Tag Archive | Gardening

Wet vs Dry Fertilizer

Dry fertilizers are easier (and quicker) to apply, especially when large areas are involved, and though they are slower to take effect, they last longer. In most gardens, wet fertilizers are used for foliar feeding, sprayed directly on plant leaves for immediate uptake. They produce rapid results, but their action is short-lived.

Dry fertilizers are usually mixed with soil before planting. Later in the season they are used as side dressing, spread in a narrow band about a foot away from growing plants and then scratched in.

Ideally, dry fertilizers break down slowly, providing a steady stream of nutrients with minimal danger of root burn, weak hypergrowth, and other problems caused by too much, too soon. In practice, however, this doesn’t always work out. Dry chemical formulations are highly soluble, and while they are more durable than liquids, they disperse rapidly in warm, wet weather. They can work well, but it is important to use minimum amounts, mix them well with the soil, and keep them away from plant roots.

Most organic amendments, on the other hand, are minimally processed. They must be broken down by weather and soil microbes before the nutrients they contain are available to plants. While there are exceptions, as a general rule these natural products pose none of the dangers of rapid breakdown, and unlike chemical fertilizers, they offer long-term soil-building benefits. But there’s no denying they’re slow to download; you have to plan well ahead.

Aphids – the storm of gardens

This blog post is from botanichka.ru, a Russian garden site. It’s incredibly interesting to me that the same problems occur everywhere — and gardening is truly an international language! This has been translated from Russian so the syntax and grammar may not sound exactly right.

 

Very often in suburban areas aphid damage, many trees and shrubs. Thereby causing irreparable damage to the gardener. This small insect harms not only garden plants but also indoor. It can be seen even with the naked eye. Vegetable, fruit, berry and flower cultures are damaged by various species of aphids. Often, many gardeners do not know how to treat already diseased plants. Let’s see what kind of insects and how to fight it?

Description aphids

Aphids ( Aphididae ) – is insects of the order Heteroptera ( Hemiptera ) ranging from 0.5 to 2 mm. The body is egg-shaped, soft and easily crushed, the legs are long, but the insects are moving slowly. There are wingless and winged birds.

Apterous female oblong-oval long mouthparts, thickened front. Winged insects have two pairs of wings, they fly and infect other plants. Proliferation of the aphids is because only one apterous female fertilization to 10-20 times every two weeks to give progeny 150 larvae.

Adult aphids – small insect green or black. In the middle of summer in some individuals grow wings. Thus, pests move considerable distances to find new sources of food. Aphids lives on buds, stems and the underside of the leaves on the tips of young shoots, preferring fatliquoring branches (tops).

Aphids – exceptionally large group of insects. According to the most conservative estimates it has about 4000 species, of which almost a thousand lives in Europe. Each year, describes all the new types.

Reproduction and air migration

Aphid lays eggs, certain types inherent in a live birth. Most species of aphids multiply over several generations using parthenogenesis. Certain generation is born winged and opposite-sex. In species that change hands, it happens before settling at a new plant or too rapid growth of the colony and the associated overpopulation. Winged individuals are able to travel long distances and create new colonies in new places.

According to new research, birth winged aphids may be caused by the particular aromatic substances, which are released by aphids when they are attacked by the enemy, for example ladybirds. These substances cause warning in the colony of great concern and increased traffic. This creates the effect of overpopulation, which causes a rapid production of winged offspring.

Damage from aphids

The damage to plants, aphids, many people underestimate, but in vain. Aphids are sucking plant sap from the stems and leaves, buds and buds. In the affected plant leaves are twisted, deformed buds and shoots, growth is slowing, the fruits do not ripen. Struck the weakened plants may not survive the winter. In addition to direct damage, aphid transmission of viral diseases on sugary secretions of aphids settled the black sooty fungus (black sooty mildew).

Aphids pierce the veil and sucks the juice plant. In places of mass tissue bites are deformed, and then die. Flowers on peduncles infected do not develop, wither as soon reveal. Sam spike quickly fade. Aphids, like mealybugs, root scale insects, whiteflies, leafhoppers, shitovki, Coccidae, suck out the plant a lot more juice than they need to maintain vitality.

Excess moisture and carbohydrate excreted aphids in the form of sugary secretions called honeydew or honeydew. This sticky sweet liquid covers the plant, making it difficult to breathe. Pad is a good substrate for the development of various fungi. Sooty fungus, e.g., a sheet may cover a continuous layer, reducing the rate of photosynthesis that inhibits the already weakened plants.

External signs of injury

Along with the clearly visible to the naked eye of the defeat aphids insects indicate warped tops of the shoots, twisted leaves and sweet selection (honeydew) on leaves and shoots. Subsequently, these secretions settles sooty fungus. If you see that some ants running around plants, be sure to check for the presence of aphids. Usually attracts ants honeydew that aphids highlights.

For aphids symbiotic ants. Some ants protect ( “shepherd”), aphids and receive from it in return release containing sugar.

Aphids live in large groups on the underside of leaves around growth points, on young shoots, buds, stalks, feeding on plant juices. They are dangerous in that weaken the plant, reduce its resistance to disease, and may also be vectors of viral diseases.

In damaged plant leaves curl and turn yellow, form nodules, buds do not develop or produce ugly flowers. In mature leaves appear sticky plaque, which can settle the fungus. Particularly affected by aphids roses, carnations, fuchsia, many Araceae, vygonochnyh bulb culture.

Many species of aphids can spread plant diseases in the form of viruses and cause the plants a variety of abnormalities, such as the Gauls and gallopodobnye education.

The diet of aphids

Aphids can settle on almost any garden and indoor plants, it is important not to miss the moment and start a fight at the time. Especially attractive to aphids green fruit trees and shrubs, roses, chrysanthemums, many houseplants. For black – beans, garden cornflower, etc.

prevention

Carefully inspect all new plants brought into the house, or bought for the garden and bouquets of fresh flowers – they may already have aphids. Upon detection of the enemy – to urgently take measures to combat it, otherwise it will occupy your plants and the struggle will require you to disproportionate effort.

When it comes to aphids in the garden Put umbrella plants – carrots, dill, fennel, parsley and others. Thus you will attract to the garden tireless eaters of aphids – hover flies. Arrange the flower pots in the garden with wood chips – they can settle earwigs also big fans of aphids for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Attract birds in the garden – arrange for these feeders, bird houses, ruining not found in the garden of the nest, the birds eat aphids in large quantities.

Lavender planted in the rose garden, the green scare aphids.

Thyme (savory), seeded next with legumes, to protect them from the black aphids.

The cherry tree trunks Sow nasturtium – it will attract the black aphids, reducing the load on the tree, in addition to combat aphids on nasturtium easier than on a tree.

Do not overuse chemicals unnecessarily – with the pests you destroy their enemies, hover flies, earwigs, ladybugs, lacewings, riders, ground beetles and predatory bugs.

It is important to a balanced feeding of plants – aphids prefer overfed or weak from lack of nutrients the plant. In addition to regular feedings strong healthy plants should be the right choice growing location, sufficient light and water, good air circulation – all this also is the prevention of the pest. It is important to loosen the soil under the plants, but better – mulch.

Ways to combat aphids

Insecticides against aphids

Aphids fairly easily destroyed by insecticides. Insecticides aphid separated into preparations contact, intestinal and systemic action.

contact action drugs penetrate the insect body surface and kill him. An example is the preparation of such formulations: Fufanon (Malathion)

Preparations intestinal action enter the digestive system of insects, causing his poisoning and death.

The most common combination of drugs produce a contact-intestinal action: Akarin, aktellik, Bankole

Systemic medications penetrate into all cells of the plant, including the fruit, and kept it for 2 to 4 weeks, not washed away by rain and irrigation. Systemic medications have the largest waiting time, easy to use, but the most dangerous. You must be careful to use them. The most advanced system drugs: Akhtar, Biotlin, Tanrek.

Folk remedies against aphids

Decoctions and infusions of herbs against aphids

Effectively act decoctions of herbs and crops, e.g. Dryopteris , wormwood , tansy , tobacco dust , yarrow , hot pepper , dandelion , garlic , onion , foliage of tomato , potato haulm , mustard , rhubarb (from black aphids). Wanted 2-3-fold processing at intervals of 7-10 days.

It is suitable infusion garlic or onion : 30 grams of minced garlic (onion) and 4 grams of soap pour liter of water. If pour houseplant liter of warm water, which dissolve 80 grams of sodium chloride, it is possible to get rid of the aphids, and ticks. Spraying and watering should be carried out at least three times with an interval of 10 days.

You can use the infusion of onion peel , tomato leaves . Treatment should be repeated 3 times at intervals of 8-10 days. When heavily infested by aphids small plants can be omitted in this solution, previously covering the ground. It is also possible around the affected aphids plants put for 2-3 days scented pelargonium, and aphids will disappear.

Pestilent insects are opposed to the infusion of cayenne pepper . 100 g of fresh fruits pour water and boiled for at least an hour in a sealed container liter. Then, insist two days, pepper rubbed, and filter the solution. Spray tenfold concentrate is diluted with water, add a tablespoon to soap powder.

Abundant watering with liquid fertilizer nettle can sometimes expel aphids in a few days. Plants rapidly absorb this nutrient, reinforcing mixture and for this reason in a short time become more resistant to pests.

Celandine harvested during flowering (take the whole plant). 300-400 g or 100 g of fresh chopped dry weight necessary to insist in 1 liter of water is boiled for 24-36 hours or 30 minutes. It also helps by Coccidae and thrips.

Taraxacum officinale (300 grams of ground roots of either 400 g of fresh leaf insist 1-2 hours in 10 liters of warm water (not more than 40 degrees), filter and sprayed.

Tagetis (marigold) at the time of flowering (dry raw material bucket is filled 1/2, poured 10 liters of warm water, insist 2 days, filtered and added to 40 g of soap).

Other teas and infusions

100 grams of dried peels of citrus fruits pour 1 liter of warm water and leave for three days in a warm place. Then spray.

Tobacco and tobacco. 40 g of dry raw insist in 1 liter of water to 2 days, filtered and added to another liter of water.

Also, when a plant aphids are sprayed with a solution of tar of soap (10 g per liter of water) or to settle and the filtered broth wood ash prepared as follows: 300 g of the sieved ash is poured boiling water and put on fire for 30 minutes. Topped up with 10 liters of water before use.

Wood ash. 2 ash glass soaked in 10 l. water, add 50 grams. shaving soap.

Manual assembly

If all the plants appeared a few aphids – remove them with a damp cotton swab.

Of course, at first glance, it seems that destroy these “small parasites” can not be looking at moth aphid plant, hands down immediately, but do not despair so early! For example, my grandmother is struggling with aphids only traditional methods and I want to say, they work!

A Geranium by any other name…

 

by OCMGA Master Gardener Vicki Schilleman

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Geranium ‘Brookside Blue’

When you hear ‘geranium’, I’m guessing you picture the beautiful annuals that are so beloved by northern gardeners. While I, too, love those gorgeous full heads of color all summer long, there is another geranium that I love as much: the ‘hardy geranium’.

Hardy geraniums are distant cousins of the tender plants known as geraniums. The irony is that the hardy plants have technical rights to the name (they belong to the genus Geranium), but it is the tender ones that most people think of when they hear “geranium”.

Technically, the familiar houseplants are not geraniums. They belong to the genus Pelargonium. But the confusion is natural. Both the hardy and tender versions belong to the Geraniaceae family, and they both used to be in the genus Geranium. Then the tender ones got split off into Pelargonium, but people kept right on calling them geraniums.

Pelargoniums were brought to Europe from South Africa early in the seventeenth century. They found immediate favor, but it was their scented leaves and not their flowers that caused the sensation. By the time they came to the U.S., more than a century later, Pelargoniums’ large clusters of bright red, orange, or hot pink flowers had taken center stage, a position they still hold; scented-leaved geranium fans are passionate, but a minority.

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My Cranesbill: ‘Bikova’ clustered at the base of a tree peony

Meanwhile, back in the temperate British and American countrysides, numerous species of native Geranium, known to the populace as cranesbills, were finding their way into gardens. The cranesbills do double-duty, offering beautiful, long-lasting leaves as well as loose umbels of flowers in a wide range of pinks, blues, and purples.

You can usually tell these plants apart by general appearance: the leaves of Pelargonium are thicker than those of true Geranium, their flower stems are stiffer, and though individual flowers are smaller, they tend to be clustered more densely. And if you look closely at the individual flowers, you can usually see a tiny spur on the pelargonium flower stalk (geranium flowers don’t have them).

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Cranesbill ‘Bikova’ in bloom

Color helps too: although both kinds might be white, plants in the genus Geranium come in purples, blues, and blue-tinged reds and pinks; those in Pelargonium may be true red, orange-red, pink, or orange, but they do not sing the blues.

Note: Wild geranium, also known as cranesbill,  (Geranium maculatum) is a hardy perennial excellent for naturalizing, or filling in, under bushes or wherever there is dappled shade or part sun. The American native wildflower, with it’s flat, delicate-looking pink-lavender flowers and deeply notched foliage, is very easy to grow, ultimately reaching between 12 and 18 inches.

Miniature Neighbors

20170709_152219OCMGA Master Gardener Colleen Reed recently undertook a project to remove a small pond that had been in her yard, and replaced it with a whole new group of neighbors!

As Janit Calvo says in her book Gardening in Miniature, “What is it that draws the heart and eye to things smaller than real life? Perhaps the fact that anything miniature reminds us of play. After all, childhood toys were our first miniatures.”

Whatever the reason, gardening in miniature (or, creating mini-wonderlands) has become a huge industry. Once you are bitten by the miniature garden bug, there’s no turning back. The miniature industry is the biggest segment of the toy and hobby market, and the sheer number of sizes and scales is mind-boggling.

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To ensure the realism that creates enchantment, these critical elements are necessary: plants, accessories, and a patio or pathway. The planned, intentional aspect of a patio or walkway immediately signals to the viewer that this is no ordinary planting, teasing them to come in for a closer view.

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Creating your own little world is a lot of fun once you have the right parts, plants, and pieces all together. So collect the ingredients and tools, pour a favorite beverage, and enjoy some creative time with a new hobby!

Powdery Mildew

by Diana Alfuth, horticulture educator for Pierce and St. Croix counties UW-Extension

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Powdery mildew on Begonias

Around midsummer, we start to see a whitish coating on leaves of many plants, caused by powdery mildew, a fungal disease. In the vegetable gardens, we see it on vine crops, including squash, pumpkins (Cucurbita) and cucumbers (Cucumis sativus). Landscape plants affected include bee balm (Monarda spp.), perennial Phlox and lilacs (Syringa spp.).  [Editor’s note: this year I also had in on my peonies.] Although the exact fungal disease organism that affects each plant is distinct, the fungi are closely related and appear in response to similar environmental conditions.

Most fungi like rainy, wet conditions, but powdery mildew prefers dry, humid conditions, exactly what we see in mid-summer! Luckily, on most landscape plants, powdery mildew is mostly a cosmetic issue. On vining vegetable plants, however, it can result in significant leaf loss and possibly plant death.

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Powdery mildew on squash vine

Vine crops should be treated as soon as symptoms appear to reduce spread. If you have a landscape plant that gets powdery mildew every year, you should preempt it in future years by using a fungicide before symptoms appear. Many commercial fungicides are labeled for use against powdery mildew. Caution is required when using fungicides because of the damage they can do to bees. Always read and follow label directions of the product you use.

You can also make a solution using baking soda. Spray the plants every seven to 14 days, beginning when they start leafing out. As always, its a good idea to pretest a small area to be sure your solution does not damage the plant.

  • 1/2 tablespoon baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons lightweight horticultural oil
  • 1 gallon water

To reduce problems with powdery mildew, choose resistant varieties of plants and space them far enough apart to encourage air movement, which results in lower humidity. Also, since spores can overwinter on plant debris, be sure to remove the destroy any material that falls to the ground at the end of the season.

Another New Weed!

Gesnouinia_arborea_(Tree_Pellitory)_seedlings.Thanks to OCMGA Master Gardener Mary Learman for discovering this information.

Keep an eye on your garden and your lawn. As though we didn’t have enough weeds and invasives to watch, the University of Illinois Extension warns of Pellitory (Parietaria pensylvanica) appearing in the midwest. Funnily, the leaves remind one of peony plants or, perhaps, dianthus before it blooms. Don’t be fooled, however, as it’s aggressive enough to take on your whole garden and flexible enough to grow out of cracks.

For more information, follow this link to the article published by the University of Illinois Extension.

http://hyg.ipm.illinois.edu/article.php?id=914

 

 

Return to Reverence – The Marigold

by OCMGA Master Gardener Tammy Borden

Early on in my marriage I wasn’t exactly a gardening diva. In fact, I had very little interest in gardening. But my husband’s father, Louie, had gardening in his veins. I fondly remember going to his house and weaving my way through narrow passageways of seedling flats in his garage. Soon, the flats were transferred to a small greenhouse set up in his driveway. It wasn’t long before friends, neighbors and strangers were stopping in to buy his plants and engaging in some of the most colorful conversation they had ever had.

download (1)Louie, the ultimate salesman, always touted each variety of flower he grew, but none seemed to rival his affection for marigolds. Yes, I said marigolds! It’s not just the marigold’s distinctive scent that causes many seasoned gardeners to turn up their noses. What is it then, that brings many to dismiss them? Could it be that we have become gardening snobs, believing we have progressed too far in our botanical knowledge to extol such a lowly flower, as though it is only reserved for the commoners and unsophisticated gardeners? I hope not. I long to bring marigolds back to their once revered reputation. It’s name alone expresses how admired and respected it once was. In fact, marigold or “Mary’s gold,” was named after the most revered of all women in history, the Virgin Mary, and were believed to bring good luck. Originally discovered in Central America in the 16th century by the Portuguese, it was brought back to Europe where it grew in popularity. Today in South Asia, yellow and orange marigold flowers are grown and harvested by the millions to make garlands used to decorate statues and buildings. In Mexico and Latin America, marigold flowers are used to celebrate All Saints Day and All Souls Day, and flower heads are scattered on relatives’ graves. So, it stands to reason that they should receive an honored place in our own gardens. Through the years many hybrids have been developed to bring out the most desirable characteristics like large flower heads, various plant sizes and unique colorations.

Perhaps the furthest advances in breeding, however, have been in diminishing one of its most notable qualities: its scent. Many people find the scent offensive. I personally find it’s something that one needs to learn to appreciate. I like to think of it like coffee; when I first tried coffee, I couldn’t understand why anyone would drink such an awful concoction. But with time I came to acquire a taste for the brew and now I love to greet each morning with a hot cup of coffee. And likewise, I love to greet each spring with marigolds.

Many use marigolds to outline garden beds or vegetable plots, believing they help keep out rabbits, deer and insects. While marigolds can deter some pests, they are not the all-purpose pest and plant repellent that people have been led to believe they are. Yet the marigold itself is virtually pest and disease free, with the exception of their arch-nemesis, earwigsfrench-marigold-1225611__180, which like to nestle and munch inside its tightly clustered flower heads. Despite countless breeders’ attempts, very few new color varieties of marigolds have been developed. The most common remain the yellow, gold and orange varieties seen in garden centers and catalogues. You will not find a pink marigold… yet.

Burpee’s Seeds, however, has done exceptionally well with developing unusual white varieties of marigolds. ‘French Vanilla’ is my personal favorite. It’s scent is light and pleasant, and is one of Burpee’s earliest triumphs in hybridizing white marigolds. It grows to 2’ with large 3½” flower heads and deep green foliage. The blooms are white with a hint of cream. Other notable white varieties include ‘Snowball’ and ‘Snowdrift’. Burpee’s Seeds played a major role in making the marigold among the most used flowers in America. After sweeping over Europe and Asia in popularity, David Burpee saw the promise in marigolds. In 1915 he took over the seed company founded by his father, W. Atlee Burpee. Young David felt that marigolds held promise and decided to feature them in his catalog and fund research. If you love giant flower heads, try the ‘Inca’ or ‘Inca II’ varieties. These giants produce 4-5” flower heads of bright yellow or orange on stocky 20” plants. If you’ve driven down South Oneida Street in Appleton during the summer, you’ll notice this variety lining the streets of Marigold Mile. Many other great varieties are available. Here are the three most common types of marigolds:

 

  • African or American Marigolds: These plants grow to 3’ in height with large globe-shaped flowers. ‘French Vanilla’ is among these beauties.
  • French Marigolds: These plants generally grow from 5-18” tall. Flower colors include red, orange and yellow, as well as bicolor varieties. Flowers grow to 2”across. A great new variety is called ‘Fireball,’ a unique combination of yellow and reddish orange with a large flower head.
  • Signet Marigolds: Recognized for their finely divided, lacy foliage and clusters of small, single flowers. The flowers are yellow to orange colored and are edible, having a spicy tarragon flavor. The foliage also has a pleasant lemon fragrance. A popular variety is ‘Starfire,’ with petite, bushy plants that boast hundreds of small florets.

downloadThe marigold. It’s no fuss, easy going, with a bright and sunny disposition. It may not be the flashiest of flowers or even the most impressive. It’s good at highlighting others around it, and is reliable, strong and simple. But I suppose that is why I love the marigold so much. Its attributes, character and charm remind me of Louie, who has sadly since gone on to meet the Master Gardener of all gardeners. It is partly because of him that I am so passionate about starting my own seeds, and I will always grow ‘French Vanilla’ marigolds in his memory.