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Check out Small Wonders!

Are you fascinated by flies, admire ants, love Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths), bonkers for bees or just generally like to learn about nature? Then the Department of Entomology may have a new column for you!

Starting in February, the Department of Entomology unveiled a new feature named Small Wonders. This column helps to engage people that are interested in insects and related arthropods and attract those who don’t know yet they like entomology. These short articles entertain and educate and tell readers what’s cool about insects.

New articles are published the first Monday of
every month; columns are archived so you can read past articles. April currently features the mourning cloak butterfly.  You can find Small Wonders on the Department of Entomology home page as well as on social media: Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Check it out and enjoy!

Author: Jeffrey Hahn, Extension Entomology
Recent posts

Minnesota WeatherTalk: A blog worth the read!

There are many great resources for Minnesotans here at the U of MN. One of my favorite weekly blogs is Minnesota WeatherTalk by climatologist Dr. Mark Seely and the following, fascinating excerpt from this week's post is why:
April 2-3, 1982 All Four Seasons Were Sampled:Following one of the snowiest winter seasons in state history (over 90 inches in the Twin Cities), April 2, 1982 brought the first severe weather day of the spring season to western Minnesota. Many portions of southwestern Minnesota were under a severe thunderstorm watch that day. Bright sun, strong southerly winds, recent loss of snow cover, accelerated the daily temperature rise, producing afternoon highs in the 70s F. It reached 78°F at Lamberton, 77°F at Worthington, 75°F at Windom, and 68°F at St Peter, all readings about 15-20 degrees F above normal.

Atmosphere instability brought by the clash of an air mass from the southwestern USA and an air mass which dropped down from Alberta, Canada caused huge billowin…

Emerald ash borer discovered in Mower County

After finding emerald ash borer (EAB) for the first time in Rice County two weeks ago, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) announced yesterday that EAB is now confirmed in Mower County.

An MDA employee, traveling on highway 63, sighted several suspicious trees with woodpecker pecks and bark splits near Racine,Minnesota. Upon further investigation
by MDA, live larvae were found which were confirmed later by federal identification.

This is the 23nd county in Minnesota that has verified EAB. This discovery is not surprising as it is a mere five miles from Stewartville in Olmstead County, which found EAB in 2014. Minnesota first found EAB in 2009 and its nearly one billion trees are at risk from this invasive borer.

EAB, first found in North American in 2002, has been confirmed in 35 states and 5 Canadian provinces. It has killed hundreds of millions of ash trees and has cost
hundreds of millions of dollars.

MDA recommends several steps residents can take to help id…

NEW VIDEOS: Seed starting inspiration from our systems at home

Spring is in the air, and it's time to start your seeds! Many of us are starting to feel restless at home, and seed starting is a great way to get your hands dirty and feel connected to nature. (For those of you who are not stuck at home - healthcare workers, farmers, grocery store employees - thank you so much for your service!)
To give you some inspiration, this video series shows three different seed starting systems at the homes of Extension educators. These systems highlight different options for starting seeds - from lighted, heated systems to sunny windows, and materials ranging from specially created seed starting pots to objects found around the home. 

Your access to materials is likely limited during the COVID-19 closings, so don't be afraid to get creative! A few things to keep in mind:1. If you have a really great seed starting system, consider growing extra for your neighbors. It's a great way to show some kindness to those around you, and also a great way to bu…

Yard-to-Table 101: Take your first steps to 'Homegrown' veggies!

As history has shown…when times get tough, Americans often turn to gardening—because of scary, fresh food supply shortages and for health reasons. When World War II began in September of 1939, who knew that by 1943, 40 percent of Americans would be gardening in their own “Victory Gardens”? 

Thanks to the pandemic, you might want to garden because you’re stuck at home, you’d like to try your hand at something new, or you really want your own homegrown fresh produce—it’s healthy, tastes good, and it’s good for the environment—all positives that we need right now.  At UMN Extension, we can help you with this new yard-to-table journey! 

This is the first in a four-part series on easy vegetable gardening that will give you the tools to create your own vegetable garden. Never gardened before? No problem! Got just a patio or an apartment balcony? No worries! 

We'll show you how to do something as simple as growing your own lettuce in a pot. 

And if you have any questions, just Ask Extension

Big Ideas for Small Spaces: Succession planting

Even in a small space, you can harvest vegetables all season long with some up-front planning. Succession planting is the practice of seeding crops at intervals of (usually) 7-21 days in order to maintain a consistent supply of harvestable produce throughout the season. 

Succession planting also involves planting a new crop after harvesting the first crop. The second crop (or third!) can be the same as the prior, or different.
Make a plan for fresh vegetables all summer longIn a small space, I tend to stick to quick-growing crops like lettuce and radishes, or crops that can grow vertically on a trellis like peas. Rather than planting all of my peas and radishes at once, I calculate the amount that I'm likely to eat in a week. 

For example, I will likely only eat 5-7 radishes each week. So, rather than planting all of my radishes at once, I'll plant a ~10 radish seeds one week, 10 the next week, 10 the next, and so-on. Since radishes are harvested after about 3-4 weeks, you can u…

How I am Establishing My New Raspberry Patch

On January 31, 2020, I wrote an article in the Yard and Garden News about how to prepare soil for planting blueberries. Today, I want to provide some tips for establishing a raspberry patch, based on what I am doing in my own garden.

Twin Cities households consume 132 percent more raspberries than the average American household (Source: Driscoll's). My husband and I contribute to this just as much as the next family. Therefore, it is high time that we plant a (second) raspberry patch in our yard to supplement the small planting I installed last year. 
This year, I will be planting a row of fall bearing raspberries on the south side of my yard, in a sunny, highly productive spot. 
I will be testing a new variety from Cornell University that we do not yet recommend for Minnesota. It is new and currently untested here, and it is unknown whether it will survive in USDA Hardiness Zone 4. I am also working with four farms, starting this season, to test it in high tunnels and open field set…