Posts tagged Bev Lillie

Your Questions: answers, and a new one

Tom from Cedar Rapids left a question that hopefully someone in this area can answer. He asked the following:

I’m looking at harvesting some of the water that comes off my roof, but I haven’t found a good source for rain barrels in the greater CR, IA area. Where’s a good place to get one?

Thanks!

If you have an answer for Tom, leave your comment below.

 

 

Pam and Leora last week asked the following:

 

   I have started a flower garden in the front of my home which is facing east but does get some south sun on part of the garden area. I love flowering plants but I have not done a good job with finding appropriate plants. Does anyone have ideas of various plants that are perennials to put here?

 

 How soon should you start trimming the fruit trees: apple and pear? What other tips should I know to get the trees ready for spring? I have heard a lot about spraying the trees so what should I use?

 

 We have heard of growing potatoes in tires, but need to know the procedure. We have two big tractor tires to work with. Please help us.

 

Gardeners can be a shy bunch, but Bev Lillie, Master Gardener coordinator for Linn County, was able to get answers from some of the Linn County Master Gardeners.

Here’s what they said about the pear and apple trees: prune fruit trees in late winter/early spring.  Apply a fungicide/insecticide, e.g., home orchard spray biweekly after the blossoms drop.

As for what perennials to plant, if the site is in partial sun or shade, you can find suggestions at the Iowa State Extension Web site by searching on partial shade plants:  www.extension.iastate.edu/ipm/hortnews/

Some of my favorites include Japanese iris, which flower in early to midsummer; turtlehead, which grows 2-3 feet tall and has pretty pink or white flowers in the fall, and for foliage plants lungwort or pulmonaria and the groundcover lamium, which stays green almost year-round and flowers during the spring, summer and fall. 

 For the potato question, Ed Hume Seed’s Web site: http://www.humeseeds.com/index.htm offered some possibilities. My mom has had success with the first method, which uses straw and might work in large tires, as well.

Straw: For centuries, Scandinavians have grown potatoes in stacks of straw or other mulching material. Potatoes are planted above ground in the straw, and as the vines begin to grow, additional straw` or mulch is mounded up around the base of the plants. This results in a yield of very clean potatoes. New potatoes can be harvested easily even before the potato vines mature completely.

Under plastic or in plastic garbage bags: Garden soil or a commercial potting soil can be used to grow the potatoes in the bags, Fold over the top half of the bag, fill with soil, and plant a certified seed potato that has been cut in half. The plastic bag can be set above ground wherever it’s convenient. Punch holes in the bottom of the bag for drainage.

You also can plant potatoes under black plastic. Cut open a piece of the black plastic, and plant a potato piece. The potato tubers will develop as they would in the open ground. However, the tubers that develop close to the surface of the soil are shaded by the black plastic and should not develop the green inedible portions that often are found on other tubers. The black plastic also will aid in controlling weeds.

Garbage cans or containers: Old garbage cans, or wooden or fiberboard-type containers are suitable for growing potatoes, if they have adequate drainage. You can conserve space by growing them in this manner. A word of caution, though: The plants tend to dry out more rapidly when grown in containers, so additional watering will be needed. Otherwise, you’re likely to end up with misshapen tubers.

Pulmonaria, or lungwort, in bloom

Pulmonaria, or lungwort, in bloom

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Compost winner!!

Saturday, Nov. 15, is America Recycles Day and what better way to recycle than by composting?

   Composting turns egg shells, banana peels and other fruit and vegetable peelings that would otherwise end up in a landfill into a nutrient-rich soil amendment that helps gardens thrive.

    Readers sent in some wonderful essays to our compost contest and we’ll eventually get those posted here, beginning with our winner: Beverly Whitmore of Cedar Rapids.

Beverly Whitmore

Beverly Whitmore

 

 

 

    Beverly won a kitchen composting package, courtesy of the Cedar Rapids/Linn County Solid Waste Agency. Special thanks to our judges, Bev Lillie, Linn County master gardener coordinator; Dustin Hinrichs, Linn County Public Health air pollution control specialist and Stacie Johnson, education coordinator for the Cedar Rapids/Linn County Solid Waste Agency. Stacie provided the prize.

   Thank you to everyone who enteredJ

 

Here is Beverly’s winning entry:

 

I’m a magician.  I can turn coffee grounds, dried crushed eggshells and any kind of fruit or vegetable peelings into “black magic”!  Even the stems of irises and day lilies go into my “recipe” for compost.  The real secret is to “chop” up the ingredients into small pieces, and turn those ingredients with a pitch fork once in a while.  Come see my garden next spring and you will not only see lovely, black dirt full of healthy earthworms, but after it has “baked” it really does have a sweet aroma.  When neighbors stop by to say how pretty my garden is and comment that I must use a lot of fertilizer … I simply say “no, I just put a shovel of compost around my plants, it’s really what makes them so happy”.  My plants grow taller than usual and produce lovely blooms.  One could say that I like to play in the “dirt” and I do!  Whether it be “mixing” a concoction of non edible peelings and leaves, or enjoying the beautiful plants and their blooms, one thing is for sure, my husband is happier too … he gets to tote “less” garbage to the street each week!

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Compost contest!

You can win with composting in more ways than one.

   The practice of composting benefits the environment by keeping organic materials out of the landfill and benefits your soil by adding enriching nutrients that are in the compost.

   Now, composters can win in another way.

Just tell us, in 200 words or less, how and why you like to compost and you could win a kitchen composting package, courtesy of the Cedar Rapids/Linn County Solid Waste Agency.

   The package includes a “Backyard Composting” book, kitchen compost pail and package of Biobags.

Deadline is Nov. 4 — Election Day. Essays must reach us by that day.

   Send your submission by mail to: The Gazette, attention: Cindy Hadish, newsroom; 500 Third Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52406.

Or, better yet, send it by e-mail to: cindy.hadish@gazcomm.com 

   Judges are Bev Lillie, Linn County master gardener coordinator; Dustin Hinrichs, Linn County Public Health air pollution control specialist and Stacie Johnson, education coordinator for the Cedar Rapids/Linn County Solid Waste Agency. Stacie provided the prize.

   I’m letting the judges decide the criteria.

Please include your name, address and phone number on your entries. Also, include “Compost contest” in the subject line of your email.  Your address and phone will not be published, but I would like to post the essays, with names, after the contest ends.

The winner will be announced Nov. 15, on America Recycles Day.

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Stressed out trees

The following, from a brochure issued by Iowa State University Extension Service on “The Effects of Flooding on Trees” comes from Linn County Master Gardener Claire Smith, along with a message from Coordinator Bev Lillie, about becoming a master gardener:

  

Mature, well-established trees are more tolerant of flooding than over mature trees or seedlings of the same species.  If flooding is recurrent or uninterrupted and keeps soils saturated, serious damage to trees may occur. 

Flooding during the growing season typically is more harmful to trees than flooding during dormant periods.  Flood-stressed trees exhibit a wide range of symptoms including yellowing leaves, defoliation, reduced leaf size and shoot growth, crown dieback and sprouts along the stem or trunk.  Symptoms may progress into tree decline and death, reoccur for several years and then eventually disappear, or subside by as early as next year indicating rapid tree recovery. 

Flooding reduces the supply of oxygen to the soil and roots and usually results in growth inhibition and injury to flooded trees.  Deposits of silt or sand as shallow as three inches can be injurious, especially to newly planted trees.  Tree roots also must contend with high concentrations of toxic compounds that accumulate in waterlogged soils.  Strong currents and soil particles suspended in flood waters can erode soil from around the base of trees exposing tree roots.  Exposed roots are vulnerable to drying and mechanical injury and their occurrences may make trees more vulnerable to windthrow. Flood-stressed trees are prime candidates for attack by secondary organisms.  Several opportunistic disease-causing fungi and insects invade trees that are weakened or stressed.  Minimizing additional stress or injuries should be a priority on high value trees for one to three years after flooding to reduce the chance of attack by insects.

            “The best approach to managing flood-stressed trees is to enhance their vigor by following proper tree-maintenance practices and eliminating additional stresses.  Dead or severely cankered branches should be removed as soon as possible.  Aerating the soil, mulching and watering during extended dry periods are recommended tree-care practices that can help enhance vigor, but they are not rescue treatments for severely injured trees.  Trees developing substantial dieback and decline symptoms or those possessing defects that prone to windthrow and structural failure should be removed from the landscape immediately.                                                    

Questions regarding flood damaged or stressed trees, flowers and vegetables can be directed to the Linn County Master Gardeners Horticulture Hotline at the Linn County Extension Office at 319-447-0647.

 

Contact the Linn County Extension Office at (319) 377-9839 or e-mail Bev at lillieb@iastate.edu for more information about becoming a Linn County Master Gardener.  Information as well as applications may be picked up at the office, mailed to you or accessed by going to:  www.extension.iastate.edu.linn/news, then click on Yard and Garden. The deadline for returning completed applications is July 25, 2008.

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Becoming a master at gardening

The following is from Linn County Master Gardener Coordinator Bev Lillie:

 

  Attention Linn County Gardeners – Iowa State Extension offers classes that will enhance your gardening skills and knowledge.  Classes start Sept. 11 for those interested in becoming a Linn County Master Gardener.

   Classes will be completed by the first week in November. During this time you will receive 40 hours of education including: Botany/Soils, Vegetables, Landscape Trees and Shrubs and Plant Pathology and Entomology. 

   A day will be spent on campus at Iowa State University in Ames visiting various segments of the Horticulture Department. 

 

   Cost is $125.00 per person.

  For more details call Bev Lillie at: 319-377-9839.

 

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