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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

The First Thanksgiving: A feast of native and local foods

Turkey, dressing (or stuffing, depending on where you put it or what you call it), potatoes, fresh bread rolls and pumpkin pie are the traditional fare for the celebration these days, but they are a far cry from what the original feast shared by the pilgrims and American Indians would have featured.