Gardening Tips

How to Overwinter and Care for Mums

mums

by Sue Adams

Our winters can be challenging for mums, so to help them survive Hudson Valley winters:

When the foliage has succumbed to frost, cut the plant back to the ground. Apply a thick mulch (chopped leaves, pine needles, etc.) over the plants. When spring arrives and the threat of frost is over, remove the mulch. Simple reminder: When the forsythia bloom, it’s time to remove mulch!

When the plants are 6-8”, remove the top growth, taking it down to three or four leaves up from the base of the mum. This will encourage the plant to produce side branches and create a bushier, more flower productive clump.

Adams Pallet Garden – Step by Step

Pallet

Supplies

  • Shipping Pallet
  • Landscape Fabric
  • Plywood cut to size of Pallet
  • Potting Mix
  • Plants
  • Nails or Screws
  • Staple Gun

Steps

  1. Pick out a pallet in clean, good condition
  2. Place the pallet so the side with the widest opening is facing up. This will be the backside.
  3. Lay out the landscape fabric to cover the back and bottom, then cut to size
  4. Pull tightly and secure with nails or staple gun
  5. Add the plywood over the landscape fabric an secure with nails or screws
  6. Now turn the pallet over and fill with good quality potting mix like Pro Mix which you can find in our garden center.

*Note: You should not use garden soil, it is too heavy and will not drain well. Garden soil is designed for garden beds and potting mix is for container gardening which helps with drainage.

  1. Tilt the pallet up nearly vertical and allow the potting mix to settle, then continue to add the potting mix until the pallet is full.
  2. Next add the plants. Position the plants so their root balls are securely placed between the slats and tuck them in firmly. Once you have all the plants placed you can add additional potting mix if needed.

When it comes to how and where you choose to mount your pallet, make sure to consider the weight of a fully planted pallet after watering and choose the appropriate hardware and location that can support it.

Growing & Harvesting Basil

Growing
Small Basil Plants

  • Plant In Full Sun – At Least 4 Hours
  • Basil Can be Planted in Containers Or the Garden – Use a 5 gallon container to grow basil with other herbs like parsley, thyme and oregano. Make sure that the container has drainage holes.
  • Fertilize with Plant Food Regularly – Plants, like people, need to eat!
  • Water – Don’t let your basil dry out. Not sure when to water? Use the finger test – if the soil is wet, don’t water; if dry, water. Always water thoroughly – water until the dirt is completely wet.

BASIL LIKES FERTILE, MOIST SOIL

Harvesting
Cut basil by taking off the tops of the stems about a third of the way down, to an intersection of new leaves.You are not only picking basil, but also encouraging the plant to bush out with new growth and more basil to pick! Prune regularly to discourage the plant from producing flowers. Wash basil and dry by layering the leaves between paper towels and applying a gentle dabbing pressure until the leaves are almost dry.

Storing Basil

Drying
Using a dehydrator or oven for drying works best with this herb.

Basil in Jar

Dehydrator:

    This will take 1-3 hours. Follow manufacturer’s directions. Once dried, remove the stems from the leaves.

Oven:

      High temperatures will damage the herb’s essential oils. Preheat oven to the lowest possible setting, 140 degrees. Place basil on

 

    a cookie sheet, turn oven off and place sheet in oven. After one hour, turn oven back on for 10-15 minutes. Repeat every hour until basil is brittle.

Frozen Pesto Base
A great way to store your basil for year round use.
Combine 2 cups loosely packed basil leaves with 1⁄4 cup olive oil and a little salt and puree in a food processor. Freeze the mixture in muffin tins or ice cube trays and then transfer them to an airtight container or freezer bag.

Freeze Leaves
Spread the individual leaves on a cookie sheet and freeze.When frozen solid, place in airtight containers and return to the freezer.