Category Archives: Recent Posts

Growing Amaryllis



Amaryllis (Hippeastrum species) is a tender perennial bulb native to Central and South America. It is commonly grown as a houseplant or indoor-outdoor potted plant. Only in very mild climates (zone 8 or warmer) can it be grown outside year round.

Few houseplants can equal or rival the beauty of amaryllis, with its large, lily-like flowers. Varieties are available in a range of heights, flower colors, and flower forms.

Although sometimes treated as a disposable gift plant, amaryllis is actually a long-lived bulb that will grow and flower for many years after planting when given the proper care throughout the season.

How to Combat Warty Skinned Potatoes

Wondering what’s wrong with your plant? We love talking plants and are always happy to help with any gardening related questions!

Question: “We love our red skin potatoes, but not the little warts on the skins. The potatoes we get at the store are nice and smooth. What I’m I doing wrong? We live in North Wisconsin with clay soil, which I try to amend with mulch to loosen it up.”


Answer: The “warty” skin on your red potatoes is probably caused by a disease called potato scab. Though this disease doesn’t reduce yields, it does make potatoes unsightly.

Fall Garden Chores


Both leaves and temperatures are falling here in Wisconsin, and it’s time for most of the country to think about finishing the of the last garden chores as winter draws ever closer.

Tool Cleanup & Storage
An important fall chore is cleaning and storing tools and garden equipment, to ensure that everything is accessible and ready for use when needed in spring. Proper care of tools will also significantly prolong their useful life.

Wash any soil residue from garden tools or remove it with a wire brush. Remove any rust spots that have developed on metal surfaces with a wire brush, fine grained sandpaper, or steel wool.

Growing & Harvesting Garlic


Home grown, properly harvested and stored garlic provides a fresh flavor that can’t be matched by any supermarket garlic. Garlic is a relatively easy-to-grow, hardy perennial vegetable, though it has a fairly long production season. It is a crop well worth considering for your garden.

Types of Garlic

There are two main types of garlic, softneck and hardneck (sometimes called “stiff neck”) forms. Softneck varieties are commonly available in supermarkets. They generally produce more cloves per bulb and store better than hardneck types. Hardneck garlic produces a stiff central flowering stem, while softneck varieties generally do not produce this stem, making the leaves easier to braid. Hardneck varieties are generally more cold tolerant than softneck types and are often considered “gourmet” garlic.

Controlling Cucumber Beetles

 H-19 Little Leaf Cucumber

There are two common types of cucumber beetles, spotted cucumber beetle (Acalymma vittatum) and striped cucumber beetle (Diabrotica undecimpunctata). Adult beetles of both species feed on the leaves, stems, flowers, and fruit of cucumbers, melons, gourds, and squash. They also sometimes feed on beans, peas, and corn. Cucumber beetle larvae live in the soil and they feed on plant roots.

Cucumber beetle feeding is especially damaging to young seedlings. In addition to damaging plants through feeding, these beetles can transmit both bacterial wilt disease and squash mosaic virus disease, neither of which can be cured once plants are infected. Bacterial wilt is a particular problem, as it can quickly kill infected plants.

Growing & Scheduling Sunflowers

 Jua Inca Sunflower
Sunflowers in the Garden

Sunflowers are popular, easy-to-grow annual flowers. They make good landscape and container plants and are excellent cut flowers. Varieties are available in a number of heights, colors, flower sizes, and flower forms, so they can be used effectively in a range of ways in the garden and landscape. Although most sunflowers are grown as ornamentals, they also produce edible seeds relished by birds, and some varieties are grown primarily for their seeds.

Sunflowers are North American native plants and their nectar and pollen is attractive to beneficial pollinating insects.

Growing Small Fruits in Your Backyard

Joan J Raspberries without text

You don’t have to live on a large estate to grow fruits at home. Here are some tips on growing a variety of small fruits in your garden.

This information is broken down by the following general comments. Each discussed variety also includes the product number for easier searching purposes.

A). Site Conditions

B). Weed Control

C). Soil Preparations

Red Raspberries

Summer Bearing varietiesLatham (30350), Boyne (30345), and Killarney (30349)

Everbearing varieties: Autumn Bliss (30320), Heritage (30335), Caroline (30324), Joan J (30333), and Anne (30323)

A). Soak roots 24 hours prior to planting in water with Root Stimulator.

Improving Success with Seed Germination

Understanding Germination 

Introduction to Seed Germination

A good understanding of the fundamentals of seed germination helps gardeners improve their success growing seedlings, regardless of how experienced they are. Knowing these fundamentals provides an understanding of the “whys” behind the “hows” when germinating seeds and growing seedlings.

By paying careful attention to the key factors that regulate germination, gardeners can grow higher quality seedlings with reduced losses from cultural problems and seedling diseases. Remember that seeds are living organisms even before they germinate and begin growing.