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Renovate your strawberry patch for more berries next year

Author: Annie Klodd, Extension Educator - Fruit and Vegetable Production A large strawberry patch in White Bear Lake, MN. Photo: Annie Klodd Do you renovate your strawberry patch each year? If not, do it this year and you may be surprised at how much this step increases your yield and plant health next year! While gardeners in northern Minnesota are still harvesting strawberries today, strawberry harvest has come to a close for the bottom 2/3 of Minnesota. After the final harvest, the patch should be renovated in order to restore the health of the plants and prepare them for the following season. This process involves: Weed control, mowing, row narrowing, cultivation, fertilization, and irrigation. Step 1: Remove large, mature weeds Because Step 2 of the renovation process will involve mowing the whole patch, any large weeds that are about to go to seed should be removed prior to mowing so that they don't spread their seeds into the soil. Additionally, I find that wee

Watering Wisdom: Growing a Healthy Lawn with Less Water

Setting up for an irrigation audit Have you ever wondered if it's possible to grow a healthy lawn with less water?  A free, five-part webinar series from the Metropolitan Council and University of Minnesota Turfgrass Science team wants to help answer that question.  The first part of the series will discuss outdoor water use trends in Minnesota and how to perform an irrigation audit in your own backyard. Outdoor Water Use in the Twin Cities: Am I Using Too Much?  Part 1 of a five-part webinar series  Tuesday July 7th, 2020  2:00 PM Please visit our event page  for more information!

Ask Extension: What can I do about poison ivy?

I live in Northern Minnesota near a wetland along a river. I have contracted a rash the past two summers from either poison ivy, poison sumac or poison oak while out cutting, digging or pulling weeds. How can I identify the plants? How can I protect myself? Poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans) Education is really your best line of defense along with wearing protective clothing and conducting a thorough clean up. 1. Know the plants.  Poison oak is not present in MN, but poison ivy, poison sumac, wild parsnip and cow parsley all can cause dermatitis. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture Noxious Weed webpage provides very good information . I also like Minnesota Department of Transportation downloadable PDF  Minnesota Noxious Weeds . It provides management and timing instructions as well as look-a-like plants. Interestingly, poison ivy ( Toxicodendron radicans ) is a native plant (the only one on the MN Noxious Weed list). It is a semi-woody plant that grows on the edges

The unique pollination systems of cucumbers, melons, and squash

You've likely all seen the images of what grocery store shelves would look like without pollinators. While many fruit and vegetable crops require pollinators to set fruit, cucumbers, melons, squash, and other plants in the cucurbit family have one of the most complex pollination systems of any garden vegetable. This article covers some basic information abut the complex and very cool pollination systems of cucurbits.  For a much more in-depth discussion of flowering, pollination, and fruit set dynamics, listen to our recent episode of What's Killing my Kale. Flowering dynamics Image: Natalie Hoidal Pumpkins, squash, cucumbers, and melons are monoecious , meaning they produce both "male" and "female" flowers on the same plant. However, these flowers emerge at different times. In general, male flowers bloom one week or so before female flowers. However in zucchini and summer squash, female flowers tend to bloom first.  In zucchini and summer sq

Prepare for apple maggots

Apple maggot.  Note the black banding and white spot.  Photo: University of Minnesota Extension While early July means different things to different people, if you are an apple grower, it reminds you that this is the beginning of apple maggot season in Minnesota. This pest spends the winter as pupae in the soil and begins to emerge as adults starting about July 1. Why are they are pests? Apple maggot is the most important apple pest in the state and damages apples in a couple of ways. First, the adult females injure apples as they lay their eggs. Their sharp ovipositor punctures the skin, giving apples a less attractive, dimpled look. The most serious damage occurs when the larvae tunnel through the apples. Their feeding injures the  flesh, causing brown streaks. These damaged areas become soft and rot, causing apples to become lumpy and misshapen. Can you protect your apples without insecticides? A great method to protect your apples nonchemically is to bag them.

New gardening video series in Spanish // Nuevos videos sobre jardinería en español

Our Yard and Garden team recently collaborated with SNAP educators to create three introductory gardening videos in Spanish. These videos cover how to build healthy soil in the garden, growing vegetables successfully from transplants, and growing vegetables successfully from seed. Nuestro equipo de Yard and Garden recientemente colaboró con educadores de SNAP para crear tres videos sobre jardinería en español. Las temas incluyen: cómo mantener el suelo saludable en el jardín, cómo cultivar verduras con éxito desde los trasplantes y cómo cultivar semillas directamente en el jardín en el clima de Minnesota. Cómo mantener suelo saludable en el jardín Building healthy soil in the garden Cultivando trasplantes saludables en el jardín growing vegetables successfully from transplants Cultivando plantas desde semillas en el jardín Growing plants from seed in the garden Video authors: Natalie Hoidal, Milena Nunez Garcia, Maria Teresa Thoreson, Extension Educato