Showing posts from January, 2013

SunPatiens - Impatiens for sunny locations

Gardeners have been planting Impatiens in shady spots for decades. There are now 850-species of these sweet, flowering, members of the Balsam family. Their common names (Touch-Me-Not, Garden Balsam, Balsamina, Busy Lizzie and Patience Plant) come from their seedpods “impatiently” exploding when touched.
The familiar, shade-loving Impatiens, Impatiens walleriana, is perennial in its native east Africa and most gardeners north of Africa treat them as annuals, allowing them to die at the end of each season. They are easy to over-winter indoors or start from seed, and stem-cuttings root quickly in water.
Thompson & Morgan ( sells Impatiens seeds as I. Walleriana and I. Balsamia on their U.S. site and as Busy Lizzie on their British site.
The Royal Horticultural Society awarded Garden Merit status to several Impatiens including: Accent Series (8-inches tall), Blackberry Ice, Elfin White and Red, Super Elfin, Fiesta Ole and Wink and Blink. Super Elfin from Costa Rica is the on…

Cutworms in your gardens

Cutworms overwinter under weeds, leaves stones and paths, ready to emerge on warm days to eat through your vegetables. Cutworms are not actually worms, but the caterpillar of a moth.

They can be the larvae of Feltia jaculifera, Noctuidae, Turnip moth or Agrotis moths. Here's a helpful link

It's 70 outside so I'm watering and weeding around the veg garden and finding dozens of these Dingy Cutworms and tossing them out to the birds.

Keep an eye out as you work in the garden and toss them.

Purdue Extension --
"Most cutworms overwinter as pupae in the soil or as young larvae, however some move into the Midwest as moths from southern latitudes. After emerging or arriving in the Midwest, moths mate then deposit eggs on soil, weeds, and/or crops (arriving moths may have already mated). 

   Cutworm damage may be prevalent where soybean is planted or replanted late (e.g., bottom ground wet from spring flooding) and in fields with weedy gro…

Freight Farms - shipping container hydroponic farming systems

Surveys indicate that, given the choice, we consumers choose local over organic and a containerized farm might be just the ticket for some neighborhoods. 

Must see their videos - and/or

Their Facebook page is more lively than their website -

From their website
A local solution for the ne
generation of global food supply. Freight Farms create access to food in areas of the world where the climate cannot support traditional farming methods. The Freight Farms’ system brings a high volume of fresh, quality and affordable food within reach of everyone along the food supply chain. By enabling high-yield crop production in any climate, Freight Farms offer an immediate foundation to grow a local food economy and sustainable food system.

Accessibility, Affordability, Sustainability Freight Farms decrease the production costs and environmental impact of fresh produce by locating production much clos…

Smartphone Apps for Growers

Applications or apps for smartphones are ubiquitous and now there are hundreds of them for growers, gardeners and horticulturists.

  Dharmendra Saraswat, asst professor and Extension engineer for biological and agricultural engineering at U. Arkansas developed a site where you can search for smartphone apps.

Go to the link below
* select type (Apple ios, Android, Windows 7, Blackberry)
* price you are willing to pay for the app (free to more than $3.99)
* topic of interest (drop down menu topics from agriculture to weeds)

The link to Saraswat's Geospatial Technologies is

At that link, click on Geospatial Resources
When that window opens, click on Calculator and Tools
Scroll down to Smart Phone Apps Search Tool
or follow this link if if works for you

Most categories have only a few apps in them but they look like they were selected for being useful.

Native American Plant Traditions

Oklahoma Native Plant Society Indoor Outing
Open to the public

Feb 2, 9 to 3
Tulsa Garden Center, 2435 South Peoria
$7 on-site or pre-registration
Registration forms
Information Alicia Nelson - 918-599-0085,

This year the Oklahoma Native Plant Society Indoor Outing is titled “Native Oklahoma: Plants and People”.The speakers, demonstrations and vendors will focus on the importance of native plants to Oklahoma’s cultural heritage as a means of sustainable living, food and art.
Members from the Northeast, Crosstimbers, Central and Southwest chapters of the Oklahoma Native Plant Society are participating to present a day filled with speakers and demonstrations.
Alicia Nelson, president of the Northeast Chapter said, “The rich Native American heritage of OK includes the integration of native cultures with the diversity of our native plants.”
The day begins at 9 with continental breakfast, educational booths and native plant vendors.
At 10 Dr. And…

Bird Calls 150,000 of them - from Cornell U.

Open Culture broke the news that Cornell U. is launching an archive of 150,000 bird calls and animal sounds.

Ornithologists and bird watchers rejoice. After a dozen years, The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Macaulay Library has fully digitized its nearly 150,000 audio recordings (a total running time of 7,513 hours), representing close to 9,000 different species, such as the very unsettling-sounding Barred Owl (above). While the collection also includes the sounds of whales, elephants, frogs, primates, and other animals, the primary emphasis here is on birds (it is a Lab of Ornithology, after all), and there is an incredible range of calls. Cornell recommends some of the highlights below:
Earliest recording: Cornell Lab founder Arthur Allen was a pioneer in sound recording. On a spring day in 1929 he recorded this Song Sparrow sounding much as they do today
Youngest bird: This clip from 1966 records the sounds of an Ostrich chick while it is still inside the egg – and …

Spring Seed Starting is based on your freeze schedule

Botanical Interests just sent out a new seed starting chart - it's that time of year. Check out the weeks before last frost for seed starting projects indoors and outdoors -

Success depends upon counting the weeks between the last freeze date in your area and putting those seeds in the starting pots.

For example, the last freeze date for our NE OK zone 7 is April 15. Some years the last freeze is actually in March; other years it really does freeze in mid-April. All we can do is look at that average date and use the calendar to make our best guess.

In Albuquerque, New Mexico, for example the last average freeze date ranges from Apr 13 to May 7

Dates of the Last Spring Freeze Around the Albuquerque Metro Area LocationElev. (ft)EarlyAverage Late2011201020092008Sunport
(1931-2009)5300MAR 6,

More about voles, rabbits and gophers - this time all about damage to roses

Roses of Tulsa, Inc. just put out even more information about a couple garden visitors.

Gophers do more damage to wintering roses than all of the other pest put together except under those conditions where deer are present. Each of these harm the roses by eating them. The Pocket Gopher eats roots. Your rose may look great one day and then the very next day it be wilting and dying. The pocket gopher lives entirely under ground except when it is changing locations or mating. They are very territorial and most of the time there is only one tearing up your beds and they are not very picky. They eat roots off many of your flowers and vegetables. Their presents in your yard can be detected by large mounds of soil in the yard with a tell tale indention somewhere around the perimeter. They are best poisoned because trapping them invites new gophers to the already made tunnels. Cotton Tails are very numerous in the Tulsa Area and do not mind having their cousins, nieces, nephew and al…

Holes in the yard - gophers, moles, voles, skunks, squirrels, birds, grubs,worms and other creatures

Holes in garden, lawn, and landscape can cause curiosity or frustration, depending on the gardener’s level of concern, the damage that appears to have been done, and where the holes appear.
Diagnosis should always come before buying an arsenal of poisons and traps, putting screening under all your bulbs, or trying to run the car exhaust into tunnels in your lawn.
Observe the size of the hole, whether there is just a tunnel or a mound of soil on top of the surface, with or without a volcano at one side.

The lack of soil or castings around the hole could indicate a worm-seeking bird or an acorn-seeking squirrel.
Insects will work on decomposing roots for years and when they complete their work, the surface soil collapses into the space created in sort of an oblong tree root-shaped hole.
Squirrels live in trees or burrows and can damage crops, sprinkler heads, tree bark and roots. Use small traps to capture them.
Skunks live in other animals’ burrows. They eat mice, voles, moles, birds, in…

Grey Hairstreak Butterfly (Strymon melinus) has Pink Caterpillar

Grey Hairstreak Butterflies are fairly common here in North America. Gray Hairstreaks fly throughout the US, north to southern Canada, South to Mexico and Venezuela.

Their caterpillars eat many many plants but do the most crop damage to beans and cotton. Favorite caterpillar foods include anything in the pea family (Fabaceae), mallows Malvaceae and Malva), beans (Phaseolus), clovers (Trifolium), and cotton varieties Gossypium).

Not all Hairstreak caterpillars are pink - some are the usual colors: beige, bright green, brownish, etc. But check out this guy - he's positively pink!

Shady Oak Butterfly Farm posted a photo of the pink caterpillar on their Facebook page today.!/ShadyOakButterflyFarm

I've had hundreds of Gray Hairstreaks in our garden over the years and I have yet to see a pink caterpillar. I will be positively vigilant this coming butterfly season!

Their flights are May-September in the north and in the south they have three-four flights from …

catalogs and online shopping - seeds, plants, chickens, tubers, bulbs, perennials, etc.

Catalogs and online shopping are the way gardeners make it through the winter months, so each year, my column features dozens of print and online resources. Some years it has been only seed companies. This year’s list includes Internet based retailers that sell seed, plants, tubers, chickens and everything else gardeners need in order to dream, to plan and succeed.

With few exceptions, most companies sell items other than seeds. A few sell only seed they grow themselves or contractors grow for them. Look for open pollinated varieties if you want to avoid GMOs.
Disease and insect resistant varieties are widely available from the larger companies. Seeds that are coated with clay making tiny seeds easier to plant, are called pelletted. Look for those in catalogs such as Johnny’s Selected Seeds.
Printed paper catalogs are few and far between as everyone is using less paper and wants to save money. Most seed sellers offer an online newsletter, write a growing tips blog, or email out materia…