Master gardener offers tips to get your garden ready for the fall

By Lisa Stone - ReminderNews
Windsor - posted Thu., Sep. 19, 2013
Master Gardener Gordon Kenneson offered his fall tips to gardeners in Windsor. Photos by Lisa Stone.
Master Gardener Gordon Kenneson offered his fall tips to gardeners in Windsor. Photos by Lisa Stone.

Gardeners dug into the process of preparing their gardens and other outdoor spaces for the fall at the Wilson Public Library on Sept. 14, when Master Gardener Gordon Kenneson was on hand to offer his advice.

Kenneson, a resident of West Hartford, knows what types of insects and other garden problems this area is experiencing. “I have been a master gardener for over 25 years,” said Kenneson. “I do understand the problems that local resident gardeners can experience and I am happy to help them fix the problems.”

“On the Grow” is Kenneson’s local cable show in the Windsor area. He has taken some time off to give lectures, but he intends to resume his show in the near future. He lectures at several libraries, garden club meetings, garden centers and he also works along with historical societies when they need his help.

“Some insects get a bad rap,” said Kenneson. “You may see ants on your plants, but they do not want to eat your plants. They are just sucking the glucose out of the plant, much like we milk cows. Carpenter ants are a complete other story.  They will not eat your plants, but they will eat your house. But, on the upside, if we didn’t have ants, we wouldn’t have formica, since that product is made of crushed ants. Often times, there are other reasons for the plant not doing well.  You really have to be diligent in looking for the main cause. One woman said she had a woodchuck problem in her garden. Several people offered up suggestions to her. She claimed she was able to get rid of the woodchucks by posting a sign that said “No Woodchucks Allowed.” I guess she felt that did the trick,” Kenneson jested.

According to Kenneson, the typical nemeses for gardens are rabbits, chipmunks and moles. One trick he recommended to keep these pests away from your labor of love would be to use dried blood. It comes in a powder form and should be applied a foot or two away from the vegetation. The animals will get the scent and leave the area. “Planting marigolds around your garden to keep these animals away is a myth,” said Kenneson. “Many of these pests actually like marigolds.”

Barbara Zawrothy of Windsor has been gardening since her husband passed away. “I find gardening to be very therapeutic,” said Zawrothy. “My husband was always the one that did the gardening, so I am just starting to learn how to do it. I have only been gardening for three years or so. I certainly learned a lot today.”

One tip Kenneson had for the class was to get the outdoor spaces as clean as possible. If a few leaves are in the garden, that is fine, as domestic lady bugs need a place to hibernate.  According to Kenneson, the domestic lady bug does a great deal of good for the garden. Allowing them a space to hide for the winter will ensure they are protecting your garden in the spring.

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