With Spring coming on (we hope) the month of March can be a busy time. If we are not shoveling snow, we should be cleaning and sharpening tools, checking to see our seed needs...and counting the days until the soil warms and everything gets busy!! There are lots of questions and concerns. Send us an email and we will try to find answers and solutions. (Actually, it is great fun.) P.S. Remember to leave food and/or feed the birds! Email us, Cathie Draine and Brad Morgan, at firstname.lastname@example.org
Plan now for garden pollinators. If your garden is small or you only garden on the deck, consider a large container (whiskey barrel) planted with agastache. It is a magnet for bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. Plant up a pot or several of parsley as food for butterfly larvae. If there are larvae, they will eat vigorously and the parsley plant will recover with enough for you as well. more
Bugs Rule! Winter reading at its best. There are trade-offs for the gardener when winter deprives us of time in the garden. I am referring, of course, to reading. To be specific, I am referring to Whitney Cranshaw and Richard Redak’s new book, “Bugs Rule!” Cranshaw is a horticultural entomologist at Colorado State University and Redak is a Professor of Entomology at the University of California Riverside. Gardeners know Cranshaw and his first book, Garden Insects of North America, which should be in every gardener’s library. more
South Dakota State University Extension will be offering three classes to the gardening public. One is focused on children's gardening programs, one on the increasingly popular high tunnels for production growers or those who want to 'push the season' and a class especially for Farmers Market vendors and managers. Get all the information for 2014 SDSU Extension sponsored events under the Welcome tab.
It is about time to drag out the florescent lights and open the seed starting mix...and get some of those seeds started indoors. John Scheepers seeds provides an excellent and informative guide and timetable for starting seeds indoors. Check out this ample information under the Plants tab. You may want to sign up for their excellent, free e-mails.
St. Patrick used the three-leaved shamrock to teach the pagan Irish about the Trinity. His holiday this year will be on March 17, though gardeners will note that daylight savings day is March 9.
Be sure to check out the gardening tips for the month of March, such as that "Some annuals, such as verbenas, snapdragons, and petunias, take 70 to 90 days to bloom. They should be started indoors in early spring or purchased as greenhousegrown transplants." more
Thinking of spring...compost...getting the garden ready? There is a new page under the Plants tab on How Compost Delivers Nitrogen to the Soil. Click it. Read. Plan for success!
It's never too late to learn! Come to Hill City the fourth Wednesdays of January, February, March and April for FREE gardening seminars. The seminars are held the last Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. in the Conference Room at the Super 8 motel. (Third floor...there is an elevator). Speakers will be: In March - Toni Schmidt will be speaking about the 15 most known/loved/used herbs and in April - Dr. Paul Johnson, SDSU will be speaking about recognizing/attracting and caring for our native pollinators. Plan to come, bring a friend. All are welcome. And it is free.
Are you being seduced by the bags of soil, the racks of seeds and gardening tools and equipment that are displayed prominently in the stores? Before you spend, read the pros and cons of using weed barrier materials on your soil. It is under the SAVE$ tab.
Winter is perfect time to learn about pruning tomatoes. The thought of tomato pruning can be a little daunting and cause sweaty palms and a queasy tummy. However, have faith. It is as obvious as the hand before your face...It is beneficial to prune the tomatoes but be prepared against heat, hail and wind. more
I certainly think grafted vegetables have a place in home gardens. While they are much more expensive than seeds or even seedlings, the vigor, yield and opportunity for desirable heirloom variety scions on super-strong rootstock is appealing.
I think grafted vegetables are a good choice for small gardens where plant rotation is not an option but a good harvest from a single plant could equal poor or indifferent harvests from several non-grafted plants.
There are new gardening strategies to understand when working with grafted plants. Neither the graft nor branches of the plant should come into contact with the soil. Pruning strategies for generative (fruit) production are advised. more
Winter stroll in garden warms heart of gardener. While many people are decking the halls with seasonal glitter, prowling the malls with hands clutching billfolds and praying for 40-hour days to "get everything done," I took advantage of the recent pleasant weather for a stroll through the garden. more
Just a peek at the 'business' of producing seeds commercially. Read this interesting 'history' of Park Seeds under the Plants tab.
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
Plants, holidays, and gift-giving. ‘Pass-along’ plants remind us of the donor. Many years ago I received a strangely elegant houseplant known familiarly as a ‘pregnant onion.’ The fact that its botanical name is albuca bracteata adds little to its charm. But the fact that the plant was a gift from the late Alice Smith, a gardening and writing friend who lived in Hill City gives it great value to me. more