Garden Talk: June 18, 2009

From NGA Editors

Hosta of the Year

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American Hosta Growers Association has selected ‘Earth Angel’ as the Hosta of the Year for 2009. ‘Earth Angel’ is one of the largest variegated hosta varieties available. Hardy in USDA zones 2 to 8, this variety has heart-shaped, 12-inch-wide, blue-green leaves with a wide yellow border that turns white by midsummer. ‘Earth Angel’ grows well in full sun or part shade and forms a 4-foot-wide, mounded specimen. The leaves are thick and leathery, making them less appealing to slugs. It also produces pale lavender flowers in July.

With the large number of hosta varieties on the market, in 1996 the American Hosta Growers Association decided to create the Hosta of the Year award. Each year they select an outstanding variety to be featured on their Web site and in the trade. ‘Earth Angel’ is widely adapted and available and has outstanding growth and flowering characteristics.

For more information on the ‘Earth Angel’ and the Hosta of the Year from past years, go to: American Hosta Growers Association.

New Kitchen Scrap Composter

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Composting kitchen scraps is a great way to reduce landfill waste and create organic matter for your garden. But what if you don’t have room, or the desire, to create an outdoor composting system? No worries. You can compost in the house with the new Push-Button Kitchen Scrap Composter.

This stainless steel electric composter heats, grinds, and aerates kitchen scraps to produce finished compost. Just add the vegetables, fruits, grains, coffee grounds, egg shells, dairy, and even meat scraps to the top of the composter. A carbon filter keeps the process odorless. Composting microorganisms break down the materials into compost and the finished product drops into the bottom chamber within one month. The composter is 20 inches tall and wide and can handle up to 120 pounds of kitchen scraps per month.

For more information on the Push-Button Kitchen Scrap Composter, go to: Gardeners Supply Company.

Reduce Dandelions in Lawns with Leaf Mulch

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Dandelions are the scourge of many gardeners. Other than using harmful herbicides, the only sure fire way to eliminate them from lawns is to hand weed. However, recent research at Michigan State University suggests that leaf mulch may reduce the number of dandelions in your lawn.

Researchers applied chopped up leaves (leaf mulch) from a variety of trees such as red, silver, and sugar maple and red oak at different application rates (1 to 3 pounds per square yard) on a Kentucky bluegrass lawn with a high number of dandelions. Applications were in fall and spring. The summer following the applications, researchers found a 53 to 80 percent reduction in the number of dandelions. They also observed that the higher the dosage of leaf mulch, the greener the lawn.

For more information on this research, go to: : Hort Technology

Updated Drip Irrigation Book

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Water conservation is a big issue in many communities across the country. One way to water your plants without wasting this precious resource is to use drip irrigation. If drip irrigation seems like technical stuff that farmers use, think again. In his recently updated book, Drip Irrigation for Every Landscape and All Climates, 2nd Edition (Metamorphic Press, 2009; $25), Robert Kourik shows how to use simple drip irrigation systems for all your plantings, including trees, shrubs, flower borders, vegetable beds, and containers. Kourik explains the basics of watering, the reasons for using drip irrigation, and even tackles using grey water in your yard and garden – all in a fun and engaging style. The bulk of the book weighs in on using drip irrigation for specific plantings. The book has detailed illustrations of the individual parts you’ll need to put a system together and includes resources for buying supplies.

For more information on Drip Irrigation for Every Landscape and All Climates, 2nd Edition, go to: Robert Kourik

 
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