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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

A Happy Plant “Volunteer”—the Nanking Cherry

Nebraska Extension Master Gardeners are individuals who are passionate about gardening and sharing research-proven solutions.  Potential volunteers apply and go through an interview to be selected as an intern.  They will receive over 48 hours of initial education from experts in soils, botany, landscape design and more and give back 40 hours of volunteer service…

Gardeners Beware: Watering Tools

Recently I purchased a gardening wand for watering my garden and container plants.  In tiny lettering along the length of the wand are these words “Note: The brass in this product contains lead. Warning: This product contains one or more chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other…

Ooks! Cukes!

Have you ever been picking cucumbers and you find this massive yellow cuke that looks inedible and is a candidate for going straight into the compost pile? Then you wonder, “How in the world did I miss this the first time!” One easy way around this dilemma is trellising your cucumbers.  It is, after all,…