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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Answers to Your Gardening Questions

We hope you enjoyed meeting our Grounds Supervisor, Susan Burkhart, in our blog article last week. Thanks to everyone who posted a question for our gardening expert! Susan is pleased to share her love of gardening/landscaping with others and hopes many people will learn something new and will stop by to visit the gardens this season at Sauder Village!
Why would you recommend trying some heirloom varieties of vegetables in your garden? What are the benefits?

The flavor of older varieties is sometimes much better than new ones! When new varieties come out they are geared to helping prevent insect problems or some diseases. By trying to fix one problem they sometimes lose some of the rich flavor of the vegetable.

 I am considering starting a small garden. What is your best advice for a newbie?
There are several ways you can garden. You could try having just a planter box with some vegetables or could even just place some plants within a flower bed. If space is not a problem then maybe make a bed just big enough to try a few easy to grow vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce or even green beans. There are many questions to consider when starting a garden. Is this for one person’s use or more? How much space do you have? How much time do you have to spend gardening?  Feel free to call and I can give you more information to get you started. Susan, 800.590.9755.
Students from local school volunteer to help prune bushes.
I'm never sure about when to prune the bushes in my yard (Lilac, Forsythia and Burning Bush). Any suggestions?
The rule of thumb I use:  If it’s a flowering scrub that blooms from buds that were formed on the previous season’s growth, you need to prune it right after it is done blooming.  The scrub needs a full year’s growth to produce the blossoms.  Among these are azalea, bridal wreath spirea, dogwood, forsythia, lilac, mock orange, climbing roses, snowball viburnum and wisteria.
Other scrubs bloom on buds of the current season’s growth. These would be pruned during the dormant period. I like to do it when the weather breaks in the early spring when most of the harsh winter is done so there isn’t a lot of winter die back. Butterfly bushes, clematis, highbush cranberry, honeysuckle, rose bushes, and rose of Sharon.
Burning Bushes can be done anytime but it is best to prune in early spring before it leafs out you can see the shape better while pruning. When scrubs are out of control, sometimes it is best to prune to the ground leaving just a few inches for them to start all over. 

I want to know how to safely get rid of squash bugs! My zucchini and summer squash start out looking great...then almost overnight they shrivel up and die and I find those bugs! I don't want that to happen again this year!
This is a hard one because the Squash Vine Borer has a small window of time to get it under control and by the time you see you have a problem it’s too late. Try starting the seeds inside early in the spring, so the plants are too large for the bug to bother. They feed only when they are caterpillars for about a month. You have to watch for the female moth laying eggs which can occur in June or July. After the eggs hatch the white larvae then bore into the stems. This may take a little patience in checking daily the backs of the leaves. Picking off the egg infested leaves is non-chemical way. The insecticide that you can use would be something with Methoxychlor. You would apply this during the egg-laying time.

How do you recommend keeping grass/weeds out of my asparagus patch? I've heard using salt - but is that OK? 
I spray a circle around the patch with round up. This keeps the grass or weeds from suckering under ground and taking over the entire patch. I do use the rock salt or ice cream salt right in and around the whole patch to help control the weeds.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ask the Expert – A New Blog Series in 2014!

As part of our new blog series for this year, we plan to introduce you to many of the experts we have working at Sauder Village and also give you the opportunity to ask them a question or two! From gardening, crafts and preserving your artifacts to education and historic cooking – we hope you enjoy meeting some of our talented staff and take time to ask them a question. What a great way to learn something new!

Since there’s snow on the ground and we’re all dreaming of spring we’ve decided to start with a segment about gardening. We hope you enjoy meeting our Grounds Supervisor, Susan Burkhart.

If you have questions about anything garden-related please post a comment below, on our Facebook page or even send an e-mail to our Marketing Department at kmkrieger@saudervillage.org. Susan will answer as many questions as she can in an upcoming article. Thanks for helping us to share information that you are most interested in!

Meet Susan Burkhart

Title: Grounds Supervisor. Susan has worked at Sauder Village for 18 years

Main Responsibilities: Susan is responsible for taking care of all the landscaping at Sauder Village – including all historic gardens.

Favorite Part of Job: “I love my job!” Susan shared. “There are always a variety of things to do. My responsibilities change with the seasons – from planning gardens in the winter to planting flower beds, harvesting vegetables and decorating for Christmas! This time of the year it is fun to dream about the gardens. I love thinking of new ways to share our story and new garden-themed activities that guests can get involved with.”

Favorite Flower or Vegetable: “I love the variety of squash and pumpkins. It is so much fun to plant the seeds, watch them grow and as the leaves die back see the bountiful harvest,” Susan shared. “My favorite flowers are the “Proven Winners” variety of flowers – they are a step up from the standard variety and make such a statement in the barrels and gardens we have here at Sauder Village.”

Favorite Garden: “I love the Homestead Garden. It is large enough to have a variety of flowers and vegetables,” Susan shared. “The 1900s time frame allows for a very interesting garden – trains were starting to come through and that brought new varieties of seeds for families to plant (before that they just brought seeds with them). During this time period the ladies in the house also had more ‘leisurely time’ and could enjoy more flowers. They even dried them to use for decorating for Christmas!”

Anything New Planned this Season? “We want to do more with the gardens at Little Pioneers Homestead this year,” Susan noted. “We are looking at some changes to that garden area that will allow kids to get more involved – kind of a face-lift for Little Pioneers Homestead Garden.”

Some Gardening Tips from Susan:
- Try starting seeds inside during the winter, but start out simple.
- Take time now to plan your garden, do some research and order seeds. Start dreaming about what you want to have this summer!
- If you want to learn about heirloom varieties do research. Some great websites include:
     Seed Savers Exchange
     Sand Hill Preservation Center
     Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds

Other Notes of Interest: We usually have some plants available for sale in the spring – heirloom tomato varieties, Malabar Spinach, Ground Cherries and more! We also have produce for sale in the Fall – when there is extra. First goal is to use the produce in our foodways program and next we’ll have for sale in the Herb Shop.

Greatest Accomplishment: Susan has enjoyed having some of the Sauder Village gardens recognized in the media – both newspaper and magazine articles throughout the region.

Hobbies: In her spare time Susan enjoys kayaking, traveling, relaxing at the lake with her family and spending time with her kids at their sporting events.