Category Archives: Plants

Fond du Lac County Day In The Garden

The 19th Annual Day in the Garden by the Fond du Lac County Master Gardener Association is set for Saturday, March 18th. The event features speakers, vendors, and a silent auction. It runs from 8:00 to 3:45 at the UW Fond du Lac Extension Office.

I will be speaking on Gardening for Pollinators and Beneficial Insects at the event.

Day in the Garden will give you get tips and inspiration for your own garden and is a great way to network with other local gardeners.

For additional information, see 2017 Day in the Garden brochure.

Handouts for the talk are available here.

The 2017 Wisconsin Garden Expo

It is time again for the Wisconsin Garden Expo. The 2017 event runs from Friday, February 10th through Sunday, February 12th at the Alliant Energy Center Exhibition Hall in Madison, WI. It features a trade show and numerous educational seminars and demonstrations, plus a farmer’s market on Sunday. This is an excellent and very popular event held to benefit Wisconsin Public Television. This year marks the 24th anniversary of the Expo. It attracts over 20,000 attendees from across the Midwest.

I will be presenting two seminars at the show. On Friday the 10th at 2:15 in Mendota 5, I will speak on Improving Success with Seed Starting. Attendees will learn the “whys” behind the “hows” of seed germination to improve their success when starting plants from seeds. Tips and techniques to help gardeners of all skill levels will be covered. Handouts from the talk (327k .pdf)

On Saturday the 11th at 2:15 in Mendota 8, I will speak on Gardening for Pollinators and Beneficial Insects. Attendees will learn how to identify, appreciate, and encourage beneficial insects in the garden. I will cover recommended annuals and perennials to plant for season long bloom, and how to tend your garden to make it a safe haven for beneficial insects. Handouts from the talk (514k .pdf)

Tobacco Hornworm Chemical Warfare

A while back I did a post on the tomato/tobacco hornworm, and just came across some interesting new research on this pest. Continue reading

Tomato Hornworm Cusine

Tomato hornworm (Manduca quinquemaculata) is a moth pest of solanaceous crops, including tomato, eggplant, and pepper. It is closely related to tobacco hornworm (Manduca sexta).  The easiest way to differentiate the two species as larvae is to check the color of the “horn” at the end of the caterpillar’s body.  M. sexta has red horns, M. quinquemaculata has black. Continue reading

Great Lakes EXPO

I attended the Great Lakes EXPO in Grand Rapids, MI the first week of December as one of the greenhouse industry speakers.  (You can grab handouts of my talk on Seed Plug Production here at  It’s a somewhat unique show, as it combines greenhouse, vegetable, and fruit horticulture topics and vendors. Continue reading

2012 Garden Tomato Variety Review

I often choose a theme for my own garden, and this past season’s theme was “oddball and unusual”.  On the tomato front, I focused on a few of old favorites and a big double handful of more unusual varieties, particularly “black” and purple types, most of which I had not grown before.  Over 20 different tomato varieties were included in this year’s garden (admittedly more than was optimum for the relatively small size of the garden — as the collapsed bamboo trellis many were grown on can attest).  I also was fortunate enough to include several grafted tomato varieties.  Continue reading

Squash Vine Borer

2012 was a really bad year for squash vine borer in Michigan.  The outbreak was likely in part due to the mild winter of 2011 and perhaps the drought.  It was the worst season for this pest I’ve experienced.

Continue reading