That glorious stretch of sunny weather we had certainly brought things along quickly. And the recent rains came just in time to support all that new growth.
It seems like trees burst into leaf in a matter of days, weeds appeared overnight in my garden, and almost everything related to yards and gardens needs to be done right now. May is an intense month for North Country gardeners. So, this week, I’m going to touch on a few different topics.
We’re getting pretty used to thinking about ticks in the fall, but they’re out right now, so it’s time to pay attention. Lately I’ve been watching spring woodland wildflowers and bringing ticks home on myself and our dog each time. Get in the habit of checking yourself at least once a day.
We do have deer ticks here, and we do have Lyme disease, but the ticks need to stay attached for more than 24 hours to transmit the disease. Not all deer ticks carry Lyme disease, and not all ticks are deer ticks.
This site from University of Rhode Island has a helpful chart for identification: www.tickencounter.org/tick_identification, and you can drop off samples at our office, too. We do not handle the disease side of this problem, only the tick side.
If you are concerned you may have Lyme disease, by all means contact your physician. One characteristic of this disease is the symptoms go away after a while, making you think you’ve recovered when you haven’t. Check with your doctor if you see any rashes around the bite or feel flu-like symptoms. Not all bites leave the characteristic bull’s-eye rash.
Impatiens are one of the most popular bedding plants for shade, but they are being hit by a devastating disease called impatiens downy mildew. The only good news about this disease is it affects only the bedding impatiens, not New Guinea impatiens or any other bedding plant. Even if you start with healthy plants, the spores have become widespread; they persist for years in the soil that your plants may well succumb. As a result, many garden centers are choosing to not sell impatiens this year. There is no effective spray at this point.
Other plants to use instead of impatiens include: New Guinea impatiens, begonia, browallia, coleus, lobelia and nicotiana. For a free fact sheet on this disease, contact our office at 561-7450; or email Jolene Wallace at firstname.lastname@example.org, Emily Selleck at email@example.com or Richard Gast at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Farmers markets are just starting to open up. For a complete listing of locations, dates and hours, visit our Adirondack Harvest website: http://adirondackharvest.com.
It’s early in the season, though, so don’t expect local corn or tomatoes. Lettuce, tomato plants for your garden, spinach and asparagus are in season now, and more will be ready with each passing week. The markets also have honey, maple syrup, frozen meat, eggs, local wine, etc.
We are putting the finishing touches on our 2013 Guide to Local Food map that covers Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties. We plan to have it ready by early June, and it will be posted on our Adirondack Harvest website as well.
Last of all, be careful to not push yourself too hard in your garden. It’s easy to overdo it when the weather is perfect or you have some free time and want to pack in as much work as you can. Stop often to straighten up and stretch. Pace yourself so you can keep gardening all season long.
Amy Ivy is executive director of Cornell Cooperative Extension, Clinton County. Office phone numbers: Clinton County, 561-7450; Essex County, 962-4810; Franklin County, 483-7403. Website: www.cce.cornell.edu/ecgardening. Email questions to askMG@cornell.edu.