Category: Gardening

Deicing Salts Harmful to Plants

Deicing salts can save your neck this winter, but they can spell disaster for landscape plants. Whether the salt is sprayed on the plants from passing traffic near the road or is shoveled onto plants near the sidewalk, the salt can cause damage. Salts can adversely affect plants in several ways. Salts deposited on the surface of twigs, branches, and evergreen leaves can cause excessive drying of foliage and roots. They can be taken up […]

Much Ado About Leaves

Ah, the beauty of Mother Nature’s palette coming to life in the fall color of our forest and landscape plants. For some, this marvel is overshadowed by the chores of raking and disposing of fall leaves. What’s needed here is an attitude adjustment! Autumn leaves don’t have to become trash. On the contrary, they easily can be turned into valuable soil-enhancing organic matter. For many urban dwellers, who already have their yard waste picked up […]


September “In The Grow”

Q. Although I am aware of the need to cut back or pinch mums until about the Fourth of July, I need your advice about other flowers, namely daisies, black-eyed Susans, impatiens and petunias. Should all of these be pinched, too, and if so, when? For some time now, I have noticed so many daisies and black-eyed Susans in beautiful clumps standing so stately. As soon as mine are blooming nicely, they begin to droop […]

Please Don’t Burn Your Leaves

B. Rosie Lerner Purdue Extension Consumer Horticulture Specialist The recent Arctic blast that visited our area made for a rather dramatic leaf fall in many neighborhoods. With large quantities of leaves blowing around their yards, some people may be tempted to resort to the old-fashioned and effective method of burning. However, in addition to being illegal in many areas, leaf burning leads to air pollution and is a health and fire hazard. The smoke from […]

Mulch for Winter Protection

By B. Rosie Lerner Extension Consumer Horticulture Specialist Winter mulch isn’t necessary for all garden plants, but it can mean survival for some less hardy ones. Winter mulch has a different purpose than summer mulch. The main benefits of winter cover are to protect against wide temperature fluctuations in the soil and to prevent extreme cold temperatures from harming plants. The goal is to keep the plants dormant, rather than to keep them warm. If […]

Propagate Herbs Now For Yearlong Enjoyment

B. Rosie Lerner, Consumer Horticulture Extension Specialist Herb gardeners can snip fresh herbs throughout the winter by propagating their garden plants now. There are several approaches to overwintering plants. One easy method is to dig up a plant, or a portion of one, and pot it up. Plants such as chives, lemon balm, mint, burnet and sweet woodruff can be lifted and divided into sections to create more plants. Dividing is a fairly foolproof method […]

Peanuts Make their Way to Northern Gardens

B. Rosie Lerner, Consumer Horticulture Extension Specialist Peanuts have long been a popular backyard garden crop in the southern United States, much to the envy of northern gardeners. But since some garden seed catalogs make peanuts available all over the county, peanuts &emdash; also known as goober peas &emdash; are making their way north. Peanuts do require a long, warm growing season of about 120 days. Bright yellow flowers begin to form about seven weeks […]

Prune, Propagate Raspberries For Tidy Garden, Better Crop

It’s time to sharpen up the pruners and head to the raspberry patch for a bit of midsummer gardening. Raspberries grow long stems (canes) that are biennial, meaning they produce foliage the first year, flowers and then fruit the second year. The second-year canes then die after the fruit is harvested. The specific pruning technique for raspberries depends on which type you’re raising. Summer-bearing red and yellow raspberries should be pruned to remove all old […]

January 1997

Q: In digging sweet potatoes last week, I, too, found the sweet potatoes hulled out or eaten. There had been a mole run along the sweet potato ridge, and every so far, I would see a round hole made in the mole hill. I dug out shrews, and the potatoes had been freshly eaten on. So, I think the shrews use the mole hill to travel in, and they eat the sweet potatoes and Irish […]

Grow a Windowsill of Flavor This Winter

(Released: 07 November 1996) By B. Rosie Lerner Extension Consumer Horticulture Specialist Although the outdoor garden may be getting ready for its long winter nap, you can continue to harvest the fresh flavor of herbs by growing a windowsill garden. Many herbs, including dill, parsley, thyme, chives, oregano, and mint, are adaptable to growing indoors in a sunny window. While some of these herbs may grow to be several feet tall in the garden, thankfully, […]

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