Marianne Ophardt

Marianne Ophardt

Garden Tips: Now is a good time to consider planting cover crops

Garden Tips columnist Marianne Ophardt is a horticulturist for Washington State University Benton County Extension. Marianne Ophardt in her garden tips column talks about cover crops, and that they are planted and then tilled back into the soil, primarily for the purpose of adding organic matter. Cover crops also reduce soil erosion from wind and water, and the the relief of soil compaction by crop roots.

Marianne Ophardt

Garden Tips: Why are the evergreens dying?

I noted earlier this year that our past three summers have been abnormally hot, with record-breaking heat. Even before I started getting calls about dying arborvitae, pines, cedars and other conifers, I predicted that stress caused by extreme heat and inadequate watering practices was going to lead to the decline of many area trees. We cannot do anything about the weather, but we can try to avoid the same problem in the future.

Marianne Ophardt

Garden Tips: What’s that beetle eating leaves on my plants?

We can consider ourselves lucky in this area because we have not had to deal with the voracious Japanese beetle. This leaf-feeding beetle is the scourge of gardeners in the eastern part of the U.S., where it chows down on hundreds of species of plants. This includes vegetable and fruit crops, flowers, trees and shrubs. The adult beetles skeletonize leaves by feeding on their upper surface and leaving only veins behind.

Marianne Ophardt

Garden Tips: Spring weather brings fire blight to area roses

In our region, it seems like abnormal weather has been the norm in recent years. This is so frustrating for gardeners like me and you. My tomatoes are just sitting in the garden and hardly growing. At the beginning of the month, it seemed like the weather was turning hot, so I removed the protective water-wall cylinders that were providing extra heat to the plants. A week later, the weather has turned cooler and unsettled.

Marianne Ophardt

Garden Tips: Praying mantids eat bad — and good — insects

Not long ago, a local gentleman called me because he had rescued several mantid egg cases that were laying in tires that were being hauled away. He had heard that mantids were beneficial and wanted to protect the egg cases until they hatched. I am not an entomologist, so my knowledge of mantids is not vast, but I have learned a little about them because they are frequently encountered in gardens.

Marianne Ophardt

Garden Tips: Water wall devices can protect plants from frost

Like gardeners elsewhere, local gardeners like to get a jump on the season by planting tomatoes before May 1, the average date of the last spring frost. However, because tomatoes are warm-season plants, early planting with frost protection does not necessarily lead to an earlier harvest. Tomatoes need warm soil and air temperatures to grow and prosper.

Videos

Video shows tornado destroying Starbucks in Indiana

Incredible video shows a Starbucks in Indiana being destroyed buy a suspected tornado. Everyone in the store was reported safe, Starbucks said, likely because one of the managers instructed everyone in the store to head to the bathrooms.
Brandon Mobley via Facebook
Video shows tornado destroying Starbucks in Indiana 0:53

Video shows tornado destroying Starbucks in Indiana

Mud Cubs Fun Run 1:33

Mud Cubs Fun Run

Talking with Chiawana High School football player Caleb Weber 0:37

Talking with Chiawana High School football player Caleb Weber

Daisy Dickenson shows pig for first time at Benton Franklin Fair & Rodeo 1:04

Daisy Dickenson shows pig for first time at Benton Franklin Fair & Rodeo