Top ten tips for autumn


    That chill in the air means its prime time for chores! Mike McGrath reveals Ten Tips that’ll help you have an awesomely agricultural Autumn–indoors and out. Plus answers to all your growing questions.

    Question of the Week

    Read Mike’s top 10 tips for autumn — and one big don’t! »

    Highlights from show for October 11, 2014:

    Correcting tree damage

    Whitney in South Philadelphia shares her story about a blood Japanese maple tree who’s trunk has been nibbled on by her well meaning dog. After the dog bite the poor tree is now about 1 ft/10 inches with a leafless trunk/sticking out the top and huge leaves sprouting out the bottom creating a mini bush look. Mike tells her to leave it alone and await the results. “Pull it close to your house in a sheltered spot with shredded leaves” he consoles her. He suggests waiting to see if it leafs out next year. Although if it survives, it may resemble a red maple shrub. On the bright side she will have a unique looking plant.

    Where’d these tomatoes come from?

    David in Cherry Hill, NJ has cherry tomato plants going bonkers. He never imagined himself becoming an “accidental gardner”, but one day he recognized lots of golden cherry tomatoes growing in his yard. He wants to know how they started growing and will they come back next year? Mike answers him with a definite yes that they will come back next year and the resolution to this tomato booming mystery in his backyard. Mike poses that maybe, a squirrel brought a tomato into his yard or a seed blew over a fence and conceived those plants. If he would like to continue growing them for next year, Mike advises taking the seeds from the tomato’s and putting them in a glass of water, stirring them twice a day for three days. This will remove the gelatinous covering. Then David can air dry them and save them for next year.

    Mexican beetles

    Tara in Reading, PA has a Mexican bean beetle problem! Although at first she thinks they are lady bugs, but Mike sets her straight. They have been demolishing Tara’s wonderful string beans. Tara is growing in flat ground, which may be the problem Mike says. He suggests that Tara build raised beds with a good soil mixture of shredded leaves and compost. Finally he recommends a pressurized sprayer and if the insects do come back, to spray them with sharp streams of water, first thing in the morning and put bird baths and toads in her garden that will prey on these pests.

    Planting young trees

    Todd in Warrington, PA needs advice on some young trees that he planted in pots with his daughter. He wants to know if he should keep his plants in pots or plant them in the ground for the Winter. Mike gives him two options as to what he thinks he should do. First, he can take them out of their pots and plant them in the ground, with roots above ground. Mike warns to not amend the soil or mulch with any kind of wood and not to touch the trunks. His second option is, if he wishes, to keep them in the pots, but drop the pots into the ground. This way the roots will be underground under the frost-line and the trees will be protected.

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