves, meaning that there are either three or five leaflets to each leaf. The three-leaflet leaves appear near the top and bottom of each stem, and the five-leaflet leaves appear in the middle of the stems. In the axel of each leaf is a vegetative bud; however, the buds are more robust and pronounced in the axels of the five-leaflet leaves than in the three-leaflet leaves.

From a Norwegian forest to Upakrik Farm

Spooks adopted Upakrik Farm on the evening of All Souls Day in 1996. Our black cocker spaniel Dixie and I both saw a cat in our driveway. I thought it was our cat Pumpkin, a Maine coon cat, but Dixie gave chase and the cat jumped into the shrubbery. When I found Pumpkin in her basket, I concluded we had a visiting cat. Then I heard a yell from my wife.

The way to kill a thirsty weed during drought is to pull it

A Bay Weekly reader called complaining that the weed killer Roundup was not killing the weeds he was spraying. Matter of fact, he said, “ I might just as well have been spraying the weeds with water.” If you read the Roundup label carefully, you’ll see that it “should be applied only on actively growing weeds.”

Here’s a repellent that passes the Bay Gardener’s tests

Deer, racoons, groundhogs, rabbits and squirrels are a major problem in vegetable gardens and in landscapes. Many home gardeners have stopped growing hosta because the deer ravage their ornamental plantings. Groundhogs and racoons as well as deer invade the vegetable garden to feast on corn, tomatoes, peppers, lettuce and beans. Rabbits love to feast on lettuce, cabbage and snap beans.

That’s a choice you have to make in buying cherries, peaches, plums and nectarines

Every year, I am asked if the peaches and nectarines that I sell are grown organically. The answer is no. We cannot grow stone fruit crops such as peaches, plums, nectarines and cherries without having to use both insecticides and fungicides. All of these crops are extremely susceptible to brown rot, rusts and insect damage from beetles, curculio, aphids, mites, stink bugs, borers, etc.

Depends on how you define it

I am frequently asked if I am an organic gardener, based on my reputation for having been heavily involved in composting and compost utilization research since 1972. My answer is yes and no. The importance of organic matter in soils and the use of compost to improve and maintain soil productivity is not thoroughly appreciated. In my gardening practices, I use a combination of compost and chemical fertilizers and minimize restricted-use pesticides as much as I can.