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Showing posts from November, 2011

Winter Squash: Easy to Grow and Good for You

Mary H. Meyer, University of Minnesota Professor and Extension Horticulturist



Image Source's Name
Squash and pumpkins can store for several months, if harvested at maturity and properly cured. (Click to enlarge.)


I love winter squash! So with the more than 100 kinds grown at the Arboretum this past summer, it was fun looking at the huge variety and deciding which ones I would try cooking this winter. I settled on 8 'new-to-me' kinds: orange hubbard, fairytale pumpkin, autumn crown, Queensland blue, marina di chioggia, rouge vif d'etampes or cinderella pumpkin, crown, large world of color blend, and 1 'old' favorite: blue hubbard, see photo below. You can still find winter squash at the markets and you can make plans this winter to grow your own squash next summer. Winter squash are easy to grow, have high nutritional value, and some kinds store well for several months. If you can still find open Farmer's Markets, you will likely have a much better selection o…

Understanding the Impact of Pesticides and Choosing Those with the Least Impact

Karl Foord, UMN Extension Educator

I often see recommendations to use the pesticide with the least impact when controlling pests. However, prior to spraying every effort should be made to avoid pest outbreaks by using the best management practices for a particular crop. For example, most fungi need a period of wetness for their spores to germinate. Managing systems to permit maximum airflow reduces drying time on leaves and reduces the opportunities for fungal spores to germinate.

For the purposes of this article let's assume that all best efforts were made and a spray as the last resort was required. How would you go about choosing the one with the least impact? The first question might be impact on whom, with the second being how one would measure such impact. At a University of California Davis website a series of pesticides is listed. Each pesticide is rated according to its impact on aquatic live, beneficial insects, honeybees, and humans. The human impact is separated int…

Moth Flies in Homes

Jeffrey Hahn, Assistant Extension Entomologist



Jeff Hahn
Photo 1: Moth fly

Not all small-sized flies that are found in homes are necessarily fruit flies. Another common type are moth flies, also called drain flies. These flies are about 1/8th inch long (or a little less) and are dark-colored with many hairs which gives them a fuzzy, moth-like appearance. They have leaf-shaped wings that are often held roof-like over their bodies (they are sometimes also held flat). If you look closely, you may be able to many parallel longitudinal veins in the wings.

Moth flies can be present anywhere in a home, especially in bathrooms, basements, and kitchens. These flies lay their eggs in moist, organic matter where the larvae, small, slender, legless insects, feed on decaying organic matter, fungi, algae, and similar material. They are commonly found associated with the gelatinous film found in sinks, shower and bathtub drains, and similar places. Moths flies can also be associated with sewa…

Calendar: December 1, 2011

Photo by Scott Bauer, K7244-16


Poinsettias are among the easiest holiday plants to grow. First, you must choose a healthy one, and get it home without suffering any cold damage. It should be wrapped well, then transported in a heated vehicle, not left in the car while you do other shopping. Cut the bottom of the decorative pot covering so excess water drains out, and place the poinsettia in a bright, sunny location. Water thoroughly when the soil surface begins to dry, and then fertilize monthly after four to six weeks. The U of M Extension has a great publication available for more information on the care of poinsettias.

Don't hesitate to buy a fresh Minnesota-grown Christmas tree. They're a renewable crop produced on marginal agricultural land. As trees are harvested, others are planted for future sales. While they grow, conifers reduce soil erosion and provide habitat for wildlife. Once you get the tree home, cut an inch or so off it's base, then set it immediately in …