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Archives for November 9, 2017

Women in Philanthropy event shares tips for givers, gardeners

FLORENCE, S.C. – Women in Philanthropy members and guests gathered on Oct. 19 at Forest Lake Greenhouses in Florence to hear “11 Tips for the Giver and the Gardener.”

Just as a gardener might use a trellis or support stakes during early growing stages or a storm, a good giver would know agencies might need more of a helping hand during the beginning of their lifespan or a crisis. In the same way, a gardener needs to rotate crops to avoid depleted soil, givers want to help organizations who care for their volunteers.

“Advice for good gardeners and generous givers turns out to be pretty similar,” said Mary Finklea, Women in Philanthropy president.

Planting expert Lisa King provided other important gardening advice and encouraged the women to dig a hole bigger than the pot to help the roots’ future growth. Hot apple cider was served to celebrate fall’s arrival. Monarch butterflies danced on the marigolds as if on cue.

Women in Philanthropy seeks to help women throughout the Pee Dee make a difference in the lives of others. Anyone can join the organization with a gift of $500 per year. These funds are distributed to nonprofit organizations through a grant process.

“This year we gave $50,000, and we hope to double that next year,” Finklea said. “It’s a huge goal, but with the help of this community, we can do it.”

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What you need to know to get your garden ready for winter | WGN …

Chicago Botanic Garden’s Andrew Bunting and Justin Kaufmann

Chicago Botanic Garden’s Andrew Bunting and Justin Kaufmann

Andrew Bunting, the Chicago Botanic Garden’s assistant director and director of plant collections, joins Justin to offer some helpful gardening tips and what you need to do to get your garden ready for winter! AND WHAT HAPPENED WITH JUSTIN’S HYDRANGEAS?!

Follow Justin on Twitter and give him a like on Facebook. The Download with Justin Kaufmann airs Monday through Friday from 7 pm. to 11 pm on @WGNRadio


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These companion planting tips will give your garden a natural boost

Companion planting is a natural method of improving the flavour of homegrown produce, repel garden pests, and encourage the plants and flowers we love.

Although it’s most popular in Europe, where the weather and temperature make for perfect growing conditions, companion planting still works well in Australia or the US, as many experienced gardeners will attest.

Here’s what you need to know to get started on giving your garden a natural boost.

What’s companion planting?

Companion planting involves pairing plants together in the garden that will assist each other in some way. For example, basil plants are often paired with tomatoes, because the basil is a great fly deterrent and will stop fruit flies from laying their eggs inside your ripening tomatoes.

Certain plants also improve soil quality by processing unwanted minerals. For example, legumes capture nitrogen and send this down into the soil, which improves the surrounding plants’ soil quality and promotes neighbouring plant growth. There are many different combinations of fruits, vegetables and herbs that work well together, so if you are starting a herb garden, search online to find out which plants work well together.

What are the big benefits for my vegie patch?

1. It attracts beneficial insects

As any gardener knows, bees and pollinating insects are an extremely important part of a garden ecosystem. Bees pollinate flowers, which then leads the process of growing your own fruit and vegetables. 

Herbs like thyme, sage, coriander, chives, and mint are great at attracting beneficial insects to the garden bed, as are flowers including borage, calendula, lavender, echinacea and marigold at attracting for pollinating insects. Many of these flowers attract hoverflies, which are a natural predator of aphids and other garden pests.

2. It repels pests

Plants such as basil and mint are great at repelling pests because their aromatic smell confuses the pesky critters and stops them targeting the plants nearby. Other plants such as nasturtiums work by pulling pests away from other plants. The nasturtiums secrete a mustard oil which is extremely attractive to pests, meaning they leave your more precious plants alone.

3. It improves soil quality

Many plants improve the soil quality for their neighbours. If you are focussing on soil quality, though, you need to be careful that you pair up correctly because all plants need different soil conditions and minerals. For example, while potatoes improve the soil quality for plants such as beans and broccoli, they reduce the growth of pumpkins and apples.

Which are the best companion plants?

To get started on creating your own companion garden, here are some plants that are great to start with:

1. Basil

The herb’s great for repelling flies and mosquitoes.

2. Borage

This renaissance herb is back in fashion and is perfect for attracting bees and increasing the yield of plants.

3. Chamomile

The plant best known for being used as a tea is ideal for deterring flies and mosquitoes and adding root strength to neighbouring plants.

3. Elderberry

This plant assists in compost fermentation and acts as a general insecticide.

4. French Marigold 

French Marigolds look great, repel white flies, and exterminate soil nematodes. 

5. Garlic

The pungent bulbs work to deter aphids from roses.

6. Nasturtium

The common flowering plan is a great-all rounder that attracts pollinating insects, acts as a magnet for pests, and also repels aphids and cucumber beetles.

Have you used the companion planting method? If so, have you noticed a difference in the way your plants grow? What combo do you recommend?

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Six Tips for Fall Gardening

As evenings become cooler and crisper and the daylight gets shorter and shorter, it’s a signal that frost is upon us. The change in temperature and season can leave gardeners longing for the warm summer air, instead of prepping for winter.

There’s still plenty of gardening to be done this time of year. Get the most out of your fall harvest and set your garden up for spring success by jumping on these garden tasks now.

Six Tips for Fall Gardening

1. Plant trees.

It’s no secret that the best time to plant a tree or shrub is in the fall. Before you plant, evaluate the landscape to assess the amount of sunlight, ground vegetation, proximity to permanent structures, and hazards, such as overhead wires or underground pipes. Choose a site where the tree will be able to grow to its mature height. Then, dig a hole twice as wide and the same depth as the root ball. Place the tree in the hole at the same depth it was growing before and fill half the hole with compost.

Mix in an organic fertilizer with the soil. Backfill the hole, give it a nice drink of water and watch your tree grow.

2. Get bulbs in the ground.

Spring-blooming bulbs can generally be planted any time before the soil begins to freeze. Give bulbs their best shot by planting a few weeks before the ground is frozen to help them establish roots.

3. Improve the soil.

While fall is for planting, it’s also the perfect time for prepping for next season. Healthy soil is the backbone of every successful garden. Test soil now for pH and nutrient levels and amend accordingly.

Dig 4 inches deep with a stainless-steel trowel and either use a DIY soil test or stop in with your soil sample and we will test the pH for you. To adjust the pH level of your soil, use Espoma’s Organic Garden Lime to raise the pH of very acidic soil. Poke holes in the soil’s surface and scatter on the lime. Rake lightly into the top inch of soil. Or, apply a soil acidifier to lower the pH of extremely alkaline soil.

5. Create compost.

All of those colorful leaves that are falling make for perfect additions to your compost pile. If you don’t have a compost pile already, start one! The best compost contains about 25 times more carbon-rich materials than nitrogen-rich materials. Think of these as brown and green materials. Brown materials include paper, straw or dried leaves. Green materials include garden and food scraps for rich, fertile compost.

6. Top with mulch.

Add a thick blanket of mulch on garden beds to reduce evaporation and control weeds. Choose organic mulch that will improve the soil as it decomposes. Lay 2 to 3 inches of mulch around established plants. When mulching trees, the mulch should extend away from the plant to just beyond the drip line covering a bit of the roots. Keep 2 to 3 inches away from the stems of woody plants and 6 inches away from buildings to avoid pests.

Make the most of this beautiful fall in the garden.

This monthly column is written by Sandi McDonald of Hillermann Nursery Florist, Washington.

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