Spring Gardening Stories


Bee proactive in protecting pollinators


Gardeners play a critical role in the nurturing and conservation of both native and introduced pollinators. Gardens and landscapes provide pollinators with food, water, shelter and habitat to complete their life cycles. Urban areas typically feature large areas of pavement and buildings and offer little in the way of food or shelter for pollinators. Garden plantings can help bridge the gap. By federal proclamation, June 17-23, 2019, is National Pollinator Week. Now in its 12th […]


Leafy vegetables ready for short, cool growing season


Leafy vegetables are more nutritious and have fewer calories than most other vegetables, and they’re easy to grow. Most greens can be grown in relatively short, cool growing seasons, making them available for fresh harvest earlier than most other crops. If properly planned, fresh, leafy greens can be harvested all season long. Leafy vegetables adapted to cool Indiana spring and fall growing conditions include lettuce, spinach, mustard, collards, endive, and kale. Many new cultivars of […]


Rhubarb is prone to bolting. Here’s what to do


We humans can be so difficult to please. When plants flower when we want them to, we call it blooming. But when plants flower when we don’t want them to, we call it bolting. Flowering is an undesirable trait when growing rhubarb; therefore, bolting describes the event. Gardeners frequently ask why their rhubarb is bolting. Well, if you think of it from the plant’s perspective, it is just a part of the plant’s natural life […]


March Gardening 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 […]


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 […]


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 […]


When to Remove Maple Tree Sucker


Q. I have a maple tree (it is either an ‘October Glory’ or ‘Autumn Blaze’) that has (what I assume to be) a rather large sucker at the bottom. The diameter of the sucker is about 2 inches, and the tree trunk is 7 inches in diameter. I have attached pictures of it from different angles. I would like to know if it is OK to remove it? I’ve read quite a bit about these […]

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Where Have All the Flowers Gone?


Winter 2017-18 was pretty harsh compared to most years. Much of central and northern Indiana experienced 13 or more days well below zero, while southern Indiana had four to five days just a few degrees below zero. In addition, gusty winds further injured plants by desiccating buds and twigs. The consequences remain to be seen. While some spring flowering trees and shrubs may perform admirably this season, some species will have few or no blooms […]

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Why plants fail to bloom


Flowering plants that don’t bloom as promised can be a big disappointment in your garden. Reasons for lack of blooming are as diverse as the palette of plants from which to choose, but a little detective work can usually pinpoint the trouble. The most common factors associated with blooming, or lack thereof, include light, plant age, nutrition, extreme temperatures and improper pruning. Many woody plants must reach a certain age before they are mature enough […]

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Sour mulch can burn tender plants


Although the benefits of mulching garden plants are many, wood mulch that has been improperly stockpiled can lead to plant injury or even death. Young herbaceous plants are the most susceptible to such injury, which becomes obvious shortly after applying a hardwood bark mulch. Plants may look like they have been burned with fertilizer or pesticides, or possibly, are under severe water stress. All of the above could potentially be a problem, but apparently, we […]


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