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Around Grant County

  • Bramble, viruses

    We gave up on the raspberries a couple of years ago, their fruit was so perishable and the plants lacked vigor.  
    We would cut the ‘Royalty’ raspberries all the way to the ground each year and forgo an early crop to manage disease but it didn’t seem to pay off.  It was never a total loss, but about half the canes would be dried up and diseased by now.    
    One problem that materialized is a condition called “doubles”, which is caused by a virus, as are most bramble troubles.  

  • Bumper crop of squash not a sure thing

    You know all the jokes about people having bumper crops of summer squash?  Squash shows up in people’s cars or in public spaces because there is so much that the gardener can’t even give it away.  
    I have a little bit of that problem this year and I give credit to the variety and the fact that it was plated later than usual.  I also planted loads of it!  Some folks, however, may not be so blessed with a bumper crop.

  • Barnacles on plants are lichens

    Have you ever gotten blamed for something you haven’t done?  Most of us have experienced this and it is a dreadful feeling.  Well, there are a great many things we blame erroneously on one thing or another, and lichens are one of them. Lichens, often described as barnacles by worried gardeners, usually show up on woody plants after some sort of thinning or decline has occurred.  They are not the problem only the result of a change in the plant’s environment.

  • Shade devices for the vegetable garden

    It’s been hot and humid the last few weeks! I was hopeful that this summer was going to be idyllic…at least we got pop up rainstorms to keep things hydrated. These 90-degree days, however, are putting us on track for some serious heat and some of our vegetables will love it and some will not.  
    I know we can’t change the ambient air temperature on a 90 degree day but we can provide some shade for our plants on the hottest days of the summer with reasonable results.

  • Beech trees are worthy of attention

    “If the word noble had to be applied to only one kind of tree, the honor would probably go to the Beech.”- James Crockett
    I must agree with Mr. Crockett’s sentiment.  The Beech remains one of my favorite trees.  They make great shade trees with a low canopy, often touching the ground.  Beeches are stately trees that can be easily identified in the fall because of their golden color; and in the winter because the leaves have a tendency to remain attached to the tree. The smooth, elephant-like bark of beeches is a plus in any season.

  • Powdery mildew in the garden

    Powdery mildew is probably the most common garden fungus around.  It is not too terribly picky about where it spreads, it likes humid weather, thrives in the heat of the summer and is hard to control once it has started.  The trick here is to prevent it from happening by proper plant selection, spacing, pruning and treatment before it spreads.

  • Some plants like it wet

    There are some plants that demand good drainage:  taxus, coreopsis, gaillardia and penstemon, to name a few.  I have lost them all because they were poorly sited in the garden but now that I know where water is slow to drain I know where to plant those trees, shrubs and perennials that like wet environments.  There is an upside to poor drainage for some plants, just be sure that water is available when Mother Nature doesn’t deliver.
    Trees for wet areas include both common and not-so-common species.  

  • Flowering vines

    Annual and perennial vines can be a colorful answer to many landscape problems.  Do you have an unsightly wall, hate that chain-linked fence or mail box?  Or maybe you just have a spot that needs some summer color?  Perennial vines like clematis, honeysuckle and the non-blooming, deciduous Virginia creeper can add color and texture to any area were a climbing environment is offered.  

  • Pruning spring flowering shrubs

    June 1 is the official cut off that marks the difference between a spring bloomer and a summer bloomer.  Does it matter that you know?  Yes, if you want to properly prune because pruning after June 1 could result in no blooms next year.

  • Fat vs. thin asparagus

    I was catching up on some magazine reading the other day and on two occasions I read the phrase “choose thin spears” and I got so frustrated. These spring articles were about asparagus and I would like to go on the record that when it comes to homegrown asparagus (and even the wild growing in the fence rows) fat is good!
    The fat spears have always been tender from the garden so don’t let anyone fool you on the fresh from the garden variety. They are particularly well-suited for the charcoal grill.