Celebrate Earth Day with Natureworks

Celebrate Earth Day with Natureworks

Here’s my new motto: Weather or not, I’m gardening! Okay, just had to put that out there. What a crazy spring we are having! Saturday was warm and sunny and a good time was had by all on our first garden walk of the season. Sunday was cold and windy. It didn’t stop me! I figured it was the perfect chance to bundle up, put on my new leather gauntlet gloves, and prune thorny plants- roses and raspberries. And prune I did.  I also worked on my rose of Sharon, cut down a bunch of grasses, and a lot more. If you aren’t sure what to prune now, read the article below. It explains how I chose the plants to work on and what I did.
My rose of Sharon sits in my raspberry patch. This was what it looked like when I was done pruning.

So here we are in the third week of April and we are celebrating Earth Day. I love this week, as it is the one time in the year that I feel like we are all on the same page. We say the “Every Day is Earth Day at Natureworks” because we have been gardening organically, teaching and demonstrating it, for 35 years. But when the rest of our community comes together to recognize how important it is to treat the earth with respect, we couldn’t be happier. Of course, we are celebrating all weekend. Diane is teaching a FREE workshop on Sunday all about organic lawn care. It’s a good thing because I have been so sad to see so many folks using chemicals on their lawns already. 

My husband keeps asking me “Is it time to feed the lawn?”. I can finally say yes! Now our lawn is a lot different than the other lawns on the block. First of all, I have violets in my lawn. They are the larval food plant of fritillary butterflies- no violets, no fritillaries. So I encourage them. We have clover too, which used to be an integral part of organic lawn seed mixes as it fixes nitrogen from the 

Feed your lawn organically this year

air and feeds the lawn. Now, people worry that it’s a weed. We actually SELL clover seed and encourage planting it! The dandelions- well, they come with the territory but they are getting less and less as our lawn thickens up and gets healthier. It all started with a soil test and a renovation project two falls ago. Last fall, Tony attended Diane’s organic lawn workshop. He now considers Diane his organic lawn guru. So I will be thrilled to tell him “Diane says it’s time to feed!”. If you are planning on using corn gluten as your first organic feed of the season (to inhibit weed seed germination), remember that crabgrass sprouts when the soil temperature reaches 50 degrees. We aren’t quite there yet, but will be soon ( a 

good reason to invest one of our favorite tools- our soil thermometer). Click Here to link to our Organic Lawn Care information on our website. In fact, PLEASE share this with everyone you know. Earth Day week is the ideal time to have this discussion with your friends, neighbors, and relatives. The poisons that are put down in the spring to control grubs also kills the insects in the soil. Guess what? Bumblebees nest underground. And they are just a tiny percentage of the beneficial insects that are affected when poisons are put on the earth. 

Flowers and food: Violas, sweet alyssum, strawberries, lettuce can all be grown in pretty pots on your deck.
Are you planning on growing food this year in your yard? If so, and if you aren’t quite sure how to do it, check out the class I am teaching on Saturdaymorning: Grow Food! It is limited to 20 participants and you are invited to bring photos and dimensions of the potential food growing areas of your yard to discuss in class. I will explain timing, rotation, succession planting, and how to maximize our food production, no matter how small the space. Registration information is below- It’s a bargain at $10 per person. Sign up with a gardening buddy and get your food garden off to a GREAT start this year.
A view under Diane’s floating row cover. Find out how and why to use them at my workshop this Saturday.
This Saturday afternoon, I am teaching a free workshop that I am calling The Tools of the Trade. If you watched the Facebook live video last week, you saw me put together a row cover to protect broccoli, spinach, and Swiss chard. I will explain in detail how and why to use row covers not just for cool season crops, but also for summer squashes and other heat loving plants. I will also explain the benefits of growing in Smart Pots and raised beds. These are the three tools that I find invaluable in my own yard. Join me under our brand new, super-sized teaching tent and find out why. 
We have lots of perennials in stock. Everyone asks me if it’s too early to plant perennials… absolutely NOT! They are up and growing in our gardens. They love April weather!
This Thursday night, tune in at 5 pm for our next episode of Facebook Live. I will be explaining about BALANCE in your yard. Earth Day is the ideal time to focus on how we can balance beauty, ecological function, food production,

Plant your peas this week!  It’s certainly not too late, the weather is just starting to cooperate.

flowers to feed our soul, a safe place to play, and a safe place for pollinators and all creatures- butterflies, birds, hummingbirds, bunny rabbits, chickens, cats, dogs… you name it. That includes humans! The way that we approach gardening at Natureworks is very different from other garden centers and landscaping services. We try to treat the yard holistically, always thinking about the intricate connections between all of the parts of the ecosystem. Tune in and tell your friends- they might just be inspired to garden organically in 2018 like we do!

 
Have you planted your peas yet? I have, but I am not done. Last Friday evening I planted a row of sugar snap pea seeds and a six pack of pre-started sugar snap seedlings. This week, I am filling another raised bed with more of the same, along with additional lettuce plants and seeds edged with sweet alyssum and curly and flat parsley. The moon phase is perfect for all of this planting NOW. And the weather will be ideal- peas and lettuce like it cool. My trick is plant seedlings AND seeds at the same time to extend the harvest. I have been doing this for years and it works like a charm. Next I am planting seeds of root crops- carrots, radishes, beets, and baby turnips. 
Pollinators come in all shapes and sizes. They not only like garden flowers, they need pollen and nectar from common weeds such as clover. Bumble bees nest in the ground. That is why you NEVER want to add a toxic poison to your lawn. It’s ALL connected.
As we all celebrate Earth Day, take a moment to think about how you can help our native pollinators. They are declining in numbers, and they are, of course, vital to life on earth. In the article below, read about how we put out mason bee houses for tunnel nesting bees and some of the other steps we are taking to help our pollinators. It’s SO important. 

 

I have a favor to ask of you. We have been nominated by CT Now as one of the best garden centers in New Haven County. But in order to win, you need to vote! Have you voted yet? We have been posting it on our Facebook page but I know that not everyone uses Facebook. Please CLICK HERE and vote for Natureworks! 

 

So the spring continues its long, slow unfolding. Even after a day of heavy rain, we observed that the gardens grew. There’s no stopping it, it always happens. No one ever said that April will be warm and frost free. Our last frost date is still at least a month away. April is the time for life to emerge, for growth to begin, and for all of the plants that thrive in this cool weather to provide us with their yearly show. Embrace April for what it is. Enjoy every glorious, warm, sunny day. Bundle up and do the heavy work on the days that aren’t so nice. And be sure to stop into Natureworks this week to learn, explore, and celebrate Earth Day with the garden center that has been walking the walk and talking the talk for over 35 years! 
 

See you sooon…

 

Signature_Nancy

P.S. When you come for a visit, be sure to check out these super cute owl pots filled with succulents inside the shop. Yes, they are irresistible!


We are now open Thursday evenings until 7 pm