The delicate paperwhites, Narcissus tazetta, are a lovely way to brighten winter days.
These relatives of the daffodil are an excellent choice for winter blooms as they don’t require a chilling period as other bulbs do.
Paperwhites have a cluster of small blooms at the end of a flower stalk (scape). The flowers can be white, bi-color, or doubles.
Paperwhites can have a strong fragrance. Some varieties have more of an odor than others. Two varieties with less scent are Ariel and Nir. ...
What you need to know
Clovers are making a comeback in lawn seed mixes. Today many families want to attract more pollinators to their yards. They are searching for ecologically sound ways to grow grass, including adding white clover back to the turf seed mix. Clover adds diversity and durability to lawns and provides food for bees. The microclover species is short growing, self-fertilizing, low maintenance and additionally long-living.
White clover, Trifolium repens, was common in lawns...
The large, colorful blooms of the Amaryllis can brighten dreary winter days. This South American native has showy flowers in a range of colors from white to pink to red. Amaryllis is a beautiful addition to holiday or winter décor.
Often you will find Amaryllis sold as a bulb in a kit with soil and a pot. These large bulbs produce bell-shaped flowers on long stalks. As the flowers begin to open, large, straplike leaves emerge.
Choose the largest bulbs that are firm and dry...
At first: Why save seeds?
Saving seeds is a great way to save money and be prepared for the following year, but it is also a way to pick out the best of what you have grown and save seeds from that specimen (flower, vegetable, etc.). With each successive year, you will be picking out the hardiest and delicious/beautiful specimens until you have amazing strains of your favorites. This is called ‘rogueing.’ If you harvest more seeds than you need, you can share your...
The festive poinsettia, Euphorbia pulcherrima, is a lovely addition to holiday décor. The bright, cheery plant, a native to Mexico, comes in many colors and sizes making it a good choice to brighten up the long, dark days of winter.
The showy colored parts of the poinsettia are colored bracts. The yellow flowers or cyathia are in the center of the bracts.
For the longest display of color, selecting healthy plants is key. Look for a plant that has dark green foliage down to the soil...
The colorful poinsettia is a beautiful addition to end-of-the-year holiday festivities. One of the most common questions about poinsettias is how to keep them and get them to rebloom the following season.
The first step to reblooming is to keep the plant healthy and growing throughout the year. Around the first of the year, fertilize your poinsettia with a soluble houseplant fertilizer. Six hours of indirect light and consistently moist soils will keep the plants healthy.
The beautiful Poinsettia is a colorful plant that brightens dark winter days. Whether you use it to decorate for the holiday season or it was given to you as a gift, giving the plant the care it needs can keep it colorful for six to eight weeks in the home.
The showy-colored parts of the Poinsettia are colored bracts (modified leaves). The yellow flowers or cyathia are in the center of the bracts.
Poinsettias are very sensitive to cold temperatures. When you move the plant to a vehicle or...
Growing food is not limited to outdoors in the summer.
With some planning, you can grow food indoors throughout the year.
Make a plan
Before starting your indoor kitchen garden, it is essential to think about what you want to gain by growing food indoors. You might wish to have herbs to give dinners a special touch or boost nutrition for added health benefits.
Here are some things to keep in mind: the amount of work you want to put into your indoor garden, schedules including your daily...
Getting Started with Seed Saving
If you find the perfect tasting tomato, harvesting and saving the seed will ensure you can have that tomato again next season. The seed stores the genetic information for a new plant. With a bit of practice and patience, you can have the seeds of your favorite vegetables ready for next year's garden.
Provide care for plants
Healthy plants produce the best seeds. Starting with good seed gives your plants a good start. Avoid stressing plants by planting in good...
Healthy soil is essential for healthy plants. Using cover crops in the home garden is one way to promote soil health.
Cover crops are non-harvested crops that add organic matter to the soil, transfer nitrogen by creating nitrogen compounds usable by plants, and break up heavy clay or compacted soil.
Cover crops are planted either before you plant your garden or after harvest. They can also be planted in areas that are unused for the season.
Using cover crops in the home garden has many...
By Laura Bradshaw, Extension Master Naturalist serving Fulton, Mason, Peoria and Tazewell counties
The topic of the importance of pollinators is becoming more and more common. People are realizing the importance and taking action such as providing pollinator friendly plants and habitat. Learning more about insecticides and using them appropriately is another way to support pollinators.
What are neonicotinoids and what do they do?
Neonicotinoids, or “neonics,” are the most widely...