Welcome to "The Dirt" where we share what you can expect from us in the coming weeks, what's new at NatureWorks, and some garden buzz.
Bulb Season
If you need another reason to look forward to 2021...think spring bulbs! While a thoughtfully placed stand of daffodils will naturalize and spread year after year, you may prefer a fresh vibe each season with a tulip planting that can be swapped out to suit your mood.

Fun fact: Did you know the tulip display in the Boston Public Garden is dug up and re-planted each year for a new look each spring? Nothing stale about that exhibit!

Go traditional with a mass of daffs (the double blooms here offer a twist); go distinctive with gorgeous blue camassia that is WAY underutilized; or mix it up every year with a fresh palette of sophisticated tulips.
Hold the Mums
Fall feels are upon us and we love dressing things up with a moody, cozy palette that outlasts the fleeting blip of mundane mums. Think bronzy-orange-wine hues of Coral Bells, red-hot spicy tones of ornamental peppers, and soft purples and pinks of Sedum and Heather. Once the holidays roll in, we love to glam up the displays with pumpkins and quirky gourds.

From fabulous foliage, to fiery & classic, to festive.

Hibernation Time
Start saying good-bye to your Automowers - in October, once the leaf-fall gets too heavy for our robotic buddies, we'll be rounding them up to put them to bed for the winter. 
Potato, Athena, and El Choppo struttin' their stuff this summer.
Leaf Clean-up Turns Eco-Friendly
This fall, we're infusing your lawn with a nutrient boost. Instead of removing the fallen leaves from your property, we're mulching them back into the grass. We piloted this method on select properties last year, and it was so successful that it's become our new standard - and an ecological win.

At a glance, it looks just like your regular mowing service. But the mowers are now fitted with special blades that mince the leaves, which then settle into your turf roots. As they slowly decompose, this valuable natural resource adds nutrients back to the soil without changing the pH, enhances moisture retention, increases organic matter, and over time lessens soil compaction - much-needed benefits after this scorching, dry summer.

Leaf mulching 'closes the ecological loop' by using an available resource from one organism in the community (your trees) for the benefit of another - your lawn.
Snaps to Farmer Sam!
Congratulations to our gardener, Sam, who just passed the MCLP. The exam covers everything from plant ID, to entomology, to turf care, to landscape construction practices - so it's a massive amount of material. Only three students across the state passed at this last seating, so it's a giant accomplishment.

Sam's always smiling - especially when he gets to plant vegetable gardens which is his specialty!
Top 5 Tasks for Veggie Gardens Now
We asked our very own 'Farmer Sam' for his advice about what should be done in vegetable gardens at this time of year. Sam is not only a farmer, he's also a chef who's deeply devoted to permaculture. Here's what he recommends:
  • Cook or store as much of the end-of-summer harvest as you can for the holidays and winter. It's high time for the last push on tomato sauce, pickled peppers, jams, etc.
  • Plant garlic! Perfect timing is on Halloween.
  • Test the soil. Send the sample to the UMass extension lab.
  • Clean up the beds and plant a cover crop like rye, oats, or buckwheat. 
  • Organize tools and sheds, and get planning for the spring.
You can pickle almost anything from your garden - peppers, cukes, cauliflower, carrots, onions; a rye cover crop becomes rich green manure when tilled-in in spring; even garlic from the grocery store can be planted - pick the biggest cloves to grow the biggest bulbs.

Autumn repays the earth the leaves which summer lent it. 
~Georg Christoph Lichtenberg