Non-scientific survey of early tomato disease

This is the time of the season when tomato plants start showing signs of disease infections, usually as different shapes and colors of spots depending on which particular disease has infected the plant. Earlier this week I took an informal survey of several varieties of tomatoes to see how each variety is holding up under … Continue Reading →

Horsin' around in Traverse City

There’s plenty of horsin’ around this summer in Traverse City. And visitors are invited to get in on the fun each Sunday, through Aug. 13, when the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival hosts Grand Prix events featuring riders in various age groups and their sleek show horses, some of them Olympic-caliber. Whether they’re competing as “hunters” … Continue Reading →

Rose sawfly slugs

If you ever grew roses, you probably have seen those ugly, slug-like rose sawfly larvae eating leaves on your roses, or at least the damage they do. That’s the way we usually see them, as larvae. Rarely are the adult insects ever seen by gardeners. Rose slugs feed on one side or the other of … Continue Reading →

One reason why cucumbers fail to grow

A couple of gardeners I know asked me why their cucumbers didn’t come up this year. Others have mentioned that their beans didn’t come up either. Was there something wrong with the seeds this year? After inspecting a few gardens, it became apparent to me what was going on. In each case, there was a … Continue Reading →

Buckwheat controls weeds and helps honeybees

I have an area in the garden that I will not be able to plant this year. Instead of letting it stay fallow and grow weeds, I planted buckwheat. It’s something I’ve done through the years whenever I’ve been unable to use an area for one reason or another. Buckwheat is a fast-growing plant that … Continue Reading →

Weeds can provide a bonus this time of year

Although the temperatures were fine during mid-May, some untimely rain and prior commitments caused me to fall behind in the garden. Memorial Day weekend was when I was supposed to get caught up but a late season bout with the flu keep me off my feet all holiday weekend and into the next week. Now … Continue Reading →

Results of winter rye cover crop

The rye cover crop I planted last fall made tremendous growth this spring and now it’s time to till it into the soil. Timing is important when it comes to tilling under a cover crop like rye. The plants grew and entered the “boot stage” of growth, forming flower/seed heads inside the stalk. This is … Continue Reading →