Saturday, February 25, 2017

Create Your Own Apple Tree by Mari Hackbarth

1909 Illustration of a "Colorado Orange" Apple,  USDA

What kind of apple trees do you think Johnny Appleseed planted as he sowed swaths of seeds to establish orchards across the Midwest?  It turns out that every seed he planted grew into a unique apple tree!  Planted apple seeds will not produce a tree or fruit exactly like the original fruit or tree the seed was collected from.  If you grow an apple tree from a Macintosh apple seed, you will have an apple tree, but not a Macintosh apple tree.  Apples are an example of a plant that can only be reproduced exactly by a technique known as “grafting”.  Grafting is the process of joining two plants together.  The upper part of the graft (the scion) becomes the top of the resulting plant, and the lower part provides the root system.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Tulips Emerging Early by Donna Duffy

Late season tulips emerging in February, photo by Donna Duffy

This recent surge of warm weather has created conditions for some spring-blooming bulbs to emerge early. You’ve probably noticed crocus blooming, especially if they are near a wall or rock. Crocus are tough, low-growing flowering bulbs, and can tolerate snow and cold. I also noticed that some of my late-season tulips  have just broken ground, and that is more unusual. Here are some tulip tips for late winter from Ron Smith, Horticulturalist at the North Dakota State University Extension Office.

Monday, February 20, 2017

How Insects Overwinter by Mary Small

Bees Huddling to Keep Warm, photo courtesy CSU Extension

All insects have developed strategies for surviving the winter.  Some migrate to warmer climates, but most stick around.  How do they do it? 

Honeybees really do huddle together…in a ball, with those on the outside of the ball (acting as insulators) gradually exchanging places with the bees on the inside of the ball. The bees on the inside of the ball generate heat through shivering. No helmets or jerseys, though.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Do You Have Any Courgettes to Spare? By Joyce D’Agostino

Photo courtesy live
There was some surprising news from the UK recently regarding shortages on some of their favorite produce. One that is in short supply and high demand, the courgette, (otherwise known as zucchini) is becoming harder to find in their supermarkets.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Terminology for New Flower Gardeners by Donna Duffy

Mixed bed of perennials and annuals, photo by Beth Bonnicksen
If you are a newcomer to the world of flower gardening, welcome! Prepare to have a new addiction in your life. Getting familiar with some of the terminology will help you navigate the wonderful world of annuals, perennials, bulbs and more. Here’s a start.