OCTOBER!! Bring on the pumpkins, the apple cider, the falling and blowing leaves. This is a busy time for man and beast. Final harvest in the garden is exciting...with, perhaps a wistful memory of summer. And, as we can or freeze our harvest or dry herbs and flowers, we remember the pleasures of being in the summer garden and the social and family pleasure that will bring us as we enter the season of sharing meals and gratitude.
Soils and winter. For several summers the Pennington County Master Gardeners have had a presence at the Farmers Market location on Omaha Street during the summer. Those of us who "work" at the booth know that it is much more fun than work, and we also know it is the absolute best way to understand what is on the minds of area gardeners.
As we near the end of one of the strangest growing seasons in memory, most of us are still puzzling over the one thing that we hope we can affect — the soil. A Natural Resources Conservation Service bulletin on Soil Biota from February 2013 tells us everything we need to know. more
Late Summer update: Some yards have been ravaged repeatedly by hail this summer, but our garden has been under assault by every kind of thistle known to grow in western South Dakota as well as a vigorous version of knotweed. Add to the gross insults of those two plants, this year the blister beetles absolutely destroyed what was a magnificent clematis tangutica that flowed in golden loveliness at the back of the garden.
I cut the devastated clematis back to the ground and am prepared to take issue with anyone (including myself) who dares to suggest that there is one tiny thing beneficial about blister beetles. I don’t care that they lay their eggs in the soil and that the young creep about to find grasshopper egg pods to feed on. Big deal. The blasted beetles gnaw the columbine, pasque and clematis to death. Next year, I'll kill the beetles with Sevin powder and negotiate with the grasshoppers.
If that has been discouraging, success this year for us has been our experience with the grafted tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and melons. Although they are more expensive than seed started plants, I do appreciate the disease resistant rootstock and the abundance of fruits. For small gardens, decks or other small areas, I recommend investigating the grafted plants for their vigor, disease resistance and dependable harvest. more
Horse's legacy can be found in our garden. On July 14 we had our horse, Buckwheat, humanely euthanized. He had outlived his teeth and his vision. We made the call and set the time. more
Great Gardening Truths.Let’s face it: we like our gardens to be pretty, and speaking for myself and probably others, I’m not thrilled to see a carefully grown ‘pretty’ hanging from the mouth of a deer, or gnawed to shreds by grasshoppers or twisted out of shape by aphids or thrips. I take that personally.
Then, rethinking my behavior and restored by a cup of tea, I review what I know to be Great Gardening Truths. more