September 1, 2014

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Kylee Baumle

Snakes in the garden PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, June 17, 2014 5:05 PM

By Kylee Baumle

Just the thought of coming across a snake in the garden sends shivers down many people’s spines, even those who claim to love nature. As one who is not particularly bothered by them, it’s hard for me to understand the extreme reactions that some people have when they see one.

Here in Paulding County, we’re not likely to encounter venomous snakes in our gardens and by far the most common one you will see is the garter snake. Just last week, we saw one by our garage and then a few days later, another by the swimming pool. These were the first two snakes we’d seen in many years and only the third and fourth ones ever, in the 37 years we’ve lived here at Our Little Acre.

Lessons from the garden PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, June 10, 2014 8:35 PM

By Kylee Baumle

One of the things I love most about gardening is that I’ll never ever in a million years know everything there is to know about it. (And I’m not exaggerating.) For the perpetually curious, gardening has an infinite number of lessons to be learned.

Sure, you may master the basics over time, but then Mother Nature throws you for a loop. Last winter, anyone? And it’s a big, wide world out there with something new and amazing around every corner.

My garden taught me some things this spring and I’m betting yours did too. I’m trying to be a good student by taking notes so I don’t forget what I learned.

The truth about those gardening myths PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, June 03, 2014 10:28 PM

By Kylee Baumle

Gardening hasn’t been left out when it comes to old wives’ tales. While much advice that we get from our parents and grandparents is invaluable and has been passed down with love, it can be disappointing to find out that some of it just isn’t true.

We replaced a tree last week and the main trunk of the new weeping European beech seemed to need some support. It’s a young tree and the trunk is quite flexible. It can be very windy this time of year so we staked it with a bamboo pole to help stabilize it.

A world without honeybees PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, May 27, 2014 9:26 PM

By Kylee Baumle

I don’t consider myself an activist, but there are things that I think are important enough in this world to talk about in hopes of raising awareness. The plight of the monarch butterflies is one of them, as you may know, and it excites me when someone tells me they’ve planted milkweed in their garden. (I saw my first monarch of the season on May 17, by the way!)

There’s another problem out there that concerns me and that’s the disappearance of honeybees. This industry has had a presence in our county for decades, and those who work in it can tell you that this is of relevance to everyone, not just those who are keepers of the bees.

We all know that honey bees gather pollen and nectar to feed themselves and the young bees in their colonies. As they’re doing this, they pollinate plants, which is essential for the reproduction and fruiting of many of them.

Days of whine and roses PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, May 21, 2014 10:23 AM

By Kylee Baumle

It’s hard to believe that we’re still cranky about the weather at this late date, but the truth is, we still haven’t settled into a comfortable no-coat weather pattern. With frost in outlying areas just last week, it’s hard to believe we’re approaching Memorial Day, the unofficial start to summer.

Spring has brought new experiences for many gardeners this year, even those of us who have been doing this for a while. We knew that we’d lose some plants and that spring was likely to be a bit wonky when it came to our gardens, but we were hoping for the best.

Protect yourself head to toe PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, May 13, 2014 9:35 PM

By Kylee Baumle

With days last week that were near or above record high temperatures, I think it’s safe to say that we’ve finally put winter behind us. These are a gardener’s salad days, when we love nothing better than to be out on a beautiful warm, sunny afternoon, digging in the dirt.

Many of us are diligent about wearing gloves while we’re in the garden. Get just one nasty blister or a cut from a sharp blade of ornamental grass and you don’t soon forget to put them on. If you have cats (yours or someone else’s) that think your garden is just one big litter box, that’s reason enough right there to wear your gloves.

You say potato...I say just plant 'em PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, May 06, 2014 9:09 PM

By Kylee Baumle

Most of us are fans of phenology, even if we don’t know it or have never heard of the word. When we talk about how late the crocus bloomed this year as compared to last, that’s phenology at work.

“Knee-high by the Fourth of July” when talking about corn is another example of phenology, and saying that spring is imminent when the red-winged blackbirds return is too. Observing environmental signs that are affected by the climate can make for some very interesting table talk.

'Project' isn't a four-letter word PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, April 29, 2014 8:59 PM


By Kylee Baumle

It’s that time of year when I utter the word that my husband most hates hearing. He knows it’s coming because it all starts with, “Honey...” (pregnant pause) “...I’ve got an idea.” This brings on eye-rolling because “idea” is on his list of four-letter words, which also includes the words “mall” and “shop.”

He knows when I get an idea that the idea itself is very likely going to be my biggest contribution to the project and that his part will mean the most work. He admits that it isn’t the work part that he dislikes the most; it’s the figuring out just what he’ll need to make what I’ve shown him I want.

He also knows that the reason it’s never easy, this part, is because I never want anything that goes in a straight line. I’m a fan of curves and angles. He’s most definitely not. He likes things very uniform and straight and orderly. I like it better when it’s asymmetrical and wonky.


After nearly 39 years of marriage, he has learned to never assume anything. I have learned that when he says, “No, I can’t do that,” that if I just leave him alone, he’ll eventually figure out a way.

He knows if he gives me enough time and he doesn’t complain too much about doing it the way I want it done, that I’ll compromise and change it up a little bit, just to make it easier for him. We have learned how to work together well so that neither of us kills the other one.

The neighbors will tell you that during the act of compromise and working out the details of The Projects, things can get a little testy and rather loud. But they know that it’s all part of the process of each of us getting our own way just a little bit, making it a true joint venture.

That’s kind of what life in general and marriage in particular is like, isn’t it? Give and take? In every partnership I think there is one who is a little more giving than the other and one who likes being on the receiving end a little too much maybe. I tell him I don’t deserve him. He tells me he doesn’t know how I put up with him. Now it’s my turn to roll my eyes.

So anyway, this year’s project is an enclosure for the blackberries and the blueberries, the latter which the rabbits decimated, meaning I may be purchasing new ones. Last year, we netted the blackberries, which worked, but became a pain when it came time to harvest and then later remove the nets from the primacanes and when I pruned the second-year floricanes.

The enclosure is basic – just a wooden framework covered with chicken wire, tall enough for us to walk into, with a pathway down the middle. Blackberries to the north, blueberries to the south. The point of contention in this project is the top. I don’t want a simple A-shaped roof; I want a scalene triangle for a roof, because the blueberries are quite short and don’t need for the roof to be as tall on their side. And it will look cool. Asymmetrical – just the way I like it.

He should be thankful for small favors. At least it has no curves. He should also still be celebrating the fact that I agreed several years ago that we will never hang wallpaper together ever again as long as we both shall live. Maybe I should remind him of that.

Read Kylee’s blog, Our Little Acre, at and on Facebook at Contact her at


‘Buy local!’ The garden version PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, April 27, 2014 9:26 AM

In The Garden


Clichés are just so...cliché. When we see them, our eyes tend to move quickly past them, our brains barely registering the words we just read. Yet we somehow grasp the meaning in a split second, giving clichés inherent value even as we dismiss them as a tired communication tool.

You hear it all the time - “Buy local!” We generally take it to mean that we should spend our dollars in locally owned businesses. It can be a tough row to hoe (cliché alert!) for the smaller independent businesses, as they struggle to maintain their presence alongside the big stores.

It can be a dilemma for the shopper too, because we all only have so many dollars to spend and we want to get the most for them. I will be the first to admit that if I can buy something considerably cheaper at a big box store, that’s where I’m going to buy it. Add to it that many times those stores are more convenient in terms of location as well as being a “one-stop shop,” and it’s hard not to shop there.

But there are compelling reasons to buy your plants and garden materials locally. “Local” can be an ambiguous term, but generally it means a business that is both located in your community and owned by people who live there. Consider these things when you’re ready to get in the garden this spring:

Your local garden center often carries the same plants you might find in a big box store, but if you want something out of the ordinary, you’re more likely to find it in a smaller, independent garden center (IGC).

There’s a lot of thought given by the IGC owner when they make their buying decisions. They want to carry attractive plants that perform well, including those tried-and-true varieties that we’re familiar with, but they also want to cater to those who seek the unusual.

It’s always a gamble as to what will sell well. No business owner wants to get stuck with inventory that buyers passed over. But IGCs also don’t want their business to look like one you’d see in Every City, USA. And besides, those big box stores don’t have as much invested (relatively) as the independently owned ones do.

You know those plants that have a one-year guarantee at the chains? When you return a plant there, the store doesn’t lose money outside of the lost sale. They only pay for the plants that go out their doors and stay out. That loss is borne by the supplier and/or grower. Not so with the smaller independents. So when they offer plant guarantees, appreciate what that means to their business.

IGC owners also care a lot about whether their customers have success with what they buy, and they often choose to carry plants that have a high rate of success for their particular geographic and climatic area. That means happy customers, which in turn means repeat business. Happy customers often share their experiences with others and word of mouth can be the best PR a business can have.

Local garden centers are known to take better care of their plants too, and healthy plants already have a better start in your garden before they even go out the door. As a rule, IGCs are more knowledgeable about plants in general and the ones they carry in particular. They can help you make decisions about what would work best in your individual situation.

Many times, the local garden centers purchase plants as liners and grow them larger themselves. That may mean that the plants you buy locally have acclimated themselves to local conditions, thereby increasing their chances of success in your garden.

Want a certain plant or a large quantity of something? Sometimes local businesses will special order things for you. Good luck trying to get a big box store to order you a couple of flats of something specific.

It’s no secret that the smaller garden centers are struggling. Last month, I spoke with the owner of one of them at the Fort Wayne Home & Garden Show and during the hard part of this winter (which was pretty much all of it), he shared with me that just keeping his greenhouses going cost him $200 a day in propane.

It takes a lot of sales to support costs like that and it’s representative of the things that all businesses have to face, whether large or small. But these things have a bigger impact on the smaller businesses.

Sometimes I think we take our local small businesses for granted. We assume they’re doing okay and that they’ll always be around, but they won’t be if we don’t support them. There’s another cliché that I’m sure you’re familiar with: “It takes a village to raise a child.” It also takes a village to make a village.

Read Kylee’s blog, Our Little Acre, at and on Facebook at Contact her at

Click to read more stories from our Spring Special Section!

Spring surprises in the woods PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, April 22, 2014 9:55 PM

By Kylee Baumle

Since spring and winter decided to call a truce, it’s the perfect time to take a break from your garden chores and enjoy the show that may be going on right now in a woods near you. If you’ve never taken a stroll through the woods at this time of year, you’re really missing out.

Ohio has an abundance of native wildflowers and Mother Nature can be a real show-off. Don’t wait too long to get out there though, because just like the crocus and daffodils and other spring bulbs in your garden, the spring wildflowers won’t last forever.


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