Thursday, May 16, 2013
If it slithers is it welcome?
- PATCH'S HOUSE & HOME
Thursday, May 16
By Gretchen Voyle, Michigan State University Extension Many gardeners really enjoy being outside and caring for their landscapes. But a certain percentage is very concerned about snakes also enjoying that same landscape. The question which gets asked of Michigan State University Extension Horticulture Educators and Hotline Master Gardeners is, “How can I make snakes stay away from my garden?” There is no magic spray or product that guarantees that snakes will respect your property lines. Some of the snake repellants are just a version of moth balls. They may not be effective and evaporate rapidly in the open air. But what’s a “snake-o-phobe” supposed to do? There are several ideas that can be culled from old MSU Extension publications. All…
Saturday, May 11, 2013
Another annual rite of spring is upon us: dandelions. The best time to control will be at the puff ball stage.
By Kevin Frank, Michigan State University Extension, Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences Following our long, dark, cold spring, the weather the last week has been out of a Pure Michigan ad. In addition to the turfgrass jumping out of the ground faster than we can mow, dandelions have now painted the landscape yellow. The dandelion flower is a rite of spring and perspective on them varies from utter disdain, to an ingredient for an interesting wine, to a nice, yellow addition to a Mother’s Day bouquet. If you view them as a blight to your patch of turf, resist the urge to go out and try to eliminate them with a broadleaf herbicide during this initial flower flush. Wait until the bright yellow flowers transition to the puff ball…
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Give Mom a bouquet of garden service this Mother’s Day.
By Rebecca Finneran, Michigan State University Extension As I was growing up, Mother’s Day meant “gifts of service” by planting flats of red geraniums, white petunias and vinca vine. While today’s gardener may not choose the same plants, the “service” part of the gift has never gone out of style. I don’t know a mom who wouldn’t love to have her little (or grown up) munchkins working away in the yard for her on Mother’s Day. Here are a few ideas to get started. Cleanup First, a good, general cleanup would be good. With our late start to spring, many of those early spring tasks such as cleaning out leaf litter and debris from under those hard-to-reach places like the shrubs have yet to be done. This is also a great time to remove dead stems …
Saturday, May 4, 2013
Impatiens downy mildew is a challenging new disease of impatiens walleriana that opens doors for exploring many other types of shade plants.
By Rebecca Finneran, Michigan State University Extension Gardeners from Florida to Michigan reported last summer (2012) that the impatiens in their landscape showed signs of a disease known as downy mildew. This underhanded pathogen can attack plants even when they appear to be growing nicely in the landscape. With the right weather conditions (cool temperatures and plenty of moisture), downy mildew can infect a patch of impatiens seemingly overnight. A flower bed at the Kent County Michigan State University Extension “Grand Ideas Garden” filled with impatiens, tropical plants and other garden favorites was afflicted this past summer with what we now know to be impatiens downy mildew, a pathogen that has the potential to make a serious …
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Spring has been very slow to arrive, but models indicate many areas of central and southern Michigan may soon be in the optimum application window for preemergence herbicides.
By Kevin Frank, Michigan State University Extension, Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences Unlike the spring of 2012, the spring of 2013 is off to a very slow start with cool temperatures and soaking rains the last week (as of April 11). As tax day approaches, there have been several inquiries within the last week not about deductions, but about when to apply preemergence herbicides for crabgrass control. Crabgrass infesting turf. Summer annual grasses such as crabgrass require proper soil temperature and moisture to germinate and establish. Eighty percent of germination will occur when the 0-2 inch depth soil temperature is consistently reaching 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. For preemergence herbicides to be effective, they need…
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Look on the bright side, recent soggy conditions provide a good opportunity to identify potential problem spots in your landscape.
By Bert Cregg, Michigan State University Extension, Departments of Horticulture and Forestry April is turning out to be a soggy month for most of Michigan. While most homeowners are inclined to hunker down indoors and keep an eye on their sump pumps on these dark, dreary days, our current run of wet weather is a good opportunity to take a stroll around your property and make some notes. In particular, note any areas where water is accumulating. According to Michigan State University Extension, poor drainage is one of the most common site factors that limit landscape tree and shrub survival and growth in Michigan. Sites that retain water for more than a day or two after the rain stops are especially problematic. The challenge with wet areas…
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
How a community grows, changes and prepares for its future is guided by its master plan. Where does the food system fit into your community’s future plans?
- THE NEIGHBORHOOD FILES
Wednesday, April 17
By Randy Bell, Michigan State University Extension How does your community decide where farmers markets can locate? Where are there permitted uses for hoop houses or community gardens? Are there designated places where food-related businesses and activities are encouraged? In Michigan, master planning is enabled by the Michigan Planning Enabling Act (M.C.L. 125.3801 et seq). Anticipating the growing interest in local and regional food systems and increased demand for locating food-related enterprises in urban, suburban and rural communities, the American Planning Association (APA) developed a policy guide to help community residents and planners become engaged in community and regional food planning. Their work culminated in the …
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
When it comes to fertilizing your vegetable garden this spring, don’t guess – soil test!
By Gary Heilig, Michigan State University Extension Spring is here and soon gardeners will be busy planting their 2013 vegetable gardens. I can’t wait for the tomatoes, sweet corn, melons and all the other delicious selections I will plant this year. I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but I’ll say it again: smart gardeners begin by taking a soil sample to determine the nutrient needs of the crops, and April is a great time to do it. Michigan State University Extension offers a soil test kit that can be purchased online at the MSUExtension Bookstore. After receiving the kit, follow the directions for collecting the sample and mailing for analysis. When the results have been returned, go to MSUSoilTest.com and select the “Understand Your Soil …
Saturday, April 6, 2013
Matching perennials to your site conditions or garden soil will help you have successful, long-lasting perennial gardens.
By Rebecca Finneran, Michigan State University Extension A wise professor once defined a perennial as “a garden plant – had it lived, would return year after year.” Loosely defined, perennials will continue growing for several or many years in the optimum environment. The gardener’s term “perennial” commonly means “hardy, herbaceous, ornamental plants.” Hardy perennials are, with a few exceptions, non-woody plants having roots that live through the winter while the tops die back to the ground, particularly in northern climates. A few perennials such as Heuchera (coral bells), Iberis (candytuft) or Bergenia (pig squeak) are semi-evergreen, sporting green or colorful leaves that will survive the winter cold. Some perennials will live almost …
Saturday, March 23, 2013
Positive garden activity creates safer communities.
- REAL ESTATE
Saturday, March 23
Gardens can function as anti-crime agents. A local example of the restorative power of gardening is in Brightmoor neighborhood in northwest Detroit. In 2005, Riet Schumack and her family bought a home on the Rouge River in Brightmoor and began to renovate it. Most of the surrounding homes were in various states of disrepair and abandonment. The same year, Schumack took the Urban Roots Community Garden Leader Training Program that was developed and implemented in collaboration with Michigan State University Extension staff and local partners. Schumack started a youth garden in a lot down the street from her house. She purposely located the garden between a known drug house and a corner frequented by prostitutes. The positive activity from …