Greetings from our new business office in Shirley!  Our new phone number is 978-425-5531.  We will be updating our letterhead and business cards in the near future.  So far we are enjoying the bright natural light, the camaraderie with other small business owners, and the solar powered building.

Meanwhile, our crews have launched this new season of field work.  Thank you for bearing with us as we work to open over 100 gardens at once.  It seems that each first visit is two to three visits combined in one!  There is a lot to do in the garden right now.  Please see my monthly to-do list for some tips on how best to tackle things.
Tick and Mosquito News
Tick Nymphal
Some ticks can be tiny - check carefully!
Carmine and Al have begun their April spray routes.  With the mister/blower equipment introduced last fall, they are making applications twice monthly for more effective coverage to your property.

If you are not yet on the program and would like a quote, please contact Carmine to arrange a site visit.

A new tick-borne disease has been reported from southern Connecticut in the Branford area.  It's called Powassan virus and until now has been seen mainly in the Great Lakes region.  Powassan virus leads to long-term neurological problems, and to date there is no reported cure.

This frightening news prompts me to urge everyone to take extra precautions this season when enjoying the outdoors.  Remember that ticks frequent edge habitat, where lawns end and woods begin.  Accumulated wood or rock piles, leaves and brush all create moist tick habitat.  Deer in nearby woods and fields can also carry ticks on their coats.  Ticks will avoid sunny, dry areas including lawns and rock mulches or outcroppings.

Our staff uses personal tick repellents, performs nightly tick checks, and wears protective clothing when working in such areas.  We encourage you to do the same.

More Information on our website
Service Day Coming Up on May 2 at the Virginia Thurston Healing Garden
Entrance to Healing Garden in Harvard
Members of our staff will be volunteering their time on Saturday morning, May 2 from 9 am to 12 noon at the Healing Garden's annual garden cleanup session.  It's Earth Day season, and we have traditionally helped one or more nonprofits at this time of year.

Already Carmine and Al have visited the Healing Garden to repair a split leader on a weeping Japanese maple tree.  Priscilla did some corrective pruning to reduce weight on the lower limbs.  We plan to assist with additional pruning work on shrubs and to pitch in with other volunteers on whatever else needs doing that day.

The Virginia Thurston Healing Garden provides a community of support where integrative therapies join with nature to improve the quality of life for all those affected by cancer.
Organic Lawn Care Program Now Available to PBOG Clients
Chuck Papalia
Lawn Care Manager
Just a quick reminder that we have ventured into the world of organic lawn care!  Chuck Papalia has begun his spring site visits to assess lawn health and to plan custom programs for each interested property owner.  Let him know if you would like a visit.

  More info on lawn maintenance on our website
Soil Available for Raised Bed Gardens
Raised beds in Concord
We are pleased to offer our custom mixed blend of soil for your raised bed edible gardens.  This mix of high fungal compost, finely screened loam and potting soil is rich yet light enough for good drainage.  After sending off a soil test for this mix, we have balanced the nutrients by adding calcium and trace elements.  So all you have to do is start planting once we fill your raised beds!

Please contact us to arrange delivery.  Our dump truck can deliver one to four yards per trip.  We custom mix this soil upon receiving your order, so please allow a few days for delivery.

  Raised Bed Garden Design Portfolio on Website
Plant Pick - Geranium cantabrigiense 'Biokovo'
Geranium x cantabrigiense 'Biokovo'
I love to use the perennial geraniums and was among those Perennial Plant Association members who voted for the winning 2015 Perennial Plant of the Year:  Geranium cantabrigiense 'Biokovo.'  

When the snow melts, this plant jumps out of the ground already green.  We simply remove any collected leaves with hand rakes, and the plant starts over for a new season.  The soft flowers of 'Biokovo' brighten dry shady spots in May and June.  By fall, the foliage turns interesting shades of bronze and red.  No cutting back is needed.  There are no pests or diseases that bother this plant.  A true garden workhorse!

  More info on the Perennial Plant Association
Priscilla to Be Featured in Upcoming "Pith & Vigor" Article
Seedlings Watch for Pith & Vigor in May - this new garden quarterly will feature Priscilla and our work with soil amending and the nutrient density program.  Available at Russell's Garden Center and other local outlets.

  Link to Pith and Vigor Website
Introducing Martha Ludlum, New Crew Gardener
Martha amid her garden treasures
We're thrilled to have Martha join our fine gardening staff this spring.  She and her husband formerly owned Sprigs Restaurant in Acton, where Martha planted and tended a small kitchen garden that provided flowers for the tables and herbs and berries for the chef.  With the sale of the restaurant last fall, Martha found herself at loose ends and missed gardening.  We look forward to introducing her as we make our rounds.

Priscilla's To Do List for the Late April Garden
In this late spring, one must prioritize.  There is too much to do all at once.  

First, look for plants about to bloom that might still be covered in leaves or decayed foliage and work to reveal them.  Then go to the woody plants damaged by a run-in with too much snow and ice.  Be sure to cut any damage out as soon as you see it.  But don't leave those funny stubs!  Look at the photos below showing where to put your loppers or pruners - right at the base of the stem.  Why?  This cut will stimulate the best new regrowth.

Then there are the usual April chores:
  • Prune cutback shrubs such as butterfly bush, beautyberry, caryopteris and white shrubby hydrangeas to the ground
  • Shape Roses of Sharon and hydrangeas blooming on new wood
  • Look for buds on roses and blue hydrangeas and prune
    Spring Container
    Spring Container
    above an outward facing bud
  • Fertilize roses with an organic slow-release granular fertilizer
  • Plant cold weather vegetables such as spinach, radish, peas, lettuce and herbs
  • Rake lawns to remove leaves and thatch
  • Begin a spring organic lawn fertilization program
  • Prune clematis once it shows green buds
  • Divide perennials that bloom later in the season such as astilbe, daisy, aster, sedum and chrysanthemum
  • Transplant shrubs and perennials while still fairly dormant
  • Shear small ornamental grasses and evergreen ferns to renew color and shape
  • Edge beds to redefine shape and keep grass at bay
  • Plant spring containers
  • Finish dormant pruning of fruit trees and small ornamental trees
And:  spring planting season is finally here!  Take advantage of the cool temperatures to get a new bed or specimen established.
How to Prune Out Broken Branches
Branch broken by heavy snow left jagged stem
Prune close to ground
Damage gone - plant will rejuvenate from root
This April's newsletter as well as our website have been redesigned.  Please let us know what you think.

I'll be seeing you in the garden.

? Copyright 2011 Pumpkin Brook Organic Gardening, Inc. 
All rights reserved.