It is always great to get plants at reduced prices at yard sales, flea markets and the local garden club plant sales. It's even better to get them free from friends and neighbors but there are a few things you should know to protect your gardens, ensure success and avoid wasting your time and money.
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Article and photos by Pam Davies, North Country Master Gardener Volunteer.
If you are traveling in the Philadelphia area I highly recommend this list of gardens, all quite different. Seeing woodland spring ephemerals in different settings taught me a new appreciation for what I tend to take for granted here at home. Anytime during their long growing season these gardens will teach, display and provide pleasure to their visitors.
Morris Arboretum – As the name implies the arboretum is a teaching and research facility of the University of Pennsylvania. It is set on the historic grounds of the summer home of John and Lydia Morris. They have informative displays of trees, shrubs, and woodland perennials.
Longwood Gardens – One of many du Pont family gardens in the area. The gardens are spread about on 1,100 acres of highly manicured display gardens. We were there for six hours, more than enough time to see almost everything and spend time in their excellent garden shop. According to their website they raise 75 percent of the plants used in their displays onsite producing about 110,000 plants of 1,000 different varieties. Nearby is Kennett Square, a tidy small town with many retail shops and restaurants.
Mt. Cuba Center – The Center is set in the rolling hills of the Delaware Piedmont near Wilmington. The property was developed by Mr. and Mrs. Lammot du Pont Copeland. Mrs. Copeland is quoted in their intention for the property: “I want this to be a place where people will learn to appreciate our native plants and to see how these plants can enrich their lives so that they, in turn, will become conservators of our natural habitats.”. If you go, I recommend scheduling a tour by one of their very knowledgeable tour guides. If you can’t go to Mt. Cuba Center, you can still learn much by going to their website. I have bookmarked as one of my favorites the native plant finder.
Winterthur – The home of Henry Francis du Pont, the 1,000 acres near Wilmington, DE includes 60 acres naturalist gardens, a research library, shops, museum, and the mansion chock full of American textiles and furniture. The gardens are more in the background of Winterthur given all the other attractions of this property.
Chanticleer - This garden was the last we visited, and I think the best. Chanticleer is set on 47 acres of the former home of the Rosengarten family, members of the family still guide the foundation that manages the property. This unique property employs seven Horticulturists who are each responsible for an area of the grounds. Chanticleer advertises itself as a pleasure garden and definitely lives up to that name. We felt as if we were invited guests, the horticulturists and grounds staff were about the grounds ready to answer our questions.
What a treat to have visited these gardens, each one unique in its own way. And the Winnebago Master Gardener Volunteers are wonderful traveling companions.
Author: Sue Reinardy, UW-Extension Master Gardener Volunteer
County fairs are the highlight of the summer season in NW Wisconsin rural communities. They bring folks together like no other events and provides a showcase for area agriculture--the economic engine that makes rural life possible. From farm animals and machinery to home canning and crafts, the county fair is a great place to see what's happening in your community. Exhibiting and competing is not just for 4H kids. Everyone can get involved. And the more involved you are, the more fun it is. If you have never exhibited at your local county fair, you don't know what you are missing!
Now is the time to get started while deadlines are still a ways off. There are many divisions and categories to choose from from livestock and pets to clothing, arts, photography, woodworking, computers, food and nutrition and of course veggies, plants and flowers! The open divisions allow adults to enjoy the fair experience and some friendly competition. Not only can you share your gardening prowess, and enjoy the entries of your fellow gardeners, there are often cash premiums awarded for ribbon winners. And then there are the bragging rights!!
To get started, check-out the county specific information listed below. For gardeners, you may be especially interested in the agricultural divisions of Plant & Soil Science or Flowers & House Plants. Check out these publications available through UW Madison Extension Learning Store (http://learningstore.uwex.edu) A3306 “Exhibiting and Judging Vegetables" and A2935 “Evaluating and Judging Flowers and Indoor Plants” for guidance and helpful tips.
Entries are judged on freshness, uniformity, and quality. Entries should be precisely the number and type listed in the Exhibitor’s Handbook for each fair. An entry form is required by a due date specified for each fair. Fair books with the entry forms are available online at the sites listed below. They can also be found locally at various stores and businesses.
Burnett County Fair/ Grantsburg August 22-25, 2019 (deadline for pre-registration August 8)
Central Burnett County Fair/ Webster September 20-22, 2019 (deadline for pre-registration September 12)
Click on the below link for more information on tips and tricks with growing dahlias.
How to Grow Dahlias - Floret Flower Farm
The NCMG have a Dahlia garden starting to sprout.. come and visit the
New this year in the Teaching and Display Garden will be a straw bale garden display and a dahlia bed featuring 30 unique plants. We're hopeful that last week's rainy and cold weather did not rot the tubers that have been planted.
You are welcome to visit the gardens from June through September and watch the progress during our growing season. For more information on the gardens go to our Teaching & Display Garden page.
Early blight is the bane of tomato growers everywhere in the north country. You will know you have it when the lower leaves of your tomato plants wither and die early in the season. Often the upper portion of the plant seems fine and will set fruit which will ripen and are perfectly fine to eat. Other times the blight will wipe out the plant in a few weeks.
Early blight is a fungus (or two fungi) that lives in the soil and blows in on the breeze. It is almost impossible to avoid but there are some things you can do to the lessen the impact. Planning ahead for the inevitability of early blight is the best defense.
Anti-fungal sprays can help. Be sure to use as directed and use proper protection. See link below for fungicides.
Home remedies include a spray made of a few drops of tea tree oil in a quart of water. Spray the soil before planting and spray the plant, stem and leaves, every few weeks. This may not prevent early blight but it can slow down the infection.
Another home spray recipe: 3 tablespoons baking soda to gallon of water, add 2 tbsp of horticultural oil or vegetable oil and 2 drops of dish soap (the soap will help the oil mix with the water). Saturate the leaves with this mixture, top and underside. Reapply every 2 weeks. Note that baking soda can affect other nutrients in the soil such as magnesium and calcium and can affect the absorption of iron so be careful not to over apply.
Recognizing early blight, resistant tomato varieties and chemical control:
Pruning and staking indeterminate tomato plants for good air circulation and healthy plants
Whether you have started seedling in your house or have gone to the garden store and purchased seedlings, you will give them the best start by hardening off the little plants for up to ten days before planting them in the garden.
Hardening off is the process of acclimating your young plants to the new environment they will be living in the same way you might go to a tanning parlor a few times before heading off to a sun filled vacation--you don't want to get a sun burn your first day. Likewise you don't want to sunburn your little plants or put them in shock with temps colder than they are used to.
Start a week to ten days before you plan to start planting in the garden. Some garden store plants that have spent time outdoors will not need this but any that have lived inside a green house will need at least 4 days.
Start out slowly with a few hours outside in partial shade on a mild day and away from strong wind or hard rain. Over a few days you will increase that time and exposure to the sun making sure the plants don't dry out. When you know overnight temps will be mild, leave the plants out overnight protected from browsing deer or rabbits. If temps are going to be a bit cold you can bring the plants in or cover them up overnight.
Hardy and half-hardy plants such as broccoli, cabbage, lettuce and some herbs, can take temps as low as 45 degrees. Tender plants that have not been well established in the garden will not be happy with temps cooler than 60.
You want to be sure your plants get well established in the garden before they have to endure some of the unseasonably cool nights we get here in the north county. What can help speed this along is making sure your soil temp in the garden is at least 60 degrees before transplanting. Onions, chard, lettuces kale, peas and spinach are fine when the soil is cooler. For tomatoes and peppers, warmer is better. Even if you have to wait a bit longer than you would like for the soil temperature to get to 60 or more, it will pay off in the long run as your plants will get established that much faster. How to tell if the soil is warm enough? Dig a small trench about 6 inches deep and hold the back of your hand in it for a minute or so, if it feels cold, you will want to wait. If it feels cool, or "nice" or you detect no temperature difference, it should be warm enough to start planting. Soil thermometers are economical or you can also use an instant read cooking thermometer--use a screwdriver to make the hole before pushing in the thermometer.
Water your seedlings once planted but do not drown them with too much water. Their new soil environment will probably not be as hospitable as the mix you used for starting them so be sure not to over water them. In a few days, use a diluted fertilizer to help them along while they are getting established. Avoid stressing the plants with too much fertilizer. After planting, keep tabs on night time temps and cover if need be and be sure to protect them from pests out looking for a snack.
To Pre-Register & for more information call the Spooner Agricultural Research Station @ 715-635-3506
Start Small with theme gardens
We will begin small by creating a garden with a dinner salad in mind. We will plant salad greens, lettuce, arugula, spinach, and herbs and tall greens, kale, parsley and chives — all are kid-friendly and easy to grow. Kids like to see the result of their effort, so we will also be planting crops that grow quickly such as green beans that will grow up the mast of our pirate’s ship. We will plant colorful flowers in our rainbow garden.
We offer flexible scheduling, meeting on Monday afternoons from 4 pm to 5:30 pm, repeating the session on Tuesday morning from 9:30 am to 11 am. Odds are kids and parents alike will enjoy the time they spend together and learn a little something along the way. We hope you will join us!
Our 2019 schedule is:
**A parent or an adult is required to stay with children under 10 years of age.**
To Pre-Register & for more information call the Spooner Agricultural Research Station @ 715-635-3506
Heirloom tomatoes were the cornerstone of the group’s very first plant sale. Since then, NCMGVA has increased the number of heirloom choices and added a few of their favorite hybrid varieties. The tomato and pepper plants are started from seed and grown by volunteers specifically for the sale.
Though hundreds of the plants will be at the sale, they tend to sell out quickly and gardeners are advised to go early for the best selection. The sale begins at 8 a.m. at the Spooner Ag Research Station on Hwy 70 east of Spooner and runs until the plants are sold out.
The proceeds go toward supporting the Teaching and Display Garden that is open to the public on Orchard Lane, just east of the Ag Research Station; for garden-related grants; for promoting horticulture outreach and education in Sawyer, Washburn, and Burnett counties; and other horticultural projects.
“According to Kevin Schoessow, Area UW-Extension Agriculture Development Educator and advisor to NCMGVA, Master Gardener volunteers come together from many backgrounds.” They find common ground in their appreciation for growing plants, whether edible or ornamental. They are trained volunteers who assist the University of Wisconsin-Extension staff by helping people in the community better understand horticulture and the environment, and they donate thousands of hours’ worth of their time each year toward that end.
The one thing about Canna Lily that I love is the fact that pollinators LOVE them. If you love hummingbirds, you want to have a Canna Lily in your yard or on your deck.
Canna's can be planted in pots.
Though Canna's are tough enough to grow just about anywhere the following tips will help you have a show stopper Canna Lily garden.
Water.. this may be their most frequently neglected need.
Fertilizer.. they like to eat! Top dress with a handful of rose or tomato fertilizer.
Warmth.. I have started them in pots in the house. Plant directly or transplant in June.
Sun.. though they will grow in part shade.. they bloom more vigorously in full sun.
Canna Lily can be treated as an annual.
You can save your Canna Lily from season to season.
If you want to save your bulbs for the next season dig them up in the Autumn. Let the bulbs dry in the sun for a day or two. Store in a dry area of your basement.
Old House Gardens Blog has many fun stories and ideas of how to add Canna Lily to your garden.
Carla TePaske ~ NCMGV
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