The Benefits of Fallen Leaves

It’s too bad autumn’s fallen leaves are seen as a nuisance, something to be gotten rid of as soon as possible. In truth, they are a boon to landscapes, serving as mulches, benefiting soils, and boosting our compost piles. Not only are leaf piles fun to jump in and make for great leaf fights, by…

Cleaning up the Garden

Cleaning up the garden, aka “garden sanitation” is not a sexy topic, but an important one in terms of future pest control and productivity.   So, what are the things to clean and to leave alone?  After all, you’re not going to advise us to scrub the dirt with a scouring pad are you?  Good…

The Picnic Beetle

Picnic beetles are small black insects with yellowish spots on their wing covers. This nuisance insect feeds on over-ripe and decaying fruits and vegetables. Its common name comes from its annoying habit of showing up in your potato salad at outdoor events. While it can damage fruits and vegetables, picnic beetles take advantage of over-ripe…

Growing Food Indoors? Sure!

As we celebrate National Indoor Plant Week, my question turns to can we grow food indoors?  The answer is emphatically, yes! Perhaps the simplest option for indoor food production would be to grow some container plants that would work well.  Crops like lettuce, arugula, and some of the other leafy greens have lower light requirements…

Spiny Solanums

Over the last few weeks I’ve talked about perennials and how common names can inherently hurt them.   However, this week the plant that has caught my eye and has recently become a new obsession is the porcupine tomato Solanum pyracanthos.  Unlike other plants with a misleading common name, this one delivers.  Yes this is a…

Fall is For Planting

A term in the green industry – an oldie, but a goodie – is “Fall is For Planting”.  The term sort of begs the questions: Planting what? And why?  Good questions, because some things are more suited than others.  In short, the items for planting are: trees, shrubs, turf, perennials, some veggies and even transplanting…

Late Summer in the Landscape

Late summer/early fall brings us a host of “to-do’s and not to-do’s” in the landscape.  First, a couple of not to dos: *Avoid fertilization of trees, shrubs and perennial flowers.  Fertilization at this time tends to promote new growth, which would likely be injured by upcoming fall frosts. *Don’t water with the same frequency and…

Last Hurrah! – Fall Veggie Gardening

Most people think that the only time to plant a vegetable garden is May. Those people are sorely mistaken. One of the most productive seasons in the garden is fall, and even early winter.

Squash Vine Borer

Nothing is more frustrating than seeing the almost-ready-to-produce zucchini plant collapse.  If the base of the plant is mushy and has holes, the most likely reason is the squash vine borer. The squash vine borer adult is a ½ inch long moth that doesn’t look or act like a moth. It has an orange abdomen…

Blossom End Rot of Vegetables

So your zucchini has these leathery brown areas on their blossom end?  What is this and what can a gardener do about it? Blossom end rot is confusing because it looks like it’s caused by a fungus.  It isn’t a fungus.  Instead it is a lack of calcium that is the cause.  Before you rush…