PERHAPS THE CREATURE the gardener knows best is the earthworm, but how deep does that knowledge go? Lately readers have been emailing me sensational headlines about “bad” earthworms, asking: Aren’t all earthworms “good”? To get an earthworm 101, I invited Ryan Hueffmeier, an environmental scientist at the University of Minnesota-Duluth and Director of Great Lakes Worm Watch, to join me on the radio this week. Our Q&A includes some surprises: [read more…]
pests & diseases
My adventures with garden pests: How to prevent or get rid of ones as big as a deer or woodchuck or as small as a Viburnum leaf beetle larvae or fungus disease -- all from the point of view of an organic gardener.
READERS REGULARLY EMAIL ME with photos of things they can’t explain, asking for ID’s of balloon-like structures on leaves and twigs; leaves chewed up in a particularly interesting pattern, or with squiggly white lines etched on them. I always go to one book to try to help: the award-winning “Tracks & Sign of Insects and Other Invertebrates: a Guide to North American Species,” whose lead author, Charley Eiseman, was the guest on my latest public-radio show. Learn about galls, leaf miners and more—and maybe win this indispensible field guide. [read more…]
SOMEONE’S SUDDENLY EATING HOLES in my Brussels sprouts plants, and it isn’t the usual earlier-in-the-season suspects—those fuzzy green cabbage worms I’ve written about. My new visitors are apparently cross-striped cabbage worms, which can pose a serious problem to home gardeners because they’re prolific egg-layers producing multiple generations a season. Oh, dear. [read more…]
AN ENCORE VISIT to my public-radio show and podcast by Teri Dunn Chace, author of “How to Eradicate Invasive Plants,” happened just in the nick, I do believe. Late summer and fall turn out to be the best time for getting the upper hand over a wide range of common weeds, including Japanese knotweed, ragweed, Ailanthus, bindweed, curly dock and more, so I was relieved to have Teri join me again to chart a focused course of action. Get her tips, enter to win her book—and just listen in as we gripe about weeds, and grapple with them together. [read more…]