Protecting young fruit trees

Tue. Oct. 2, 2012

Radio Show: Protecting young trees
Harvesting ‘Honeycrisp’ apples from your backyard is a slice of heaven here on Earth!  But the bunnies love their bark.  Young fruit trees are especially vulnerable to rabbits.

Protect those trees this winter with a simple solution.  The plastic white spiral guard.

white spiral tree guard

Sink this guard into the ground about 2 inches.  Make sure there’s air circulation around the trunk, you don’t want this too tight.  Not only does this tree guard protect from critters but also from the winter sun.  Listen  … [Continue reading]

Boxelder bugmania

Mon. Oct. 1, 2012

Radio Show: Boxelder bugmania
Boxelder bugs may be benign but it sure doesn’t feel that way when they fly in your hair!  EW, it’s like a scene from a horror movie as I approach my garage and have to bat away the bugs.  I’d scream but I don’t want to open my mouth – what if they fly in?!?  Egad.

Boxelder bugs on Boxelder tree!

Use caulk, expandable foam, fine mesh screens or steel wool to secure all your windows and doors.  Even those areas you don’t think they can  … [Continue reading]

Rubbing alcohol vs bleach

Fri. Sep. 28, 2012

Radio Show: rubbing alcohol vs bleach
This isn’t the most exciting garden bite, but as we move into Fall, there are chores to do.  One of them is cleaning up containers and pruning dead or diseased branches.  I repeat, the pruning should ONLY be on dead or diseased wood.  The ideal time to prune for anything else is in late winter or early spring.

I’ve used a 10% bleach solution to disinfect tools and clean pots but rubbing alcohol comes cheap and is less corrosive.  Should you use bleach, be  … [Continue reading]

Yard garbage becomes potting gold

Thu. Sep. 27, 2012

Radio Show: Yard garbage becomes potting gold
Turning yard garbage into potting gold is easy and a great way to get the kids involved. They can actually think they’re having fun cleaning up the yard as they hunt for treasures to create a piece of potting gold!   😉

Pot of Yard Gold

Those fuzzy things on the left of the pot are clematis seedheads, there’s also sliced pieces of a boxelder branch.   Start by dividing your pot in thirds or fourths depending on how large your pot is.  Use twigs  … [Continue reading]

Dairy ants

Tue. Jul. 31, 2012

Radio Show: Dairy ants – seriously
Dairy Ants herd aphids and milk them for a tasty treat.  They keep them all winter, protect them from predators (except from me!) and stroke the aphids with their antennae which makes the aphids secrete a milky substance which the ants eat.  Mutual admiration society!

Black aphids

Dairy ants

I just had to share a photo of my lemon yellow lilium!

Asiatic Lily ‘Lemon Yellow’

While I really love the look of Ninebark, I’m not a fan of the powdery mildew that seemed to

 … [Continue reading]

White-lined sphinx hummingbird moth

Fri. Jun. 1, 2012

Show Date: 1 Jun 12
As I sat on my patio eying the lovely Honeysuckle vines, I was struck by a tiny creature that I would’ve swore was a hummingbird!  It’s amazing wings were in constant motion as it flitted from flower to flower dipping it’s tongue inside to get nectar.  Wait a minute!  Tongue?  Hey, I think I see antennae!

What the heck IS that!?!  Turns out this little beauty is tough to capture so I feel rather privileged that I was able to snap a photo.

Although they  … [Continue reading]

Sewage sludge

Tue. May. 29, 2012

Show Date: 29 May 12
Hmmm, there’s a new compost mix in town.  Well, it’s not THAT new but a local company in Minnesota wants to use sewage sludge, or if you prefer the sanitized moniker, biosolids, as compost.

The sludge is what remains of household sewage after contaminants have been removed at a wastewater treatment facility.   There’s issue as to whether all the contaminants can actually be removed.

I found a 2009 article in Mother Jones called “Sludge Happens” – they question the usage and, although I don’t really  … [Continue reading]

Pesticide alternatives

Fri. May. 11, 2012

Show Date: 11 May 12
I was just talking with a woman about how to kill weeds using no chemicals.  Aside from hand pulling, you can prepare a new bed by laying down old carpet, plastic tarps or heavy cardboard down over the area in the Fall and come Spring, you’ll find a weed free zone.

While many of us prefer not to use chemicals, there’s a place for them in some situations.  I recently interviewed Jeff Gillman an associate Professor in the U of MN Horticulture department.

An alternative  … [Continue reading]

Decoding gardening advice

Wed. May. 2, 2012

Show Date: 2 May 12
If you’ve ever listened to an old time farmer or gardener then you’ve likely heard some garden myths!  And even in recent years, there are myths that abound.  I recently interviewed Jeff Gillman, co-author of “Decoding Garden Advice” on my other show called 15 with the Author on KYMN radio in Northfield about another book of his.

His website offers more information as well.  Jeff

One of the biggest myths is that we need to till the veggie garden every year!  Not  … [Continue reading]


Tue. May. 1, 2012

Show Date: 1 May 12

Wool and mulch equals woolch or more accurately wool becomes mulch equals Woolch!  If you’ve ever had a strawberry bed you know how irritating it is to weed.  The University of Minnesota researched using wool as a mulch for a decade, the results….

overwhelmingly positive!  You can use woolch in any area of your garden.  My suggestion would be to keep it in the vegetable garden just because it’s not the prettiest thing in the world.

Woolch allows rain to get through but weeds don’t  … [Continue reading]