Each year brings a new flurry of decisions for eager gardeners. What plants should I grow and once that question is answered, which varieties should I grow? Luckily, the All-American Selections group conducts trials of new releases and, based on their independent research, picks the top performers.

Plant health officials are cautioning consumers to burn wreaths and other evergreen decorations, or bag them and put them in the trash, after inspectors found invasive insects on many such items sold at large chain stores in Wisconsin this holiday season.

It’s the time of the year when we want to wrap up a few of our passions and joys and share them with friends and family. Sharing your love of gardening and great food is the perfect way to show you care.

Now that we are burning wood for heat, I started wondering about wood ashes. I have heard they are good for the garden. Should I save them and spread them next year? Should I dump the ashes directly on the garden in the winter?

Fruit baskets are popular and enjoyable holiday gifts. What’s not to like? Colorful and juicy fruits spill forth out of a charming basket. Unfortunately the fruit gets eaten up in a hurry. This year, why not give a more lasting gift: a fruit tree, bush, shrub or plant?

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, in partnership with the UW-Extension, is hosting several food safety trainings required for Wisconsin fresh produce growers who must meet federal produce safety rules. The trainings provide science-based, minimum standar…

Just how is one supposed to clean up the yard and garden? I have read that we should leave garden refuse in place so it can break down and return nutrients to the same soil from which it derived those nutrients in the first place. I have read that we should clear the garden entirely and leav…

As the days advance into late autumn and then into winter, it’s time to look back over the year with thanks for all the things that enhanced our lives. Psychologists are now saying that keeping a gratitude journal is a remarkably simple way to improve your spirits and enhance your life. Even…

My friend told me that she cuts down her everbearing raspberry canes every fall. Ours were planted this past spring. Should they be cut back and how far from the ground please? She also said NOT to cut back my summer raspberries. Is she correct?

I have lots of seeds leftover from the packets I purchased this year as well as some that I saved from some of my flowers. What’s the best way to store these so I can use them next year?

Minnesota produce growers can take a one-day training course to meet the requirements for the Produce Safety Rule, which is part of the new federal Food Safety Modernization Act. Under FSMA, fruit and vegetable farmers who grow, pack, harvest and/​or hold produce and who do not qualify for a…

Halloween is the time for ghosts, goblins, witches and evil potions. This may sound scary and a bit dangerous, but many of the plants that you regularly grow might be hazardous to humans, cats or dogs!

As winter approaches, questions about preserving garden plants come fast and furious. It’s hard to say goodbye to the plants that have brought us such joy all summer long. With a little bit of loving attention, your plants should survive.

Owen earns flower honors

This year was extremely wet in southern Wisconsin. This was not the first very wet year we have experienced and I’m sure it won’t be the last. Once again, I found lessons to be re-learned from nature’s abundance of water.

It’s officially fall and cold temperatures are on the way. Fall means it is time to get produce and flowers stored away for the winter.

Our phlox are huge this year. Can I divide and transplant them and when is the best time to do it? Same with our hostas. How do you divide them? And is it best to transplant in the fall or spring?

Although we can still work and play in our gardens for weeks to come, it’s also true that the gardening season is almost over for another year. As you harvest, weed and clean up this year’s plot, look to the future. Some questions you might ponder include:

With the recent winds and storms, I have noticed a lot of sunflowers toppling over in the garden. When I go to cut them down, I see that they are hollow inside and the inside is quite soft and squishy. What causes this? Is there anything I can do to stop it?

The growing, harvesting and marketing of cut flowers will be the topic of a specialty crop field day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 19, at Greenlight Farm in Prairie Farm.

September is perhaps the busiest month for gardeners. True, there is the frantic rush in May to get everything planted, but in September we need to focus on everything: the landscape, the vegetable garden and the flower beds. Between harvesting, preserving, maintaining, improving and plantin…

My peonies have the unmistakable signs of powdery mildew. I have recently heard that I should cut them down shortly after they finish blooming. I had always thought that the foliage should be left standing until frost. What should I do? And what can be done about the powdery mildew?

Boxwood blight, a fungal disease that attacks a popular garden shrub, has been found in Wisconsin for the first time at a nursery grower in Kenosha County, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection announced in late July. Department nursery inspectors found it du…

The Jackson County Master Gardeners are offering a workshop, “Refreshing Brews from the Garden,” at the Jackson County Farmers Market on Diploma Drive in Black River Falls. The workshops will be held Thursday, Aug. 9, from 5 to 6 p.m. and again on Saturday, Aug. 11, from 11 a.m. to noon.

My onions are much smaller than normal this year. They were properly spaced and although I didn’t water them, our area had more than enough rainfall. Yet when the tops fell over and the onions were ready to harvest, they were about half as large as normal. Why did this happen?

The UW-Extension Demonstration and Learning Garden, located at the Grow to Share Community garden in River Falls, will host an informal garden walk from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Monday, Aug. 6.

Container plants can start to be stressed as the summer season continues. Their roots have been spreading throughout the pot and using the nutrients available. Take time to examine the plants with an eye to keeping them fresh and healthy until the first frost.

The annual Junior Garden U educational event will be from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, July 14, at the UW-Extension Demonstration and Learning Center that is part of the Grow to Share community garden on the edge of Hoffman Park in River Falls.

The garden changes in July. While peas, lettuce and spinach fade away, the first of the heat-loving veggies are ripening. Fat, juicy tomatoes, sweet, tender corn, crisp peppers and versatile summer squash are quickly maturing and your table will be overflowing with homegrown produce.

The Sustainable Farming Association’s Upper Midwest Garlic Growers Group and the Minnesota Premium Garlic Project will host field days this summer and fall throughout Minnesota.

This year, my rhubarb is sending up flower stalks long before I have been able to pick as much rhubarb as usual. Doesn’t the flower stalk mean that the plant stops producing new shoots? Should I stop picking it?

The North Country Master Gardeners will host a free Kids in the Garden program this summer for ages 5 to 14. The program will be from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Mondays and repeat from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Tuesdays at the Spooner Agricultural Research Station Display Garden.

UW-Extension will host a Grape Growers Field Day on June 14 from 1 to 3 p.m. at Elmaro Vineyard, N14756 Delaney Road, Trempealeau. Grape growers and those wanting to learn more about fruit production and integrated pest management are encouraged to attend the field day.