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Garden Variety: Stinkbugs damage plants, remain pesky for gardeners

Stinkbugs are dime-sized, shield-shaped, green and brown insects that damage fruits, vegetables and other desirable plants when they feed on them. The insects are prevalent in gardens right now in northeastern Kansas and will be around until freezing temperatures arrive. Damage to fruits, ...

Fix-It Chick: Save money on watering garden by installing rain barrel

Keeping a garden watered can be expensive. Assuming it will rain at some point in time, installing a rain barrel is a great way to save money. For every inch of rainfall, a roof collects approximately .56 inches of rain per square foot of surface area. That means a 1,000-square-foot roof can ...

Garden Variety: Use caution when attempting to trap Japanese beetles

Since Japanese beetles have finally established a significant population in northeast Kansas and northwest Missouri, many gardeners are looking for options to control the voracious pests. Traps are an increasingly popular option, but research has shown that their scented lures can sometimes ...

Fix-It Chick: Choose the right electrical tape for various situations

With so many different types of electrical tape on the market today, it is sometimes difficult to know which one to choose. A little insight about the various options may help with the decision-making process. • Black vinyl electrical tape is the most common and least expensive electrical ...

Fix-It Chick: How to install micro-watering system

Drip irrigation and micro-watering systems can reduce water usage by up to 70 percent. Installing a watering system is an easy way to save water, money and time, while improving the overall health and productivity of your plants. Step 1: Lay out a plan. It is best to start small and add to ...

Garden Variety: Kansas State’s horticulture center in Haysville closing

Kansas State University’s John C. Pair Horticultural Center in Haysville is set to close later this year to meet budget demands of the university. The Center, founded in 1970, is a 120-acre facility that primarily conducts research on trees and shrubs, houses field trials for horticultural ...

Fix-It Chick: Let air in, keep bugs out by repairing window screens

Give your window screens a summertime tuneup to let the cool air in and keep the bugs out. Step 1: Examine the window screen to make sure that the edges of the screen secured in place by the spline or wood trim. Repair gaps by removing the frame from the window and reattaching the existing ...

Garden Variety: Iris collector donates plants to nonprofit for fundraiser

Longtime Douglas County resident and Master Gardener Carole Mitchell recently donated her iris collection to the Lawrence-based nonprofit Sunrise Project, to be sold as a fundraiser for the organization. More than 200 varieties of irises will be available at the sale from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ...

Garden Variety: Celebrate National Pollinator Week with friendly gardens

Kansas and at least 44 other states are celebrating National Pollinator Week next week, June 18-24, by proclamation of their governors. The event is organized by the non-profit organization Pollinator Partnership and is described by the group as a week to celebrate bees, birds, butterflies, ...

Fix-It Chick: Install flush mount fixture

Update to a recessed-light look without the hassle of actually installing a recessed light by replacing an existing light fixture with a new LED flush mount fixture. Step 1: Forget about wattage and focus on the degree of Kelvin and lumens for the new fixture. 2800 K emulates the yellow of an ...

Fix-it Chick: Mitigate carpenter bee damage to homes, other wood structures

Carpenter bees are harmless creatures, except for their habit of boring half-inch-wide tunnels into exposed wood on homes and other structures. Carpenter bees look like bumblebees, but with shiny, black bottoms. They are most active in April and May, when they emerge from overwintering to mate ...

Garden Variety: Prune tomato plants to maximize garden production

Tomatoes are a favorite in Kansas gardens, and gardeners are always looking for ways to get the earliest, largest and best-tasting fruit while fighting the weather and at least a dozen common pests. One beneficial practice with which some tomato gardeners may be unfamiliar is pruning. Although ...

Garden Variety: Figuring out the best time to prune specific shrubs

Shrubs respond best to pruning when the act is performed at certain times of year, but when that time occurs varies with plant species and locale. How do you know when to prune what you have, and what is the best method to use? Follow these general rules for landscapes in the Midwest. For all ...

Fix-It Chick: Fixing an outdoor spigot that drips

A dripping outdoor water spigot can be annoying as well as costly. A screwdriver and a few inexpensive parts may save you from replacing the whole faucet. Step 1: Turn off the water supply to the faucet. Hopefully this can be done from the main water valve inside. If not, use a street key to ...

Fix-It Chick: Tips for protecting a wood deck or fence using stain, finish

Wooden decks and fences last longer if they are protected with a stain or oil finish. Pressure treated lumber should not be treated with anything until after it has aged a full year. Cedar wood does not need to be treated at all. Regular maintenance of wooden decks and fences is the best way to ...

Garden Variety: Soil depth at base of trees key for long-term health

Trees with soil or mulch piled around the bases of their trunks exhibit symptoms of stress and have shorter life spans than trees that are planted and maintained at the proper depth. Well-meaning gardeners who are planting trees, building tree rings, grading soil around trees, adding mulch and ...

Garden Variety: Wild growth of Callery pears concerns conservationists

Callery pear trees are easy to spot this time of year in the landscape, on roadsides and in unmanaged pastures. They have stiff upright branches loaded with white blossoms that are part of what have made them a popular choice in landscape plantings since the 1960s. In recent years, the number ...

Garden Variety: Upcoming Garden Show offers education, expertise

Next Saturday, April 28, the Douglas County Extension Master Gardeners are sponsoring a one-day educational Garden Show to celebrate spring and share their expertise. This free event is from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Douglas County 4-H Fairgrounds, 2110 Harper St., Lawrence.The Master Gardener ...

Garden Variety: Spring has truly arrived late for gardeners in Midwest

If it seems like spring is a little behind schedule for its arrival in northeast Kansas this year, you are correct. According to the USA National Phenology Network (NPN), signs of spring are one to two weeks behind their regular appearances across much of the Midwest and Great Plains.The NPN ...

Garden Variety: Avoid misidentifying Irish foliage this St. Paddy’s Day

Shamrocks, four-leaf clovers, wood sorrels and a few other similar plant species are often in the limelight in the spring and around St. Patrick’s Day, but which is which? They are often confused as the same plants even though each has its own attributes and only a few have associated ...