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Blog Calendar - Nature / Outdoor / Green

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Gardening Blogs

18 August 2019

Gardening Blogs
  • National Honey Bee Day
    18 August 2019
    Today is national Honey Bee Day! Honey bees are not native to the America’s, but they provide a great resource to us; honey, propolis, beeswax, and royal jelly. They also help pollinate food and flowers! In my garden, I don’t see honey bees too...
  • Leave Coneflowers for Goldfinches
    18 August 2019
    The pink petals on Purple Coneflowers are starting to fade away for the summer. The gold colored seed heads will start to mature and turn dark, as the seed becomes ripe for picking. The American Goldfinches will soon be sitting atop the seed heads...
  • Dahlias revive Zionsville’s horticulture roots
    18 August 2019

    About 100 years ago, two nurseries in Zionsville were having a duel, of sorts, over which one could produce the best dahlias. Dahlias were incredibly popular in the early 20th century and their mail order catalogs sold tubers not just to local gardeners, but to gardeners throughout the country. The catalogs offered the tubers for...

    The post Dahlias revive Zionsville’s horticulture roots appeared first on Hoosier Gardener.

  • 10 garden planting ideas for small gardens (part 1)
    18 August 2019

    Border planting ideas for small gardens. What works well in a limited space and why it's often different for larger gardens. How to choose and combine plants to make your garden gorgeous.

    The post 10 garden planting ideas for small gardens (part 1) appeared first on The Middle-Sized Garden.

  • 35+ Spooky Vintage Halloween Decoration Ideas
    18 August 2019

    Are you a fan of vintage Halloween images? Learn more about spooky collectibles of the season and what they’re worth. Vintage Halloween collectibles range in type from paper mache pumpkins to postcards, and range widely in price from $1 to several thousand. Often people think of Halloween as a children’s holiday, but in collecting Halloween…

    The post 35+ Spooky Vintage Halloween Decoration Ideas appeared first on Farm.Food.Family.

  • How to Identify and Control Turnip Black Rot
    17 August 2019
    Xanthomonas campestris pv. campestris

    Black rot caused by the bacterium Xanthomonas campestris pv. campestris (Xcc) is a highly destructive disease of crucifers, including turnips. In fact, the disease was first identified on turnips in 1893 and remains a severe problem today.

    Photo via Alamy.

    The pathogen spreads easily between plants and can survive on infested plant material in the soil for years if buried deeply.

    Since this disease takes a while to show symptoms and can spread before you know your plants are infected, prevention is critical – especially for organic growers.

    Starting with clean seed is essential. If you can’t buy heat-treated turnip seeds, you can treat them with hot water yourself before planting.

    We at Gardener’s Path will describe the symptoms of this insidious disease and describe the methods you can use to prevent infection.

    How Black Rot Spreads

    The bacteria do not need wounds to infect a plant. They frequently enter through the water pores (hydathodes) on the margin of the leaves that exude sap in the morning.

    However, any wound can provide ways for the bacteria to enter the plant. These include wounds from hail, insect feeding, or mechanical injury.

    Xcc is spread so easily that experts advise against working in your fields when they are wet. The bacteria be splashed by rain or spread by wind, machinery, animals, or insects. The organism can also be disseminated in irrigation or drainage waters.

    Once inside the plant, the bacteria can become systemic and infect the veins of the turnip plants.

    The organism thrives in warm, humid conditions – temperatures of 75-95 F are optimal for the spread of the disease.

    Xcc can survive in infected plant material in the soil for up to two months and even years if the material is deeply buried. The pathogen also survives in cruciferous weeds like wild mustard or shepherd’s purse.

    If it has infected a greenhouse, Xcc can survive on organic matter, weeds, tools, benches, and even nooks and crannies.


    It can take as long as 14 days for an infected plant to show symptoms, by which time it is too late to save the plant.

    What complicates matters is that the symptoms can vary in different plants – even in different cultivars – plants of different ages and even under differing environmental factors.

    Infected seedlings will be infected systemically. The first indication of infection is typically yellowing of the lower leaves. The disease will progress, causing the seedlings to prematurely drop their leaves and die.

    Black rot (Xanthomonas campestris) damage to a turnip leaf. Photo via Shutterstock.

    V-shaped lesions on the edges of the leaves of mature plants are common and are characteristic for black rot. The base of the V will be along the vein.

    The veins will be discolored initially, and then they will turn brown or black – hence, the name black rot.

    The whole plant will die and can serve as a source of inoculum to infect other plants.

    How to Prevent Black Rot

    Since black rot spreads so easily once it has infested a field and is so difficult to control, preventing it from entering your crop is critical to managing this disease.

    They keys to growing turnips free from black rot are: planting clean seed or seedlngs, crop rotation, and reducing soil dampness. Photo via Shutterstock.

    This is more easily done if you live in an area such as upstate New York that has cold winters. If you live in an area with warm winters, you have a much higher risk of maintaining the pathogen in your soil.

    1. Plant Clean Seed

    Since the bacteria can survive in seed under the seed coat (which means that bleach treatment won’t kill them), planting with infected seeds is a common way that growers end up with a severe black rot infection.

    If you cannot find heat-treated turnip seeds, you can treat them yourself by soaking them for 15 minutes in water that is 122 F. The Ohio State University provides detailed instructions on how to do this.

    2. Rotate with Non-Crucifers

    Since the pathogen that causes black rot can survive on wild or cultivated crucifers and in the soil, grow a non-cruciferous crop on the land you used for your turnips for four years. This will cleanse the soil.

    3. Use Clean Transplants

    If you grow your own transplants, sterilize your greenhouse! Disinfect your benches and tools. If you reuse your flats, disinfect them, too. If you use compost, make sure that you didn’t use any diseased plants when you created it.

    Keep the leaves of your seedlings as dry as you can, and do not trim or brush wet plants.

    4. Reduce Wetness During the Growing Season

    Water your plants in the morning, so that the leaves will dry while it is still light. Increase the spacing among them, and orient your rows with the prevailing winds.

    Avoid sprinkler irrigation systems, since they can cause water to splash – a common way of spreading black rot.

    Treating Infected Crops

    If your plants do have this infection, you can try to prevent it from spreading to all of your plants by using a compound that kills bacteria.

    Spray 0.5 to 7.5 pounds of copper hydroxide per acre, such as the product Kocide 3000.

    Consider adding Actigard (acibenzolar-S-methyl) to the copper. This compound stimulates the plant’s immune system and can help to prevent uninfected plants from contracting the disease.

    Prevention is the Best Control

    Since black rot is such a devastating disease and can take hold without showing symptoms for up to two weeks, preventing it from becoming established is your best bet to manage this disease.

    Planting clean seed is of paramount importance and keeping your plants as dry as possible and free of weeds will help to prevent black rot from becoming established in your turnip plants.

    If they do get infected, you can spray a bactericidal compound like copper to prevent it from spreading further.

    You should also rotate with a non-cruciferous crop for four years to prevent the disease from returning to threaten your turnips.

    Have you encountered black rot in your turnips? If so, let us know how you fared in the comments.

    And read on for more information on other turnip diseases such as:

    © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details.

    The post How to Identify and Control Turnip Black Rot appeared first on Gardener's Path.

  • Garden Tour: Undulating Steel Privacy Screen Allows for an Artful Escape
    17 August 2019

    I hope you enjoy this video walk-through of a client's garden in Vancouver, Washington. In addition to colorful perennials and a select assortment of carefully-chosen shrubs, the garden features a custom designed and professionally installed privacy screen made of steel slats of varying heights laid out in a graceful undulating curve between basalt columns.

    We collaborated with D & J Landscape Contractors on the installation.


    You can learn more about the plants we used in creating this garden here on eGardenGo. Links to just about all of the plants that you'll see on the video can be found on the list below.

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  • Neomarica: The South America’s Walking Apostle Plant Iris
    17 August 2019

    Very often, the common names of plants are used to express action. For example, there is creeping gloxinia, trailing coleus, Johnny-jump-ups, bouncing Bet, wandering Jew, squirting cucumber, and walking iris – often referred to as the apostle iris or apostle plant. The name “apostle plant” was derived from the number of leaves in a fan, […]

    The post Neomarica: The South America’s Walking Apostle Plant Iris appeared first on Plant Care Today.

  • The Home Front: To cover, or not to cover —the patio dilemma
    17 August 2019
    Sometimes in the height of summer, it's easy to forget that fall is on the way, and winter right behind it. Read More
  • How to Grow Rutabaga: An Uncommon Root Vegetable
    17 August 2019
    Brassica napobrassica

    If you are looking to spice up your garden and grow something new this year, look no further than the rutabaga!

    Highly nutritious, easy to grow, and excellent for long-term storage, the rutabaga is one of those rarely talked about crops that really deserves more attention from the modern gardener.

    What Is Rutabaga?

    Also known as Swedish turnip, fall turnip, or simply a Swede, this under-appreciated cross between a turnip and a cabbage is a great addition to any garden!

    Rutabagas are brassicas, similar to turnips, but they have a sweeter flavor, larger roots with golden flesh, purple and yellow-tinged skin, and smooth, waxy foliage.

    The roots, which are high in fiber but low in calories, can be eaten raw or cooked, similar to other root vegetables.  They can be mashed, roasted, sauteed, fried, added to soups, and even eaten raw in salads or coleslaw. The early leafy greens are also edible and can be eaten in salads or cooked.

    Rutabagas are extremely nutritious veggies. They are high in minerals including potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, and zinc, as well as vitamin C, which offers benefits to the immune system.

    They also contain glucosinolates, antioxidant compounds which have been found to reduce the growth of cancer tumors in vitro. They can be a good source of protein for vegetarians as well – one medium root contains 8% of the recommended daily value. They can also be a useful alternative to potatoes for diabetics, as they have a lower glycemic index.

    Cultivation and History

    Thought to have originated in Scandinavia around the 1400s, rutabaga was first grown as animal feed, though it didn’t take long for humans to discover the delights of this sweet and nutty root veggie.

    It was introduced in England around the early nineteenth century, and it likely arrived in North America around that time as well. It is now commonly grown in the Northern US, Canada, and Northern Europe, as it has an affinity for cool northern soils.

    Did You Know?

    Rutabagas were some of the earliest jack-o’-lanterns! The Irish and Scottish used to carve out root vegetables like rutabagas and turnips to make the classic scary faces. It wasn’t until Irish immigrants landed in America and were introduced to pumpkins that the root vegetables were set aside for the larger and easier to carve orange fruits.

    These days, rutabagas are a cause for celebration in some farming communities around the country.

    The city of Askov, Minnesota, which had a population of 364 in 2010, is known as the rutabaga capital of the world. It was founded by Danish immigrants in 1906, and for many years the majority of America’s rutabagas were grown here.

    The city still celebrates its rutabaga pride in an annual festival, which has been celebrated for over 100 years.  At the festival, you can feast on such delicacies as rutabaga sausage and malts.

    The town of Cumberland, Wisconsin also hosts a rutabaga festival each year. The tradition, which began in 1932, takes place over several days every August and includes a parade, live music, a pepper-eating contest, a tractor pull, and of course, rutabagas!


    Want to become part of the fun? The good news is that this vegetable is very easy to grow.

    It is best sown in place as this crop does not transplant well. Do not attempt to start rutabaga indoors or in a greenhouse.

    For planting depth, follow the instructions on the seed packet. Generally, seeds should be sown at a depth of 1/2 inch, or 1/4 inch for early spring plantings.

    Rake and aerate the soil, plant seeds every few inches in rows, and then thin to six inches apart when seedlings are a few inches high. Rows should be spaced two feet apart.

    You can also choose to broadcast and rake seeds into a bed of soil and thin later to give each plant 6 inches of room to grow.

    Full sized rutabaga roots can grow fairly large, about the size of a grapefruit.  Soil needs to be 40 degrees for germination, which can take one to two weeks.

    How to Grow

    As a cool weather crop, plantings should be timed for harvest in late autumn, or even through the winter in warmer climates.

    Leaves can be harvested and eaten when young, but roots take approximately 90 days to mature, and they become tastier and more tender after the first or second frost.

    Rutabaga should be planted in early to mid-summer depending on your zone, generally about three months before the first expected frost date.

    In warmer southern climates where the ground doesn’t freeze solid, it is also possible to plant before the last frost date in early spring for a first round. But keep in mind that hot weather can make roots taste bitter and woody.

    At my home in Vermont  (USDA Hardiness Zone 4b) I plant rutabaga in mid-June, just as my spring greens are wrapping up the season.

    Find a site in full sun or partial shade. It does not need heavily fertile soil, but does require a neutral pH and loose, well drained soil that retains moisture.

    Though not heavy feeders, it is always a great idea to amend soil with organic materials such as composted manure before planting, which will increase the health of the soil and the size of your crop.

    If your soil is on the acidic side, mix some wood ash into your soil just before planting to lower the acidity.

    While you are waiting patiently for the tasty roots to mature, be sure to weed regularly and water well!

    Water is the key to a successful rutabaga crop. This plant prefers constant and consistent moisture for a tender, well-flavored crop.

    Dry soil will change the taste of the root, causing it to be fibrous and forcing the plant to send up seed stalks. Additionally, when the soil changes dramatically from wet to dry, the roots can split. Watering is most important as the roots are maturing.

    Growing Tips
    • Consider rotating with plants that are heavier feeders, such as squash or corn.
    • Do not plant near other brassicas, such as kale or cabbage
    • Avoid planting near mustard greens, which can inhibit growth.
    • Excellent companion plant to onions or climbing peas.
    • Use drip irrigation to ensure that the soil stays consistently and evenly moist, but not waterlogged.
    • Mulch heavily when  leaves are a few inches tall, to help retain moisture and keep down weeds.
    • Harvest just after first frost for superb flavor
    Cultivars to Select

    The main variety available is the ‘American Purple Top,’ an heirloom with large yellow roots and a purple crown. It has sweet, firm flesh that turns orange when it is cooked.

    ‘American Purple Top’ Rutabaga Seeds

    Seeds are available from True Leaf Market.

    Managing Pests and Disease Insects

    Primary pests are similar to those that plague other brassicas.

    Cabbage Loopers

    These pesky green caterpillars hang out on the leaves, munching their way through the foliage. The adult moths lay tiny eggs on and under leaves.

    I pick off cabbage loopers by hand whenever I see them. Infestations can spread rapidly, so keep an eye on your plants! If the situation gets out of control, diatomaceous earth and Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) also work well to control cabbage loopers.

    Root Maggots

    These little white pests live in the soil and feed on the roots of a variety of crops. It is often difficult to spot an infestation until it is too late. Look for tunnels or holes in roots and yellowing of the leaves.

    Diatomaceous earth sprinkled around seedlings or introduction of natural predators can be beneficial, though in general, prevention is the best remedy.

    Rotate crops regularly, add row covers, and promptly remove any plants that show signs of infestation. Sprinkling wood ash along the rows can also help to prevent root maggot infestation by preventing the adult flies from laying eggs on the soil.

    Other Pests

    Aphids, slugs, and flea beetles can be a problem as well. Regular hand picking of insects and spraying steadily with a hose can prevent an infestation. Row covers can be an effective deterrent, but crop rotation and healthy soil are key.

    Do not plant near other brassicas (such as kale or cabbage) as they are susceptible to the same diseases and pests. Incorporating plants that attract beneficial insects can also be a great way to help control pests.


    Though not exceptionally prone to disease, there are a few issues that may occur if crops are not rotated on a regular basis or if soil is too acidic.

    Clubroot and root knot are two common problems that can cause deformation of roots, and both can be prevented by strict crop rotation.

    Clubroot in particular can live in soil for 20 years. Just be sure not to plant in beds known to have been affected in the past, or anywhere other brassicas have grown in the last five years.

    Additionally, it is important to remove diseased plants immediately to keep disease from spreading.


    Harvest about 90 days after planting, or around the first or second frost as the flavor is improved with cold weather.

    Try cooking up some of these tasty roots upon harvest, and store the rest for later. Rutabaga has excellent storage potential – it can be stored for up to a year!

    Rutabaga Quick Reference Growing Guide
    Plant Type: Biennial, generally grown as an annual Water Needs: Consistent moisture
    Hardiness (USDA Zone): 3-9 Maintenance: Moderate
    Season: Fall in northern zones, early spring and winter in southern zones Soil Type: Various
    Exposure: Full sun to partial shade Soil pH: 5.5-7.0 (acidic to neutral)
    Time to Maturity: 90 days