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News stories tagged with "spring"

After removing the early weeds, mulching between rows will slow their return. Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/90738513@N00/2522983940">Linda Beaverson</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
After removing the early weeds, mulching between rows will slow their return. Photo: Linda Beaverson, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Weeds, you say? Get 'em when they're little

The tiniest weeds might just be you're most important job right now. It's like the old "pound of prevention" saying. You can deal with a million weeds in a very short time, if they're just tiny seedlings. Let them get bigger, and it isn't so easy.

That's Cooperative Extension horticulturist Amy Ivy's tip for triage in this season of the overwhelming gardening to-do list.  Go to full article
Part way done: some perennials back in place, soil amendment continues. Photo by Martha Foley
Part way done: some perennials back in place, soil amendment continues. Photo by Martha Foley

Out with the bad: taking control of the perennial garden

The first step can be the hardest when you've got a major Quackgrass infestation, or an "aggressive" perennial that's taking over. In Martha Foley's garden this spring, it was both. Sometimes you just have to dig everything up and start over.

Amy Ivy is a horticulturist with the Cornell Cooperative Extension service with Clinton and Essex County. She sympathizes, and shares tips on taking advantage of the opportunity to improve the soil.  Go to full article
They start small, but they don't (hopefully) stay that way. Make sure to leave enough space for you transplants to thrive. Photo: Martha Foley
They start small, but they don't (hopefully) stay that way. Make sure to leave enough space for you transplants to thrive. Photo: Martha Foley

Plants need their space too

It's tempting, all that nice open space in the garden. But as you plant the six packs of annuals, or divide and distribute the perennials, or arrange the rows of beets and carrots, be careful to plant things far enough apart.

Cooperative Extension's Amy Ivy lays down the law, and explains why following the rules on spacing can make a real difference late on in the season.  Go to full article
It's still a little cool for transplanting tender flowers and warm weather vegetables. Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/crabchick/7276027148/">crabchick</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
It's still a little cool for transplanting tender flowers and warm weather vegetables. Photo: crabchick, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Not quite prime time for tender transplants

The calendar is a bit ahead of the weather this spring, and that means it's probably a good idea to proceed with caution in the garden.

Mother's Day typically coincides with good weather for transplants, and garden centers and greenhouses send thousands of nicely started plants and flowers out their doors over the weekend. But this year, Cooperative Extension's Amy Ivy says, we should be extra careful about putting tender flowers and warm weather vegetables in the ground. Better to baby them for a week or two till the weather really warms up. Plants are looking for "heat units," and cool nights and days still in the 60s don't quite add up.  Go to full article
A bird's nest compost bin. Photo: Tompkins County Cooperative
A bird's nest compost bin. Photo: Tompkins County Cooperative

Kitchen compost: a gift for the garden

Compost is a key ingredient to increasing the organic matter in garden soil. And now is a great time to add it as a layer in the garden to help nourish seeds and seedlings.

Amy Ivy, horticulturist for Cornell Cooperative in Clinton and Essex Counties, explains some of the best ways to use compost in your garden, and alternatives if you don't have your own.  Go to full article
A Willow Ptarmigan along eastern Lake Ontario. The sighting this week is a first for New York State.  Photo: Jeff Bolsinger.
A Willow Ptarmigan along eastern Lake Ontario. The sighting this week is a first for New York State. Photo: Jeff Bolsinger.

Willow Ptarmigan becomes an avian celebrity near Watertown

Carloads of birders from across the region have visited the shore of Lake Ontario, near Watertown, over the last few days hoping to glimpse a rare avian visitor from the Arctic tundra.

Late last week, Eugene Nichols was birding near Point Peninsula and found an all white bird that didn't belong in northern New York. Nichols contacted Jeff Bolsinger, a bird biologist at Fort Drum, who confirmed that it's a Willow Ptarmigan. Bolsinger says the bird normally lives only in northern Canada and Alaska. He says the sighting this week is the first documented sighting of a Willow Ptarmigan in New York State, and the second recorded in the lower 48 states in a century.

Bolsinger told Todd Moe he's not sure how the bird ended up this far south, but it's become an instant celebrity in the birding community.  Go to full article
Trillium and other iconic North Country wildflowers pose a challenge for gardeners. Archive Photo of the Day, 5/18/11: Gregory Kle
Trillium and other iconic North Country wildflowers pose a challenge for gardeners. Archive Photo of the Day, 5/18/11: Gregory Kle

Spring wildflowers in nature and the garden

A walk in the woods may seem like an optimistic activity during mud season. But early wildflowers are a sign of hope that a new season has begun. It's amazing to find spring flowers emerging just as the last snow melts, especially after our long, cold winter.

Todd Moe talks with horticulturist Amy Ivy about looking for early wildflowers in their natural settings, and the challenges of trying to grow trillium, bloodroot and Jack-in-the-Pulpit in backyard gardens.  Go to full article
Apparent retrograde motion of Mars in 2003. Animation: <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Apparent_retrograde_motion_of_Mars_in_2003.gif">Eugene Alvin Villar</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Apparent retrograde motion of Mars in 2003. Animation: Eugene Alvin Villar, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Spring comes to the solar system

St. Lawrence University physicist Aileen O'Donoghue stopped by the NCPR studio this morning with an update on all the ways we can chart the change of season without ever looking at a thermometer. Just watch the winter constellations, like Orion, disappear and the spring sky emerge.

She also maps out where Earth is in relation to the other planets racing around the Sun, and which ones we can see just now. Venus is still bright in the morning. We're moving away from Jupiter, and you'd probably need really good binoculars or a telescope now to see its moons. And Mars is red and bright in the east early in the evening. If you follow its motion night by night, you'll notice it's going "backwards" for a while now. She explains this retrograde motion, which was a key clue in the ancients' realization that we are not the center of the universe.  Go to full article
Andrea Malik applies a BTI treatment by a beaver dam in Colton. Black fly eggs need running water to hatch, so they're an easy target. Photo: David Sommerstein
Andrea Malik applies a BTI treatment by a beaver dam in Colton. Black fly eggs need running water to hatch, so they're an easy target. Photo: David Sommerstein

Hate black flies? Hug this woman.

It's one of the cruelest fates dealt the North Country. The snow's gone. The warm sun's finally back. And just when we're dying to bask in spring, the black flies begin to swarm.

A couple dozen towns in the North Country try to take a stand. They treat thousands of miles of streams to kill the nasty, biting bugs. It's all done by hand, dozens of people slogging miles through the deep woods to deliver a bacteria that's fatal to black flies: Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis, or BTI.

One woman in St. Lawrence County has dedicated almost 30 years of her life to battling the black fly. David Sommerstein profiled her in 2007.  Go to full article
Photo: Martha Foley
Photo: Martha Foley

Flood warnings remain as most rivers begin to fall

After several days of high flood waters across the region, most rivers appear to be cresting or beginning to recede, thanks to dry weather and unseasonably cold weather that slowed the spring snow melt.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency yesterday for much of the North Country due to flooding concerns. The declaration affects Essex, Franklin, Herkimer, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties. He said state officials are also keeping a close eye on flooding along the upper Hudson and along the Mohawk River.

Cuomo acknowledged that floodwaters are receding already in most areas, but said that emergency declaration would free up state officials to aid local response efforts.
Flood warnings remain in effect for much of our listening area, including the Black River valley around Watertown. It's expected to crest later today there at more than four feet above flood stage.  Go to full article

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