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									Highlights                                                    Inside                           The Newsletter of the Exeter
    President’s Message                                         Mud Season                       Area Garden Club
                                                                                                  March/April Edition
    Growing a Green Lawn the Green Way                          Membership Renewal
                                                                                                         2010
    Stratham Veterans Garden Clean-up Day




                         DIG THIS        harsh double-pitched cry of the        Our club garden tour will be on
    MESSAGE FROM THE                     male red-winged blackbird,             Saturday, June 12th, rain or
       PRESIDENT                         staking out his territory and          shine. This is an event in which
      Denise Landis                      hoping to lure a mate.                 every member is asked to be
                                                                                involved in selling tickets and
                                          Our garden club is changing           acting as guides on the day of
                                         and growing, always for the            the tour. Ticket prices remain
Dear Exeter Area Garden Club             better. As part of our efforts to      the same as last year: $15, the
Members,                                 be smart conservationists –            best bargain in town. Please
                                         reducing the paper, postage            help spread the word.
I feel sure that, like me, your          and expense involved in
heart lifts when you look out the        printing, distributing and              Our annual meeting, luncheon,
window and see grass showing             disposing of our newsletters --        and plant auction will be held
through the melting patches of           this issue and the next of Dig         on Thursday, June 17th, at the
snow. This year I am                     This! will be the last available in    Portsmouth Country Club.
determined to hear – and see –           hard copy. Beginning in                Look for a registration form in
the early spring frogs. The first        October, Dig This! will be             Dig This!
to appear are the spring                 emailed to club members and
peepers, tiny grayish-brown              will also be available on our           This year's tour of Van Berkum
half-inch long frogs that can be         website.                               nursery is scheduled for
found on the trunks of trees.                                                   Saturday June 19th, and they
Other frogs to look for are those        There are many exciting club           were kind enough to allow us
that lay their eggs in vernal            activities to join in this spring.     our preferred morning time
pools. A vernal pool is a                Don't be left out! Civic               slot. More details and
temporary pool of water that              Beautification will have sign-        directions will be published in
forms in early spring from the           ups for the Exeter bandstand           the next issue of Dig This!
runoff of melting snow and ice.          and the Stratham Veterans'
Its mucky bottom becomes a               Garden at the April and May             Whatever weather is heading
nesting ground for salamanders           meetings. All club members             our way...rain, sun, snow...the
and frogs, who lay their eggs in         who haven't been active in a           buds are beginning to swell and
gelatinous clusters. The heat of         committee should make a point          the tips of daylilies are starting
early summer will cause these            of signing up. And it's fun!           to poke through the earth. We
underwater nurseries to dry and          Melanie McGrail will be                all have the particular signs of
vanish. Put on your high-top             scheduling a date for cleaning         spring we see in our gardens
rubber boots and take a walk             up the Veterans' Garden so it          that make our spirits rise.
through the woods to listen for          looks nice for Memorial Day.           Enjoy!
wood frogs, whose mating calls
sound curiously like a quacking           At our next club meeting, look        Warmly,
duck. These 3 to 4 inch long             for a sample of the upcoming
                                         design project, a spring wreath.
                                                                                           Denise
frogs are easy to spot in
wetlands, the males having               Connie Gilmore will be taking
black bands across their eyes.           additional sign-ups.
Another distinctive sound in the
marshes of early spring is the
                                                                                                                       1
DIG THIS      MAR/APR 2010                 may take 3 years of application        dry or may turn slightly blue.
                                           before all your weeds are              Check to see that it springs
  ENVIRONMENT AND                          gone. Also, do not try to over-        back when you walk on it. If it
                                           seed an area that has corn             does, then your lawn is
   CONSERVATION                            gluten on it for at least 6            probably fine. Also, watering is
    DAWN BROAD &                           weeks. The gluten will inhibit         best done in the morning
     LUANN FABER                           any grass seed from                    before the day heats up and
                                           germinating.                           the water evaporates from the
                                        4. Spot treating weeds: An                soil. Evening watering can
Growing a Green Lawn the                   organic weed killer can be             promote fungal growth and
Green Way                                  made by adding 5 parts                 diseases.
                                           vinegar to 2 parts water to 1       7. Compost: You can add
Have you been standing out in              part (or less) of Dawn                 screened compost to your
your yard recently? Have you seen          dishwashing liquid in a hand           lawn soil. It won’t look very
all those critter trails through the       sprayer. Be careful when you           pretty but will add a lot of
old grass or noticed that the snow         spray because the vinegar can          nutrients to your soil. The best
plow really tore up the lawn next to       kill grass as well as weeds. If        time to add it is a day or two
the driveway? What about all that          necessary, hold a piece of             before rain is expected.
sand on the lawn and all those             cardboard vertically to shield         Compost can be broadcast by
sticks from the last storm? Looks          the grass from the spray.              your spreader and, in 2 weeks,
like you’ll be getting the              5. Mowing: First, be sure the             your growing grass blades will
wheelbarrow out shortly.                   blade is sharpened so that it          cover up the evidence. Your
                                           not only cuts better but cuts          soil will be that much healthier
But maybe this year you want to            neater. Set your mower blade           and healthy soil means deeper
do it a little differently. This year      at 3 ½ inches. It may seem             grass roots which mean fewer
you want to keep it organic. So            high, but the shade of the             weeds. The compost will also
how to start?                              grass will keep the weed               bring earthworms which are so
                                           seeds from sprouting and keep          beneficial to your soil.
1. Wet ground: Walking on it will          the soil from drying out as
   make the lawn soil more                 quickly. Also, the longer grass     Or maybe you can do what I’d like
   compact, which makes it                 will have deeper root systems,      to do: dig up some more lawn and
   harder to grow grass but                which means the lawn will           plant more garden; maybe with
   easier to grow weeds. Leave it          need less water to stay green.      native plants that will thrive in our
   alone until it dries a bit.             Try to use a mulching blade on      location. Whatever you do, enjoy
2. Debris: Add what you can to             your mower. It will chop up the     your yard and play in it as often as
   the compost pile. Do not rake           grass clippings into finely         you can.         by Betsy Vershay
   the grass yet. If there is sand         minced pieces which will add
   or pebbles around the edges,            nitrogen to your lawn.              STRATHAM VETERANS
   use a bamboo leaf rake to            6. Watering: Do so as little as
                                           possible. A gentle rain of an
                                                                                    GARDEN
   remove them. Why not a metal
   one? The metal tines are too            inch or so is enough to keep          Melanie McGrail
   strong and can rip up the               the lawn healthy for at least a
   newly growing grass. If you             week. A quick downpour may
   must rake the rest of the lawn,         just roll off the surface of your   Saturday April 24th at 10 has been
   do so as gently as possible             lawn, so at some point you          set as the annual clean-up day.
   with a bamboo rake.                     may want to use the sprinkler.      Sign-up sheets for this, and
3. Weeds: They may be green,               If you are not sure how long it     tending the garden will be passed
   but they are taking nutrients           will take your sprinkler to         around at the April meeting.
   away from the grass. What to            deliver an inch of water, put a
   do that is organic and not              cake pan within the watering
   harmful? Try spreading corn             area and when it’s full, you’ve
   gluten (found at feed stores            added an inch of water to your
   and nurseries) on your lawn.            soil. And since weed seedlings
   This needs to be done before            tend to only grow in the top              MEMBERSHIP
   the forsythia finishes blooming.        inch or so of soil, you need to          MELANIE MCGRAIL
   The corn gluten will stop the           keep that top inch as dry as
   weed seeds from sprouting.              possible so they won’t              Membership renewal sign-ups will
   Instructions will be on the bag.        germinate. How do you know          begin in April.
   But be sure to water it in. The         when to water? The grass will       Deadline is June 30th.
   gluten has to be wet to work. It        actually curl when it gets too
                                                                                                                   2
DIG THIS      MAR/APR 2010                                                             Thursday, April 22 (23 in case of bad
                                             The trick to successful forcing is        weather). She’ll talk a bit about how
                                             hydration, and you can get this off to    she designed her garden starting six
      HORTICULTURE                           a good start by laying bundles of         years ago, including the bits she
      TERRY DONSKER                          freshly cut branches down in a            likes and the bits that fall short.
                                             bathtub of lukewarm water for a           Depending on what is up and
                                             good overnight soak. If they float        sprouting we will also discuss spring
MUD SEASON                                   add some weights to keep them             pruning, dividing, and transplanting.
                                             submerged. Then stand the                 For extra drama we may dig up
For much of the past month my                branches in a clean pail and cover        some underperforming bulbs and
husband and I shut down the oil heat         them with a dry cleaning bag. The         see what is going on.
about 4 PM and built a nice fire in          best place to rest them is in a cool
the dining room fireplace. It is a           (days at 50-60 and nights at 40)
break to get away from our desks             enclosed porch, but really any cool
and work at the dining table until it is     place away from direct sun is okay.
time to eat. Now, at the beginning of        When the buds start to swell move             WAYS AND MEANS
                                             them to a warmer spot. Treat your
March, we have a load of wood ash
                                             display as you would any floral               Dianna Thompson
and I will fill a pail to spread around
the base of our lilacs. The ashes are        arrangement: change the water
a good source of potassium, feeding          frequently, mist often, keep your         The Ways and Means Committee
the lilacs while also making the soil a      arrangement out of the sun and shift      has been making great headway on
bit more alkaline, just as lilacs prefer.    it to a cool place at night.              the plans for the EAGC Garden Tour
                                                                                       2010. Save the day, Saturday, June
It turns out that lilacs are not the only    All this, along with ordering plants      12, 2010.The hours are 10:00 –
plants that benefit from wood ash. A         and starting seeds, should keep you       4:00.
recent university study in Italy             busy and away from the temptation
showed that tomatoes fed a good              of uncovering your garden too early       The price remains the same as last
dose of potassium raised the level of        or tramping around on wet soil.           year, $15.00. At this point, our
antioxidant vitamin E in the fruit.                                   Becky Mitchell   distribution locations will be about
Catharine Osgood Foster, writing                                                       the same as last year.
about organic flower gardening 35            DATES & LINKS
years ago, says that wood ashes will         March 26-28 Seacoast Home,
                                             Garden & Flower Show, Whittemore          Stores graciously agreeing to help
help with any potassium deficiency,                                                    us out so far are Churchills, Natures
a condition often indicated by leaves        Center, UNH,
                                             www.homegardenflowershow.com              Outpost, Coastal Living and
browning or curling at the edges.                                                      Coventry Cottage.
She also says that iris, which may           March 26-27 Open Greenhouse and
rot in soil that is too rich, will benefit   Plant Sale, Thompson School, UNH,
                                             9AM-4PM                                   Norma Roberts and her committee
from a feeding of wood ashes.
                                             http://www.thompsonschool.unh.edu/        have, so far, found us five beautiful
Apply your wood ashes (no ash from
                                             events.html                               gardens with more to come .
the charcoal grill, please!) directly,
and somewhat sparingly, on the soil
during later winter and early spring.        You might like this blog from a N.H.      Other heads are: Nancy Jordan-
Do not compost them as their                 woman who calls herself North             Garden Hostesses, Mary Jo
goodness leaches out quickly. Do             Country Maturing Gardener:                Chadwick- Ticket Distribution, Sue
any of you have favorite garden uses         http://ncmg.blogspot.com/                 Bowman and Shirley Phillips-
for wood ashes?                                                                        Publicity.
                                             HORTICULTURE COMMITTEE
The recent warm and wet days drew            GARDEN VISITS AND APRIL                   If you would like to help on any of
my attention to the swelling buds on         WORKSHOP                                  these committees, please give these
many shrubs. That encouraging                Soon we will be back in our gardens       ladies a call. We will be asking every
sign, and the urge to bring the              and the Horticulture Committee is         member to make cookies for the day
outdoors in, has me thinking about           reintroducing “Garden Visits.” If you     of the tour. This was a real hit last
cutting some woody branches for              have a garden problem or something        year. We do need someone to take
forcing. One of my favorites is              lovely in your garden that you want       charge of the refreshments for that
Cornelian cherry (Cornus mas), but           to share email Terri Donsker or           day.
there are many options beyond                Becky Mitchell with a date and time
Forsythia and pussywillows. I have           that works for you. We’ll get out the
                                             word and all members are urged to         If you might be interested in helping
had good luck with flowering                                                           us out with this, please let me know.
dogwood and crabapples. I even               visit for some good chat about
like to force attractive branches for        garden challenges and triumphs.
some tender little leaves. Red twig                                                    Thank you, Dianna Thompson
dogwood is good for this, but why            The 2010 series will commence with
not just experiment?                         a workshop at Becky’s garden on
                                                                                                                               3
DIG THIS    MAR/APR 2010               the main topics from The Granite      Discovering New England
                                       Kiss, touching on history,            Stone Walls, Kevin Gardner,
PROGRAM COMMITTEE                      technique, stylistic development,     author of The Granite Kiss
                                       and aesthetics. There will be a
 Mary-Jo Chadwick &                    generous question-and-answer
                                                                             April 20 , 2010
     JANN BOVA                         period, during which listeners are
                                                                             Membership Meeting
                                       encouraged to bring up specific       Picture Your Garden in the Best
                                       problems or projects on their own     Light, Terri Donsker, EAGC
Kevin Gardner, the speaker for our     properties. Copies of The Granite     member
April meeting, is a writer, teacher,   Kiss will be available for sale. In
tradesman, and a lifelong resident     May our presenter will be own
of Hopkinton, NH. For more than        Terri Donsker who will                    NOTES FROM THE
thirty years he has been a stone       demonstrate how to photograph
wall builder in a family business                                                    EDITOR
                                       our gardens. Many of our
widely known for traditional New       members are familiar with Terri’s
England stonework, particularly for    phenomenal work which was
historic restoration of antique                                              Please send information to Janice
                                       recently on display in Exeter.        Horrocks. Submission deadline for the
structures. In 2001, Kevin             Using Terri’s suggestions,            May/June 2010 newsletter is May 10.
published The Granite                  members are encouraged to             Suggestions welcomed!
Kiss:Traditions and Techniques of      photograph their gardens
Building New England Stone             throughout the season and then
Walls, and he is currently working     share their pictures at our
on a second book, Barns Beyond         September meeting.
Hope, a series of stories about
surviving remnants of New              April 15 , 2010
England’s agricultural landscape.      Membership Meeting
His presentation will cover a few of

Dig This
EAGC Newsletter
10 Gale Road
Hampton, NH 03842




Inside: Growing a Green Lawn the Green Way




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