by B. Rosie Lerner Will you be eating sweet potatoes or yams at your Thanksgiving dinner? While many folks use the terms interchangeably, they are distinct. Botanically speaking, the sweet potato is known as Ipomoea batatas and belongs to the morning glory family (Convolvulaceae). True yams belong to one of several species of Dioscoreain (Dioscoreace),… Continue reading.
By B. Rosie Lerner Dry summers are not that unusual in the Midwest. But this year, the dry spell followed an unusually wet spring and early summer in many areas. Of particular concern this year is that the dry spell is lasting well into autumn, putting plants in poor condition to get through the winter… Continue reading.
By B. Rosie Lerner If thinking about the colder weather that’s on its way is getting you down, brighten your outlook with the thought of spring flowering bulbs. Now’s the time to plan and plant your crocus, daffodils, tulips and many other spring bloomers. Spring flowering bulbs are planted in the fall to allow them… Continue reading.
The Osmonds’ big 1970 hit “One Bad Apple” might give good advice on love, but the brother band didn’t know anything about storing apples. One bad apple can spoil the whole bunch. If you have excess apples this fall and want to store them, pick only good-quality fruit that is free of bruises, cuts or… Continue reading.
Pollinators are all the “buzz” these days as focus on the health of pollinators, so critical to food and ecosystems, continues. It may surprise you to learn that the honeybee is native to Europe and was introduced to the United States. But there are also numerous other pollinator species including native bees, butterflies and moths,… Continue reading.
We have a pin oak tree that is approximately 30 feet tall. On the north-facing side of the tree there are many wilted leaves, and there are many balls of strange growth. Can you help identify the problem and offer solutions? — Mike and Lynn Wagner, Indianapolis My best guess is one of the many… Continue reading.
The last three years I have had scale on my hollyhocks. They just start to bloom, and the scale appears and they die. Is there something I can use to get rid of the scale? After they start to die, I clean up everything and burn. — Irene Tarr, Paoli, Ind. I wonder if you… Continue reading.
The National Garden Bureau has declared 2015 to be the Year of the Sweet Pepper! Sweet bell peppers are cultivars of Capsicum annuum. Sweet peppers are called sweet because they lack the gene that produces capsaicin — the chemical that gives hot peppers their heat. While the 3-4 lobed, blocky, bell-shaped peppers are most common,… Continue reading.
I need information on how to manage hops from the ground up and when and how to do what. Any information you can provide will be greatly appreciated, such as when to dig rhizomes, prune, storage, etc. — E. Colleen Duncan, via email Hops for production require good management through pruning, training and fertilizing and… Continue reading.
My landlords gave me a start of this plant (pictured). They didn’t explain what it is. I have looked in the seed catalogs and don’t see anything like it. Are the little bulbs edible? — Peggy Bair, Summitville, Ind. Excellent photos! This distinctive perennial onion is known as Egyptian, tree or top-set onion, so-named for… Continue reading.
Deicing salts can save your neck this winter, but they can spell disaster for landscape plants. Whether the salt is sprayed on the plants from passing traffic near the road or is shoveled onto plants near the sidewalk, the salt can cause damage. Salts can adversely affect plants in several ways. Salts deposited on the… Continue reading.
I have small evergreen trees planted in my yard. They are the small, slow growing type. They are around 8 years old. Every fall, yellow jackets start swarming around them and crawling in and out of the inside of the trees. They don’t seem to hurt the trees, but it looks as if the yellow… Continue reading.
My wife and I read your column every month in the Electric Consumer. Our problem is that we would like to plant a couple of deciduous trees for shade on the south side of our house. The problem is that we have a sewer line from the house to the collection box about 75 feet… Continue reading.