July 29, 2014

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Kylee Baumle


The gifts of gardening PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, December 26, 2013 11:24 AM

By Kylee Baumle

Every year at this time, I experience a wee bit of stress and I have a feeling I’m not alone. The holiday season tends to do that. In spite of it coming at exactly the same time every year, Christmas sneaks up on me and all of a sudden, here it is and I’m not ready.

I don’t have to fix a meal, nor do we host any major festivities in our home. Our family is blessed in that we don’t really need a thing in the way of physical gifts, yet it’s just that aspect of Christmas that incites panic in the week before. It’s not supposed to be that way.

So I started to think about nontraditional gifts that can be found right in my own backyard. Yes, it’s too late for this year, but it’s never too early to start planning for the next, especially when the gifts are homegrown.

 
How cold is too cold? PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, December 18, 2013 8:42 AM

By Kylee Baumle

Goodness, last week was a cold one. Temperatures in the teens (and lower!) made me want to go into hibernation until I at least can’t see my breath when I’m out there. And what's with that wind, anyway? We can do without that making things feel even colder.

But, we’ve got a lot of winter yet to go and no one wants to hear more whining about the weather, although farmers and gardeners are wont to do that from time to time. I do have to wonder though, how some of my plants out there are faring in this.

Around here, we're in USDA Hardiness Zones 5b/6a, which means that theoretically, plants that are rated for these zones should reasonably be expected to survive temperature extremes as cold as -15° to -10° F. But the rules for this are not hard and fast.

 
Monarch butterfly progress report PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, December 11, 2013 8:04 AM

By Kylee Baumle

Earlier this year, I mentioned the plight of the monarch butterflies. I encouraged you to plant more milkweed in your gardens and to consider not cutting it down. Apparently, some of you took it to heart, as I had several people stop me when I was out and about and tell me they’d planted some. I also noticed several roadsides where milkweed is now dispersing its cottony seed. Mother Nature is doing her part, too.

Please don’t stop. The reports are coming in from the overwintering sites in Mexico, where most of the monarchs east of the Rockies have now arrived and the news is not good.

The numbers are lower than ever, dropping from an average of 350 million to 60 million. The colonies where they congregate normally take up a space of about 52 acres but they now only occupy a little less than three acres. THREE.

 
Poinsettias: It's all about the leaves PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, December 04, 2013 9:31 AM

By Kylee Baumle

You can’t hardly go anywhere these days without seeing poinsettias of all kinds, red, pink, white. Purple? Blue? Glittered? Those last three are just wrong, in my book. If you like them, fine, but I get a little twitchy when I see them.

I feel the same way about those blue orchids that have been sold for the last couple of years. There is no such thing as a blue orchid and if you buy one, you’re going to be disappointed with subsequent blooms, because I assure you, they won’t be blue. Those are white orchids that have been injected with a dye to make the blooms look blue and unless they’re injected again, the plant’s next blooms will be white, their natural color.

 
Cornucopia: Giving thanks for the harvest PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, November 27, 2013 10:52 AM

 

By Kylee Baumle

Turkey, cranberry salad, pumpkins (and pies made from them!) – these make us think of Thanksgiving, and so does a cornucopia. I’m not sure my kids would know just what a cornucopia is, although I know they’ve seen it. They’d probably just call it a basket of fruits and vegetables.

What exactly is a cornucopia anyway? Why the unusual name for an unusually shaped container of edibles? And what does it have to do with Thanksgiving? I decided to do a little sleuthing to find out.

 
'Tis The Season PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, November 20, 2013 10:33 AM

By Kylee Baumle

For over a week now, I’ve seen Christmas decorations and heard Christmas music in a handful of stores. I’m not irritated by it like some people are, maybe because I’m a procrastinator extraordinaire and anything that attempts to jump-start me at such a major event on the calendar is probably a good thing.

The garden year goes by a slightly different calendar, dictated by the weather and daylight hours. For those of us who live up here where the four seasons are distinctly different from each other, the growing period pretty much comes to a halt after a hard freeze.

 
Leaves: The gift that keeps on giving PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, November 14, 2013 9:35 AM

Leaves: The gift that keeps on giving

By Kylee Baumle

Few would dispute that we’re experiencing one of the most colorful fall seasons in recent history. I see comment after comment on Facebook and  Twitter talking about it and numerous photos provide the visual proof to the rest of the world that the trees and shrubs are about as gaudy as it gets here in northwest Ohio.

I’ve been asked just what it is about this fall that makes the colors so much more vibrant than in those past.  The process that produces color in leaves is called senescence. Changes in both day length and temperature trigger its beginning, and the trees stop producing chlorophyll, which gives the leaves their characteristic green color.

Without chlorophyll, the green disappears and the yellows and oranges, which were there all along, remain. Red color is another matter and the mechanism for its appearance is not entirely understood.

Though some red is present in certain leaves, it is mostly produced as a stress response, and serves as a kind of sunscreen for the leaves.  It allows them to remain on the tree a little longer, perhaps so the tree can continue to gather nutrients to help it through the winter. We don’t really know for sure.

Why one year’s colors are superior to another’s is related to that season’s weather.  The season’s rainfall (or lack of it) plays a part, but when we have an autumn that has cool nights without frost combined with sunny days, we get the most vibrant shades of color.  That’s exactly what happened this year.

The winds of the past week have done a pretty good job of stripping the trees of their colorful array of leaves and those of us with a fair number of trees on our property are left with an equally colorful carpet on the lawn floor.

Fallen leaves can be a good thing for our gardens and even the lawn itself, but you can have too much of a good thing. Too many larger leaves, and smaller plants get smothered and fungus grows.  I’ve seen it happen in my own garden.  So what’s a person to do with all those leaves?

Open burning isn’t allowed in most areas and for health reasons it isn’t advisable to burn leaves anyway.  The smoke contains carcinogens. And burning them would be a waste of a perfectly good organic material that can be used to enrich our lawns and our gardens.

Personally, we chop the leaves with the mower and add them to the compost bin.  Chopped leaves will decompose faster than intact ones and by the time spring rolls around, we’ve got some pretty good stuff to add to the soil.  We also use some of those chopped leaves as mulch in the fall, placing it around trees and shrubs.

Fallen leaves are important to the ecosystem in other ways.  Have you ever noticed the ladybugs present in large numbers under the leaves when you clean them from your flower beds in the spring? That’s where they’ve spent the winter.  Other insects do the same.  Some butterfly caterpillars will wrap themselves up in leaves in the fall and stay there until spring.

Consider these things when you’re cleaning up your yard and your gardens this fall.  Use them for good and leave some of them for our insect friends.

Read more at Kylee’s blog, Our Little Acre, at www.ourlittleacre.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/OurLittleAcre. Contact her at PauldingProgressGardener@gmail.com.

 
It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, November 06, 2013 1:40 PM

By Kylee Baumle

Halloween is now behind us, but Thanksgiving looms large and so do the pumpkins. Everywhere you look, you see the orange orbs, on front porches, in the groceries, and some are still sitting in the pumpkin patch.

But, not all are carved as Jack-o-Lanterns. Not all will end up on your plate in a few weeks. (Mmm...pie!) Some are grown just for the sheer joy and competition of growing them. I’m talking about the quest for the largest pumpkin ever grown.

This is serious business among those who grow the giants. There are seeds called ‘Dill’s Atlantic Giant’, ‘Silver Bullet,’ and some are a number indicating size (in pounds) coupled with the name of the grower. For example, 1725 Harp seeds are seeds from a pumpkin that Christy Harp of Massillon, Ohio, grew to a record 1,725 pounds to win the competition in 2009.

 
Plant guarantees & how they work PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, October 30, 2013 9:09 AM

By Kylee Baumle

Back in the spring, when you were shopping at the garden center, you might have noticed some new additions to the menu and purchased some of them. There are always new introductions, those plants that are new hybrids and always a few that are new to each particular garden center. This year was notable, in that some of the new plants were those that are rated as hardy to Zone 6, a response to the new USDA Zone Map.

I’ve said it before, that the new map places us in Zone 6, where previously we had been in Zone 5. I’ll say this again too, I’m not buying it. I’ve always been a gardener who has pushed the zone limits (like many of you) and I’ve tried growing Zone 6 plants before. It’s only one zone off, so there’s a chance, right?

 
Plants do the strangest things - Part II PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, October 23, 2013 2:15 PM

By Kylee Baumle

When I last left you, we were amazed at the powers of the tomato to call in reinforcements to deal with those tomato worms and the beans were feeding the soil. But just wait, there’s more. More fascinating stuff going on right under your nose.

Speaking of noses, several years ago I was away on a trip when I got a phone call from my husband. He told me there was a strange smell in our utility room that he just couldn’t put his finger on. We have inside cats, so that’s where he initially placed the blame, but he couldn’t find any kitty-related evidence.

He, then, came to the conclusion that there must be a dead mouse or other little animal inside one of the walls or between the floors and he was going to take apart the suspended ceiling in the basement room below it to investigate.

 
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