Using your Compost out of Season

    Listen 0:52:57

    What do you do when it takes a year for your compost to be finally finished? Mike McGrath, host of You Bet Your Garden, will explain how to use your black gold out of season. Plus: new plants under attack by the Emerald Ash borer; and answers to all your growing questions.


    Question of the Week:

    “I composted last year’s shredded leaves with coffee grounds, turned the piles, and finally have finished compost! Should I put it on my beds now—in the Fall? I need to make room in my compost bins!”

    — Andy in Pitman, NJ

    Shred Your Leaves & Fall Into Composting »


    Highlights from show:

    Mandevillas in Winter

    Barbara in Cherry Hill, NJ has a healthy Mandevilla plant on her deck with a 6 foot trellis. It’s still flowering even now and she wants to know if she should bring it in to protect it from the harsh, cold winter. Mike says he’s surprised the plant is still alive with all the cold nights we’ve had in the Philadelphia/New Jersey area. Mike says that the plant will die “twice” if she doesn’t take action. Once because it’s a tropical plant and the second time because it doesn’t have its roots in the ground. First Barb has to spray off any traveling insects that might be on the leaves. Then she can bring it in and take care not to over water the plant. She can take it outside again next summer.

    Featured Interview: Don Cipollini

    Don Cipollini, Ph.D., Professor of Plant Physiology and Chemical Ecology at Wright State University in Dayton Ohio talks with Mike about a brand new discovery about the infamous pest, the Emerald Ashborer and its eating habits. After 12 years of intensive study and thinking it only eats Ash trees, Cipollini discovered it would also eat a related species called White Fringe tree. Cippollini talks to Mike about what this means for trees everywhere and possible ways to knock back their numbers.

    Jasmine Plants

    Joanna in South Philly wants to know how to properly bring her Jasmine plant in for the winter. The plant is in her small South Philly back yard and it’s been very happy, but she’s terrified to do the wrong thing as she brings it in for the winter. Joanna tells Mike she bought the plant at a big box store, but repotted it with compost from an organic garden center and she’s been “hardening” off the plant each day by bringing it in at night and then out during the day. Mike is impressed with all the measures she’s taken so far. Mike strongly suggests spraying the plant down with sharp streams of water to get any aphids off of the plant before bringing it in. Then Joanna just has to place it in a south facing window and she should be fine.

    Climate for Cherries

    Jim in Midwest city Oklahoma wants to know what variety of cherry tree would grow well in his climate. Mike levels with Jim right away and says that he can’t grow sweet cherries in his climate, but he could grow “pie making” cherries. Mike explains that he had an experience trying some of these cherries and they really weren’t sour at all. They were pretty good right off the tree. Mike points out that now that he has the basics and knows he wants sour cherries he should go to his local extension office and ask them for a list of varieties that do well in his climate. Mike suggests getting three different varieties, because he says, ” even if one tree fails on you you will still have an enormous amount of cherries”.

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