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Your USDA Hardiness Zone

Featured Articles!

What Are Nurse Logs?

Being a gardener in shade, I have long been fascinated by logs. I have admired them in nature since childhood. There is something about the sight of one that draws me to it for a closer look; wanting to know about its past life as well as investigate how it keeps on giving even as it takes on a new life. However, it has been only in the last 5 years or so that I have begun to bring “nurse logs” into my garden.

>> read “What Are Nurse Logs?”       #Beneficials   #Environment   #Shade
It’s All the Buzz: Basic Beekeeping
Ever considered keeping bees in your garden?

Spurred by worldwide honeybee declines, more gardeners are learning how to keep honeybees. Overuse of pesticides, diseases and disappearing habitat have all contributed to honeybees’ record losses since 2006, when historically-stable U.S. honeybee populations first plummeted.

>> read “It’s All the Buzz: Basic Beekeeping”       #Beneficials   #How to   #Insects
Fruit Tree Friends

Companion planting is the idea that certain plants attract beneficial insects and fix soil nutrients in the edible garden. It’s not a dog-eat-dog world out there; it’s a bug-eat-bug world that forms the food chain that feeds us.

Fresh fruit picked off your own trees is a hot horticultural pursuit these days. Homeowners envision delectable apples, pears, peaches, plums and cherries dripping from their trees. Well, truth be told, there’s a lot of work that goes into those beautiful fruits. Bumps and blemishes from an army of fruit tree pests are the reality of the orchardist.

>> read “Fruit Tree Friends”       #Beneficials   #Fruit   #Trees
Wasps: Garden Friends or Foes?

When most people think of wasps, they think of paper wasps, and they probably think of them only as pests because of unpleasant past encounters with these stinging insects. However, the world of wasps is much larger and more complex than this! Our gardens abound with hundreds of species of wasps that vary greatly in size and life habits. Most of the wasps in our gardens are tiny, parasitic species that do not sting people and go largely unnoticed. These are definitely friends because they help control pest insects. There is also a group of wasps known as sawflies whose larvae look like caterpillars and feed on plants. These are usually foes because they damage landscape plants. Two other groups of wasps are the social wasps, such as paper wasps, and the solitary wasps, such as mud daubers and cicada killers. Wasps in both these groups are capable of stinging, and they definitely qualify as foes when they do so, but paper wasps also have a beneficial side.

>> read “Wasps: Garden Friends or Foes?”       #Beneficials   #Insects   #Pests
Creating a Bee-Friendly Herbal Oasis

An herb garden is an oasis of scents, textures, and flavors that add just the right zing to summer meals. But we aren’t the only ones who enjoy a burst of flavor on a hot summer day. Honeybees and other pollinators are drawn to the delicious nectar found in flowering herbs.

>> read “Creating a Bee-Friendly Herbal Oasis”       #Beneficials   #Herbs   #Insects
Companion Plantings in the Kitchen Garden

Gardeners consider a wide variety of factors when designing a landscape. We consider flower color, bloom time, plant height, and plants we just couldn’t resist when we visited the nursery. Over the years, we’ve also observed that certain plants do well under particular conditions. Some like shade, others sun. Most evergreens like acidic soil, whereas most vegetables and flowers like a neutral soil pH. So, we tend to group plants according to the conditions they like.

But we can also group plants in a different way. We can group them according to those that help each other in one way or another. This is called companion planting, and it can make your garden not only beautiful but also healthier.

>> read “Companion Plantings in the Kitchen Garden”       #Beneficials   #Misc
Welcoming Butterflies

Whatever the size of your garden, you can add excitement and wonder by welcoming beautiful, delicate members of the Lepidoptera family to share your little plot of heaven on earth.

Despite their freewheeling, frivolous demeanor, butterflies follow a deliberate and complex regimen in their day-to-day doings. Their life-cycle consists of four stages: egg, larva (caterpillar), pupa (chrysalis) and adult (butterfly), each stage requiring specific food and environments ...

>> read “Welcoming Butterflies”       #Beneficials   #Insects
Meet the “Other” Pollinators

In the move toward more ecologically sound growing practices, there is no insect that has gotten more attention than the honeybee. Though the honeybee is surely worthy of all our efforts, let us not forget to focus our attention on the many other pollinators that provide an invaluable service and are also on the decline.

>> read “Meet the “Other” Pollinators”       #Beneficials   #Insects   #Unusual
The Trouble With Honey Bees

If you have paid attention to the news media over the past few years, you probably know honey bees are having problems. One of the most widely publicized is a phenomenon known as colony collapse disorder, or CCD. This problem, which causes entire colonies of bees to die suddenly and mysteriously, was first recognized in the U.S. in 2006. But CCD is just one of a series of new problems to affect U.S. honey bees over the last 30 years.

>> read “The Trouble With Honey Bees”       #Beneficials   #Disease   #Insects
In Defense of Spiders

Spiders are perhaps some of the most feared and misunderstood inhabitants of any garden. Quickly squashed into “bug juice” without a moment’s hesitation, these beneficials rarely find safe refuge in their garden homes. Yet, despite their fearsome reputations, wise gardeners learn to appreciate these hungry monsters as they go about their daily business patrolling for pests such as mosquitos, flies, aphids, and leafhoppers. Knowing how to live side by side in harmony is a simple matter of understanding what makes them tick – or twitch.

>> read “In Defense of Spiders”       #Beneficials   #Insects   #Wildlife
Hoo Gives a Hoot

Hosting and inviting owls to your garden has many advantages. Although not seen as often as diurnal birds, when owls are spotted it is a thrill for all. Their distinct vocalizations often give their locale away, as they fly silently with their fringed feathers hunting for vermin. Having pest control working not only for free, but throughout the night unseen, is an added bonus. Owls are an environmentally safe form of pest control – no harsh chemicals needed.

>> read “Hoo Gives a Hoot”       #Beneficials   #Environment   #Wildlife
The Ecological Benefits of Bats

All bats found in the Southeast are insectivores and therefore provide the ecological benefit of acting as a natural pest control. Forty-five bat species are native to the United States with 15 living in the Southeast. Nearly 40 percent of these species are threatened or endangered, and around the world, many more are declining at alarming rates.

>> read “The Ecological Benefits of Bats”       #Beneficials   #Environment   #Wildlife
 
 
 

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Kitchen Herb Bouquets
Keep fresh herbs in the kitchen

[+] I Dig MO