There really is a National Squirrel Appreciation Day every January 21st.
Appreciating these adorable mammals that scamper around cities, suburbs, parks, and forests may need an attitude adjustment especially if you’re plagued by squirrels squatting in your attic or squirrels totally unbaffled by the baffle of your backyard bird feeder. But these animals definitely have a good side
Amazing Facts About the Squirrel
• There are over 265 species of squirrel worldwide. The smallest is the African pygmy squirrel which is tiny at around 10 cm long, whereas the largest, the Indian giant squirrel is a massive three feet long. Continue reading “Horticulture Report – February 2017”
Houseplants have been going in and out of vogue ever since the early Greeks and Romans starting bringing their plants in from the outdoors. The Victorians loved their potted palms and the 70s wouldn’t have been the same without ferns and spider plants … everywhere. Current style dictates a lighter hand with the green things – sculptural stems and succulents rule the roost – but the truth is this: Houseplants should transcend trends. If you need convincing, here are some of the ways that bringing plants inside helps us out. Continue reading “Horticulture Report – January 2017”
Illinois doesn’t have oceans. Illinois doesn’t have mountains. But one thing Illinois does have is PUMPKINS!
When it comes to pumpkin production, Illinois smashes the completion! Prairie State farmers grow more ornamental and canning-type pumpkins than any other state. In fact, Illinois produces more than twice as many pumpkins as second ranked California! Continue reading “Horticulture Report – October 2016”
What is 3-4 mm in length, has red eyes, tan thorax, black abdomen, goes from egg to adulthood in 8-10 days and reproduces at a ridiculously fast rate, with females laying up to 500 eggs! If you guessed Fruit Fly-you are correct! Fruit flies are common house flies that get their name because of their strong attraction to ripening or rotting fruit, which serves as a food source as well as a place to lay their eggs. Fruit flies became the bane of our existence this summer when, unbeknownst to us, we had brought in the little buggers (we think on some flowers) and then left for a long weekend only to come home to a full blown fruit fly infestation! Continue reading “September Horticulture Tip of the Month”
Think about Planting
In all but the coldest regions (Zones 5 and colder), early fall is an excellent time to plant perennials, container trees, shrubs, and roses. This month, however, it can still be hot. Do the planting on a cool, overcast, or rainy day to prevent heat stress.
Keep Your Lawn Looking Good
September also is an excellent month to reseed and repair lawns. You’ll need to water daily until the seed has sprouted and established. If the daily highs are still well into the 80s F, wait to plant grass seed until October. Continue reading “Horticulture Report – September 2016”
Remove a leaf from the plant you wish to propagate. Make sure the cut is clean, not ragged. Allow the cut to dry for about three days, then place cutting on moist potting soil. Keep moist until now roots and leaves sprout.
Assuming we will all have Herb Gardens, the tip of the month is how to make a classic herb salt-that is good on just about anything. Nothing compares to the flavors of fresh herbs picked footsteps from your door. Preserving herbs in salt is an old method that works beautifully for three reasons: it’s fast, it’s easy and it’s delicious.
The method is simple: chop herbs and salt together, either by hand or with a food processor, then spread the mixture on a sheet pan. The salt dries out the herbs preserving their vivid flavors for months. You can improvise endlessly on the basic formula by improvising your own mix of herb.
Basic Tuscan Garlic Herb Salt:
4-5 garlic cloves, peeled
Scant ½ cup kosher salt
About 2 cups loosely-packed pungent herbs such as sage, rosemary, thyme, savory, or small amounts of lavender.
Cut each garlic clove lengthwise through the center, remove sprout, (if any) in the center and discard. Continue reading “Cheryl’s Tip of the Month – April 2016”
“In the spring I have counted one hundred and thirty-six different kinds of weather inside of four and twenty hours.”
– Mark Twain
• Apply organic matter, compost, and manure to soil.
• Seed cool-season vegetables outside, such as peas, lettuce, carrots, broccoli, Brussels sprout, Swiss chard, kale, onions, parsley and spinach.
• Cover tender plants if late frost is in the forecast.
• Plants started indoors should be hardened off outdoors in cold frames.
• Begin fertilizing houseplants again.
• Clean up your garden. Continue reading “Horticulture Report – April 2016”