CONGRATULATIONS to February Sale Gift Certificate winners.
Susan Henry, Ed Syracuse and Peggy VanTassel
Now you will hear the cry of hawks and see the bluebirds in the orchards. The woodchuck will busy himself with his earth, the deer browse on the new meadow grass, the mink hunt along the little forest streams. Once again over the moonlit hills will echo the bark of the fox.
The Old Farmer’s Almanac, 1948
March weather probably could be termed as typical. A few snowfalls, very cold days, windy days, warm days and freezing nights. Perfect weather for accident- causing black ice, tire and wheel damaging pot holes and human health-challenging heavy snow requiring shoveling. To add insult to injury; the first day of spring was a snow day as were a few of the last days of the month. It was a good month for business for auto repair companies, tire and rim suppliers and for asphalt plants. April should bring us pleasant days and nights and, hopefully, smooth roads on which to drive.
THOUGHTS FOR APRIL LAWNS
FEED AND LIME LAWNS. SOLU-CAL is the liming product to use. It is more efficient than other pelleted limes and one bag replaces four bags of lime. GREENVIEW’S 24-0-6 with a crabgrass preventer and a weed killer is an excellent product. CORN GLUTEN GLUTEN is the crabgrass prevention choice for those who prefer organics. It is the only one available and is not as efficient as other products, but does do a good job when used as directed.
RESEED WHERE NEEDED. If small areas require seeding, place newspaper or other cover of those areas and apply GREENVIEW’S product mentioned above. If many areas require seeding, or a new lawn is being sown, reseed and apply a product containing TUPERSAN , the only crabgrass preventer which does not effect seed germination. The GRASS STITCHER is n excellent tool for reseeding small areas. It scarifies the soil and helps the seed nestle into the firm contact required for successful germination. Covering new seed with SALT HAY, MULCH HAY/STRAW or PENN MULCH helps assure success. JUTE MATTING or CURLEX is used on sloped areas to prevent loss of seed from erosion.
The GROUNDSKEEPER RAKE is probably the best tool for spring cleanup. Besides overwintering leaves, it will help remove gravel and level soil disturbed by the snow plow.
LIME, SEED AND FEED PASTURES. Our pasture seed mix, available with or without white clover, is excellent and 10-10-10 is a good fertilizer to use. Fertrell’s 5-1-1 is the organic choice. (SOLU-CAL is approved for organic growing). We also have a mix formulated specifically for Alpaca’s.
GYPSUM spread in areas where salt from plows accumulated could be especially helpful this year. It reacts with the salt and renders it harmless. In addition, it will loosen soil and encourage soil life. SOLU CAL S is the quickest acting and most efficient form of gypsum.
MOLES SEEM ESPECIALLY ACTIVE this spring. The natural control to use is the castor oil product, CHASE. MOLE PATROL pellets do an excellent job killing them. SMOKE BOMBS and SPEAR TRAPS also have a following. Moles generally are seeking grass-root-damaging grubs, but they also feed on desirable earthworms. Earthworms help maintain healthy soil, so we want to protect them, but grubs kill grass, so they should be eliminated with a treatment of MERIT (Imidacloprid) in late spring or summer. MILKY SPORE is the organic control. It takes a year or two to be effective, but then its effectiveness lasts for twenty years or so. DYLOX is the product to use in spring if infestation is great, but though large, grubs don’t do much eating in spring. Be on the lookout for adult beetles and control them when found on your plants.
Following are SEED STARTING DATES as recommended on a calendar put out by the Master Gardener’s of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Westchester County:
April 13th, start tomatoes in our area. April 21st, plant parsley. April 30th, plant potatoes.
They also suggest you plant Onions with Carrots to confuse flies.
Plant Lettuce, Spinach, Endive, Chicory, Chard, Summer Savory, Dill and Parsnips.
Mill River Supply offers a good selection of seeds, seed starting mediums, peat pots, flats, labels, heat mats, lights and watering items in addition to many products for improving garden soil.
A REMINDER ABOUT POTATOES AND ONIONS
A rule of thumb is to plant potatoes with corn. Potatoes require well-drained soil which is able to retain moisture. Sandy loam is ideal. Organic matter will lighten heavy soil and enrich sandy soil. Prepare the soil deeply. Ideal pH is 6.3 to 6.7. Seed potatoes can rot if soil is too cool and wet. Optimum soil temperature for beginning growth ranges from 55 to 65 degrees. A good time to plant is when dandelions come into bloom. One pound of potatoes will plant 8 to 10 feet of row at 12 inch spacing. We have several interesting varieties.
ONION SETS have always been one of our specialties. You’ll find winter keepers in yellow, white
OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER DOING IN APRIL
Put up a BLUEBIRD BOX if you didn’t do it in March.
CONTINUE FEEDING WILD BIRDS. Even though they can now find food in nature, your feeding will keep them closes by where they will help keep garden insects under control
DAMMINIX TUBES contain permithrin soaked cotton balls which mice use to build their nests. The permithrin gets on their fur and kills ticks before they can pass on the LYME DISEASE organism mice pass on to them. Mice are not harmed, nor are the predators which feed on them. Spraying the periphery of properties with a product such as TOTAL P.C. will help provide even better control. DIATOMACEOUS EARTH insect dust is a natural product to help with control as does FLYSWATTER, YARD NET and CITRUS PLANT OIL which also helps with MOSQUITO control.
CONTINUE protecting your plants from DEER browsing. We enjoy seeing these gentle animals roaming our properties, but the enjoyment stops when their feeding destroys our landscape plantings. Mill River Supply offers just about every liquid and dry product available for plant protection against deer and other feeders. Of course, we also offer fencing for those who wish to take that next step of protection.
SPRAY DORMANT (HORTICULTURAL) OIL before buds break. This spray also is an excellent control of Hemlock Wooley Adelgid.
GEESE are an ongoing problem on many properties. Droppings besides being a nuisance could also be responsible for health problems. MILL RIVER SUPPLY stocks a couple of excellent repellents. They last for several weeks, even through mowings and rain.
START YOUR FRUIT TREE SPRAY SCHEDULE. BONIDES CITRUS FRUIT AND NUT SPRAY is an excellent all around product which lists many uses on its label.
FEED EVERGREENS, TREES AND SHRUBS. The feeding also will encourage new growth on trees and shrubs damaged by deer. ESPOMA and FERTREL have excellent organic products. Consider giving them extra help with QUANTUM GROWTH, EMPLOY, KELP MEAL and SUPER THRIVE.
This has been another tough year on evergreens. In addition to fertilizer to help them regain strength and develop healthy new growth; the SUPERTHRIVE is a Vitamin-Hormone product which has proven over the decades that it is an Activator-Reviver that helps fertilizer work more efficiently. The recommended rate for trees and shrubs is 1 ounce in 5 gallons of water soaked into the root area.
KELP MEAL also helps all plants. It contains all the nutrients from A to Z. It conditions the soil, builds soil life, stimulates root development and plant growth and retains moisture in the soil. In gardens, it increases yields and reduces the effect of drought and frost.
WORM CASTINGS also are excellent additions to soil. They are rich in plant nutrients, trace minerals and growth enhancers. They increase microbial life in the root zone. The analysis is about 3.2% nitrogen, 1.1% phosphorus and 1.5% potash. Work them into new plantings as you would compost to improve soil culture and to increase moisture and nutrient holding capacity.
QUANTUM GROWTH is 100% organic and safe to use on all plants. Its microbes break down and recycle organic matter and thatch. They reduce compaction and break down toxic chemicals. The product encourages nitrogen fixing bacteria, helps make soil phosphorus available to plants, reduces grass seed germination time and provides better turf growth. It’s an excellent root dip.
EMPLOY is a Biochemical Pesticide that suppresses nematode egg production, enhances growth and increases plant stamina and vigor.
LEAKY PONDS can often be sealed with VOLCLAY (BENTONITE). This natural clay-like material is put on the ponds surface and is drawn to the leaky area and plugs it like the stop leak material used in car radiators in years gone by.
POND KLEEN is the NATURAL PRODUCT which replaces BAC MAN and other products we have sold in the past to keep ALGAE under control, help eliminate the muck and maintain its crystal clarity. Of course it does not harm fish, dragonflies or any other life in the pond.
BALL FIELDS can be quickly readied for play after rain by using moisture-absorbing CALCINED CLAY.
In addition to a wide choice of RAT and MOUSE control products; we have controls for FRUIT FLIES and STINK BUGS, as well as products labeled for use to control of INSECTS on HOUSE PLANTS.
CRACKS OR POT HOLE IN YOUR OWN BLACKTOP DRIVEWAY?
Mill River Supply has the filler and bagged material to handle both.
BOOKS BY LOCAL AUTHORS AND OTHERS
We have Johnsen Design’s excellent book “Heaven is a Garden” by Jan Johnsen, as well as Sprainbook Nursery’s book by Al Krautter and the popular book on Deer Control in its 3rd edition by Peter Derano. All three authors live in this general area.
A QUOTE FROM THE PAST
My boss, Warren E. Lafkin and his wife Peggy, owned THE LAFKINS Golf and Lawn Supply Corporation, located at 1200 Mamaroneck Ave. (corner of Rosedale Ave), in White Plains. I quote from his April 1960 newsletter:
TO OUR FRIENDS
“Spring is late this year. Essential pre-season steps in lawn management, normally accomplished earlier, have necessarily been deferred into April, due to the ill temper of the March lion. Now we are all faced with the necessity of catching up as quickly as possible. …”
Also included was the following helpful information:
TOP SOIL – Six standard wheelbarrows (contractor’s size) equal about one cubic yard. One cubic yard of loose top soil will cover:
324 sq. ft 1 inch deep 81 sq. ft. 4 inches deep
162 sq. ft. 2 inches deep 54 sq. ft. 6 inches deep
108 sq. ft. 3 inches deep Deduct 20 to 25% for compacting
HAVE A SPECIAL NEED FOR SOMETHING MADE OF WOOD?
We can build you just about anything. We can construct BIRD HOUSES, WINDOW BOXES and PLANTERS, SMALL STORAGE SHEDS, and LIDDED BOXES; to name a few. All we need is the request..
Take advantage of our SHARPENING SERVICE. Bring your knives, scissors, pruners and shears. Phone us if you have a special tool to be sharpened. We also have the tool and blanks to make COPIES OF CERTAIN KEYS.