The last entry under the Welcome tab contains information about a NEW and very SERIOUS insect, the spotted wind drosophila. Be certain to learn how to recognize it, understand how it can damage your fruit, and what the chemical responses are. The Master Gardener booth at the Farmers Market will have information about the insect, traps and recipes for the bait the first three Saturdays in September. Come by and learn about this!!

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

These green green days of September 2014 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!

Gardening in the Fall.  I take little pleasure that the recent foul and garden devastating weather set records. I tried to practice philosophical acceptance: seasons change, (tomato) plants mature and die; uncontrollable weather happens. That barely works to raise my spirits as I pull blacked and limp stems from my vegetable pots…Aha! Pots. There were some real successes so let’s begin there.  more

Autumnal Equinox.  So what if the first day of autumn, astrologically speaking is September 21? 

In this season of almost daily monsoonal torrents, cucurbits covered with virtual pelts of mold, gray rather than blue skies and weeds that rival Jack’s beanstalk, we struggle on to the harvest. Does it matter that meteorologically speaking, the first day of autumn was September 1?

           I’d say, “Not really,” and join the phenologists who cannily determine seasonal change by the behavior of plants and animals. Our sybaritic cat called the season by shifting from active predator of voles to the stationary comfort of my bed pillows. It’s autumn, for sure. The cat said somore

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.  

*Allow plants to finish the summer growth cycle in a normal manner. Never encourage growth with heavy applications of fertilizer or excessive pruning at this time. Plants will delay their dormancy process that has already begun in anticipation of winter in the months ahead. New growth can be injured by an early freeze.  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