Bethlehem Press

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Growing Green: Christmas trees

Friday, November 10, 2017 by LEHIGH COUNTY EXTENSION in Focus

Thinking about purchasing and planting a live Christmas tree this holiday season? Considering that you want to create a family adventure you will all remember and add a significant item to your landscape that will last for years, it is not too early to start planning now.

First, review your property and decide where you want to plant your tree. Think carefully about the size of the mature tree (height and width), the rate of growth, color, texture, and adequate drainage and sunlight.

Growing Green: autumn garden

Friday, October 13, 2017 by LEHIGH COUNTY EXTENSION in Focus

When the last golden raspberry is eaten from the stalk, the pumpkin and gourd vines have dried and their fruit harvested, and the autumnal equinox has been reached, it is time to consider what should be done to prepare for a “better” garden next year. The winter solstice and next year’s garden seed catalogs, which perennially follow, can wait. Now is preparation time.

Growing Green: pumpkins and mums

Friday, September 15, 2017 by LEHIGH COUNTY EXTENSION in Focus

Fall is the season for pumpkins and chrysanthemums!

Halloween pumpkins are generally harvested in September through October. The first frost typically occurs in early to mid-October when the pumpkin fruits are still curing outside in the fields. The growers in pick-your-own pumpkin operations use this method to ensure that pumpkins are well cured in the field before picked up by their customers.

Growing Green: Bamboo take over

Friday, September 1, 2017 by LEHIGH COUNTY EXTENSION in Focus

Bamboos are perennial members of the grass family and are often one of the most difficult to control escaped ornamentals.

They are distinguished from other grasses by their woody stems, branched growth, and often large size. They can grow anywhere from one to 70-feet tall.

While often considered beautiful, bamboo can quickly turn into a homeowner’s worst nightmare if not properly maintained. Many municipalities in the Lehigh Valley are banning the planting of bamboo.

Growing Green: strawberry fields forever

Sunday, May 21, 2017 by LEHIGH COUNTY EXTENSION in Focus

Growing your own strawberries is one of the most rewarding gardening activities.

Since strawberries are a perennial plant, they can produce a bountiful crop for four years when properly cared for, and they are not difficult to grow.

There are two types of strawberries.

The most common type is June-bearing, which does not produce a crop the first year, but produces an abundant, early summer crop for the next four years.

Growing Green: Ephemerals

Friday, April 21, 2017 by LEHIGH COUNTY EXTENSION in Focus

Across southeast Pennsylvania it has been a different winter. It has been a winter of little snow and scarce cold weather. Some will recall it as a great winter. Others might wonder what it means, especially to our spring flowers.

As February came to a close there were sure signs of spring. Spring garden flowers, crocus, daffodils, grape hyacinth, were pushing up. The careful observer also noted some tree buds swelling early.

Flower buds on trees have only one chance each spring. Unlike leaf buds, there are no “reserve flower buds” available to replace them.

Growing Green: Rain gardens

Friday, April 7, 2017 by LEHIGH COUNTY EXTENSION in Focus

It is that time of year when you should begin planning the gardens you want to plant this spring. A rain garden is the perfect garden to beautify your property and help the environment.

A rain garden is a planted depression in an area of lawn or soil that soaks up rainwater runoff from roofs, driveways, walkways and compacted lawn areas. It’s water that would otherwise carry pollutants directly to our streams. Rain gardens soak up 30 percent more water than an equivalent patch of lawn.

Growing Green: Penn State Soil-Test Kit

Friday, March 17, 2017 by LEHIGH COUNTY EXTENSION in Focus

Preparing the soil is the most important step in flower or vegetable gardening. Test your soil this spring and use the test results and recommendations as a guide.

The soil in gardens changes, although it may look the same year after year. Growing and harvesting crops, leaching and erosion affect the availability of soil nutrients. A soil test is a valuable tool that guides gardeners.

A soil test measures nutrient amounts and pH, or level of acidity. Soil pH is measured on a scale of 0 to 14, with 0 being the most acid, 14 the most alkaline and 7 neutral.

Growing Green: Plan your garden now

Friday, February 17, 2017 by LEHIGH COUNTY EXTENSION in Focus

Here is a list of gardening items that you can think about doing, even in winter.

Choose seeds, bulbs and woody plants from catalogs and order early. Some varieties sell out quickly. Be sure to look for disease and pest resistance when purchasing vegetable and flower seeds.

Check trees and shrubs for animal damage. Pull any mulch away from trunks where bark can be gnawed or stripped off.

Water recently-planted trees and shrubs if there is little or no rain or snow and if the ground is not frozen.