Local Interest

By Kathleen Cue, Nebraska Extension Horticulture Educator in Dodge County (Week of June 6, 2022)

June 10 is National Herbs and Spices Day. Avid gardeners know that herbs and spices lend excellence to food, add nutrients to our diet, and are easy to grow.

Herbs are those flavorful leaves we add to dishes while spices are the seeds. Take cilantro as an example.  The leaves are chopped, minced, or added whole to salsas, dips, soups, and salads. The seeds, known as coriander, can be harvested and used whole, or ground into a fine powder. Both the leaves and seeds come from the cilantro plant, but the leaves are considered an herb and the seeds a spice.

By Kathleen Cue, Nebraska Extension Horticulture Educator in Dodge County (Week of May 23, 2022)

By Kathleen Cue, Dodge County Extension Horticulture Educator (Week of May 16, 2022)

Many tree owners have been confronted with browning evergreens this spring. Even the tough-as-nails-never-needs-attention junipers are brown, in some cases entire trees. The winter of 2021-2022 showed deepening drought and this dryness, coupled with strong winds, was death to many evergreens, particularly junipers and arborvitaes.

Evergreens are unique for their ability to photosynthesize on days when temperatures are above 45 degrees F.  The region saw a lot of days like this with the mild winter. But the process of photosynthesis is hard work, requiring water along the way. When water cannot be replaced because of dry soils, then brown needles are the result.

By Kathleen Cue, Nebraska Extension Horticulture Educator in Dodge County (Week of May 9, 2022)

If only vegetable gardening was the straightforward task of planting seeds and starter plants outdoors without any attention to the annoying details of soil temperature and late frost.  This isn’t the case, however, and a little planning goes a long way towards success. Certainly, this year’s cool start to spring has been a boon for cool season vegetables.  Radishes and lettuce are just some of the vegetables requiring cooler soils to grow well.

Not only does frost-free weather initiate the planting of warm season vegetables (like tomatoes), but soil temperatures play a strong role when it comes time to planting both cool season and warm season vegetables. Certainly this spring has been challenging for gardeners waiting to get cool season vegetables planted and now with Mother’s Day just around the corner, chances are good that planting warm season vegetables should be delayed as well. Rather than relying solely on the calendar to determine timing—“I always plant after Mother’s Day”—this year is definitely one that requires greater attention to soil temps and frost forecasts.

By Kathleen Cue, Nebraska Extension Horticulture Educator in Dodge County (Week of April 25, 2022)

That the idea for a National Day of Recognition for trees came from a prairie state speaks to the importance of trees and spring tree planting.

Not just lovely to look at, trees provide benefits:  Roots to hold the soil, fruit and nesting places for wildlife, shade for our homes (reducing cooling costs by 25-30%!), shelterbelts to serve as buffers against the wind, and the presence of trees reduces crime and vandalism. Here are some other facts, both well-known and little-known, about trees:

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