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Plants at our Garden Center

Plants at our Garden Center

Cayuga Landscape Co., Inc.
2712 North Triphammer Road  Ithaca, NY 607-257-3000.

Garden Center Hours until December 24th:                         Monday-Friday                         8-6 Saturday                                      9-6 Sunday                                        10-4                                 

 

Business and Landscaping Offices are open Monday to Friday, 8 to 5.  Stop by or call us to discuss a potential landscape design and other work.

Click here to read David’s Fall 2014 Letter.

 Welcome to Cayuga Landscape Company!.

 

 

Inviting walkways, outdoor rooms, banks of blooms: Let us design your garden retreat.

For 34 years our mission has been to create and maintain imaginative and sustainable landscapes in Tompkins County, NY, including complete site development and garden creation for your home and for our community green spaces. To support this mission we operate the following divisions:

Garden Center

We are your complete source for all garden plants, gifts, and horticultural materials.    We

Knockout Roses in our Garden Center

are also a specialist nursery in deer-resistant plants and therefore stock  an extensive list of boxwoods, hellebores, and other deer-proof plants.  We have a huge selection of large trees of all kinds… especially native shade, flowering, and evergreen trees grown at our own nursery on Bundy Road in the Town of  Ithaca.  Our staff of horticultural zealots are professionally trained and eager to help you select the right plant for the right site.  So come stroll through our delightfully diverse selection at our pastoral site high above Cayuga Lake.  You’ll find us only 2 miles north of Rt. 13 on North Triphammer Rd.

Residential Design-Build Landscape Service

Deck with Lattice Fencing

Whether you need a design for your entire home environment or for a small construction or planting project, we are poised to help.

Our four estimators are talented garden designers or landscape architects… and all four of us have degrees in Landscape Architecture. We do not decorate your house but instead create true environments…. from the initial house-siting, grading, and drainage to the final sodding, planting, and garden lighting.   Entry courtyards, backyard rooms, rain gardens, groves, and meadows are just a few of the potential features we may create for you.  Our landscape planting and construction crews have extensive experience creating retaining walls, terraces, walkways, stairways, pillars, fences, gates, lawns, gardens,  pools, landscape lighting, French drains, and more.  Many are either CNLPs (Certified  Nursery-Landscape Professionals) or ICPI graduates (International Concrete Paver Institute).  Let us design your garden retreat!  Please call to meet one of our estimators:  David Fernandez, Christian Gruber, Elizabeth Prugh, or Pat Dutt.

Residential Grounds Maintenance Landscape Service

You can leave all the garden maintenance for your property in our hands.  Our horticulture team will mow and trim your lawn or meadow, care for your garden beds and plantings,

Cornell University President’s Residence

scout for insect and disease pests, and protect your plantings from the ravages of deer and rodents.  We leave your property neat and tidy after every visit.  Mowing, for Cayuga Landscape, includes blowing debris off all your paved surfaces.  Our most popular horticultural service plan is for 4 seasonal visits:  spring cleanup and mulching, summer pruning and bed care, fall cleanup, and finally winter protection.  Please see our Spring and Fall Checklists to review our typical services.

Commercial and Civic Landscape Service 

Cornell University Weill Hall Planting

We have an extensive resume of successfully completed projects with some of the top General Contractors in the Northeast.  Completed projects at Cornell University include:  Milstein Hall, Weill Hall, Bailey Plaza, Tiger Glen Garden designed by Marc Peter Keane, Cornell Plantations Welcome Center, Cornell Lab of Ornithology.  Other community projects over the years have included the entire Tompkins County Airport and many of the new landscapes at the Cayuga Medical Center.

We have extensive experience with large tree moving, green roof installation, rain gardens, sports turf fields, timber stairways and wall, Unilock retaining walls and pavers, and with stone and carpentry work.

Tompkins Country Airport Entry Garden

We have the resources to meet your critical deadlines:  an experienced staff of fifty, a fleet of 30 vehicles, a dozen pieces of heavy equipment, and, in addition we have specialized equipment such as rock-hounds, hydroseeders and treespades.

 

Farm and Nursery

Autumn Blaze Maples at Bundy Road Farm

We grow almost all the trees we sell at our 25-acre Bundy Road farm on Ithaca’s West Hill.   Our trees are naturally acclimated to your growing conditions here in Tompkins County and are transplanted with a minimum of stress to the tree.  We operate a separate 90 acre farm which produces hay and sustainable forest products, such as natural black locust fence posts, riven maple picket fencing, cleft oak gates, woven wood hurdles and more.

 

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Seasonal Letter

 

 

October 23, 2014

Greetings,        

On this autumn day of dazzling sun, the golden leaves from the massive Tulip Poplar trees outside my window are swirling down against vivid blue skies.  The foliage of the Full Moon Japanese Maples is backlit and intensely crimson. The brilliantly red leaves of the Autumn Blaze Maples have mostly fallen and lie in windrows on the green lawn, blowing about.   All these are reminders that I have been remiss in sending out our Fall Checklist.

This is still an ideal time to plant for spring color.  Look at your garden with a sharp eye and imagine some new swaths of yellow daffodils, crowds of crocus, and congregations of regal purple Alliums.  These are deer resistant, easy to grow, and affordable.  Or perhaps there’s a corner for a flowering tree, such as Snow Fountain weeping cherry, Stellar Pink Dogwood, or a Minnesota Redbud.  Our garden center has an extensive display of these and more.

Leaves are falling fast, so please return the Fall Checklist, or call us and we’ll fill out the checklist with you over the phone. If you use the checklist, please add your preferred phone number, email address, and any special instructions. Also, please let us know your preference for leaf disposal: on-site compost piles, curbside pickup, or Cayuga Landscape haul-away.  We look forward to leaving you with a tidy and well-protected landscape, safe from animal marauders and winter weather.  Thank you for your business!

Sincerely,

David Fernandez, President

Cell:  327-0243, E-mail: dfernandez@cayugalandscape.com

Estimator/Designers

Chris Gruber, Landscape Designer and Estimator, MLA Landscape Architecture, Cornell

Cell:  609-276-3392, E-mail: cgruber@cayugalandscape.com

Liz Prugh, Landscape Designer and Estimator, MLA Landscape Architecture, Cornell

E-mail: lprugh@cayugalandscape.com

Pat Dutt, Estimator and Project Administrator, BA Colgate, MS U. Houston, Geosciences, Special Interest in Permaculture and Edible Landscapes, E-mail:  pdutt@cayugalandscape.com

Doug Bennett, Project Manager, dbennett@cayugalandscape.com

 Garden Center Staff

Gerry Towne, Garden Center Manager, Forest Tree Specialist, BS Syracuse School of Forestry, E-mail: gtowne@cayugalandscape.com

Pat Wilson, Horticulturalist, pwilson@cayugalandscape.com

Deb Lampman, Horticulturalist and Master Gardener

Office Staff

Jackie Palumbo, Office Manager

257-3000, E-mail: jpalumbo@cayugalandscape.com

Melissa Elliot, Project Administrator, MLA in Landscape Architecture, University of Virginia

 

Spring Greetings!                                                                                  March 24, 2014

Last week, on the first full day of spring, I was pruning trees at our Bundy Road farm when I heard what sounded like the faint sound of barking dogs… high aloft over our fields.

Looking up at the mosaic of scudding clouds and blue sky, I could see the ghostly shapes of Snow Geese, white with black wing tips, forming huge flocks heading north.  Several thousand passed over during the afternoon.  Our nursery was still encrusted with snow, except for the bare south-facing slopes where dozens of robins pecked earnestly at the thawing stubble.  Bluebirds churred softly from the hedgerow hawthorns and a few solitary snowdrops sunned themselves by my little dacha.  These were strong signs of spring.  Soon we will be seeing banks of golden daffodil bells nodding against green grass, clouds of cherry and service-berry blooming madly, and sprouts of all types pushing up through the warming earth.   Despite appearances, the long tough winter is over!

April is the ideal time for dormant pruning of ornamental trees and shrubs and clipping back of ornamental grasses and perennials.  While pruning, our trained staff will scout your garden for pests, such as insect larvae or disease pathogens.   Our staff is trained to identify pests so that we can notify you and take action before any pest becomes a serious problem.

Wherever possible, we will recommend organic practices to control pests… practices that will not harm bees and other pollinators.  We will also look for signs of winter damage or animal browsing.  Early intervention can often save a valuable plant.

Christian Gruber, Liz Prugh and I can design all types of garden transformations and improvements: vividly colorful perennial gardens, fruit tree orchards, wildflower meadows, native plantings, rain gardens, stone walls, brick terraces, Uni-lock installations, garden lighting, pools and fountains, drainage features, entry courts, outdoor rooms, and more.  Feel free to peruse the website.

Please visit our garden center for more inspiration and for garden advice… and meet our friendly, knowledgeable staff:  Melissa Cox, Garden Center Manager; Kerry Dillon, Assistant Garden Center Manager; and Gerry Towne, Horticulturalist.   As a “Specialist Nursery” in deer-resistant plants, we have an especially broad selection of Hellebores, Boxwood, Spirea, Mint family plants and others.  We also have an excellent selection of trees such as Heritage River Birch, Autumn Blaze Maple, and Shumards Red Oak, which we grow ourselves here in Tompkins County.

We also supply landscape material from our sustainably managed Enfield Farm Forest.  In addition to seasoned firewood, we have examples of riven maple picket fencing, riven oak gates, woven hazel hurdles, black locust posts and rails, sinuous log benches, and other items crafted in the long tradition of greenwoods workers.

Please return the enclosed Spring Service Request or just call or e-mail.  We continue to focus on lean management, despite increases in employee health insurance, fuel, and other costs. We appreciate your past business and hope that we may continue to provide efficient, professional landscape services for your home.

We also appreciate any feedback or suggestions about the service we have provided to you in the past.  Thank you for your business over the past years.  We look forward to meeting your landscape needs this spring and in the future.

Sincerely,

David Fernandez

President

Cell:  327-0243, E-mail: dfernandez@cayugalandscape.com

For more information, please call or e-mail me or our other Estimator/Designers:

 Chris Gruber, Landscape Designer and Estimator (Cornell MLA, CNLP*)

Cell:  609-276-3392, E-mail: cgruber@cayugalandscape.com

 Liz Prugh, Landscape Designer and Estimator (Cornell MLA, CNLP*)

Phone:  257-3000, E-mail:  lprugh@cayugalandscape.com

Douglass Bennett, Hardscape Manager (CNLP*)

Cell:  327-1064, E-mail: dbennett@cayugalandscape.com

 Or for garden and plant protection questions, you may also call our garden center staff:

Gerry Towne, Garden Center Manager, Horticulturist and Staff Forester, (SUNY Forestry, BS, CNLP*)

257-3000, E-mail: gtowne@cayugalandscape.com

Pat Wilson, Senior Horticulturist, (FLCC, AAS Horticulture), (Kew Gardens, London UK Internship)

Phone: 607-257-3000   Email: pwilson@cayugalandscape.com

Or for our office staff:

Jackie Palumbo, Office Manager

257-3000, E-mail: jpalumbo@cayugalandscape.com

Pat Dutt, Estimator, Permaculturist, & Project Administrator (U. Houston, MS Geology, CNLP*)

257-3000, E-mail:  pdutt@cayugalandscape.com

*CNLP, acronym for Certified Nursery Landscape Professional… through the New York Nursery Landscape Association. Awarded based on extensive examination of horticultural practice and plant identification based on winter twig characteristics.

March 29, 2013

Spring Greetings!

We have yet to see banks of jaunty daffodils, clouds of magnolia blossoms, or the pendulous greening twigs of weeping willows, which by this same date last year had illuminated Ithaca’s gardens.  But with early bloom came the threat of frosts and flower bud damage.  So the wan sun and chill air of this March are in one sense a comfort and will not stop the tide of spring.  Drifts of tiny bulbs, such as white snowdrops and saffron winter aconite, are already in flower.  The perfect pink and ivory blooms of Hellebore hover over their tattered leaves.  And on south-facing slopes, the very first golden blossoms of Cornelian Cherry have emerged.

April is the ideal time for dormant pruning of ornamental trees and shrubs and the time to clip back ornamental grasses and perennials.  While pruning, our trained staff will scout your garden for pests, such as insect larvae or disease pathogens.   Boxwoods, for example, may be infested with the larvae of boxwood leaf miner, which devour leaves from the inside out.  Shearing boxwood early in the season eliminates many of them… but in some cases chemical controls are needed. Hemlock wooly adelgid is another serious pest to check for in April.  It is primarily a problem on the west shore of Cayuga Lake.  Our staff is trained to identify pests so that we can notify you and take action before any pest becomes a serious problem.

Christian Gruber and I can help you design all types of garden transformations and improvements: vividly colorful perennial gardens, fruit tree orchards, wildflower meadows, native plantings, rain gardens, stone walls, brick terraces, Unilock installations, garden lighting, pools and fountains, drainage features, entry courts, outdoor rooms, and more.  I invite you to visit our website:  cayugalandscape.com.

Please visit our garden center for more inspiration and for garden advice… and meet our friendly, knowledgeable, new managers:  Melissa Cox, Garden Center Manager, and Kerry Dillon, Assistant Garden Center Manager. This year, in addition to a broad array of ornamental plants, such as native shade trees grown at our 25-acre Bundy Road Farm, we will have a new host of “Permaculture plants” for edible landscaping.  We are becoming a “Specialist Nursery” in deer-resistant plants, and so will have an especially broad selection of Hellebore, Boxwood, Spirea, Mint family plants and the like.

We also supply sustainable forest landscape material from our Enfield Farm Forest.  In addition to seasoned firewood, we have examples of riven maple picket fencing, riven oak gates, woven hazel hurdles, black locust posts and rails, sinuous log benches, and other items crafted in the tradition of British “bodgers” or greenwoodsmen.

Please return the enclosed Spring Service Request or just call or email.  We continue to focus on lean management, despite steep increases in fuel, employee health insurance and other costs.  We appreciate your past business and hope that we may continue to provide efficient, professional landscape services for your home.

We also appreciate any feedback or suggestions about the service we have provided to you in the past.  Thank you for your business over the past years.  We look forward to meeting your landscape needs in the future.

Sincerely,

David Fernandez

President

Cell:  327-0243,  E-mail: dfernandez@cayugalandscape.com

For more information, please call or email me or our other Estimator/Designers

Chris Gruber, Landscape Designer and Estimator (Cornell MLA, CNLP*)

Cell:  609-276-3392,     Email: cgruber@cayugalandscape.com

Liz Prugh, Landscape Designer and Estimator (Cornell MLA, CNLP*)

Phone: 607-257-3000     Email: lprugh@cayugalandscape.com

 Douglass Bennett, Hardscape Manager (CNLP*)

Cell:  327-1064  E-mail: dbennett@cayugalandscape.com

Bill Thomas, DEC Certified Pesticide Applicator

Cell:  280-7052 E-mail: bthomas@cayugalandscape.com

 Or, for garden and plant protection questions, you may also call our garden center staff:

 Gerry Towne, Garden Center Manager, Staff Forester, (SUNY Forestry, BS, CNLP*)

Phone: 607-257-3000, E-mail: gtowne@cayugalandscape.com

Pat Wilson, Senior Horticulturist, (FLCC, AAS Horticulture), (Kew Gardens, London UK Internship)

Phone: 607-257-3000   Email: pwilson@cayugalandscape.com

*CNLP, acronym for Certified Nursery Landscape Professional through the New York Nursery Landscape Association. Awarded based on extensive examination of horticultural practice and plant identification.

 Or for our office staff:

Jackie Palumbo, Office Manager

257-3000, Email: jpalumbo@cayugalandscape.com

Pat Dutt, Estimator & Project Administrator (BA Colgate, Univ. Houston, MS Geology)

257-3000, E-mail:  pdutt@cayugalandscape.com

 

October 12, 2012

Greetings,       

The wonderful French word éclaircie refers to those clear shafts of light seen against dark clouds. The wild change of weather today, with cold rains, scattered hail showers interspersed with dazzling sun, brings that word to mind.  These éclaircies illuminate a tapestry of brilliant color with hickories in gold, white ash in rich purple, and red maples and sugar maples in scarlet and orange.  In several weeks, when these species have shed their leaves, then oaks, pears, willows, and birch, all of which have delayed dormancies, will dazzle us in turn.

The long dry summer reduced the incidence of leaf fungal disease and was followed by a mild moist early fall.  This combination is perfect for excellent fall color.

October is the ideal time to plant for spring color.  Look at your garden with a sharp eye and imagine some new swaths of yellow daffodils, crowds of crocus, and groups of regal purple Alliums.  These are deer resistant, easy to grow, and affordable.  Or perhaps there’s a corner for a flowering tree, such as ‘Snow Fountain’ weeping cherry, ‘Constellation’ dogwood, or a Minnesota strain of redbud.  Our garden center has an extensive display of these and more.

Tonight’s hard frost may augur a much colder winter than we had last year.  Now is the time to plan ahead, so please return the enclosed Fall Checklist of Services.  Be sure to write in your name, address, and preferred phone number or email address.  We would also appreciate your preference for leaf disposal:  on-site piles, curbside pickup, or Cayuga Landscape haul-away.  We look forward to leaving you with a tidy, snug, and well-protected landscape, safe from animal marauders and winter weather.  Thank you for your business!

Sincerely,

David Fernandez, President

Cell:  327-0243, E-mail: dfernandez@cayugalandscape.com

Estimator/Designers

Chris Gruber, Landscape Designer and Estimator, MLA Landscape Architecture, Cornell

Cell:  609-276-3392, E-mail: cgruber@cayugalandscape.com

Liz Prugh, Landscape Designer and Estimator, (Cornell MLA, CNLP*)

Phone: 607-257-3000   Email: lprugh@cayugalandscape.com

Garden Center Staff

Gerry Towne, Garden Center Manager, Staff Forestry, (SUNY Forestry, BS, CNLP*)

Phone: 607-257-3000   Email: gtowne@cayugalandscape.com

Pat Wilson, Senior Horticulturist, (FLCC, AAS Horticulture), (Kew Gardens, London UK Internship)

Phone: 607-257-3000   Email: pwilson@cayugalandscape.com

Courtney Waterman, Hard-goods Purchaser

Phone: 607-257-3000   Email: cwaterman@cayugalandscape.com

Barb Nobles, 35 years of horticultural industry; experience with cut flowers, florist, produce- fruit & vegetable, and water gardening!

Isaac Mandl, Knowledge of landscapes, hardscapes, and vegetable gardening. Experience with landscape lighting.

Deb Lampman, Horticultural eccentric, knowledge with perennials, neet shrubs, exotic plants (unusual and rare), gardening for 53 years, former owner of Bedlam Gardens.

Office Staff

Jackie Palumbo, Office Manager

257-3000, E-mail: jpalumbo@cayugalandscape.com

Pat Dutt, Estimator and Project Administrator

257-3000, E-mail:  pdutt@cayugalandscape.com

 

 

March 29, 2012

Spring Greetings!  I am relieved to find that Monday morning’s bitter cold left our flowering cherries, pears, serviceberries and other plants unscathed.   The fragile and fleshy petals of magnolias succumbed, Continue reading

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Permaculture Blog

What’s in Your Compost    3-23-14

Last Tuesday, March 18, I toured a local active composting facility in Trumansburg.  I had never been to a composting facility before and was looking forward to the adventure. I do have three or four compost sites on my property, and in the fall, neighbors dump their leaves on the south side of my property, and Rosie, in the photo below, inestimable guard dog, is making sure that no one walks off with my leaves.  Rosie compost 3-24-14So I know what’s in the compost I generate, but what about the bulk compost I buy – say at Cayuga Landscape?

 

 

 

Cayuga Compost (the facility in Trumansburg) has been collecting food scraps from Ithaca City Schools, restaurants and other businesses for about seven years, and this is what makes up most of their compost. As we were walking back to the facility, we got a view of the large totes – being cleaned — that Cayuga gives to its compost people 2014customers and collects then dumps out  in the windrows—long rows essentially–300′ x 24′ x 10′.

Here is our group standing  between two windrows of decomposing food scraps.

 

Workers using heavy machinery turn the food/compost in the windrows once-a-week during the winter, then once-a-day during the summer.  Because of our cooperative wet climate, the windrows required a water input only once in the past seven years.   The food inside the windrows slowly oxidizes – burns – and as it does, it generates heat which on this cold March day was visible as steam floating off the top of the piles.  There are seven  windrows, and as the windrows are compost betw windr 2014turned, they successive move up the line, so that the windrow at the end of the row will have been at the facility for about a year.  To the left is a view through two windrows, the windrow on the right with compost almost ready to go to your garden!

Temperatures at about 18” deep inside the windrows reach 140 degrees Fahrenheit, which is hot enough to destroy pathogens of concern.  Food and paper will compost at that temperature, but what about the compostable cutlery?  It turns out that “compostable” without a time factor doesn’t really mean very much.  What it does mean is that the cutlery was made from cornstarch, potato starch or sugarcane—organic materials, but plastic non-compostable cutlery is also made from organic material.  Oil.  Plastic can take hundreds of years to degrade in a landfill, in fact, even food take years if it’s not exposed to oxygen.  I remember reading about a 50-year hot dog discovered by garbologists (garbology: a new, exciting field of study!)  from a New York City landfill.  The hot dog was completely intact.

The compostable cutlery does not degrade in a reasonable timeframe, even with all the turning and high temperatures.  Consequently this facility employs people (4 people) who not only pick out the compostable cutlery, but also stray pieces of plastic.  Those supposedly compostable school milk cartons?  Because they have a layer of virtually indestructible plastic between the cardboard and the milk, that plastic liner must be hand-picked from the windows, along with metal silverware, rocks, stickers on fruit, cups, straws and anything else that people unintentionally toss in a compostable bin.

Compost must be tested twice-a-year for nitrogen, heavy metals, phosphorous, sulfates, and more often for pH to ensure that consumers are getting a safe product. Like the compost at the facility, the source of Cayuga Landscape’s Amended Compost is mostly local too, starting out its life as say a salad on someone’s tray at Cornell or Ithaca College. This gives me an extra level of assurance that the compost I’m getting is a good product.

If you have any comments on my blog, feel free to e-mail me at pdutt@cayugalandscape.com.      Pat

 

 

Shiitake Mushroom Growing  3-20-14

I live on three-quarters of an acre on West Hill.  My property is distinctive: stacked firewood and berry bushes on the north side of my house, fenced-in raised beds on the south, and a large veggie garden and fruit trees in back facing east.  A goal of mine is to grow as much organically-produced and delicious food as I can, but with a minimum of labor.  Although I grow fruit and veggies, I produce no dense solid protein food, which is why I’ve been investigating growing mushrooms.  Among the shiitake mushroom – Lentinula edodes— attributes are its richness in protein, beneficial enzymes, vitamin D and vitamin B.  Google “Benefits Shiitake Mushrooms” you will find more reasons to consider eating and maybe growing your own shiitakes.

So on a just above freezing day, March 15, 2014, on a Saturday morning, I found myself at Edible Acres (www.edibleacres.org) in Trumansburg for a Shiitake Inoculation Party.

What does it take to grow your own mushrooms?  Hmm…..What skills are required? What materials do you need?

First, logs.  Logs are culled from the forests nearby and that’s part of good forestry management.  For the shiitake mushrooms, Red oaks and sugar maples are the gold standard, but there are other species suitable for shiitake cultivation too.

The ideal log is about 3’ long, 4” to 6” in diameter, fairly fresh (cut within 3 weeks of inoculation), and its bark is strong and unwounded.  Logs should be handled gently.

Mushroom 1

 

 

Here’s Leo — notice safety equipment — drilling holes in the logs that are yes, about 3 feet long.  In the background are stacks and stacks of logs just waiting to produce food.

 

Mush 2Next Noel inoculates the logs with a shiitake sawdust spawn, using an inoculator designed just for this purpose.  You can buy the sawdust spawn and inoculator on line.

 

 

 

After inoculation, Sean Dembrosky, Mush 3founder of Edible Acres, positions the logs so he can cover the spawn and holes with a wax coating.  Note the electric skillet of melted wax nearby and foam applicator.  You want to make sure you cover the hole completely to retain the log’s moisture content and prevent invasion of competing fungi or critters!  Shiitake territory only, please!

Once the wax solidifies, after a minute or so, you can stack your log and move them outside, keeping them off the ground.  Pallets come in handy.  You’ll want to keep your logs in the shade, and keep them hydrated.

It will take a year or so for the mycelium (vegetative part of the fungus, the network of white filaments) to colonize and start producing edible-sized mushrooms. Logs will produce for several years, and over their lifetime, produce a weight of mushrooms roughly equivalent to about 10 to 15 % of the log’s weight.

I came home Saturday with practical experience, a full stomach and a wealth of information on how to grow shiitake.  Thank you, Sean!

Rosie guarding the inoculated log that Sean gave me.Rosie Mushroom log

For everything you need to know about growing shiitake mushrooms in and around the Ithaca area, check out Best Management Practices for Log-Based Shiitake Cultivation in the Northeastern United Stateshttp://blogs.cornell.edu/mushrooms/factsheets/.

Interested in purchasing some logs or sharing your experiences?  E-mail me, pdutt@cayugalandscape.com.  I will also be inoculating logs at my home on the West Hill in early April.  Feel free to stop by.    Pat

Starting Seedlings   3-14-14

On March 11, I decided to take advantage of the good weather, and not only did I bike into town (and back up the hill—I still can do it!) but I started my seedlings along with the help of woman’s best friend, Rosie, guard dog extraordinaire. As you can see, no one was going to come near my seedlings without a fight.

Dog

 

 

 

 

I planted Swiss chard, sunflowers, spinach (three varieties), thyme, catnip and fenugreek.  Oh, so you’ve never heard of fenugreek?  The info on the seed package says its “sprouts, leaves or ground seeds add a subtle, exotic, spicy flavor to salads, sandwiches and Indian cuisine.”  I had to try this,  being that  an acquaintance of mine is especially fond of Indian cuisine!

Material requirements for the seedlings include seedling trays, potting soil (I used organic), seeds and water.  This year, for my seedlings, I’m using water from my rain barrels (weather dependant, of course) or I’m filling glass jars with tap water, setting the jars in my windowsill for 24 hours and giving any volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as trihalomethanes the opportunity to vaporize.  I also label my seedlings with seed, seed company, and date.  When the seedlings germinate, I take a sharpie and note that on the label.  As of March 14, some thyme, sunflower seed and fenugreek had germinated, which meant—to the windowsill.

Here’s what my south-facing window looks like today:

window

 

 

 

 

The large round container on the top shelf is full of greens, next to that is lettuce, and in the seedling tray, kale.  The greens and lettuce are two months old, the kale about a month.  I can snip off the greens and lettuce, and if I leave the root and about an inch of the stem, those plants will keep growing. The kale will go into my garden – if it ever warms up. Bottom shelf: more lettuce, two lupines, and beet greens.

For a list of seeds (all non-GMO)  that Cayuga Landscape carries, go to our website, www.cayugalandscape.com and click on seeds.

Questions or comments? E-mail me at pdutt@cayugalandscape.com.

Pat

_____________________________________________________________

GOMBBS      3-12-13

GOMBBS refers to greens, onions, mushrooms, beans, berries and seeds (nuts).  These are nutrient-dense and healthful foods that you might want to try growing.   In January, I planted some lettuce and other greens in seed starters and they’ve been growing in my greenhouse window since then.  They won’t be transplanted outside until the temperatures warm, but I did sow spinach, lettuce, peas (soaked for 48 hrs) and carrots outside on March 10th.  Temperatures were warm enough so that the upper few inches of soil were not frozen; today, March 21, second day of spring, the surface soil of my garden is once again frozen.

The onions of GOMBBS not only include the typical onion, but leeks and garlic, both of which are over-wintering behind my house.  Although a big fan of mushroom cultivation, I haven’t grown mushrooms yet, but once I locate a source of sugar maple or oak logs (3”-6” diameter, 2’ long, cut within the last 2 weeks), I will begin experimentation and share my largesse with the log providers.

Beans are one of the easiest vegetables to grow, and they are very prolific, but shouldn’t be sown until after the last frost, probably mid-May.  The pole beans like to climb, so have a trellis or other structure for them, whereas the bush bean plants spread out on the ground.

Berries.  I can’t count how many articles I’ve read on the healthful aspects eating of dark colored berries.  Grow them, and eat them.  Three years ago I planted raspberries, gooseberries and blueberries, and all plants are thriving.  They benefit from an acidic soil, and coffee grains. If you aren’t aware of the multitudinous benefits of coffee grains (nitrogen, calcium, magnesium, increased acidity, increased oxygenation, potential slug fighter, etc.) then go online and google “benefits of coffee grains to soil.”  I do segregate my coffee grains from the rest of the table scraps (everyone composts… yes?) and then I periodically sprinkle the grains in the blueberry and raspberry gardens.

Not to forget the all-American strawberry!  I’ve heard the strawberries sold in the grocery store once again have some flavor, but I prefer to grow my own organic and flavorful strawberries. I recently read in Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants in Wild (and Not so Wild Places) – my choice when insomnia descends – that you can collect strawberry leaves and make a tea from them.  I will try this and let you know how it goes.

And last but not least, seeds and nuts!  NEVER toss out any squash or pumpkin seeds: they are very tasty roasted in olive oil and kosher salt.  As for nuts, I am in the initial stages of planting Chestnut trees, which means I’ve scouted out locations, but I need to amass the time and energy to properly prepare the soil.

Here at Cayuga Landscape we do have a huge variety of vegetable seeds including several types of lettuce, peas, beets, carrots, spinach and squash.  Click here for our complete list.  We have many varieties of blueberries.  The new high and low Brazelberries which self-pollinate, have a vibrant fall color and do grow well as container plants. We also have in stock strawberries, raspberries, currants, gooseberries and elderberries and plan to stock Chestnut tree saplings.

Be sure to stop by Cayuga Landscape and take a look at our high-quality seeds and plants so you can start eating your GOMBBS today.

 

Pat

 

Starting a vegetable garden                                        3-4–13

Have the prices and quality (nutritional/taste) of fresh veggies finally convinced you that  it’s time to start a vegetable garden?  But you’ve gotten only as far as the idea because adding another obligation to your already stressed-out work week seems impossible?  Well, read on: setting up one or two raised beds need not be the ordeal of the year.

I have 21 beds in my garden, nine of which are raised beds.  If I had to do it all over again, I would have set up all raised beds and dispensed with the rototilling because tilling my clay soil brought up thousands of weed seeds, and not only that, but the numerous weeds that germinated have become deeply entrenched in my clay soil.  A permaculturist will tell you there are no weeds—only plants in the wrong place.  My advice to anyone contemplating vegetable growing: start with a raised bed.  It will save you time in the long run.  Whatever weeds that dare take up residency in the bed can be easily removed.

How does one set up raised bed?  Location, location, location.  Avoid the shade (unless you’re growing mushrooms—which I haven’t done yet, but plan to) and Black Walnut trees if you’re growing something from the nightshade family, such as tomatoes or potatoes.

Here in Ithaca and surrounding lands, a fence able to keep out deer and other varmints is a must.  We at Cayuga Landscape design and build sturdy fences and raised beds.  This attractive fence below is made from black locust wood which is locally sourced and milled.  We use locust wood because of its strength, durability and longevity.  This wood requires no chemical treatment and will last 40-plus years.  Seneca stone borders will also stand the test of time.

 

Raised beds with Seneca Stone retaining wall edging, built in NE Ithaca in 2012.

Most of my raised beds, like those in the photo above, are 4 by 8 feet,, although two beds I set up last summer, and may not be ready for seedling occupancy this year, are 3.5 by 12 feet.  Bed dimensions are based on accessibility and arm-reach: you don’t want to walk in the raised beds and compress the soil or compromise the soil structure.

What to use around the perimeters of the beds?  I use local locust wood, pre-notched for 5 minute no-nail assembly, but you can use anything: old 2 x 4s, logs, stone, etc.  just as long as your material has not been pressure-treated or treated with chemicals. Old logs that you haul from the back woods are free but will require replacement way before the 40 year expiration date.

As for the bed interior: I completely cover and kill the grass or other vegetation with a couple sheets of newspaper or cardboard, then I add wood chips, leaves, manure, table scraps, coffee grains, egg shells, some compost and earth.  All in all, it’s about 7 to 10 inches thick.  Decomposition of the materials into a suitable soil using this ‘lasagna method’ usually takes several months.  You could also periodically water your lasagna.  A year ago last September, I set up two beds in this way, and in May, I was able to plant tomato, pepper and basil seedlings.  My tomato plants were six feet tall and my tomatoes were huge.  The soil was not, however, mature or fine enough for sowing seeds.

You can also fill the raised beds with 1-1-1 planting soil which we sell at Cayuga Landscape.  The 1-1-1 represents 1 part topsoil, 1 part compost, and 1 part coarse sand.  You could fill your raised beds with planting soil in the spring and plant seedlings that day — if you wanted to.  Other gardeners I’ve known have seeded their 1-1-1 beds and have been successful.

Raised beds with planting soil, designed and built by CLC.

 

Above is another series of raised beds designed and built by Cayuga Landscape, and filled with our planting soil.  Most raised beds have a depth of 6 inches, this customer (who was very pleased with the outcome!) requested 2-foot-deep beds to facilitate easier gardening.  Thanks to Dr. Erb for allowing us to use this photo.

Our Garden Center also stocks a huge variety of vegetable seeds including nasturtium, sunflower, lupine, pumpkin, squash, eggplant, peas, beans, beets, lettuce, carrots, peppers and more.

Next blog: ideas on what to put in your garden.  Pssssst  … .. GOMBBS.

 

 

Boxwood Leafminer, 4-7-12

Boxwood Leafminer

The Boxwood is one of the most adaptable and widely-used compact evergreen shrubs—especially in the Ithaca area—because of its resistance to deer.  There are Continue reading

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