Friday, July 24, 2009

Sick Plant? Ask a Master Gardener

The Dakota County Master Gardeners will be holding plant health clinics for anyone that has a question about what is eating or destroying their plants.

At the Plant Diagnostic Clinic you may...

  • Bring a sample of a plant or weed for identification
  • Bring a sample of a damaged plant for diagnosis of common insects or disease problems
  • Receive recommendations on how to culturally control pests and weeds
  • Discuss problems on lawns, trees, flowers, fruits, vegetables, or pests with the University of Minnesota Extension Dakota County Master Gardeners

All clinics are held from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Clinic dates and locations

Tuesday, July 28 - Galaxie Library, 14955 Galaxie Avenue, Apple Valley
Tuesday, August 4 - UMore Park, 1605 West 160th Street, Rosemount
Tuesday, August 11 - UMore Park,1605 West 160th Street, Rosemount
Tuesday, August 18 - UMore Park, 1605 West 160th Street, Rosemount
Thursday, August 20* - Umore Park (Open House), 1605 West 160th Street, Rosemount

*Please bring your sample to the clinic at least 30 minutes before closing time*

Fleshy plant parts - (bulbs, fruits and roots) - Wrap specimens in clean, absorbent materials (like paper towels) to absorb all leaks.

Flowers and vegetables - Include the entire plant, the root system, and the surrounding soil (often what appears to be a leaf problem is really a root-related problem). Enclose the roots in a plastic bag and keep the soil from touching the leaves. Include enough of the plant to show all stages of the disease or problem. When possible, bring several whole plants. Bring notes on the pattern of the symptoms over your whole garden.

Foliar disease - Include enough plant material to show all stages of the disease, from healthy to very sick. Submit only freshly collected materials. Note the overall disease pattern on the plant. Are all the leaves affected, or just the lower branches?

Turf samples - Turf samples are discouraged, as it is difficult to diagnose turf problems from samples. If you wish to bring one, though, please bring a turf section measuring 6" x 6" with the roots, from each of these areas: the sick turf, the turf on the edge of the sick area, and the healthy turf .

Woody trees and shrubs - Collect an infected branch sample, a moderately infected branch, and a healthy branch. Please do not bring completely dead branches

Insect samples - If possible, bring several insect samples. Include a plant sample showing insect damage. Preserve soft-bodied insects in rubbing alcohol.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Endless Summer Hydrangea

I planted two Endless Summer Hydrangeas last year and since the flowers can either be blue or pink, depending on the soil pH, I have been experimenting on getting the flowers blue. This one is a light purple, while the one below is a bright pink. I have been putting used coffee grounds around the base of each plant, and some Aluminum Sulfate as well. Since I don't know how much aluminum sulfate to use to get a good blue, this will be a continuing experiment. The one below has a faint touch of lavender in some flowers, but it is being stubborn compared to my other bush.

Some of the things you must do to protect this variety of hydrangea is to keep watering the shrub up until the first frost and to cover it with mulch to protect it from the winter weather. I also planted them in an area that is partially protected from winter winds, and get part sun during the day. So far, they are doing quite well!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

My Second Perennial Garden Project

My second perennial garden is one I purchased from BlueStone Perennials. They arrived last summer as small plants, and are doing quite well this year. Some of them have failed to survive the winter, but BlueStone replaced them this spring. The rabbits enjoyed a feast this spring and stunted some of the plants, giving others no chance to my only solution was to put up the bunny fence. It is really ugly and I hope not to need it next year.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

My Coneflower Garden

Last year I planted a Coneflower Garden on one side of my house, along with some Liatris 'Kobald' and Black Eyed Susans (Rudbeckia 'Goldsturm'). They should be opening up in the next few weeks.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Hot to Grow Tomato Plants from Seed, Part 3

Shortly before we left for vacation, around June 26th, I planted my tomato plants in the ground. Since I don't have alot of space, I put them in an unused bed on the west side of the house, enclosing them in an area 3 x 6 feet. I had seen the spiral rods in stores and magazines and decided to try them this year as tomato guide the central vine up the rod and it helps support the plant, leaving more room for other plants in tight spaces. So far it is working quite well. Oh, and I put alot of compost in the hole for each plant for extra nutrients. Stayed tuned to see how they turn out!

How to Grow Tomato Plants from Seed, Part 2.
How to Grow Tomato Plants from Seed, Part 1.