Category: Gardening

Time to Harvest Sweet Potatoes


  Although some folks may be sad to see summer coming to a close, many gardeners are looking forward to harvesting their sweet potato treasures. Sweet potatoes are warm-season plants that are very sensitive to cold temperatures. The tuberous roots should be harvested by the time frost kills the vines or soon thereafter. Sweet potato roots continue to grow until frost kills the vines. Roots can be left in the ground for a short while; […]


Oedema Is a Corky Quirk


Plants that experience extremes in soil moisture may develop spots on their leaves, called “oedema” (also spelled “edema”). The spots may first appear as a blister or raised spot, particularly on the undersides of leaves, but may occur on the top side as well as on the stems. Eventually, the blister develops a rust-colored, cork-like scab. Oedema is most commonly seen in the greenhouse on ivy-leaf geraniums but also on pansies, jade, and other thick-leaved […]


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


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, […]


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 […]


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 […]


May Gardening Calendar


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, […]


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 […]


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, […]


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 […]


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