The Gardener’s Dirt October 2008
|North Carolina State University
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service
Johnston County Center
2736 NC 210 Highway * Smithfield, NC 27577
| In this Issue
This newsletter offers timely information for your outdoor living spaces.
Addressing the most common questions ranging from container gardening,
tree pruning, wildlife management, to fire ant control, insect
identification and lawn establishment.
By Martha Castor
Composting turns garden or yard waste into fertilizer for the soil. It is full of nutrition and can be added back to the garden.
Compost needs four main ingredients to work. Green waste provides the nitrogen. Brown waste (the fiber) provides the carbon. Water (compost should be as moist as a wrung out sponge) to keep the pile from drying out. Microorganism will do the work of breaking down the organic matter. If your compost doesn’t seem to be breaking down, buy a compost starter (this contains the microorganisms needed to get the composting process started).
There are many compost bins available commercially to choose from or you can construct one. Composting can be done on the ground, but a bin is neater and discourages animals. Layer or mix the different materials so they come in contact with each other and avoid large clumps. Some of the things you can use in a compost pile include newspaper, leaves, grass clippings, eggshells, vegetables and fruit waste. Do not use meat, bones, dairy products, plastics, fats, diseased plants, cat litter, or pet and human waste as these products will attract animals to the pile or spread diseases back to the garden.
For the fastest results turn your pile once every week or two. Some of the plastic compost barrels can produce compost in as little as two weeks, depending on how often it is turned. If you start in the fall with a well-designed compost pile, you should have useful compost by spring.
For more information on composting you can visit this website by the North Carolina Division of Pollution Prevention and Environmental Assistance http://www.p2pays.org/compost/composting101.asp , or there is also a publication by North Carolina Cooperative Extension on backyard composting that can be found at https://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/hil/pdf/ag-467.pdf.
Torch Lily or Red Hot Poker
| The plant known as ‘red-hot poker’ or ‘torch Lilly’ should be grown in full sun. Provide adequate spacing for these plants, which may spread to become up to three feet wide over time. Good drainage is essential to prevent crown rot, a disease that can stunt or kill this perennial. Although they will survive periods of drought, they do better when they are given additional water during hot, dry weather.
The multi-colored flower spikes will reach 2 to 5 feet in height, depending on the cultivar being grown. The coloring of the flower spike may range from ivory and orange to coral red. If you have sufficient space, you can select several different varieties to provide colorful blooms from May through October!
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Fruit and Nut Tree Sale October 1 through November 14. The order form is available on the web at https://www.ces.ncsu.edu/johnston/homehort2/08_Available_Plants.pdf or you can call or stop by the Extension Office (919) 989-5380 or 2736 NC Highway 210 Smithfield, NC 27577. Orders with payments must be in by November 14, 2008.
The Arboretum at Johnston Community College is having a series of classes on how to propagate plants using different methods, and a field trip to Sarah P. Duke Gardens. For more information visit http://www.johnstoncc.edu/locations/arboretum/EventsOct2008.pdf
Howell Woods Environmental Learning Center is having an event for the whole family on Saturday, October 25. They are calling it Howell Woodstock. For more information visit http://www.johnstoncc.edu/howellwoods/woodstockhome.aspx.
There are a wide variety of grasshoppers in the world. Many of them are herbivores (they eat vegetation) making them one of the biggest pests in horticultural plantings. As the fields of soybeans and cotton are being harvested grasshoppers will be looking for a new source of food. It is likely they will be passing through your neighborhood.
Grasshoppers are closely related to katydids, crickets and locusts. They can be caught and used as fish bait to catch large-mouth bass and other game fish. They can also be controlled using one of the many chemicals used for controlling pests on ornamentals or vegetable crops, depending on where they have migrated.
For more information visit http://www.cals.ncsu.edu/course/ent425/compendium/orthop.html or one of the other links at the bottom of that page.
is for planting! Autumn is an ideal time to plant or transplant
deciduous trees/shrubs and perennials. Fall is also a great time to
till the soil and add organic material and lime. The bed will have
plenty of time to "mellow" before next spring. Turning over the soil
also exposes harmful insects and grubs to predators.
TREES, SHRUBS & ORNAMENTALS
VEGETABLES & FRUITS
HELPING PEOPLE PUT KNOWLEDGE TO WORK.
Got Questions? We've got answers!
If you have a gardening issue you would like to see addressed in this
The Johnston County Master Gardener Volunteers are available Monday,
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