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Agriculture

  • WICHE: Dogwoods best planted in spring

    The search for replacement trees is on. After drought, wind and ice, we are all looking for something different and reliable to fill the void left behind by extreme weather.

    We plant trees all year round with no ill effects, but some trees do prefer being planted in spring.

    Usually soft-rooted species respond well to spring planting. It’s just easier to establish roots during the warm, rainy season, I suppose.

  • WICHE: Here’s your course in Tomato 101

    My annual “Tomato 101” is for beginners and advanced gardeners alike.

    There are many assumptions about the tomato that sometimes get passed on by the most well-meaning aficionado.  I take my tomatoes seriously and have devised a nearly perfect plan over the years!

  • WICHE: So what should you fertilize in the spring?

    I have long been taught that fall fertilization is preferred over spring fertilization for many plants, but there are some exceptions.

    We had a tough 2008 growing season with late-summer drought and a windstorm that only added insult to injury.  Add ice and a generally windy winter, and some plants are in need of a little energy boost.

    Summer drought and early fall leaf drop (or the severe desiccation that many deciduous plants experience from the windstorm) means that stored energy may be low.

  • WICHE: Potatoes, asparagus, onions first in the vegetable garden

    It is time to start preparing for the vegetable growing season in earnest. Asparagus, potatoes, onions and leeks can be set out now.

  • WICHE: Do you have problems with bramble?

    So much for the raspberries this year. Not the best crop we’ve seen. In fact each year it seems to get a little messier then the last.

    We typically cut the “Royalty” raspberries all the way to the ground each year and forgo an early crop to manage disease, but it doesn’t seem to be working that well this time around.

    It has not been a total loss, but about half the canes are dried up and diseased.   

  • WICHE: Powdery mildew common in summer

    Powdery mildew is probably the most common garden fungus around.  It is not too terribly picky about where it spreads. It likes humid and dry weather, thrives in the heat of the summer and is hard to control once it has started.

    The trick here is to prevent it from happening by proper plant selection and placement and adopting good cultural practices.  Most powdery mildew problems won’t do too much harm, but some plants suffer decline if it is a repeat problem. 

  • WICHE: Age, fertility two factors for bloom

    I have no complaints about plant performance this spring.

    It has been England-like with agreeable temperatures and ample rainfall, thus far.  A few steamy days have managed to snap me back to summer-in-the-Ohio valley-reality!

    Plants have preformed well and bloomed as they should here at the farm, but some gardeners continue to pose the question, “Where’s the bloom?”

  • WICHE: The ash borer has arrived, and here’s what to do

    For more than a decade, entomologists to the north have been monitoring a pest that has devastated ash tree populations.

    Michigan was the first see the drama unfold, and all told since active monitoring of the emerald ash borer first began, an estimated 40 million trees have been killed.

    It was inevitable that the pest would move south, despite active efforts to contain the pest through quarantines, voluntary and mandatory felling of ash trees and a campaign to prevent the movement of firewood out of infected areas.

  • WICHE: Can you say Hakonechloa?

    For some gardeners, the tactile experience of maintaining the garden is not really what they’re after.  I love the whole process, but I realize that most people just want things to look good without too much fuss.

  • WICHE: How to control those 4-legged pests

    If you have a garden, chances are you appreciate nature in all its glory.  But sometimes nature gets in the way of our desires to cultivate.

    Deer browsing, rabbit munching, squirrel digging, mole trenching and resident vole feasting have all come up in the last two weeks. Though I have no silver bullet for any of these problems, I do have some practical approaches to offset the shared feasting on our gardens.