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…

Japanese Beetles 2018—Preparing for the Onslaught

Gardeners, plant aficionados and tree owners are battening down the hatches for the onslaught of Japanese beetles this growing season.  Here are some commonsense ideas for dealing with these voracious eaters. First, control measures for Japanese beetle (JB) grubs in the soil will help minimize damage to the turfgrass but does not create a force…

Soil Tests

T’is the season when many gardeners are thinking about soil tests.  Especially in instances when plants won’t grow, won’t flower or won’t respond to our best efforts, soil tests can be the logical next step. Bear in mind, however, that while the soil test results contribute to an overall understanding of the health of the…

When to Plant Which Veggies

Especially in Nebraska, spring weather can be variable.  You might even say “very variable”.  Warm and cold, wet and dry and combinations thereof make for a challenging early planting season.  With this in mind as an overarching consideration, we still need to start somewhere, with some kind of guidance.  A basic planting schedule as the…

Creating a Community Garden

A community garden is a collective place where local people grow vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers for local people.  There are many types of community gardens, ranging from neighborhood gardens to child care center gardens to food pantry gardens, and everything in between. The reason community gardeners garden is varied, with access to fresh food,…

5 Things to Know When Choosing a Spot for Your Vegetable Garden

Choosing the right place for your vegetable garden is an important first step in making gardening fun and productive.  Here are 5 simple things you can do when selecting a site. 1)  Vegetable gardens should be planted in full sun, but what exactly is “full sun”?  To be productive, vegetable gardens should receive 7 or…

In defense of Raised Beds

Why are raised beds a good option for gardening and why is the old practice of tilling up a spot in your yard bad? Learn a bit about soil structure and health in this rebuttal to an article demonizing raised beds in favor of tillage.

Garden Sanitation – Late Winter

The words “garden sanitation” sound kinda funny, at least to me, and also impart a connotation of an assertion that I’m uncleanly.  After all who is to say who is clean and who is not?   Perhaps the best approach is to remove all thoughts of human sanitation (taking a shower, washing your hands) and…

Weed Appreciation Day—In Praise of Dandelions

Weed Appreciation Day is March 28 and in recognition of this important day, I’m writing about the common dandelion. The dandelion, Taraxacum officinale, is a cool season perennial, having some of the first leaves to develop in early spring.  Leaves can be used in salads and are high in potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium and vitamins…