Category: Autumn/Fall

Fall Leaves Are Treasure, Not Trash


The hot dry weather experienced throughout much of Indiana in late summer is bringing an early leaf drop to many landscape plants. But even under the best weather conditions, the shorter, cooler days of autumn signal deciduous plants to begin their color change and eventual leaf drop. For some, this marvel is overshadowed by the chores of raking and disposing of leaves. What’s needed here is an attitude adjustment! Autumn leaves don’t have to become […]


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 […]


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


Gardeners worn down; clearweed may be culprit


Q: I have had a garden on our property for about 14 years. Naturally, we’ve always had to deal with weeds, but until last year they had been the usual crabgrass and other types that could be controlled if you kept ahead of them. But last year, some type of weed or ground cover has sprung up, and it’s infuriating!! There is absolutely no way to weed it out by hand because it comes up almost […]


November Gardening 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 […]


Pussy willow shrubs can thrive in well-drained soil


Q: I am writing about a pussy willow tree I planted in my backyard in early August 2018. I have wanted one for some time and found one on sale at a discount department store. It didn’t have much info on what it takes to grow by ponds or lakes. So, if you could give me any information, it would be appreciated. A: A number of willow shrub species are commonly called pussy willows, so […]


October Gardening 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 […]


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; […]


Blue spruce not a great choice for Hoosiers


Q: We have 5.5 acres with several hundred white pines, 7 blue spruce, and 2 red pines. Several of the blue spruce are dying. Several years ago, two started dying from the bottom up. We put evergreen spikes around them, and after a year or so they came back to normal. Presently some of the large ones are now dying from the bottom to the top. We put spikes around two large and one small, […]


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