A new year

A new year for us to start planning on something new for the garden. It is always exciting to start getting those gardening catalogs in the mail at this time of the year and to think about what new plants we might want to try in the garden. It could be new annuals, perennials or vegetable plants or maybe a new tree or shrub too. Each year, it seems that there are just tons of new things to try and explore.

We often make those certain New Year’s resolutions too and I have an easy one for you and other gardeners that are out there. A challenge! Subscribe to the U of M Extension’s Yard and Garden newsletter this year and receive a ton of timely, valuable information regarding what is happening in the gardening world. You never know. You might be able to find information on something that is happening with a disease or insect that could be happening right now in your own plants. You will have to go to the website at https://blog-yard-garden-news.extension.umn.edu/. The easy to follow information is just right for new gardeners to more seasoned gardeners. It is a great way to keep up on pests such as Emerald Ash borer and any other invasive species that may be coming our way.

A big push this year is the U of M Extension’s effort in keeping us safe in the garden when it comes to foodborne diseases. It seems like once a month or more, you will hear about certain vegetables causing E. coli outbreaks throughout the U.S. or other countries. The U of M has some very valuable advice as to what to do in order to keep ourselves safe with the food that we grow in our garden. We will be talking more about this and I will be having class later this spring to talk just about what we can do to keep safe. It takes a little bit of change in how we approach things in the garden but it is easily doable.

If you subscribe to the newsletter, you will also receive up to date information on any diseases or pests making their way into Minnesota. This month this includes elongate hemlock scale (EHS), Fiorinia externa. This insect took a ride on plant material that was shipped from North Carolina to Home Depots and Menard stores in the U.S. The plant material included Christmas products such as wreaths. If you have purchased a wreath or tree from one of these stores or from any other retail chain store to make sure to dispose of the wreath or tree to burn them or bag them to keep the insect from spreading. The insect prefers hemlock but will also choose to live “on a variety of evergreens, including spruce, fir, cedar, and pine,” according to Jeff Hahn with the U of M Extension.

There are also some very interesting videos on how to be a smarter gardener in 2019. This is something that whether you have gardened for many years or for just a short while, can certainly give you a few tips. For more information on gardening, you can reach me at s.dejaeghere@me.com