Weekly Home, Yard and Garden Advice
Each week Extension experts share tips and research-based information about seasonal topics that every homeowner should know.
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December 8 and 11: Manchester's Blue Trees Project
Manchester’s Blue Trees Projects has people talking, and that is just the point. The Currier Museum of Art recently commissioned international artist and conceptual sculptor, Konstantin Dimopoulos, to create a temporary art installation - a landscape of nearly 100 vibrant blue neighborhood trees that surround the Museum and trickle south to Pulaski and Victory Parks. At Family Fun Day, Kon and his business partner and wife Adele involved hundreds of community members to join in and help color trees.
UNH Cooperative Extension, the Society for the Protection of NH Forests, and other organizations that care for NH forests and trees are also part of the conversation. Now that the environmentally-safe-temporary-blue coloring has gotten people's attention, let’s talk about the importance of trees and forests to our state, cities, towns, and to each of our lives.
In part 1 of this Grow it Green segment, we look at the art installation, learn about the artist’s global message and begin our local conversation about NH’s forests.
The Blue Trees by the Currier Museum of Art
December 1 and 4: Storing Seeds
Whether you save your own seeds or simply have some leftover at the end of the season, it’s important to know how to properly store them. Many types of seeds have the potential to remain viable for years if they are kept under the right conditions. It’s possible that you may not need to purchase new seed every season if you properly store your seeds in a cool, dry place.
Proper Seed Storage and Planning by Michigan State University Extension
Life Expectancy of Vegetable Seeds by Iowa State University Extension
November 24 and 27: Christmas Tree Selection and New Varieties
This time of year Christmas trees are on people’s minds and choosing just the one for your family can be overwhelming, especially if you’re not familiar with all the various types out there. On today’s Grow it Green Jeff Taylor will discuss some of the not so common Christmas tree varieties like the Turkish Fir, native to Northern Turkey, Veitch Fir, native to Central Japan, and the Corkbark Fir, native to the high elevations of New Mexico and Arizona. Why not give another variety a try this coming holiday season?
Christmas trees Exotic Varieties by Michigan State University
Nov 17 and 20: Wait to Prune your Trees and Shrubs
Fall is the time we think about performing many garden chores. It’s often tempting to prune trees and shrubs as they lose their leaves because it is easier to see their branch structure, but don’t do it! The goal of pruning is to improve the health of the tree, while causing as little damage as possible. Fall pruning has the potential to cause significant dieback, because wounds are more susceptible to damage from severe winter temperatures. There are plenty of other things you can do to keep busy in the garden in the late fall. Save the pruning for the late dormant season in late winter and early spring.
Pruning Trees and Shrubs by University of Minnesota Extension
November 10 and 13: Firewood Pests
Many people enjoy having a wood-burning stove or fireplace in their homes for the warmth, comfort and homey feel it can bring -- especially in the cold of winter. But the firewood that is brought into the home for that fire isn't always quite as comforting, as there are a numerous household pests that can be carried in with the firewood.
Insects in Firewood by Purdue University
Firewood and Insects by University of Maine
November 3 and 6: Keeping Rodents out of the Home
Almost all homeowners know the feeling of unease that accompanies finding mice or rodents in your home. Whether in the kitchen, attic, basement or dining room - a rodent sighting can incite surprise and fear in even the most composed homeowner. Unfortunately, these common pests are resourceful creatures that can enter a building or home through the smallest opening or crack, and require very little space to travel inside. Today we are going to discuss ways to keep rodents out of your home.
Keeping Mice out of the Home by UNH Extension
October 27 and 30: 2018 Growing Season in Review
Each season has its ups and downs and weather is a key factor. The dry and droughty start to the growing season turned quickly to hot, humid and RAINY! Learn how the weather affected our gardens and crops, and what you can do now, to lessen disease risks for next season.
Preventing Garden Diseases from UNH Extension
October 20 and 23: Pumpkins
Pumpkins and squashes are some of the most popular fall decorations. For those that are interested in growing them, there can be some confusion over which is which. Both squashes and pumpkins can be ingredients in pumpkin pie, and some large squashes can be ornamentals. All pumpkins and squashes are closely related member of the same plant family, which includes, summer squash, cucumbers, and melons. If you decide to grow your own pumpkins or squash next season, have a clear idea of what you want to use them for. You’ll need to select specific varieties for decorations, pies, and giant competition pumpkins.
Growing pumpkins and winter squash in home gardens by University of Minnesota Extension
October 13 and 16: Dahlias: The Last Dance of Summer
Have you been to an agricultural fair this season and drooled over the gorgeous blue-ribbon-winning-dahlias? You too can grow these gorgeous annual flowers with about the same amount of effort you would put into growing a tomato plant. The nice thing is at the end of the season they multiply so you’ll have enough dahlias tubers to share or trade with your friends for next season.
Growing Dahlias by Iowa State University Extension
October 6 and 9: Planting Rodent Resistant Spring Bulbs
Nothing is more frustrating than investing a lot of time and money into planting spring bulbs, only to have them eaten or hauled away by pesky critters. In light of unusually high rodent populations this season, save yourself some trouble by growing bulbs that are avoided by wildlife species, such as daffodils, snow drops, glory-of-the-snow, squill, and allium.
Bulbs & More: Planting & Care by University of Illinois Extension
September 29 and October 2: Protecting the Garden from Deer
If you garden in New Hampshire, you have undoubtedly come into conflict with deer at some point. White-tailed deer are thriving in New Hampshire, in part because they are incredibly adaptable when it comes to habitat. Deer can live just as successfully in rural woodlands as they can on farmlands or in suburban gardens. Urban deer are especially problematic as they have very few predators and hunting is often not an option where homes are closely spaced. While it’s clear the deer are here to stay, that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything you can do to stop them. Fortunately, there are three key strategies you can implement to limit deer damage in your garden this season.
Keep the Deer out of your Garden by UNH Extension
September 22 and 25: Backyard Composting Basics
The majority of backyard waste and household food scraps can be composted at home. Organic materials such as grass clippings, leaves, fruit and vegetable trimmings, and shredded paper products can be composted at home in compost bins or piles. Home composting can be very simple and is a great way to turn organic waste into a valuable soil amendment that can be used to enrich gardens and improve plant growth. In this episode you’ll learn the dos and don’ts of backyard composting and how to create your own compost pile or bin.
Introduction to Backyard Composting by NC State
September 15 and 18: Eastern Tent Caterpillar, Gypsy Moth, Fall Webworm
There are a number of caterpillars that feed on trees, but not all of them produce webs. This time of year, you can find large unsightly loosely constructed, silken nests in apple, cherry, ash, willow, oak, birch, elm, and other deciduous species. This is usually the work of the fall webworm.
Gypsy Moth by UNH Extension
Fall Webworm and Eastern Tent Caterpillar by UNH Extension
September 8 and 11: Integrated Pest Management
Integrated Pest Management, or IPM, is not a new philosophy and has been around for decades. It is nothing more than a management technique that focuses on pest prevention and uses pesticides only as needed.
Integrated Pest Management self check by Cornell University
September 1 and 4: Invite Pollinators Inn (Building a Bee Hotel)
Most people are familiar with honey bees as pollinators, but there are thousands of native and non-native solitary bee species that also aid in pollination. Solitary bees, unlike honey bees, do not live in a social structure, but in natural and man-made cavities. These can easily be provided with nesting habitats.
Bee Nest Box Guidelines by UNH Extension
Creating a Solitary Bee Hotel by University of Nebraska
Building and Managing Bee Hotels for Wild Bees by Michigan State University
August 25 and 28: Planting for Hummingbirds
Ruby-throated hummingbirds are one of the most charismatic bird species in New Hampshire. Many people attract hummingbirds to their backyards with hummingbird feeders. While these can be effective, hummingbirds are equally, if not more attracted to a variety of common garden flowers. Native plants are always a good choice, but you don’t need to limit yourself. Hummingbirds usually prefer tubular flowers that are high in nectar. Plants such as cardinal flower, trumpet honeysuckle, bee-balm, agastache, and salvia will all attract hummingbirds. In this episode of Grow it Green you’ll learn how to make your own garden a hummingbird haven.
Ruby-throated Hummingbird from Cornell Lab of Ornithology
August 18 and 21: Harvesting & Storing Fresh Produce
The flavor, freshness, and nutritional content of fruits and vegetables is determined entirely upon the maturity and time of day when they are harvested. Vegetables that are too mature may be tough and stringy, while those that picked too soon may be flavorless and have fewer nutrients. The time of day fruits and vegetables are picked and the way they are stored can also have a big impact on quality.
Harvesting Vegetables from NC State Extension
The NH Harvest Season chart from UNH Extension
August 11 and 14: Solving Problems with Summer Squash
Summer squash is a popular and easy to grow crop in New Hampshire, but a few common problems can occur which can limit success. In this episode of Grow it Green you'll learn why summer squash bloom but don't produce fruit, grow fruit that are misshapen, or have fruit that start to develop then rot at the end.
August 4 and 7: Stink bugs: Do they all stink?
Though they’ve gotten a deservedly bad reputation, not all stink bugs are crop pests. Some are beneficial and prey on other crop pests, especially in vegetable production. Knowing the difference between good stink bugs and bad stink bugs is a good thing. This segment of Grow it Green we will focus our attention on some of the key characteristics in telling the good from the bad.
July 28 and 31: Low Cost and Local Mulches That Control Weeds and Improve Soil
What some people may consider “waste products” others call “black gold”, when speaking of many natural materials leftover from tree crews, mowing of lawns, and even shearing of sheep. These leftovers can be locally accessed for low or no cost and be used as mulches that reduce weeding and build nutrient-rich, moisture-holding soil. In this segment we learn the differences and benefits of some of these locally-sourced plant-based mulches including ramial chipped wood, mixed wood chips, shredded wood mulch, pine needles, grass clippings, and even a non-plant-based but lanolin-rich mulch…wool!
July 14 and 17: Spotted Wing Drosophila
July 7 and 10: Viburnum Leaf Beetle
Drought Tolerant Plants for New Hampshire Landscapes by UNH Extension
June 23 & 26: Great Groundcovers
Groundcovers are in integral part of any low maintenance landscape. Effective groundcover plants spread to form thick layers of vegetation that protect bare soil, reduce erosion, lessen weed incursion, and require relatively few inputs. For those that want to reduce the amount of turf grass in their garden or have difficult to mow areas, a perennial groundcover species may be the perfect choice. No matter what the growing conditions in your garden there are many plant selections that are sure to do well.
Selecting Groundcovers by Virginia Cooperative Extension
June 16 & 19: Proper Lawn Care on the Shoreline
How can you care for your lawn that will have the least impact on the ecosystem in and around your waterbody? This segment of Grow it Green will cover many tips on how to maintain a healthy and yet low impact (and low maintenance) lawn. We will discuss watering, fertilizing and pesticide use.
NH Shoreline Protection from the NH Department of Environmental Science
Waterbodies in NH by the NH Department of Environmental Science
Green Grass & Clear Water by UNH Cooperative Extension
Landscaping at the Water's Edge by UNH Cooperative Extension
Directory of Landscape Professionals Trained in Ecological Landscaping by UNH Cooperative Extension
June 9 and 12: Designing Your Own Annual Containers
By selecting the right container, matching plants with similar growing requirements, and using a quality potting mix, you are sure to have success - but that's only half of the picture. A succesful container garden wil look great too. When it comes to design, planting containers is a great way to express your own creativity and style. By paying attention to proportion, number, color, and plant growth habits, your containers are sure to have a pull-together look.
Successful Container Gardens by University of Illinois Extension
The Art of Container Gardening by Penn State Extension
June 2 and 5: Herbs a Tasty Alternative
Just about every dish tastes better with fresh herbs -- and there's no better way to get fresh herbs than to grow them yourself in an herb garden. So, if you have extra space in your yard or garden? Plant a fresh and simple herb garden only steps away from the kitchen. This segment will cover choosing herbs, finding the perfect location and planting.
Growing Herbs in Containers by UNH Extension
Growing Herbs Outdoors by Penn State Extension
May 19 and 22: Homemade Weights for Training Young Trees
Training trees to have one central leader when they are young helps promote good growth habits for the future, and for fruit trees such as apples, pears, and cherries, training the side branches to grow at angles between 60 and 75 degrees helps produce more flowers and fruit. Late May through June when the new growth is supple, is the time to encourage those branches to grow more horizontally. Learn how you can create your own weights from items you already have around the house to train your young trees.
Growing Fruit: Training and Pruning Young Apple and Pear Trees from UNH Extension
May 12 and 15: Pesticides and Reading a Label
A pesticide is any substance used to kill, repel, or control certain forms of plant or animal life that are considered to be pests. Before reaching for a pesticide it is important to not only know what it is you are trying to control or manage, but what the label is telling you. Reading a pesticide label is one of the most important things a person can do before applying anything to the environment. This segment of GIG will help a person determine whether or not a pesticide is really needed.
Reading Labels via National Pesticide Information Center
Pesticide Labels via EPA
May 5 and May 8: Choosing The Right Tree
Spring is a great time to plant new trees. The soil is moist, temperatures are mild, and trees have an entire growing season to become established. Purchasing a new tree is often a big investment, so you want to make sure you’ve made a good choice. Before you buy a new tree, you need to pay attention to site conditions. Note the slope, hardiness zone, soil type, exposure, soil compaction, amount of light, drainage, space or size, and soil pH/nutrient availability. After evaluating the spot where it will be planted, pick a tree that will adjust well to that location. Without exception, the needs of the tree should match those provided by the site. When selecting a tree keep the following things in mind: the tree’s potential size, cultural requirements, rate of growth, maintenance needs, and susceptibility to insects and diseases. In this episode you’ll learn all about how to choose the right tree for the right location, as well as take a look at some hardy trees that are perfect for spots with tough growing conditions.
Planting and Mulching Trees and Shrubs fact sheet by UNH Extension
How to Plant a Tree in your Landscape video by UNH Extension
Mulching your Trees and Shrubs video by UNH Extension
April 28 and May 1: Bees and Wasps Around the House
Spring is the season when the fertile female wasps awaken from their winter rest and start looking for a place to start their nests. Yellow jackets and other wasps are easy to control early on in the season. In this segment we will focus on steps you can do to prevent large nests being created in places that they are not wanted.
Recommended Resources from Extension Partners:
Controlling Bees and Wasps Around the House from UNH Extension
April 21 and 24: Spring Cleanup and Characteristics of a Low Maintenance Landscape
How does a low maintenance landscape compare to others in early spring? This landscape at Rolling Green Nursery with a variety of plants, layers, and textures completely covers the soil and is still attractive even in early spring before flowers and new growth. Low maintenance is not no maintenance. Creating landscapes that build soil and keep it covered, and establishing layers of plants chosen for the right site conditions, wildlife habitat, and year round interest, allows you to spend more time enjoying and observing rather than mowing, weeding, watering, and mulching.
Recommended Resources from Extension Partners:
Low Maintenance Landscapes from University of Missouri Extension
Integrated Landscaping Following Nature's Lead from UNH Extension
April 14 and 17: Caring For Houseplants
Spring is the perfect time to give your houseplants some renewed attention. As the outside temperatures warm and the days lengthen, it’s time to consider caring for your houseplants. Most houseplants will start actively growing in the spring, which makes this a good time of year to start fertilizing and repotting. Your houseplants may need to be repotted if the roots are beginning to show through the drainage holes or on the soil surface, if new leaves appear smaller than normal, or if the plant wilts soon after watering. Houseplants also require occasional fertilization to keep them happy. In this segment you will learn how to reinvigorate your houseplants and keep them thriving.
Recommended Resources from Extension Partners:
Caring for Houseplants in Northern Climates from University of Minnesota Extension
Caring for Houseplants from University of Illinois Extension
Ever wonder what your plants are trying to tell you? Houseplants are nice to have around and they are a pleasure to grow when things go as they should. However, when your plant is looking puny instead of perky, has webbing on the leaves, appears shiny and sticky or you're noticing black mold on the surface of the leaves what could be the reason? In this week's Grow It Green we highlight some of the many possible insect pests that plague indoor plants.
Recommended Resources from Extension Partners:
Common Houseplant Insects & Related Pests from Clemson University Cooperative Extension
Houseplant insect control from University of Minnesota Cooperative Extension