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toes, for example, can be grown in 12” or 14” plastic pots right on the driveway as I
do. Even though tomatoes tend to sprawl, they can easily be staked to climb. George
Jack’s Backyard
Nye, of Tournament Billiards in Huntington, suggested using old pool cues….useless
Gardening Tips and Tales
for gaming but what an attractive tomato stake! Keep your eye out at garage sales
for theses babies….The half whiskey barrels create enough area for combo gardens.
Jack Filasky They can easily handle multiple tomato plants or tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and a
corn stalk or two! Once again for more information, give me a call, stop into your
local garden center, or contact Cornell Cooperative Extension Service in Riverhead.
Welcome spring!
Earlier, I mentioned that each year about four hundred new annual varieties are
introduced to our business. The majority of the introductions are improvements on
Welcome, spring, to Long Island and welcome to the North Shoreian Magazine
existing varieties with regard to color, disease resistance and such. Every year there
Home and Garden issue! In these economic times our natural instinct is to tuck in
are a few truly new introductions. You’ve read in my column before that I grow the
and protect what is near and dear…our homes.
PW (Proven Winners), which I believe has a solid line of genetics and their web-
Let’s face it…..Gardening is 10% Inspiration and 90 % Perspiration! I know this
site, www.provenwinners.com has a tremendous amount of plant information. The
is a well used phrase but it certainly applies to gardening. Like all of the better things
site is very easy to navigate and use, as well as having gardening helpful hints. The
in your world, the good things take work and a certain amount of creativity. The
Geranium is probably one of the most forgiving potted-plant you can get for the front
internet has given us answers to just about any questions we may have or remedied
stoop or the sunny deck…easy care is rewarded by lots of eye pleasing color . This
many a head scratching problem. So naturally this is a great place to start when
year we are introducing the “Daredevil” series of geraniums from Proven Winners.
planning a new garden, designing your own patio containers, looking for advice for
These promise to be some of the most disease resistant and colorfull geraniums to
a vegetable garden and a plethora of other quests. Don’t forget your public library! I
come out in a long time. We have a limited supply available so come out early.
find that holding a book in hand, while doing research, is much more engaging than
If you are planning an in-ground garden, this is the time to add compost or
simply looking at a computer screen….. No matter where you look, the best advice
manure so that it has time to break down a bit after you mix it into the soil. Compost
for your area is going to come from your local Independent Garden Center. These
can be obtained free at the Town Of Brookhaven Ecology Site on Buckley Road in
folks have spent this, and winters past, going to trade shows and educational semi-
Holtsville. Bring your own containers and take as much as you need. Remember that
nars to stay abreast of
this is still fresh compost
the new and upcoming
and is going to be “hot.”
varieties of annuals
and needs to be thoroughly
(this year over four
mixed with the garden soil
hundred “new” variet-
and allowed sit for a few
ies were introduced )
weeks.
.They learn more about
If you are going to try
soil structure and plant
your hand at container gar-
care so that they may
dening, make sure you get
answer your gardening
some help on the container
questions . Remem-
size, number of plants and
ber---the only foolish
stuff like that. Remember to
question is the one not
use a good quality potting
asked!
soil and not topsoil in your
In the early part of
containers and take care not
the twentieth century,
to overwater or overfeed
during World War I
your plants.
and again during World
Spring is the time
War II, fresh fruit and
to have the soil in your
vegetables were hard
lawn tested for pH. This is
to come by. The war
an indicator of acidity or
effort took most of the
alkalinity of the soil which
supply and what was
dictates the nutrients avail-
available was diffi-
able to your lawn when
cult to ship to market
the grass “wakes up” and
because of gasoline
wants to grow. It is a simple
rationing. The Fed-
process…take a spoonful of soil from several ares of the lawn (front and back) mix
eral Government started promoting “Victory Gardens.” All of the major magazines
them together in a baggie and take it to your local garden center. Usually they can
including Saturday Evening Post and Life Magazine, to name a few, printed “how
test it on the spot for free or a small fee and give you recommendations to correct the
to” articles on home gardening and the emphasis was placed on making gardening
pH level. The flower beds and vegetable garden should be done the same way. Proper
a family or a community effort. The result was over twenty million Victory gardens
soil nutrients are key to successful gardening.
producing 9-10 million tons of fresh produce for home and neighborhood consump-
Very often I’ll get questions on perennials so I’m going to go on a bit about them
tion. Every backyard, vacant lot and roof top was growing something. It wasn’t
without getting into specific varieties. Perennials have shorter bloom times, come
drudgery planting and maintaining a garden but a national pastime! In 1943 families
back and flourish in the garden year after year whereas annuals bloom all sum-
bought 315,000 pressure cookers to “put up” or can their yields as opposed to 66,000
mer long and last from planting until frost kills them off. Perennials are certainly a
cookers sold in 1942!
beautifull addition to any garden no matter the situation and, in the long run, save
Back then it was a war effort, today it is a “green effort.” By planting our own
time and money. You must take into consideration that they are more expensive than
form of victory garden we can reduce gasoline usage from transportion costs (the av-
annuals and come in many varieties, colors, heights, textures and some blend better
erage tomato will travel 1,500 miles before it gets to market), the benefit of exercise
in different combinations. I always recommend that before starting a perennial gar-
is, of course, beneficial and when we get the children involved, wonderfully educa-
den you do your homework on planning the layout. There is no one single solution
tional! Just think….not only get the best tasting produce you’ve ever had but you’ve
for this. Gardening magazines, such as Garden Gate and Better Homes and Gardens,
helped to stem global warming by turning carbon dioxide into the oxygen we need to
are two comprehensive guides to aid you. Once again, there is the library and a ton
breathe! No room for a garden??? Read on…..
of websites to help you get through the vast amount of information. Start simple,
One of the gardening trends I’m watching develop is vegetable gardens. In years
pick colors and textures you like and try to buy them during their natural bloom time
past I have grown and sold a grand assortment of veggies in bedding plant trays,
and add to the garden over time. When they start to mature and you don’t like their
as in small plants. This year we are rolling out a new assortment of plants in larger,
location you can move them somewhere else on the property. Remember…it’s not a
eco-friendly containers that can be planted, pot and all. Our heirloom tomato, pep-
landscape, it’s a lifestyle.
pers and eggplants will be in 4” Cow Poop Pots. The manure is sterilized to remove
I welcome your questions, comments and “oops” stories –send me an email….
weed seeds and the smell as well as make it sanitary for handling, then compressed
flbarnighl@optonline.net
into a pot shape so that you can plant the entire product, eliminating plastic and its
For that’s how we do it in Jack’s Backyard!
disposal. Also new on the garden scene are pots made out of coconut coir. Simply,
these babies are made out of reclaimed coconut husks and again allow us to grow in
Jack Filasky is the head grower and general manager at IGHL Flower Barn Green-
them then plant pot and all! You don’t really need a plot of land to grow vegetables;
houses in Moriches, Long Island
they can be grown in all shapes and sizes of containers or large flower pots. Toma-
3
Improper Northshoerian April 20032 32 4/2/2009 10:27:17 AM
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