Saturday, September 25, 2010

Brown Marmorated Stink Bug

The stink bug has been the subject of hundreds of phone calls for our staff members for the last several weeks. This accidental arrival to our country a little more than a decade ago has mushroomed in population and, while once just a nuisance pest, has become a significant problem in our agricultural communities. Peach and apple orchards are seeing severe losses.
One ugly, bad-smelling bug
We are getting most of our calls from homeowners dealing with infestations in their homes and swarms around their doors and windows. Stink bugs are not harmful to humans. They do not reproduce inside or cause structural damage. They do emit an unpleasant odor when they are squashed or sucked into a vacuum cleaner.

Before bugs make it inside the house, identify small openings around doors, windows, siding, chimneys and other suspected ports of entry. Use a silicone caulk as necessary. Also check for holes in screening and repair or replace them as needed.

There are a couple of insecticides that are labeled for use against stink bugs. We do not recommend the use of the insecticides inside the home. Sprays can be applied along the foundation, and around cracks and crevices outside the house. Please take precautions and read the pesticide label very thoroughly before using.

Bonide's Household Insect Control

 We continue to seek advice from our suppliers and from the EPA to recommend the safest products available.

For information from University of Maryland Extension, click here.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Thousands of Mums

Jumbo mums grown by Valley View Farms

Mums will be arriving daily from now until late October to help us celebrate fall. And celebrate we do. John, Vernon, Stacey and Barb planted about fifteen thousand mums at the Foard family farm in Hydes, Maryland back in late May. Over fifty varieties of mums will be shipped to Valley View Farms as they begin to bloom. There is bound to be a color for every gardener to enjoy.

Over 50 varieties!

  Mums combine beautifully with many fall favorites. Ornamental grasses, heucheras, sedums and many other perennials grow well with mums in pots and in the garden border. Pansies are another fall fave that overwinter, returning in spring with large,colorful blooms.

Pansies are winter hardy

 Choosing a mum is easy. I like them when the buds are just beginning to open. During the cooler days of autumn, mums can continue to bloom for about eight weeks. In pots, check them for water regularly. A small dose of plant food is good at the time of planting, and then again in early spring as they begin to re-emerge from the ground. Mums should be cut back in March, May and July to keep them compact and beautiful year to year. To help remember when to cut mums back, think of St. Patrick's Day, Mother's Day and the Fourth of July. 

Plant mums when buds are just starting to pop
 Mums, pansies, ornamental cabbage and kale in addition to perennials and tree and shrubs are a great way to extend and enhance color in the fall garden.
Enjoy fall. Check our website for a list of events, gardening seminars and a look what's happening at Valley View Farms this fall.