Have you seen a moth that flies like a hummingbird? It is likely a “hornworm,” and are also are known as hawk, sphinx, or hummingbird moths. There are dozens of species found in Wyoming and they are among the largest of caterpillars, measuring up to ½ around and up to 4” long. Many have the characteristic horn. Most do little harm to crops and are fun to watch and help with some plant pollination.
However, the tomato hornworm species can do significant damage in a short amount of time in the garden. Look for larges holes in the leaves and you can’t miss the caterpillar with a horn on one end doing the eating. These caterpillars can be easily handpicked off plants (a great job for bug-loving kids).
Suckers, also known as “water sprouts,” are notorious for sprouting from the base and crotches of some trees. They grow fast and straight. These succulent shoots are more susceptible to disease and insects. Prune these suckers on a regular basis. They occur most frequently on Canada Red Cherry, crab apples, and many other trees. Over-fertilization may trigger the production of sprouts.
Don’t give these suckers a break!
One of the joys of having a flower garden is cutting your own bouquets. When you look at the price of store bought bouquets a cutting garden can also save you lots of money.
There are many great choices for cut flowers for the High Plains including dahlias, sweet peas, zinnias, snapdragons, sunflowers, black-eyed Susan’s, lilies, daisies, roses, and gladiolas. Cut flowers last longer if you harvest them in the morning and cut the stem at a slant. For hollow stemmed flowers, hold the flower up side down and fill the stem with water. Flowers with milky sap are best preserved if burnt at the cut end before placing in a vase of water. Roses are best cut as soon as a second petal unfurls. (more…)
Echinacea ‘Cheyenne Spirit’
AAS Flower Award Winner
All-America Selections (AAS) is a non-profit organization founded in 1932 to test new flowers and vegetables for home gardening.
This stunning first-year flowering echinacea wins the AAS award and captures the spirit of the North American plains by producing a delightful mix of flower colors from rich purple, pink, red and orange tones to lighter yellows, creams and white. (more…)
Slugs eat small holes in the leaves and feed mainly at night. Slug damage can disfigure a plant fast. They tend to be happiest in the overwatered garden. Besides cutting back on water, there is a slug solution in your laundry room: dryer lint. Slugs will not crawl over dryer lint. Simply remove the lint from the dryer and roll it into a rope and circle it around the plants that are more prone to slug damage for simple, organic protection. Besides slug control you can save your drier lint year-round for your summer garden for use as a mulch or add to your compost pile.
Carrots will not produce edible roots if they are grown too closely together. Each plant needs a minimum of an inch between seedlings. One of the best ways to thin carrots is to use a small set of scissors rather than pulling them out. Simply snip the unwanted carrots at the soil line leaving one plant every inch. By being ruthless now, you can insure an abundant supply of homegrown, sweet carrots at the end of the season. (more…)
Most garden centers sell lawn seed mixtures formulated just for shade. These are selections of grasses composed of shade tolerant “fine fescues” which are combinations of sheep’s fescue, red fescue, chewings fescue and other special varieties.
Now is a good time to sow lawn seed. Lightly rake the seed in for good soil contact. Keep the area moist until you see germination. It may take up to three weeks before you see a lot of green.
2012 winners announced
Each year, the Plant Select® program chooses a selection of plants that are worthy of promoting because of their adaptability, uniqueness, performance and durability for western gardens and landscapes.
Some are completely new to horticulture, others are simply underused and deserving of more recognition. A variety of perennials, groundcovers, trees, vines and shrubs are considered for trialing, and each summer the winners are chosen by invited evaluators.
You can build them out of recycled materials including old windows, plastic and used lumber. The frames must be relatively airtight but have openings for ventilation. There are also many easy to setup cold frame kits available commercially and vary greatly in price.
Cold frames are great for starting transplants or growing longer season crops that require more heat. Start seedlings for the outside garden in your cold frame in late February through early April.
For salad greens simply sow your seeds in late February or early March and you be picking your harvest from early April into May. They can also be used to allow for late season salads for over a month past the first fall frost.
The trickiest thing about growing in a cold frame is overheating. Be sure to allow for ventilation on sunny days. This can be as simple as propping a window up or open in the morning and shutting it in the evening. There are also heat triggered openers that require no electricity and automatically open cold frame windows as the temperatures rise.