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Showing posts from April, 2018

May to-do list for vegetable gardening

The snow has melted! So when can I plant? Annie Klodd, Extension Educator-Fruit and Vegetable Production
Michelle Grabowski, Extension Educator-Plant Pathology
The cold spring and record-breaking snowfall in mid-April may have delayed the start of the 2018 vegetable garden for many Minnesotans. But do not worry! There is still plenty of time to prepare your garden and plant vegetables throughout May.

The May to-do list includes preparing the soil, choosing healthy transplants, deciding the right time to plant, and planting cool and warm season vegetables.

Want happy plants and a healthy lawn? Get a soil test!

Anne Sawyer, Extension Educator - On-Farm Food Safety  

Finally, spring seems to have sprung in Minnesota! The soil is rapidly warming across much of the state, and it'll be time to plant before we know it.

  Before you put anything in the ground, however, you should consider testing your soil so you know how best to prepare for planting. The only reliable way to determine how best to fertilize is to do a soil test.

Help identify invasive stink bugs

This pest even has it's own Smart phone app! Jeffrey Hahn, Extension Entomologist

[Note: The following article was modified from a Crop News Letter article written by Bill Hutchison, Theresa Cira and Bob Koch. The original article can be found here. ]

Brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is an invasive insect that was first found in Minnesota in 2010 and has slowly been gaining a foothold in the state. This insect feeds on over 300 plants, including many important crops such as apples, corn, grapes, peppers, tomatoes, and soybeans.

During the past two years, this pest has been found in apple orchards and soybean fields. Although crop loss has not occurred in Minnesota yet (it has in the eastern U.S. since 2010), it is only a matter of time. To help protect against BMSB, it is critical to find new infestations in Minnesota before they can become abundant..

Do not prune oaks!

Michelle Grabowski, UMN Extension Educator

It is now the high risk period for oak wilt in Minnesota. Gardeners in the area of the state where oak wilt occurs should not prune oaks until next fall.

Oak wilt is a fatal disease that can affect all oak trees. Red oaks can wilt and die in as little as 4 weeks. White oaks often slowly decline over several years. Protecting trees from wounds and pruning cuts during the high risk period is critical in preventing new oak wilt infections.

It's tick season!

Jeffrey Hahn, Extension Entomologist

We have waited patiently (or in some cases impatiently) for the arrival of spring. Now that it is here, we can’t wait to get outside and enjoy the nice weather. Keep in mind that with the warm weather also comes ticks. With a few precautions, you can still enjoy the outdoors without worrying about them.

There are two common ticks in Minnesota; the blacklegged tick (also called deer tick) and the American dog tick (also called wood tick). Both ticks are nuisances because they bite to feed on our blood as well as the blood of our pets, including dogs and horses.

However, blacklegged (deer) ticks are a health problem because they are a potential vector of Lyme disease and other diseases (see Tick-borne disease in Minnesota). Both of these ticks are common in grassy fields and the underbrush of hardwood forests.

Basics of starting seeds

Easy steps show how to grow from seed Gail Hudson, UMN Extension Communication Specialist

The thought of growing plants from seeds sounds daunting. What kind of soil should you use? What kind of pot(s)? How deep should they be planted? And so on.

In this home gardener-friendly video, Extension Educator Julie Weisenhorn walks through the process--showing the materials you'll need, how to plant your seeds and where to keep your seed tray while it's growing.

For more information about all of the steps, read And as Julie says, "Happy Gardening!"

Growing healthy transplants

M. Grabowski, UMN Extension Educator

Starting seeds indoors can be a great way to get a jump on the growing season. Unfortunately damping off, a common disease of seedlings, can kill plants before they are strong enough to transplant outdoors. Find out best practices to prevent damping off and grow strong healthy transplants.

For more information about damping off or starting seeds indoors, visit UMN Extension online.