Toughest challenge for gardeners in the NE?

Southern, CT(Zone 6a)

Is it the rocks, short growing season, soil, frost/thaw cycles, ......
Dave47

Long Island, NY(Zone 6b)

I'm on Long Island and we have alot of sand and clay - I wasn't lucky to have been on previously owned farmland. This year the weather is just plain weird. Not quite sure what to expect for the spring.

Anita

West Warwick, RI(Zone 6b)

I took the winter tour of the garden last weekend and I saw my Iris and some daffs tring to come up, I paniced, and started raking up leave from the side yard to put over them, but I know that wont save them. I wont have any spring blooms, and this happened last year too. I had crocus in Jan, for a week, and nothing in spring.
arrrg!

Dena

Long Island, NY(Zone 6b)

Yikes! I didn't even think of that!!!! It's going to be 60 here today!!!!

Anita

West Warwick, RI(Zone 6b)

Its such a bummer.


Millbury, MA(Zone 6a)

Greenthumb, I also saw my irises poking through during last week's warm spell, and I cut the bows off this year's xmas tree and placed them over the beds in hopes of providing some shelter for the rest of the season. I can only hope that snow remains on the ground for the next few months, offering some insulation. Today is beautiful (maybe not from a dormant plant's point of view), I might take another tour of the yard and see what challenges Spring hold in store for me...

My main NE gardening complaint - clay soil 6-8 inches down. I sometimes feel
I buy more garden soil/compost for a new bed than I do plants!

West Warwick, RI(Zone 6b)

Bug that is the same problem my neighbor has she always tells me I'm lucky, I live down a tiny hill from her, and I have a moist back yard, with a brook and lots of trees that have dropped leaves that have rotted and caused my yard to have GREAT conditions for gardening, I just have to mind plants that like it rather dry, so they go in beds that are out in the front yard, (that happens to be gradded up a bit and has better drainage. Oh and then out near the road were they sand and salt, I have a drought/rock garden. My friends laugh at me when I explain to them why so many diff. kinds of gardens are in my yard. It all boils down to, if you can't fight them, join them. So I plant what I can where I can, and I love it all. I have so many oppotunities to try stuff in my yard I find I have endless ideas. Now if I could just get the weather to be more winterish while its still winter I'd be alset.
OH! Before it slips my mind, over the summer I had a very unwanted bunch of red bugs eating my lilies, that I had never before encountered, I spent the better part of the season ridding them from my lilies by means of squishing them, and found that squishing them sends ants into a tizzy, an causes the squisher to do funny dance moves all over the back yard!!!
Anyone else find these guys for the first time last summer?

Dena

Orange County, NY(Zone 5b)

Clay and rocks. Lots and lots of rocks. I completely agree with buginthegarden. I spend more money then I'd like on soil amendments . . . but it is so worth it in the end :- ) Last year our quiet, and heretofore still rural, road was beset upon by developers (deep sigh). Instead of complaining, which wouldn't do much good, I took advantage of the situation. For a very modest sum, the back hoe worker dug several nice deep areas for my new beds. This made it much easier to sift and amend my native soil.

Edgartown, MA(Zone 7a)

Dena,
Do you think your bug was a Red Spider Mite. I had alot of damage in my yard last summer and my pro suggested that the long hot dry summer made the conditions perfect for them. Katy

Millbury, MA(Zone 6a)

Greenthumb, I had a red bug eating my asiatic lilies this summer - I did some rsch at the time, and I think it was the red lily beetle - check out the link below. Not sure if this is the same bug you had. This year I will be much more attentive in early Spring - they propogate quickly!

http://www.umassgreeninfo.org/fact_sheets/defoliators/lily_leaf_beetle.html

Brockton, MA(Zone 6a)

That looks like the red bug on my Asiatic Lilies.
I control them with a Fruit Tree spray, I have a few fruit trees and with their frequent spraying needs it's easy to do the Lilies at the same time. Just don't spray them while they are in the sun.
Andy P

Southern, CT(Zone 6a)

I moved about 1 mile a couple of years ago and have very different (heavy clay) soil at my new house. I agree how different gardening can be, even in the same yard...except the rocks, they are a constant.
I never remember a January like this one. It is going to be a weird Spring

West Warwick, RI(Zone 6b)

OH YES BUG!!! Those ARE the little boogers that ate me out of lilies in a few days, WARNING: one minute your fine the next you have an invation of these things and the ants just lovingly harvest and protect them, and squishing the beetle causes them (the ants) to freak out! I am on the look out this year now I know what to expect... no beetle is going to eat MY lilies and live to tell about it.

HEE HEE HEE

Dena

Wareham, MA

You have to be constantly vigilant against those darn lily beetles!! They took a lot of my time last year. But the orientals are worth it. :)
Good idea, the fruit tree spray - care to be a little more specific??

I commiserate about the rocks. I've lived in 5 different Massachusetts towns, have gone from hilly and rocky to sandy in the flood zone...at this point, I WANT rocks! Tell me where to come get them!

One of the toughest challenges - weather changes.
One reason I love living in New England - weather changes.
You don't often get bored with the same old weather here!

Another challenge - for people living along the coastline - is knowing that eventually your backyard and your cellar may be permanently underwater :( sea level is rising. Well, at least "oceanfront" property ads get people's attention LOL.

Southern, CT(Zone 6a)

Get rocks? I was sure they just grew in my gardens!

West Warwick, RI(Zone 6b)

LOL! Dave47, what cultivar of rock are you growing this season?

May, One of my favorite things is driving down 295 it sunny on one side of the road and pouring, dark on the other, its also done that over my house, dark and creepy out back, sunny in the front, don't forget the rainbow were the two come together! COOL! Maybe even, WICKED COOL! : )
Dena

Brockton, MA(Zone 6a)

Mayf, The spray I use is from Bonide. It's a broad spectrum concentrate that you mix up in a pump sprayer. It handles all the regular insects that affect fruit trees. It's mean and doesn't discriminate what it kills so CAUTION is required.
You must use it up as soon as it is mixed or it will clog the sprayer. Follow label directions carefully.
My trees don't all follow the same schedule so I have to mix it up almost weekly (in Spring) in small batches, the leftovers go to the Asian Lilies and roses. It also is very effective against the Winter Moth caterpillars.
If you only have a couple of lilies to treat you may try insecticidal soap. But that only kills the bugs you hit with it so it's not as effective. Again, do not spray when the plant is in the sun.
Andy P

Ottawa, KS(Zone 5b)

Here in south central Maine we have several gardening challenges. Probably the biggest challenge is our short growing season. In order to cope with that I start many of my plants indoors under fluorescent lights, starting them extra early so they are fairly large when I set them out.

Our local abundant wildlife is another challenge. Squirrels, chipmunks, an occasional deer, and groundhogs can all wreak an amazing amount of destruction in only an hour or so. Hava-hart traps and a good 22-caliber air rifle have helped a lot with the smaller animals, but our sweet corn has suffered total destruction so far. I didn't even try to grow it the last two years. I am thinking of a small, totally enclosed fenced-in spot for some corn, including a chickenwire covering over the top to keep out the squirrels and birds.

I'm not complaining though. The challenges add to the interest of gardening. And plants can put on some amazing growth during our extra long mid-summer days.

MM

Mystic, CT(Zone 6b)

Rocks are my biggest design challenge- it seems that I plant three of the four trees, shrubs, or whatever I bought and then discover that I can't dig the 4th @#$$#@!$% hole because of a humongous rock or even slab 6 inches under the ground. Then I curse and change my design scheme only to have it happen again. I finally decided to just plant them anyway, and haven't had bad luck. The roots seem to figure out how to grow around the rock without my help.

Bugs would be my other challenge. I sometimes think I'm growing pests and diseases instead of a garden.

I wish we had an earlier frost date.

Critters don't bother my plants anymore since I started using a wonderful product called Irish Spring around my plants. A friend of mine worked for a landscaper who told him to put shavings of Irish Spring soap around his plants. Guess what? It works. My neighbor had squirrels nibbling on her roses for the last two years, they even dug up her Iris' and Glads. I have the same plants in my yard and they don't touch them. I've told her, but she won't try my method.

West Warwick, RI(Zone 6b)

LOL!!!
Wont my husband be thrilled when I rip off his soap!!! so you get soap scum in your garden?

: )
Dena

Edit to ask how often do you have to put out more soap chips and about how much do you use?

This message was edited Jan 29, 2006 12:50 PM

Mystic, CT(Zone 6b)

I take an old kitchen knife with a sharp blade and carve about 3 to 6 pieces, so I can surround plants or garden areas from all sides. I cut the pieces about an inch or so long (it's a little hard to control the size of the shavings). I imagine I could make them smaller, but then I would have to put them on more often.

The first year I did it once in spring and once in late summer, but last year I only did it once in spring and everything was fine. Somehow I don't get bubbles or anything, but it is a little disconcerting when you go to smell your rose bush and smell soap instead. The smell only lasts a short time, so you might want to do it around fragrant plants early or after bloom.

N Middlesex County, MA(Zone 5a)

I cut my Irish Spring into quarters and drill a hole in it and put a plastic tie twist through it and hang it around all sorts of deer delicacies. I am fortunate to only have an occasional deer problem. I don't know if it would work for a serious problem, but I hear that it does. Or maybe I don't have a big problem because I use Irish Spring???

My biggest challenge of late is voles. I doubt they are limited to the Northeast, but I can't stand them. And they are very difficult to get rid of.

Wendy

Long Island, NY(Zone 6b)

I started a separate thread for this discussion - I thought it might be easier. http://davesgarden.com/forums/t/572308/ I figured any other topics that are generated from this one could be started in a new thread too?

Is that ok? Just a thought..

Mystic, CT(Zone 6b)

Wendy- this could get confusing. I'm a Wendy too.

Voles are horrible. I hope you can get rid of them. Do you have any pets? If you don't you could use one of those devices that send a high pitched sound out into the world that drives them away. I have never tried it, but always thought it seemed like a good idea.

Brockton, MA(Zone 6a)

Fortunately, my dog Sarah takes care of any critter that wanders into the yard, even voles/moles. My previous dog Lucy, chased everything but voles.
An unrelated story:
At a customers home this week I was commenting on how well behaved my Sidekick Sarah is. To keep her happy I feel obligated to walk her daily to rid her of excess energy.
I mentioned that "when you have a good one you have to treat them right". The woman looked at her husband of 50 years and said "Did you hear that Charlie? When you get a good one you have to treat me right!". LOL
Andy P

West Warwick, RI(Zone 6b)

LOL Andy, thats cute!

Ivy & Plantaholic, I was picturing you out in the gardens with a bar of soap in one hand and a cheese grater in the other wailing out the rubber duckie song ...
Rubber duckie your the one..*shave shave* you make bath time so much fun...*shave shave*

Dena

Mystic, CT(Zone 6b)

Hey, Greenthumbs- why didn't I think of a cheese grater? That's a super idea!

I really enjoy your musical posts!

West Warwick, RI(Zone 6b)

Thanks Ivy, yeah you got a couple of them today since we are talking in two diff threads

Southern, CT(Zone 6a)

Dena, I will be growing mostly granite. I have my seed rocks ready to grow. I think Guilford supplied the base to the statue of Liberty. I'm hoping to grow one that big.

Ivy, you're a Wendy?!

Southern, CT(Zone 6a)

Anita, good idea starting the new thread. We need a few.
Dave (huband of an Anita)

West Warwick, RI(Zone 6b)

Dave47, do your rocks like the sun or are the mostly shade luvrs? Do you fertilize often? Those must be a *pain* to trip over in the house when you start them indoors. I'd love to see them if you have any pictures?!
I might even be interested in a trade...

Dena

Long Island, NY(Zone 6b)

Dave - when did we get married? Did we have a nice honeymoon - where did we go?

Haha -

I figured we could use a few threads

Well I didn't have enough of my own rocks - so I had my mother bring some of hers up from North Carolina..

Southern, CT(Zone 6a)

Dena, I find, if I pick the right rock, that they grow in sun or shade, boggy or dry. If I learn how to post photos, I'll let you see them. They are, of course, rock gardens.

Anita, It was almost 17 years ago. We went to Cancun. You were sick almost the entire 2 weeks. But it got better after that.

Dave

West Warwick, RI(Zone 6b)

should I be talking nonedibles with a married man?


edit to say Anita needsa shorter leash!

This message was edited Jan 29, 2006 9:16 PM

Long Island, NY(Zone 6b)

LOL - he's a wild one Dena - that's why he's in CT and I'm on Long Island! Ha! He's got to pay the ferry man.....

PS - it was the ice you put in my drinks that did me in, Dave!!! Montezuma's Revenge and alcohol poisoning....

Rehoboth, MA(Zone 5a)

As I have said for a long time, I should have bcome a potter and not a gardener, nothing but clay and rocks that have to be removed and replaced with good stuff before I can plant anything. Weather is weird this winter, much too warm probably we will have blizzards in May.

As far as those miserable innsects go, last summer was awful, still don't know what ate all the folliage on my flowers, never happened before only Japanese beatles that always do their worst and it was not, I always can pick them off

W Hartford, CT(Zone 6a)

I'd have to say the unpredictable weather is probably the biggest challenge. One; as Mark Twain once said, "If you don't like the weather - wait a minute". The temperature and climate swings can be challenging. Two; at least here in central CT the zone variations in even a 20-mile radius can be 3 zones, depending on altitude, exposure, etc. The variablility of winter can be challening -- it was easier to reliably overwinter roses in Minnesota than here, because of the reliablility of cold and snow cover. (Although this year, all bets are off in the Upper Midwest and central Canada. How can ANYONE claim global warming doesn't exist?)
Sarah

Southern, CT(Zone 6a)

Anita, I didn't respond because I was out earning money to pay the Ferryman.Say good night to the kids for me.

Sarah, its better to hear Twain quoted from someone who must live abouy 10 miles from where Twain lived. That is very cool.

Long Island, NY(Zone 6b)

all tucked in Dave...

West Warwick, RI(Zone 6b)

Anita, I went camping in a tater field in new york, when I was a kid, it has stuck with me, I think about it often, and will never forget how beautiful it is there. Just thought I'd share.

The kids are cute.
And you have the most beautiful eyes! I was snooping and found the picture of you! : )

Dena

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