Category: Gardening

Composting turns garden trash to treasure

Autumn frosts usually means lots of cleanup around the yard and garden. Why not turn that yard waste into treasure? Composting is a naturally occurring process that breaks down organic materials into an excellent soil amendment that improves soil structure, as well as adds some nutrients. Composting will help you recycle your garden wastes, improve your soil and reduce disposal costs. All organic materials will break down eventually, but gardeners can speed up the process [Read More…]


November Garden Calendar

HOME (Indoor plants and activities) Check houseplant leaves for brown, dry edges, which indicates too little relative humidity in the house. Increase humidity by running a humidifier, grouping plants or using pebble trays. Extend the lives of holiday plants such as poinsettias and Christmas cactus by placing them in a cool, brightly lit area that is free from warm or cold drafts. Houseplants may not receive adequate light because days are short and gloomy. Move [Read More…]


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 55F will cause flower buds to set without dark treatment. Dig and repot herbs, or take cuttings, [Read More…]


August Garden Calendar

Visit the Purdue Plant Info to Go/Purdue Master Gardener booth at the Indiana State Fair Aug. 4-20. Bring your gardening questions to the booth in the Purdue Extension Ag/Hort Building. HOME (Indoor plants and activities) Take cuttings from 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 [Read More…]


Blueberry damage could be plum curculio, Reduced production of strawberries

Q.  I have a few blueberry bushes planted in the backyard, and they’ve done well until last year. They started getting brown spots almost like a bite (see attached photo). No evidence of a pest and sprayed them with Sevin just in case. But that did not stop the browning, and most of the late season berries could not be eaten. Unfortunately, they appear to be starting that again this year already. Please advise and thank [Read More…]


Why plants fail to bloom

Flowering plants that don’t bloom as promised can be a big disappointment in your garden. Reasons for lack of blooming are as diverse as the palette of plants from which to choose, but a little detective work can usually pinpoint the trouble. The most common factors associated with blooming, or lack thereof, include light, plant age, nutrition, extreme temperatures and improper pruning. Many woody plants must reach a certain age before they are mature enough [Read More…]

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Sour mulch can burn tender plants

Although the benefits of mulching garden plants are many, wood mulch that has been improperly stockpiled can lead to plant injury or even death. Young herbaceous plants are the most susceptible to such injury, which becomes obvious shortly after applying a hardwood bark mulch. Plants may look like they have been burned with fertilizer or pesticides, or possibly, are under severe water stress. All of the above could potentially be a problem, but apparently, we [Read More…]


May Garden Calendar

HOME (Indoor plants and activities) Many indoor plants can be moved to shady locations outdoors but only after danger of frost is past. Plants will dry out more often outdoors, so keep a close eye on soil moisture. Sinking the pots in soil will help slow down moisture loss. Now is a good time to take cuttings of houseplants to increase a collection or share with friends. Root cuttings in media, such as vermiculite, perlite [Read More…]


Assess Pruning Needs

Now’s a good time to survey your landscape and decide what needs pruning following potential freeze injury late this winter, keeping in mind that not all plants need to be trimmed. Pruning generally stimulates new buds to develop and break dormancy, so this year we recommended delaying pruning to reduce freeze injury. We had mild conditions through midwinter, which caused some plants to emerge early from dormancy. The more recent temperatures in the teens and [Read More…]


Mild weather brings up the bulbs

It’s not unusual for Indiana weather to have trouble deciding what season it is. Recent warm spells have had many gardeners wondering what to do about bulbs, and perhaps a few plants that are poking their foliage through the soil. Just what should gardeners do about daffodils, dianthus and daylilies poking out of the ground? The good news is that no action is required. We’re used to seeing this happen in late winter during a [Read More…]


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