August 8, 2023

Harvesting and Storing Vine Crops

watermelon and cucumber

Determining when to harvest vine crops, such as melons, squashes, and cucumbers, is not always easy.  While some vegetables like tomatoes exhibit clear signs, the proper time to harvest other crops may require a little more knowledge and experience.  Learn more about the guidelines for harvesting and storing various vine crops including watermelon, cantaloupe, cucumbers, summer squash, winter squash, pumpkins, and gourds.

Perennial Sunflowers for the Home Landscape

helianthus mollis ashy sunflower photo by Danita Delimont Adobe Stock

While annual sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) are the species grown for edible seed and oil production, the majority of Helianthus species are perennials.  These native species can be wonderful additions to home landscapes. Learn more about perennial sunflowers below. 

Horticulture at the Iowa State Fair

Blue Ribbon Cabbage at the Iowa State Fair

This week marks the start of the Iowa State Fair!  Each year, amazing flowers, fruits, vegetables, and other horticultural plants are put on display.  There is something horticultural to see any day of the Fair - the Rose Show, Dahlias, Bonsai, and exhibits from students in 4-H and FFA. Here are a few of my favorite horticulture highlights to catch at the Iowa State Fair!

Landscape Plants for Difficult Sites

difficult sites- Yucca filaments "color guard"

When selecting annuals, perennials, shrubs, and trees, choose plants that are adapted to the growing conditions at the planting site. Most landscape plants prefer moist, well-drained soils in full sun. However, there are plants that will tolerate more difficult sites.

Lists of annuals, perennials, shrubs, and trees that tolerate dry soils, wet soils, and partial shade are provided below. (Locations in partial shade receive 2 to 4 hours of direct sunlight a day.)

AAS Winners are Great New Vegetables for the Home Garden

 All-America Selections (AAS) has been trialing edible and ornamental plants for over 90 years, presenting awards to entries that will impress home gardeners with their performance regionally or nationally. There have been plenty of exciting new winners that merit a place in your garden. See this article for a few new vegetables and Reiman Gardens' harvests for Plant A Row for the Hungry.

Should You Worry About Bald-Faced Hornets?

Bald-faced hornet on yellow flower

As summer continues, bald-faced hornet nests get larger, and the number of hornets you see outside can increase substantially. The Plant and Insect Diagnostic Clinic has received several inquiries about bald-faced hornets since the start of August, and we’re here to tell you if you should worry, and what to do if you find a nest.