Category: Gardening

October Garden Calendar


HOME (Indoor plants and activities) Keep poinsettia in complete darkness for 15 hours each day — for example, between 5 p.m. and 8 a.m. — for eight to 10 weeks until red bracts begin to show. Pot spring-flowering bulbs to force into bloom indoors. Moisten soil and refrigerate 10 to 13 weeks. Transfer to a cool, sunny location, and allow an additional three to four weeks for blooming. Houseplants, especially those grown outdoors during the […]


Don’t let sap-sucking squash bugs get old


Q: We have been battling squash bugs for years. This year we went to preventive measures. Well, they are back. I now need to know what can we do to apply to kill them on contact. We are totally organic here. – T.H., Bremen, Indiana A: Squash bugs can be a persistent pest on all of the cucurbits, but especially on squash and pumpkins. This pest overwinters as adults in crop residue or nearby weeds, then fly to […]


September Garden Calendar


HOME (Indoor plants and activities) Prepare storage areas for overwintering tender flower bulbs and garden produce. Thanksgiving (or Christmas) cactus can be forced into bloom for the Thanksgiving holidays. Provide 15 hours of complete darkness each day, for instance, from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m., for approximately eight weeks. Keep temperature at about 60-65 degrees F. Temperatures of 55°F will cause flower buds to set without dark treatment. Dig and repot herbs, or take cuttings, […]


Her ‘Sensation’ lilac looks different this year. Enjoy!


Q: I have had a ‘Sensation’ lilac for several years. It has always produced lovely pinkish purple flowers edged in white. But this year it produced a few odd clusters that had only pale pink flowers. What causes this to happen? Should I prune off the odd branches? A: Many horticultural cultivars of plants, particularly those with interesting color variegation, begin as genetic mutations (sometimes called sports) of the species. If the sport with the […]


Squash blossoms drop, and sometimes that’s normal


A common complaint among vegetable gardeners is that their squash plants have a lot of flowers, but many of them just fall off without producing any fruit. This same observation can be made of cucumbers, melons, pumpkins and gourds, all of which are collectively known as “vine” crops to home gardeners. These plants are all members of the Cucurbitaceae family and are also commonly referred to as “cucurbits.” All of these vine crops produce separate […]


August Garden Calendar


HOME (Indoor plants and activities) Take cuttings from annual garden plants such as impatiens, coleus, geraniums and wax begonias to overwinter indoors. Root the cuttings in media such as moist vermiculite, perlite, peat moss or potting soil, rather than water. Order spring-flowering bulbs for fall planting. Cut flowers from the garden to bring a little color indoors, or dry for everlasting arrangements. YARD (Lawns, woody ornamentals, and fruits) Check trees and shrubs that have been […]


July Garden Calendar


HOME (Houseplants and indoor activities) Closely watch houseplants that have been set outdoors. They need more water than they did indoors. They can dry out rapidly in hot, summer breezes. Propagate houseplants by taking cuttings from vigorously growing plants. Place the cut end in rooting media (such as perlite, vermiculite, or peat moss soil mix). Enclose in plastic and keep out of direct sunlight. YARD (Lawns, woody ornamentals, and fruits) Keep newly established plants watered […]


Renewal pruning has immediate, delayed rewards


Q:  I have 2 Forsythias, 2 Spireas, a Ninebark and a variegated Dogwood that appear to be half dead. My thought is to cut them down now to regrow so they’ll have all summer to do this. What are your thoughts? Last year all of these bushes were lush and full. A: Although it could be done now, late winter is the ideal time of year to completely cut the shrubs to the ground. But […]


June Garden Calendar


HOME (Houseplants and indoor activities) Indoor plants will require more frequent watering and fertilizing as they increase their summer growth. You can move houseplants outdoors to a shady location, but pay close attention to their watering needs. Cut garden flowers for indoor beauty. Recut the stems again just before placing in water. Add a floral preservative, and change the solution frequently. Root cuttings of houseplants and garden plants to increase your collection or share with […]


Bee proactive in protecting pollinators


Gardeners play a critical role in the nurturing and conservation of both native and introduced pollinators. Gardens and landscapes provide pollinators with food, water, shelter and habitat to complete their life cycles. Urban areas typically feature large areas of pavement and buildings and offer little in the way of food or shelter for pollinators. Garden plantings can help bridge the gap. By federal proclamation, June 17-23, 2019, is National Pollinator Week. Now in its 12th […]


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