Pruners, loppers and handsaws

Mon. Mar. 3, 2014

Click below to listen to the Radio Show:  Pruners, loppers and handsaws

I brought up pruning just before our record blizzard a week and a half ago.  By the way, all that heavy snow is not good for our trees and shrubs.  Larger trees including evergreens can handle getting the snow off of them but some of our delicate shrubs, such as rhododendron, could be damaged further if we try to shake snow off of them.  Back to pruning…

The right tool for the job is paramount to  … [Continue reading]

GMO vs hybrids

Fri. Feb. 28, 2014

Click below to hear the Radio Show:  Genetically modified vs hybrids

Hybridizing, genetically modified and genetically engineered.  Hmm, is there a difference?  Hooo, boy, this is a big topic and it won’t be answered here but there are distinctions on HOW plants are modified.

Modifications aka genetic mutations take place in every living thing naturally.  When 2 people have a baby, there’s some mutation going on.  Not sure that’s real romantic but, I hope, you catch my drift.

This tomato ‘Sun gold’ was bred for disease resistance and  … [Continue reading]

More on to squish or not to squish…

Thu. Feb. 27, 2014

Click below to listen to the Radio Show:  More on to squish or not to squish

Ingrid Hoff, an entomologist  gave a great talk at the Proven Winners extravaganza at the Landscape Arboretum a couple of weeks ago.  I didn’t get to all of her top 10  garden bugs in my previous post this week, so here goes. 

The Lacewing larvae is like a little aphid-eating lion!  Do NOT squish this wonder bug.

Lacewing larvae - University of Iowa
Lacewing larvae – University of Iowa
Aphids - yellow
Aphids – yellow

Aphids come in a variety of  … [Continue reading]

Winter seed sowing and indoor seed starting

Wed. Feb. 26, 2014

Click below to listen to the Radio Show:  Winter seed sowing and indoor seed starting

The frigid temperatures are back and we have a ton of snow so I’m not sure how many would actually do this right now but here goes…

snow on lilac

winter seed sowing

The photo above is from Danamay Farm.

You still have a week to get outside and plant native seed.  Yes, I said plant!  According to Prairie Moon Nursery, from late October thru the month of February is a good time to broadcast native seed for  … [Continue reading]

To squish or not to squish…

Tue. Feb. 25, 2014

Click below to listen to the Radio Show:  To squish or not to squish

…that is the question!

When we see bugs in our gardens we immediately think, trouble.  But that’s not always true, in fact, there are many bugs we need in our gardens, they eat the bad bugs we don’t! Take for instance this ugly little thing:

Lady bug larvae - photo by Lee Ruth
Lady bug larvae – photo by Lee Ruth

It looks somewhat like a tiny  spiny black and orange accordion!  These larvae are voracious aphid eaters.  We LOVE the lady  … [Continue reading]

Pruning Shrubs

Mon. Feb. 24, 2014

Click below to listen to the Radio Show:  Pruning Shrubs

When I wrote this we didn’t have 85 feet of snow on the ground!  😉  Okay, there’s still not quite THAT much but still….

Burning Bush
Burning Bush

The heavy snowfall can damage trees and shrubs.  My friend and landscape guru, Glenn Switzer, says gently knock the snow off your larger trees and sturdy shrubs.  Some more delicate shrubs, such as rhododendron, must be left alone.  You could damage them further.

Timing is everything! Do NOT prune any spring blooming  … [Continue reading]

Sapsucker you say!

Fri. Feb. 21, 2014

Sapsucker you say?  Yellow bellied even?  Your first image MAY be of a cowardly bird.  However, there are others who see red…  Homeowners have accused these lovely birds of killing their trees.


A friend and colleague, Faith Appelquist, says “Not True”.  While the sapsucker creates those holes you see in the picture below, Faith, an arborist with her own company Treequality, says those holes will scab over.  The caveat is that if trees are already stressed or in decline for other reasons they may be set back  … [Continue reading]

Veggies in part shade? Oh Yes!

Thu. Feb. 20, 2014

Most people believe you must have full sun (about 8 hours) to plant all veggies.  And while I agree that full sun is optimal, it’s not necessary.  So says Jeff Gillman in his book ‘Decoding Gardening Advice’.

I highly recommend this book!  In fact, I interviewed Jeff on another show I do called “15 with the Author” on KYMN radio on another of his books called ‘How the Government got in your backyard”.  Click HERE to listen to the podcast.

Gillman says these vegetables/herbs need as little as 2  … [Continue reading]

You got moonflowers in my morning glory

Wed. Feb. 19, 2014

Ruh Roh!  A woman asked a Master Gardener how she could have 2 different types of flowers in one container.  This “chat” took a while as other MG’s chimed in about possibilities.  The woman had bought a single planting (or so she thought) of Moonflowers from a big box retailer.

What she wound up with was a plant that appeared to have 2 different types of flowers on one plant.  Mixed in were Morning Glories.

Then, a University of Minnesota Extension prof came up with, what we think, is  … [Continue reading]

Prepare to Prune

Tue. Feb. 18, 2014

Finally it would seem our frigid temperatures have broke…  PLEASE Mother Nature!  Now that it’s not SO cold that we can’t get outside but cold enough to prune our trees and shrubs without damage, it’s time to Prepare to Prune!

Keep in mind, DON’T prune spring flowering shrubs until AFTER they’ve flowered or if you’re just removing dead wood.


This is also a good time to really look over your plants for any pests.

To prepare your tools you’ll need steel wool, a sharpening stone or file and  … [Continue reading]