March 11, 2022

Poetry for Plant-People

illustration and haiku of cedar appel rust

Bug beats, plant pest poetry, and haikus are available!

Resources for Seed Starting Indoors

Garden seeds come in a variety of shapes and sizes

Mid-March is the best time to start many vegetables and annual flowers indoors for transplanting outside once the threat of frost has past.  Below are resources available to help with the process. 

Regardless of what type of seed you're growing, to have the best success follow these basic tips:

2022 Wild-Harvested Mushrooms Certification Class

Golden oysters (Pleurotus citrinopileatus) and Pheasant back (Polyporus squamosus) growing in the woods

Upcoming in-person classes through Iowa State University Extension and Outreach will teach those hoping to sell wild-harvested mushrooms in the state to distinguish safe mushrooms from potentially poisonous lookalikes. 

Planting Bare Root Plants

Trees, shrubs, roses, and perennials are available bare root.  That is, they come to you from the garden center or mail-order retailer with no soil around their roots. Extra care is required to make bare root plants survive and thrive.

Houseplant Pests: Mealybugs

small fuzzy white insets on house plants are mealybugs

Houseplant owners will know the pain of discovering a pest infestation; there is that moment you recognize a pest and then utter a loud “no!”  I recently had this moment as I discovered mealybugs on several of my houseplants. 

Ugh!  Mealybugs!  Photo by Laura Iles.

Can a Vegetable Garden Save You Money?

a variety of lettuce colors and varieties

Growing a garden has the potential to reduce the amount of money spent on groceries. But this “potential” depends on the costs involved in growing the crops, types, and amounts of vegetables grown, yields that are derived from the garden, and other factors.

Avoid Oak Wilt: to prune or not to prune now?

USDA US Forest service Oak Wilt in the Northeastern and Midwestern States

Oak wilt is caused by a fungus transmitted sap and bark beetles.   Avoid pruning oaks when beetles are active to prevent the disease.

Spray Schedule for Home Apple Trees

red apples on the apple tree

Growing high-quality apples in the home garden is possible but requires significant inputs. Apples have several serious disease and insect pests that can significantly lower the quantity and quality of the apple harvest in the fall. Managing these disease and insect pests is important, and many of the most effective management steps occur in spring, well before the apples form and ripen.

Alternatives to Colorado Blue Spruce

The Colorado spruce does not do well in the less-than-ideal growing conditions of Iowa's hot, humid summers.  Here are alternatives to consider.

Emerald Ash Borer Confirmed in Ida and Sioux Counties

Emerald ash borer has been confirmed in Ida and Sioux counties for the first time. The invasive, ash tree-killing insect from Asia has now been confirmed in all but 13 of Iowa’s 99 counties since its original detection in 2010.