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…

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.

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…

Crosnes—The Tubers That Look Like Beetle Larvae!

Master Gardener Glen brought me some crosnes, which he grows and harvests. What are crosnes and why would anyone eat them? The crosne, pronounced “crone” or “crow-sn” is a member of the mint family, Stachys affinis, and produces these neat little segmented tubers resembling beetle larvae. Crosnes are native to China and Japan but take…

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.