Tips & Tricks

Tips & Tricks

Whether you are adding to an existing landscape or garden or starting new, Begick Nursery has the answers.

October Gardening To-Do List

Here’s a quick list of what needs to get done in your garden in October:

  • Plant garlic for harvest next summer
  • Keep watering and weeding
  • Harvest veggies regularly to keep plants producing well
  • Clean up garden debris
  • Direct sow fall veggies like spinach, radishes, and carrots
  • Keep deadheading your annuals to keep plants looking their best
  • Remove annuals that are looking ragged and replace with mums, ornamental kale, or pansies
  • Dig and divide any perennials that look overgrown.  Mulch heavily with leaves for winter protection
  • Plant spring blooming bulbs like tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, and allium



Mums are a perfect way to add some color and jazz to your fall landscape.

  • Mums come in a variety of colors:  white, yellow, gold, bronze, red, burgundy, lavender, pink and purple.  Many treat their mums as annuals, using them to decorate their yard for fall, or planting in their container gardens.
  • If you’d like to plant your garden mums, and overwinter them, follow these steps:
  • Choose an area in your yard that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight per day
  • Choose an area with well-drained soil
  • Take them out of their pot, even when they are in fiber pots and lightly break up the roots
  • Plant them about 1 inch deeper than the original nursery pot
  • Remember to water, and water at the base of the plant, not over the top of the plant
  • After your mums have browned, cut them back about 4-6” above the ground, and mulch the base with 4” of mulch, leaves, straw, or pine needles
  • Remember where you planted them come spring so you don’t mistake them for a weed, and pull them up



Tips for Saving Seeds - Espoma

This Garden Tip comes from Espoma:

Savvy gardeners are known for not letting anything go to waste. They are the compost kings and queens. They are smart about how they water. They use every inch of their garden to plant something amazing. So when it comes to seeds, why would that be any different? Saving seeds for vegetables is simple and wallet-friendly. It allows gardeners to be sustainable within their own garden.


Saving Seeds Basics

Saving seeds is easy to do. Its three simple steps: harvest the seeds from the vegetables, dry the seeds and store the seeds. Of course there’s a little more to know, but it’s truly that straightforward. Depending on the vegetable you want seeds from, there’s a little bit of washing to do too.  We have outlined three popular vegetables to get you started.



Peppers are the easiest vegetables to get seeds from. When they have changed colors and are ready to eat, the seeds are ready as well. Cut the peppers open, scoop out the seeds onto a ceramic or glass plate and lay them out to dry. Make sure the seeds are lying flat, not stacked on top of each other. Twice a day move the seeds around to ensure they aren’t sticking together. When they break, not bend, in your hand they are ready for storage. Be sure to use ceramic or glass as the seeds will stick to paper.



At the end of the season, pick off overly ripe cucumbers and bring them inside. Cut the cucumber open lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. To get the excess goop and coating off, rise and swirl seeds in a sieve gently. Spread them on wax paper to dry. Mix them occasionally to ensure even drying.  Store when the seeds feel rough but not slippery.



Lettuce plants need to flower before you can harvest their seeds. One lettuce plant can produce a lot of seeds, so you don’t need to worry about all of them. When the flower heads are dried out and have puffs of white, the seeds are ready to be harvested. Pinch off the flower heads and collect them in a bag. Bring them to a table and break them open so the seeds fall out. Some of the flower may stick to the seed, it is fine. It won’t disrupt the germination of the next season. Allow the seeds to dry and store.



Airtight containers work best for all seeds described. If taken care of, these seeds can last a few years! Keep them at room temperature and they will be ready to go when planting season begins.




Overwintering Guide - Proven Winners

Here’s a quick list of steps from Proven Winners for keeping your plants over the Winter season:

1. Round Up Your Plants

  • Gather up the potted plants you’ll be bringing inside, and dig up the plants you’ll be repotting. Try to get a good portion of the root ball when digging them up.
  • Pick healthy plants. If they’re not healthy outside, they’ll struggle even more inside.
  • You can take plants out of combination containers and create monos. Monocultures are easier to care for indoors. It’s easier to address disease and water issues with monos.

2. Repot the Plants

  • Don’t use dirt from the ground in your containers. Use quality potting soil. Plants need more air around their root system when they’re in a container.
  • Fill a container about two inches below the lip with potting soil before putting in the plants. Dig out a spot for your plant, put it in the hole, then back fill around the plant with the soil you moved out of the way.
  • Tip: Make you use the right kind of soil for the plant you’re re-potting. For example, a coleus will want standard potting soil but plants like a lemon coral sedum or portulaca will want a lighter cactus soil blend.

3. Groom, Prune and Check for Insects

  • Remove any damaged and diseased looking leaves. Prune back any branches that look straggly or long.
  • A good rule of thumb for pruning: You can prune back by about half of the branch length without damaging your plant. Pruning back will give more energy for fresh growth, filling in the plant instead of leaving it to get lanky and spindly-looking.
  • ​Keep your eye out for insects and diseases: aphids, spider mites, and powdery mildew are all things you want to address before bringing your plant indoors.

4. Apply a Preventative Insecticide

  • Just in case you missed anything while inspecting the plants, it’s a good idea to cover all your bases. Bugs like spider mites are hard to spot.
  • This is a good step to get out of the way while you’re still outside so you’re not spraying insecticide indoors.
  • Make sure to spray the tops and bottoms of your plants for full coverage. We recommend an organic insecticide.

5. Water the Plants

  • This is another good step to do while you’re outside. Water the plants generously until water is coming out of the bottom of the pot. Let the plants drain before bringing them indoors.

6. Bring the Plants Inside

  • Make sure you put down a saucer or drip pan to protect your household surfaces.

Tips for Success

  • Provide proper lighting. Day length in winter is so much shorter and the sunlight is less intense, so even low light plants prefer to be in a brighter spot. If there are no bright spots, you can set up grow lights.
  • Humidity helps. Household heating systems can dry plants out. Mist the air around the plant regularly to keep the humidity levels comfortable for the plants.




Natural Organic Pest Control – Lady Bugs are here!

Lady Bug and Green Lacewing Eggs

Effective Organic Pest Control


Always keep used container of Lady Bugs/Green Lacewing eggs out of direct sunlight and as cool as possible.  Best if kept in a refrigerated at 35-40 degrees as they will hibernate at this temperature.


Directions for releasing Lady Bugs:  water garden area before releasing bugs.  Since lady Bugs do not fly at night it is best to release them after sundown, if not they will immediately fly away.  Shake them out of container at the base of the plants that have aphids as the bugs will crawl up.  Release 1/3 the first night, another 1/3 two nights later and the last 1/3 two nights after that.  Always keep unused bugs in refrigerator to keep them dormant.  As long as the lady Bugs have a food source they will stay but once the food – your aphids are gone so are the lady Bugs.


Green Lacewings are predators of many species of pest insects and mites.  These attractive, pale green insects are an effective natural enemy of aphids, mites, whiteflies, mealbugs, leafhoppers trips, and all types of moth and butterfly eggs and caterpillars.

Lacewing adults are ½ to ¾ inch long.  They have transparent, pale green wings and bright metallic gold eyes (also known as “Golden Eyes”). Adult Lacewings are not themselves predaceous (predatory insect), but feed on honeydew, nectar and pollen.  They lay tiny pale green eggs on hair like stalks attached to the underside of leaves. In several days the lacewing larvae hatch.  These larvae are the active searchers, immediately beginning to move over the plant in search of food. Because they are such voracious aphid eaters, consuming as many as 1,000 aphids each day, they are called “Aphid Lions”.  They also devour a great deal of other insects.  Do not feel discouraged because you have difficulty locating the Lacewings once they are released, the larvae are very secretive and do most of their foraging at night when water is available.

Directions for releasing Green Lacewing eggs: you will receive the Lacewings as dormant eggs and ready for hatching.  Once they hatch they are HUNGRY! Using the whole container since they will be ready to hatch once warmed up, sprinkle them around your trees and plants. If placing in trees you can place a small amount in small paper cups and staple them to the leaves.  The Lacewing will crawl out and up into the tree (or plant).  The larvae will feed and devour everything in sight for about 3 weeks, then they will roll up into a little white pupae and emerge as an adult in about 1 week ready to lay eggs and start all over again! Yea!

Recommendations: WATER WASHING: in the event your plants are already heavily infested with aphids or other harmful insects, it is advisable to “water wash” your plants first.  This involves spraying the plants with a strong stream of water, thus knocking most of the insects to the ground.  The Lacewing larvae will establish themselves more quickly and prevent further re-infestations.



Herb and Vegetable Gardening

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Bay City, MI


Growing Together since 1950