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.
Kudos to our firefighters for their hard work in fighting the recent wildfires and successfully protecting local homes. Since they do their part in keeping us safe, homeowners should help protect their own properties with fire-resistant landscaping.
Root weevils are a common pest in area home gardens, but the adult weevils are seldom brought to the Extension office for identification. That is because they are nocturnal, feeding late at night and hiding during daylight on the undersides of leaves or beneath debris on the ground.
Last week, I covered the top factors contributing to the browning and dieback of many area needled evergreens. While it is no surprise that heat and drought stress could cause problems, some of you might wonder why we are just becoming aware of the severity of the situation.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I hope you celebrated Mother’s Day with some pretty flowers or plants. They can help moms live longer. Recent research from Harvard University shows that higher levels of green vegetation are associated with decreased mortality in women.
Now that we have arrived at the average last date of frost, it is time to go shopping. I wonder what delightful new varieties of annual flowers, vegetables, perennial flowers and shrubs are available this year? Before we go plant shopping, let’s review some plant terminology.
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.
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
Mud Cubs Fun Run
Talking with Chiawana High School football player Caleb Weber
Daisy Dickenson shows pig for first time at Benton Franklin Fair & Rodeo