Category: Gardening

Use Caution With Spreading Plants

People often select plants first for their beauty and second for their functionality in the garden. Frequently, we don’t know or don’t consider a plant’s behavior when we’re selecting them. Almost by definition, a species that is an effective ground cover will have a spreading habit. But does that make the species aggressive or invasive? There can be much confusion about the meaning of the terms aggressive and invasive. Some plants, given their optimal habitat, [Read More…]


Indiana’s State Tree is a Popular Landscape Choice

If you’ve ever had to work on a tree leaf collection, no doubt you included a leaf from Indiana’s state tree. Also known as tulip poplar and yellow poplar, the tuliptree is actually not a poplar at all. It is a member of the magnolia family known botanically as Liriodendron tulipifera. The tuliptree is native to most of the eastern half of the United States and prefers rich, moist, well-drained, loamy soil. It is found throughout [Read More…]


Know When to Harvest Your Asparagus

Q. I planted a new asparagus patch last year. I just have a few spears up so far. Do you think the cold weather injured the plants this winter? Is it OK to harvest these spears? Someone told me I shouldn’t harvest at all the first year. A. Asparagus is pretty cold hardy, so if the plants were in good health going into winter, they should be OK. This chilly spring was very slow for [Read More…]


Gardening Calendar – May

HOME (Indoor plants and activities) Many indoor plants can be moved to shady locations outdoors but only after the danger of frost has passed. 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, [Read More…]


Tomatoes Are Tops for Summer Crops

Most gardeners would agree that tomatoes are the most popular crop for home growing. But what gardeners can’t agree on is what tomato is considered “the best, since taste is such a personal matter. The diversity of cultivars available makes it easy for anyone to grow tomatoes even if all you have is a pot on the patio. The Burpee Seed Company introduced the first F1 hybrid tomato ‘Big Boy’ in 1949. Since then, plant [Read More…]


April Garden Calendar

HOME (Indoor plants and activities) Start seeds of warm-season plants (including tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, marigolds, zinnias, and petunias) indoors for transplanting later to the garden. Harden off transplants started earlier in spring before planting outdoors – gradually expose the young plants to outdoor conditions of wind, brighter sunlight, and lower moisture. Apply fertilizer to houseplants according to label directions as days grow brighter and longer and new growth begins. Foliage plants require relatively high-nitrogen fertilizer, [Read More…]


Prune Lavender at the Right Time

Q. I have two lavender plants by our front porch. I’m not sure when to trim them. One time in the fall, I pruned them back and it killed them. I replaced those and the plants are now about two years old. Should I trim/prune them in the fall or spring? If so, how much? – C.G., Knox County A. Since lavender is only marginally hardy in our area, I would wait to prune them [Read More…]


March Garden Calendar

HOME (Indoor plants and activities) Begin fertilizing houseplants as new growth appears. Remove spent leaves and flowers to improve appearance and encourage more blooms. Start garden seeds indoors for transplanting outdoors later in spring. Check stored bulbs and produce for decay; discard damaged items. Prune, repot, and clean houseplants as needed. YARD (Lawns, woody ornamentals and fruits) Prune trees and shrubs (except those that bloom early in spring) while plants are still dormant. If you [Read More…]


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. Early blooms of spring-flowering bulbs can make good gifts for [Read More…]


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 [Read More…]


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