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…

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…

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.

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…

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…

Beekeeping in the City

Backyard beekeeping is legal (and encouraged) in the city limits of Omaha.  There are several beekeepers in the city, and many of the organizations that work with urban agriculture and community gardens in the city have beehives and provide education for those interested.

Pollinator Habitat

Pollinator decline has been a huge buzz word the last few years and rightly so.  With so much focus on the use of pesticides, viruses, mites and whatnot – leaves us feeling helpless. Welcome to the Nebraska Extension Pollinator Habitat Certification.  You spoke and we listened.  If you want to be a part of the…

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…

National Food Bank Day, September 1, 2017

Happy National Food Bank Day!  Many local food banks appreciate donations of dollars and non-perishable food items, but did you know you can donate extras from your vegetable garden too? The H.O.P.E. Project, Helping Omaha’s People Eat, is a service project run by Nebraska Extension Master Gardeners of Douglas-Sarpy Counties, and provides fresh produce to…