This fall UW-Madison Division of Extension Horticulture Program is offering the online course, Growing and Caring for Plants in Wisconsin: Foundations in Gardening. This is a twelve week online course that runs from September 11 through December 10, 2022.
Growing and Caring for Plants in Wisconsin: Foundations in Gardening (Foundations in Gardening) teaches participants university research-based methods to successfully grow their plants and manage common pests. The course introduces a decision-making framework used by gardeners that focuses on understanding how plants best grow, why pests and problems happen, and how to keep plant problems from happening.
The Foundations in Gardening course is divided into three units. The first set of topics are the basics: general gardening, botany, soils and decision-making strategies for pest management. The next set of topics helps participants understand how to identify and manage pests they might encounter. Finally, the last group focuses on specific types of gardening such as vegetables, fruits, lawn, and houseplants. As part of the learning experience, Foundations in Gardening participants will have the opportunity to ask questions of UW-Madison horticulture experts at live webinars. The webinars are scheduled so that each expert will be taking questions about the material currently being covered. The webinars are also an opportunity to ask questions participants may have long had but did not know whom to ask. Q & As with the Experts will be recorded for future viewing in case the live broadcasts are inconvenient with participants’ schedules.
In addition to the Q & As with the Experts, participants receive a complete electronic (PDF) copy of the Foundations in Gardening training manual. A bound hardcopy of the manual is available at an additional cost. This is a valuable reference tool to have on the bookshelf. Participants will receive a certificate of completion and earn up to four continuing education credits (CEU) for certain professional organizations. For participants wanting a deeper dive into the learning experience, there are optional live lab webinars to reinforce the material covered in the course. These give participants the opportunity to work in large and small groups with Extension educators to answer more in-depth gardening scenarios.
If you are interested in becoming a Wisconsin Extension Master Gardener, this course is considered an approved learning opportunity from the Wisconsin Extension Horticulture Program. Visit https://mastergardener.extension.wisc.edu/get-started/ for more information.
Registration is July 18th-August 15th for this fully online, learn-at-your-own pace course. Whether you are a beginner, avid gardener or professional, you and your plants will benefit from this course. For more information and to register for Foundations in Gardening, visit: https://bit.ly/3aBUGBe
The annual Twilight Garden Tour returns on August 23, 2022, 4:00 to 7:00 pm. The gardens are brimming with vegetables, annuals, and perennials. Presentations will start at 4:30 with these confirmed speakers:
We look forward to seeing you on Tuesday, August 23.
Check http://www.facebook.com/spoonerag, or http://www.northcountrymgv.org as more information becomes available. In the case of severe weather the event will be cancelled and announced on Facebook and the website.
The session is free and open to the public and will be held rain or shine. In the case of severe weather the event will be cancelled and announced on Facebook and the website. The garden is located at 780 Orchard Lane, 1.5 miles east of Spooner on Highway 70 or 1/2 mile west of the Hwy 70/53 interchange. Watch for garden meeting signs.
From: Kevin Schoessow, UW Extension Area Agriculture Development Educator, Spooner Agricultural Research Station
Japanese beetle a voracious defoliator of many landscape and garden plants has been confirmed in many locations in NW Wisconsin in recent weeks. While very common in other parts of the state, this pest has not been known to be in our region until recently. Adults beetle feed on over 300 species of plants. Roses, birch, lindens, grapes, raspberries, Norway maples, beans, apples, plums, crabapples, elms, beech, asparagus, and rhubarb are some of its favorite species. Adult beetles emerge in early to mid-July and feed for about six to eight weeks. This feeding is quite noticeable and concerning especially on prized perennials and on fruits and vegetables. Japanese beetle are tough to control, especially when bees and other beneficial insects are active during the same time. Gardeners need to be cautious in their management decisions and be aware of unintended consequences of treatment options.
To help gardeners and homeowners make informed decisions about management options for Japanese beetles the following resources should be very helpful.
The first is a wonderfully insightful webinar presentation by PJ Liesch, Entomologist and Director of the UW-Madison Insect Diagnostic Lab. The recorded presentation can be found on the Wisconsin Horticulture Division of Extension website https://hort.extension.wisc.edu/videos/ or directly through youtube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFFZs2gLAfs
The other is an article title Japanese Beetle
Here’s a preview of their presentation:
Tips for Easier Gardening
Select tools that are best for you:
We're entering peak season at the Spooner Agriculture Research Station, Teaching & Display Garden, located at 780 Orchard Lane, Spooner. Photos taken this week highlight native plants and All-America Selections Annuals and Vegetables. The garden is open to the public for self-guided tours during daylight hours, seven days a week mid-May through mid-September.
Hover over each photo for description.
We often get questions about using pine needles, also known as pine straw in either compost or used as mulch. Same questions for oak leaves. Many believe that using pine straw or oak leaves will acidify the soil and not be suitable for many plants. This year a large donation of pine straw was provided to the Spooner Agricultural Research Station Teaching and Display Garden. Master Gardeners immediately put it to good use as a mulch. Below is an article contributed by Kevin Schoessow, UW Extension Area Agriculture Development Educator, Spooner Agricultural Research Station providing information on this question.
Pine needles, like other leaves, are perfectly fine to add to your compost pile. Keep in mind that pine needles, like other leaves or straw, are high in carbon and are considered “brown” materials and should be mixed in a ratio of approximately 3 to 1 with “greens” like grass clipping or food scraps which are higher nitrogen materials.
Fresh pine needles--because of their waxy coating--take a long time to break down and should be limited to no more than 10 percent of the total brown material added to a compost pile. Shredding pine needles and other materials added to the compost will increase the surface area of these materials and speed up decomposition.
While fresh pine needles, or oak leaves for that matter, have a pH ranging between 3.2-3.8, they do very little to impact the pH of finished compost. The reason is that as needles and leaves break down, they are neutralized by the microbes that are doing the decomposing work. Most finished compost has a pH of 6.8-7.0 which is very neutral.
Another potential benefit of pine needles in the compost pile is that they help maintain good aeration. They do not compact readily and keep air flowing through the pile, which is also important in speeding up the composting process.
The notion that pine needles change compost or soil pH is basically a myth. Even if freshly fallen pine needles that have been added to compost are mixed into soil, they will only have a slight impact on pH and over time this impact will be diminished by decomposing microbes.
Part of the reason this myth continues is because people associate pine trees with acid soil and that it is hard to grown anything under a pine tree. Everyone assumes that the accumulated pine needles are making the soil so acidic that nothing will grow. The reason nothing will grow is because the roots of evergreens are so numerous and shallow that they outcompete other plants for water and nutrients. They also tend to create quite dense shade which is a difficult growing situation for many plants.
So if you are blessed with an abundance of fallen pine needles, rest assured that they are perfectly fine to add to compost--although in limited amounts. Fallen pine needles, sometimes referred to as pine straw, is also a suitable mulch for flower beds, under trees and around shrubs and even in the garden. Remember that the little acid that might be found in pine straw and other leaf materials will be neutralized by microbes and will have negligible effects on soil pH.
The Internet is a great way to get current information on almost any topic, but how do you sort through all the information and find a reliable source? Here are a few tips to limit your searches that will do the sorting for you. This example gives you the results using the various methods in Google for “green bean rust”.
Typing in green bean rust into a search engine resulted in about 1,120,000,000 results! I did this same experiment in 2012 with 8.5 million results, which is an indication of how much the Internet has exploded in just a decade. In trying to narrow it down – here are the results:
The Master Gardener program highly recommends obtaining your information from reliable sources. Preferred sources include academic institutions, government agencies, botanical gardens, and non-profit organizations.
Tip from the Master Gardener Program
While it is better to use a preferred source for information, other sources often come up first when looking things up online. Don’t stop there! Use this as the first step in the process of finding information and searching for more preferred sources. You may learn terms or concepts that you can then apply in a new search with keywords that also use the word “university” or “.edu” to help bring up university sources of information.
Deadheading is the removal of old or spent flowers and is beneficial to most herbaceous ornamentals. Seed production can drain a plant’s energy and cause foliage to deteriorate. Deadheading can promote vegetative and root growth rather than seed production. By deadheading you can prolong bloom periods, initiate a second smaller bloom, improve overall appearance, and prevent self-seeding. Some examples of species that benefit from deadheading are: Daylilies, Hostas, Lady’s Mantle, and Lambs Ear.
Cutting back refers to pruning a plant to renew its appearance or encourage a new flush of growth or flowering, control its height or flowering time. Pinching can accomplish the same objective. If you travel for several weeks, you can cut certain plants by one third to delay bloom time until you get back home. Examples: Dianthus, Candy Tuft, Moss Phlox, Catmint, Geranium Amsonia, Baptisia, Achillea, Aster, Mums, Sedum, Joe Pye Weed.
Pinching allows for experimentation and usually involves removing only the growing tips. Generally do this early in the growing season because it will delay bloom time. Examples: Sedum, Shasta daisy, Joe Pye Weed, Aster, Artemisia.
Thinning can prevent disease, create sturdier stems, and increase the size of flowers. It can often help to increase air circulation to help prevent powdery mildew. Use this on: Aster, Delphinium, Mondarda, Phlox, Bulgeweed, Lambs Ear, and Lady’s Mantle.
Disbudding involves removing side buds so that the plant’s terminal bud produces larger flowers on a longer stem. Removing the terminal bud will cause the side buds to produce smaller but more flowers; it can also eliminate the need for staking. Examples: Mums, Carnations, Pinks, Dahlias, Peonies.
Deadleafing removes individual dead leaves to improve appearance. Examples: Elijah Blue grass in spring, Lady’s Mantle in summer, and Hellebores (Lenten Rose) in the spring.
A great source of information on all these techniques is The Well-Tended Perennial Garden by Tracy DiSabato-Aust, Timber Press, 2006.
Article and photo credit: Sue Reinardy, Master Gardener
More helpful practices:
Blog and photo credit: Sue Reinardy, Master Gardener
Left to right: Large-leaved Aster, False Solomon's Seal, Swamp Milkweed, Wild Bergamot
There’s new terminology for letting your garden get a little wild: rewilding. I’ve been doing this for years without putting a name to inattentive gardening, but now it’s in vogue. Love that!
This week has been declared Pollinator Week by the University of Wisconsin Horticulture and rewilding the garden fits right into adding more native plants to our gardens. By letting nature do some of the planting we can increase native vegetation that pollinators appreciate.
In looking through Heather Holm’s book, Pollinators of Native Plants, many of the plants look familiar. This book is an excellent field guide for pollinator plants. Here’s some that have established in my gardens without much effort on my part.
Blog and Photos by Sue Reinardy, Master Gardener
|North Country MGV||