Category: Gardening

Mother Nature Gives Spring Bulbs the Heave-Ho!


It’s not unusual for Indiana weather to have trouble deciding what season it is. Warm spells during the dormant period often lead to bulbs poking their foliage (and sometimes flower buds) through the soil. While we’re more used to seeing this happen during February warm spells, our frigid temperatures arrived a bit early in fall 2019, followed by intermittent unseasonably mild weather. Indiana temperatures widely fluctuated in November and December, with the low temperature at […]


February Garden Calendar


HOME (Indoor plants and activities) Check water levels in cut flowers daily. Check stored produce and flower bulbs for rot, shriveling, or excess moisture. Discard any damaged items. Most houseplants require less water in the winter because growth is slow or stopped. Check the soil for dryness before watering. Move houseplants to brighter windows, but don’t place plants in drafty places or against cold windowpanes. Potted spring-flowering bulbs forced into early blooming can make good […]


January Garden Calendar


Home (indoor plants and activities) Keep holiday poinsettias and other plants near a bright window. Water as top of soil becomes dry. Increase humidity around houseplants by grouping plants together, placing them on a pebble-water tray or running a humidifier. Check stored produce and tender flower bulbs and roots for rot, shriveling or excess moisture. Remove and discard damaged material. Repot houseplants as they outgrow current pots. Yard (lawns, woody ornamentals and fruits) Check young […]


December 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 […]


Thankful for Cranberries


The cranberry plant is native to large portions of the northeastern United States as well as the West Coast states and portions of Canada. Cranberry production requires a rather unique acid bog habitat, which restricts its commercial production to just a few states. Wisconsin, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, and Washington are the leading producers in the US. The ideal soil pH is 4.0-5.5, quite acidic compared to other horticultural crops. A large supply of fresh […]


Honeyvine – a native plant that can be both friend and foe.


Q: This vine has perennially volunteered in my garden for a few years now. I let it grow because it seemed to please the butterflies, and the small white flowers smelled nice. At present it has grown chartreuse seed pods. Can you tell me what this vine is? Is it something I should destroy? – W.B. A: Ah, beauty and function are in the eye of the beholder. I believe your plant is what is […]

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November Garden Calendar


HOME (Indoor plants and activities) As houseplant growth slows, apply less fertilizer and water. If plants are dropping many leaves, move them closer to sunny exposures, such as west- and south-facing windows. Artificial lights may be needed to supplement particularly dark rooms. Pot spring-flowering bulbs with tips exposed 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 […]


Cut Back Perennials Now or Later?


Gardeners often ask, “When is the best time to cut back the dead tops of herbaceous perennials (stems die back to the ground each year)? Should we cut them in fall as the tops fade? Or wait until spring, just before new growth begins?” The answers depend, in part, on the specific plant and whether disease or insect pests are a factor. For most healthy plants, leaving plant tops over winter is fine and, in […]


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 […]


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