Email us, Cathie Draine and Brad Morgan, at gardeners@blackhillsgarden.com

These lush green August days remind us of the gardening joys of ripe summer immersion.  Click on Upcoming Events under the Welcome tab. And remember to check the site frequently for additional and updated information!

A summer of challenges for gardeners.  What a week. The Central States Fair is approaching its last weekend and although the plant exhibits have been removed there are free garden-related talks each afternoon in the Horticulture building. (See more about the topics and presenters.)

Seemingly constant summer rain, meanwhile, has kept lawns and meadows green and ripening vegetables and truckloads of sweet corn hint at the winding down of gardening 2014.

Echoing the words of virtually every gardener I know, “It’s been a strange year.” Almost non-stop rain and thunderstorms have made fungus welcome for many of the cucurbits.  more

Cathie's pick. This is a book I have been waiting for. It broadens our definition of garden. It empowers the gardener with new vision, understanding and vocabulary and places him smack in the center of the ecological dynamic to ponder the question: as gardeners do we only decorate or do we also understand and support the living layers of our gardens? more

Midsummer weeds and events.  I feel that time slows in the garden the last week of July and the first of August. Few of the dearly desired vegetables and fruits are ripe yet.  Some late-arriving blister beetles have gnawed a few leaves but care for the garden seems manageable. That is until I take a serious look at the weeds. Yowza! What a year for weeds!  more

The handplant tree order form from the Pennington County Soil Conservation District is now available online.  Most trees and shrubs cost $1.  A Rapid City phone number will answer questions and sign you up for the printed "District News" newsletter.  more

BLOSSOM END ROT (watch video) is a black blemish on the underside of the fruit, caused by irregular watering, insufficient water and also lack of calcium. Liming an acid soil helps avoid this disorder.   Video will show how to use one Tums tablet (calcium carbonate) in gallon of water to make a quick spray.   more

Almost time to say goodbye to Mr. Miller.  Here's a quick question....are you being bugged by bugs? More specifically, the seriously irritating dusty millers (correctly named Miller moths)? They are currently appearing in the evenings around both indoor and outdoor lights. The Miller moths, according to sources, are the adult form of the army cutworm. In the fall the moths will return from the Rockies where they have been feeding to the plains and lay eggs in and near alfalfa and small grains fields. 

After a few weeks the eggs hatch into cutworm caterpillars to spend the winter. In the spring the caterpillars burrow into the ground to emerge later as moths. All is not paradise for many of the moths feeding in the high meadows of the Rockies.They attract grizzly bears that enjoy eating them. There are many fascinating facts to be learned about these mid-summer irritations. Google 'Miller moths' for more information.

Gardening in the community.  There are many Master Gardeners in western South Dakota. Many took the training to further their own garden interests. Others of us volunteer in community projects and community outreach events. We are surely not invisible, but some of the projects might be lesser known.  more

Mulberries wanted.  Do  you know of someone that has mulberries or an excess of them here in the Rapid City area that I could contact and ask if I would be welcome to come and pick some? Christal Krein 

Bothersome wasps?  This video will show you how to use paper bags from the grocery store to set up a rival wasp nest.  This solution is simple, quick, no cost, and chemical free.  Tender-hearted gardeners will appreciate the fact that wasps aren't really "destroyed," only made to feel unwelcome.  Of course, the same benefit can accrue to back-deck loungers, roofers, and others working on house-repair projects.  

Good news! Bugs are finally getting good press. Or, to put it another way: insects are vital to worldwide food production. Bees, as we know, are acknowledged to be a keystone species whose reduction or removal from the habitat would be  devastating.  more


 August gardening tips:  If your plants wilt, it is likely because the soil in the root zone is fully dry. Before you water, however, make sure the soil is indeed dry; sometime plants in quite wet soils can show symptoms similar to dehydration. This leads to overwatering and sometimes to root rot or plant failure.  more

Garden standoff: Creeping Jenny.  I hand weed and pull the jenny from the two problem gardens. This gets me close to the beds to see what’s going on. It also allows me to continuously deprive the jenny of its vigor. Further, I know that there is beneficial soil bacterial action around those roots and air and water are moving in the spaces roots create. I buy nothing. I spend a couple of hours a week on jenny control, knowing that on my team I have eight fungi, 10 arthropods and an understanding of the plant to aid me in the battle.  more

Do you wonder how to recognize GMO produce in the fresh food section of the grocery store? Click on the Foods tab for information to give meaning to the ID numbers