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…

Japanese Beetles—They’re Colorful, They’re Hungry and They’re Here

The most important thing to understand about Japanese beetles is their feeding doesn’t kill trees, shrubs and flowers.  Granted, it isn’t fun to see the lacy leaves they’ve created, but pesticide management options require thought and planning before you set out for revenge. Systemic insecticides, for instance those containing the active ingredient imidacloprid, are taken…

Grasshoppers

They are cute.  They are little.  So what is the big deal if there are lots of grasshoppers?  These seemingly innocuous little guys and gals can be quite harmful to our landscape plants and vegetable gardens.  As grasshoppers grow, their appetites become larger, making the damage they do even more severe. Floating row covers and…

Herbicide Damage to Vegetable Plants

Twisting, curling, and cupping of leaves are often symptomatic of herbicide damage on vegetable plants. The culprits that most readily cause this type of damage include 2,4-D (used to kill broadleaf weeds in lawns and pastures), dicamba (lawn and crop broadleaf weeds) and picloram (pasture broadleaf weeds). These herbicides are plant growth regulators, killing weeds…

Leaf Scorch

Leaf scorch, also called sunscald, is the bronzing of leaf surfaces and crisping of leaf edges.  Even plants that are well-adapted to our climate can be scorched.  Plants have amazing resiliency, especially when Mother Nature eases them into changing seasons.  But taking into consideration a spring like this one—cold and rainy—then an abrupt change to…

Early Summer Stress

What happened to spring?  We know that Southeast Nebraska and Southwest Iowa can have some challenging weather to contend with, but this caught us all off guard.  We are getting calls asking how this will affect our landscape plants and what can be done to mitigate damage.  We experienced record heat over Memorial Day that…

Pollinators and their Health

One third of our food supply exists because a pollinator moved pollen from one flower to another. Their quest for nectar and pollen means we reap the benefits by harvesting fruits, vegetables, and legumes. Despite the necessity of pollinators for a reliable food supply for humans, pollinator habitat is in jeopardy because of reduced food…

The Hard Truth about Rocks at the Bottom of Planting Containers

As we get our containers ready for planting our amazing annuals or that coveted tomato plant, conventional “wisdom” dictates we must first add an inch or so of gravel.  Problematic? You bet! Rocks in the bottom of containers do not contribute to better draining soils and healthier plants.  Instead, plant roots encounter saturated soils that…