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Over the Garden Fence 2016

Catalog Code

Garden catalogs began to show up in early January and will continue for a while. There may be plenty of phrases and initials that you know. There are some new ones now too. Vegetable descriptions will often include a number of initials at the end. These usually signify that the vegetable has been...
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What's your favorite holiday gift plant?

If you said the poinsettia, you would be in good company as do most of us. Since 1825 when the poinsettia was introduced from Mexico, it has been the traditional Christmas holiday gift plant. With good care inside the home, poinsettias can last for several weeks to several months in our homes....
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Fall Colors

There are some good stories out there why fall color happens with credits to the changing temperatures, and a hot summer and wet fall, and the best one "Jack Frost". There clearly is some truth to changing temperatures and adequate moisture, but Mr. Frost has little to do with the fall colors we...
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Storing Pesticides for the Winter

Storing unused pesticides can be a troubling situation for home gardeners. Frequently asked questions include: Where can I keep them? Is it safe? Will the pesticides last? What about my children and pets? While buying in bulk might be good for dry goods and groceries, today the pesticide...
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Mysterious Damage in the Lawn

What do Squirrels, Raccoons and Skunks have in common this time of year? They all love to mess with our lawns right now. Squirrels have been foraging for food that can be stored for the winter in the landscape and part of that activity is burying seeds of all kinds from our trees and shrubs in the...
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Weird Produce Coming from the Garden

August brings some unique questions to the Master Gardener help desk. Here are some that have been fun to answer: I planted my garden sweet corn next to a corn field next door and now my sweet corn isn't so sweet, what is happening? Unlike other vegetables that get cross...
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Still Time for Late Fall Projects in the Yard

Time has run out for doing some gardening projects, but there is still time to plant your favorite spring flowering bulbs and prepare the home orchard for the winter. Bulbs that flower for us in the spring of the year need to receive a cold treatment, easily provided through our winter weather by...
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Plants in Decline

For a Horticulturist, this month has not visually been a good one. Sure there has been abundant and beautiful flowers from annuals and perennials and the spring bloom from our ornamental shrubs and trees was spectacular. What I am writing about this week is the visual decline out in the landscape,...
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Planting Your Fruit Trees in the Best Location

Where you place your dwarf fruit tree home orchard or even the one or two fruit trees you are going to grow make a big difference in how the fruit tree grows and performs. A major consideration is the soil. Fruit trees are no different than other trees and shrubs in your landscape, they need good...
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Preventing Vegetable Diseases in the Garden

Check lists can be useful to be sure projects and tasks get done in a timely fashion. Going down a check list for the garden to lessen disease is just another part of planning what you are going to grow this season. My check list covers 8 points. Not all will apply to every garden and some gardens...
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Austrian Pines in Trouble

Since the drought of 2012, Austrian pines have been stressed, especially older trees. Austrian Pines are not native to Illinois, coming from western Europe into Asia, including Austria for which the tree is named. While tolerant of our weather pattern when young and growing well, Austrian Pine...
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Vegetable Gardening This Early?

Gardeners growing their own vegetable transplants always begin their gardening season much earlier than the rest of us, especially if putting in that early spring garden. The decision of when to start those seedlings to be turned into vegetable transplants has everything to do with our traditional...
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Hot Weather Gardening

If you are wondering if the hot weather is impacting the home landscape and gardens, the simple answer is, it sure is. With the high daytime temperatures and above normal night time temperatures, it is becoming increasing hard for plants to keep up with the natural moisture loss from foliage. Every...
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Planning for the Home Orchard

It has been a couple of years since I used the month of January to address starting a home orchard. The fruit and vegetable catalogs have begun to replace the holiday flyers in the mailbox and January is not too early to begin planning for a home orchard or expanding the one already there. There...
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Planting the Home Orchard

Spring is a great time plant fruit trees in the home orchard. Planting now allows the fruit trees to establish a root system this summer. If fruit trees are or have been ordered from catalogs they are most likely going to be bare root with some form of moist packing around the roots to keep them...
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Evergreens, Mushrooms, Garden Soil and Pesky Insects

Time again to respond to several questions that have been coming to the Extension Office this fall. Q. How is the best way to handle newly planted trees and evergreens for the winter? A: Our weather this fall has really been great for the establishment of trees,...
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The Magical Frost Free Date

Gardeners whisper about it hoping there is some truth to what your parents told you about when to plant your vegetables. Others will devise their own way to determine when it is safe to plant in their yards. In other cases the gardener will join the gardener's anonymous club, being a real gambler...
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Getting Some Early Spring Bloom

It is way too early to be doing anything outside to brighten our view from inside, yet you can bring some of that spring color indoors by forcing blooms on a number of flowering shrubs and ornamental trees in your home landscape. Early spring flowering shrubs produce their flower buds the summer...
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Questions and Answers

Questions coming in over the phone, via email and with residents visiting the Master Gardener Help Desks is really an easy way to see any developing trends in the home landscape. Some weeks' it is all about insects, other weeks' plant diseases. Here are few from the past few days. Can I...
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Time to Protect Plants in the Landscape

We have been enjoying mild late fall temperatures and our plants have been slow to respond to the normal signals to go dormant. Trees and shrubs finally received the message, yet our lawns remain pretty green and maybe even needed one more mowing before the big snow. There are some landscape...
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