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…

Cool Season and Warm Season Vegetables

Cool season vegetables are those that grow best during the cooler growing conditions of spring.  In some cases, a light frost will actually enhance their flavor.  Cool season vegetables can be planted/sown as soon as the ground can be worked in early to mid April.  The really terrific thing about cool season vegetables is that…

Garden Gnome

Garden gnomes.  Are they cute or whimsical or just a waste of space?  I for one, think they are adorable and should grace any garden.  They have been around for centuries some literature date them back to the 1600’s but they didn’t hit mainstream until German 1800’s. Phillip Griebel popularized these mythical creatures in Germany…

Three Must Have Books

This week on the GROBigRed Blog we are celebrating National Library Lover’s Month and the books that we love to use.  I want to share two of my go-to books and a new addition that I am excited to have this year. Field Guide to Wildflowers of Nebraska and the Great Plains (ISBN 978-1-60938-071-7) by…

National Plan Vacation Day–Include A Botanical Garden!

It’s National Plan Vacation Day! In recognition of a gardener’s favorite vacation site–the botanical garden–we’re running this article that appeared in the December 2017 Master Gardener newsletter Roots & Shoots from Master Gardener Connie Lowndes. Enjoy! Horticulture Traveling on a Dime: Nebraska Statewide Arboretum Pass by Connie Lowndes, Master Gardener We love our Nebraska Statewide Arboretum…