Onion Disease Guide

Onion Disease Guide

In some years, onion harvest time is troubleshooting time. There are many things that can go wrong when growing onions, especially when growing them in irregular weather patterns. Identifying the various problems can be quite difficult, as they tend to manifest themselves in the same way—rot. This onion disease guide offers a thorough and well-photographed look at the many problems that plague onions. However, it … Continue reading Onion Disease Guide

Pros and Cons of Cold Composting

Pros and Cons of Cold Composting

Now that you are familiar with the pros and cons of hot composting, are you eager to get started? Or are you overwhelmed just thinking about all that preparation and turning? If you fall into the latter category, don’t give up on composting altogether just yet. First consider cold composting.   Introduction to Cold Composting A cold compost pile can be started with whatever materials … Continue reading Pros and Cons of Cold Composting

Pros and Cons of Hot Composting

Pros and Cons of Hot Composting

Most gardening books focus primarily (sometimes exclusively) on hot composting methods. They describe elaborate procedures for turning out the perfect batch of compost, including balancing nitrogen content and monitoring temperatures. There is another way to compost—cold composting. The most obvious difference between the two methods is the temperature of the pile. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages, making each one suitable for different circumstances. … Continue reading Pros and Cons of Hot Composting

Keeping a Garden Journal

Keeping a Garden Journal

Gardening season is finally upon us! If you’re like most gardeners, you are looking forward to planting seeds with the full expectation of making this the best gardening year yet. While much of gardening comes down to experience, diligence, and creativity, having the right tools makes a big difference. One handy tool is the garden journal.   Advantages of Keeping a Garden Journal Permanent record. … Continue reading Keeping a Garden Journal

Luster Leaf Rapitest Soil Test Kit

Luster Leaf Rapitest Soil Test Kit

Knowing the state of your garden soil is handy, but if your garden is for personal family use only, you probably don’t feel justified in ordering a professional lab analysis. Fortunately, inexpensive test kits are available online. This kit by Luster Leaf seems to do a fair job. It tests: pH. Nitrogen. Phosphorus. Potassium. As you can see, only the bare basics are included. The … Continue reading Luster Leaf Rapitest Soil Test Kit

Get Ready for January 2017

Get Ready for January 2017

January is a great time to plan for a new year! Take some time to shape your philosophy and develop a farming or gardening approach. Plan a garden. Discover community-supported agriculture. Learn the pros and cons of gardening in Kansas. Study the farming practices of the Plains Indians. Define sustainable agriculture. Preserve Kansas heritage. Evaluate the interstate highway system. Find out how compost gardening works. … Continue reading Get Ready for January 2017

Walnut Toxicity

Walnut Toxicity

To protect themselves from competition, black walnut trees exude a toxin called juglone.  Gardens planted near black walnut trees or roostocks frequently fail to thrive due to this toxin.  Many plants can be affected, but tomatoes and potatoes show the greatest susceptibility. Juglone enters the soil from the roots, bark, leaves, and nut hulls of the walnut tree.  It cannot move far, as it is … Continue reading Walnut Toxicity

Verticillium Wilt

Verticillium Wilt

Verticillium wilt is caused by six different species of fungus, all of the genus Verticillium.  These six fungi can attack most of the plants and trees that gardeners like to grow, including vegetables, fruits, and ornamental plants. Verticillium fungi spend the winter in plant debris lying on the ground.  Cool, wet weather triggers it to spread rapidly, creeping into wounded tissue or entering the soil … Continue reading Verticillium Wilt

Tobacco Mosaic Virus

Tobacco Mosaic Virus

Tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) has a long history of infecting garden plants. Although its most common victims are members of the nightshade family, it can infect a surprisingly diverse array of garden plants, including: Tomato. Pepper. Potato. Petunia. Impatiens. Chrysanthemum. Geranium. Begonia. Verbena. TMV is typically spread in sap.  Surprisingly, insects that suck sap from plants do not carry the disease.  Insects that chew leaves, … Continue reading Tobacco Mosaic Virus