With the new year upon us, healthy lifestyle habits are sure to be on many people’s minds as they plan for changes in diet and exercise. The new year is also the perfect opportunity to make healthier choices for trees. Winter is the ideal time for tree pruning while avoiding harmful, disease-carrying pests such as the tiny beetles that carry oak wilt from one tree wound to another. ... Read more

The Chippewa Valley Master Gardener Association and UW-Extension Chippewa County are hosting the annual Think Spring Garden Seminar on Saturday, Feb. 15, from 8 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. at the Avalon Hotel & Conference Center located at 1009 W. Park Avenue, Chippewa Falls.

Author, blogger and proclaimed “houseplant guru” Lisa Eldred-Steinkopf follows a rule that if you have enough sunlight in your home to read, you certainly can grow a low-light plant.

Holiday cacti are not only popular gift plants, but they are also the subject of frequent debate among gardeners. There appears to be much confusion about these unique tropical cacti regarding care, maintenance and, especially, on how to get them to re-bloom. While most folks just lump them …

We’re all familiar with the ancient Chinese adage “Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime.” This axiom has no better meaning than when translated to the garden. Even as the number of gardeners is steadily increasing (40% of families with backy…

The holidays are here and soon family and friends will be gathered together, a blend of different ages and different interests. Involve all ages in helping you prepare for next year’s garden season!

Since 1932, a panel of judges has published its list of All American Selections, featuring cultivars not yet released to the public. After extensive testing in a national network of trial grounds, the AAS judges select the best of the bunch for its annual list. If you’re looking for a brand …

When we were looking for a new place to live, we were astonished at the beauty of the place we discovered. Giant oak trees towered over the house; shagbark hickories marked the corners of the plot. The garden, clearly definable despite the weeds, was bordered by old-fashioned purple raspberr…

Winter has come early this year, spawning thoughts of holiday shopping. Although I think gardeners are easy to shop for, my family disagrees. Perhaps you can leave this column in a conspicuous place as a convenient hint for your loved ones.

At the end of 2019, 2,627 Master Gardener Volunteers reported nearly 169,000 hours of community service from 71 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties, equivalent to $4,291,000 in the independent sector, according to the annual report of the UW-Extension Master Gardener Program. Since 2001, Wisconsin Ma…

I recently harvested my fall crop of daikon radishes. Only a few of them were a decent size while the rest of them ranged from “too small to keep” to just mediocre. What causes this wide variety of sizes with radishes? I remember that my carrots also had this problem.

In November, there’s still gardening to be done. Depending on where you live, you may have already experienced a hard freeze and perhaps even a few inches of snow. Although temperatures steadily decrease as we progress through the month, there may still be some stellar days for being outdoor…

Now that I’m bringing in some of the potted plants for the winter, I am wondering if any of them were poisonous to my cats and my dog. Is there a list somewhere that I can consult?

Much is being written these days about the importance of pollinators to the world as we know it. Indeed our future food supply may depend on these tiny workhorses of the natural world. With the decreasing populations of bees, gardeners are stepping up across the planet to help not just the b…

I know you have addressed this before but could you tell me when and where is the best place to plant raspberry canes? My friend has a bunch that she would like to get rid of. Is fall a good time to move them? And while on the subject, can I get both a summer harvest and a fall harvest from …

Once the calendar page turns to October, gardeners know that the end of the growing season is near. Perhaps your area has even experienced a killing frost already. If not, it will be coming soon. It’s time to get busy and double-down on getting the garden ready for winter.

Long before their leaves begin to drop, trees and shrubs begin preparing for winter. Just as squirrels store food for the long winter ahead, trees and shrubs shift their nutrient supply from their leaves and branches to their roots. Cellular liquid in the trees and shrubs thickens and lowers…

The garden is winding down and it’s time to think about your gardening year. Were you buried in beans or swamped by squash? With successes and failures fresh in your mind, take note of how this garden season has been.

At long last, it’s tomato season! A juicy, red ripe tomato is a sure sign of summer, and none taste better than those plucked from the vine, still warm from the sun. While it may seem to take forever for that first green orb to ripen, before long the plant may be producing more fruit than a …

School is starting, September is here, and fall is right around the corner. But the growing season is not yet over. Tomatoes are often just starting to mature in a quantity sufficient for canning. Peppers are ripening as well. To keep the harvest developing, be sure to maintain good soil moi…

Along the sunny property line dividing my land from my neighbors, I used to have a row of lilacs. The neighbor persuaded me to let her remove all of the lilacs. Now that they are gone, I find I miss that natural demarcation. I want something that grows 8-10 feet tall and is about 4 feet wide…

A friend asked me about transplanting rhubarb. Ours has been in the same spot for 20 years and this year seemed puny — smaller stalks and did not rejuvenate much. I thought this was due to the several frosts the rhubarb experienced but maybe it is time to transplant. What are your suggestion…

My zucchini plants look quite healthy but the zucchinis themselves are rotting at the tip. Some have skinny little ends that grow abruptly larger at the stem end of the fruit and are green but grow soft fairly quickly. Others have skinny ends that are yellow and start to rot quickly. What’s wrong?

After a hot and frequently wet July, it is terrific to get back to working in the garden. That’s a good thing because there is a lot to do! Harvest is at the top of the list. Even warm-season crops should mature this month.

After producing an initial big head and then a few side shoots, my broccoli has stopped producing. Shouldn’t I be getting side shoots throughout the rest of the season? And what about cauliflower? Does it produce side shoots?

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.

A Master Composter workshop will be held this fall in Madison to provide training for anyone who wishes to teach others about home composting, including backyard composting and vermicomposting. Dane County Extension and the City of Madison are sponsoring this training program in order to enc…

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.