For added interest and a touch of architectural structure, consider adding a few shrubs to your flower beds. If you choose carefully, you can have blooms in the spring and fall as well as berries for the birds. If your garden is getting a bit too large to manage, shrubs can take up some of t…

There comes a time when we are faced with a garden problem that is beyond our experience. We need help NOW! With a well-stocked physical or online library of reference materials, help can be on hand for those garden emergencies.

In most years, July is hot and dry. But with the strange weather this year, it’s hard to know what will happen. The days are already getting shorter bit by bit and fall is on its way. The days are passing by quickly so use your time wisely. Take stock of garden progress and sow the seeds for…

I well remember thinking, “Look at that lovely flower — isn’t it beautiful? I think I’ll let it grow and see how it develops.” The only problem with that plan was that the flower was bindweed, which is a horrifically invasive and hard-to-kill weed. Admittedly it has lovely flowers, but it wi…

June is a super month for fruit. Watch for developing raspberries and definitely strawberries. If you have no fruit bushes or trees on your property, seriously consider adding some. Few treats are as satisfying as homegrown fruit. Since most berries are fragile, it’s hard to get properly rip…

It’s insect season! Just as gardeners anticipate the first bite of a ripe juicy tomato or the crunch of fresh-picked lettuce, the insects are dashing in to enjoy the results of our labor. Be on high alert for problematic pests. Your garden plants can go from glorious to gutted in a matter of…

EAU CLAIRE — The “Gardens in Bloom” annual garden tour is set for Saturday, July 13. The tour is sponsored by the Eau Claire Garden Club. This year’s tour features seven unique gardens on the west side of Eau Claire with historic and modern designs. Several of the gardens have breathtaking v…

With the turning of the calendar page, it appears to be almost June. Depending on where you live, the weather may not agree with the calendar but take heart. Summer will come. The sun will shine and the gardens will produce.

After an exceedingly cold start to the growing season, temperatures seem to be warming up to normal conditions. Before you rush to plant, take a step back and evaluate the environmental requirements of your seeds and seedlings. Planting too early could cause a major setback, prolonging harve…

Perhaps you are one of the lucky few whose garden soil is in perfect condition for planting this season. Many of us are eager to get growing but the excess of rain and snow has kept the soil too wet. Don’t let that stop you from getting some crops and flowers planted — look to containers.

UW-Extension has plots available to rent at the Walworth County Community Garden. Community gardens provide common ground for people to grow plants, build strong communities and provide the space needed for a garden. A community garden also offers people of all ages, backgrounds and skill le…

It’s May! All around us, spring is waking up. May is a marvelous month, full of possibilities and potential. In May everything can be planted — eventually.

Protected by a blanket of snow, weed seeds and some seedlings survive a Midwest winter and burst forth at the first sign of marginally decent growing conditions. Now is the time to learn all about the weeds that can threaten the success of your favorite garden plants. Just as knowing how a t…

It seems that spring has finally sprung and it’s time to gather ideas for your garden at the UW Family Gardening Day on Saturday, May 4, on the UW–Madison campus.

Each fall, as the garden season winds down, I am happy to put away my trowel and call it a year. But come spring, I am always champing at the bit to get something growing and to harvest my own fresh produce.

AMERY — Permaculture may look messy to the untrained eye, but it’s actually nature at its finest, according to Chris Kerrschneider, who led a talk on “The Roots of Permaculture” on March 19 at the Amery Public Library.

Recently I was showing a friend the seedlings I have started for the garden. Her 12-year-old son Mason was with us and he became quite excited at the prospect of growing his own food. He wanted to do it all! He has now declared me his gardening mentor and we both look forward to hours togeth…

UW-Madison Extension’s North Country Master Gardener Association will host a Mini Master Gardener Short Course for youth and their families from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, March 30, at Bashaw Valley Farm and Greenhouse south of Spooner.

March brings spring! It may be cold and snowy outside but come March 10, it’s time to spring forward into Daylight Savings Time. Ten days later March 20 brings the vernal equinox and the official start of spring. Get ready to garden because the days are getting longer, the sun is getting bri…

We have had such a cold winter with the polar vortex moving in. What impact will this have on our perennials? What about fruit trees and shrubbery? While I’m hoping for good news on the garden front, I’m also hoping that the insect population will be severely damaged.

With spring only five or six weeks away, gardeners are chomping at the bit to get growing. Alas, wintry weather keeps us away from the garden but there is still plenty to do inside.

Is it true that if you plant green pepper plants next to jalapeño plants that they will cross-pollinate and taste like each other? My husband claims that I can’t plant my green pepper plants next to my jalapeño plants, but my green peppers have never tasted hot.

February kicks off the serious beginning of the garden season. In most places, by the end of February, the average daytime temperature climbs to above freezing. Although winter is still solidly with us, hope springs eternal and gardening fever can strike.

Many people may have received or been given poinsettias as gifts during the holiday season. Sadly, many people do not know how to care for poinsettias, or believe that they will not turn color again next year and end up throwing out the plant.

The Wisconsin Cut Flower Growers School, a two-day workshop designed to help new and beginning growers learn the ins and outs of producing and marketing cut flowers, will be held on the UW-Madison campus Feb. 16-17.

The seed catalogs are piling up and I am eagerly anticipating a stretch of time in which to dream and shop for this year’s selections. Don’t wait too long or the best varieties may be gone. Plus, some seeds require extra time before they are ready to go into the garden.

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?