Gardentalk – Season finale on cleanup and the last of the veggies

Kale is still growing in KTOO's Agricultural Test Station and Garden of Science! in October 2019. (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO) The fall equinox is a full month in the rear view mirror, and this season's first frosts have already iced up Juneau. So is the growing season done and dusted? No, not really, said Master Gardener Ed Buyarski in the season finale of "Gardentalk." Buyarski said he is still growing Brussels sprouts, parsnips, kale, turnip greens and cabbage. He plans on leaving those vegetables in the ground for another few weeks. Beets, carrots and parsnips actually benefit from being left in the ground during the early fall. "They are increasing in their sugar content at this point with the cool weather," Buyarski said. Listen to the Oct. 17 edition of "Gardentalk." https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/ktoo/2019/10/garden101719.mp3 It's a good idea for gardeners to clean up their gardens and flower beds so that slugs are discouraged from laying eggs and establishing an end-of-season beachhead in the yard. Much of the old, wilted and dead vegetable plants can be thrown into the compost bin. Use either seaweed or spruce and hemlock boughs to cover perennials and protect them from this winter's freezing temperatures. Seaweed can also be mixed into the soil to provide extra winter nutrients. Buyarski reminds gardeners that this year's annual Garlic Lover's Potluck is Saturday, Oct. 26, 5-7 p.m. at the Northern Light United Church. And for those gardeners planning way ahead into the new year, the Southeast Alaska Garden Conference, which will feature presentations and workshops, will be held at Juneau's Centennial Hall on March 20-22, 2020. It's never too early to get ready for the next growing season. Visit the "Gardentalk" homepage to listen to past episodes. Gardentalk

Gardentalk – Season finale on cleanup and the last of the veggies

Gardentalk – Bring your begonias, dahlias and fuchsias in for the winter

An award-winning dahlia flower as shown during a community garden harvest fair in Juneau. (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO) Master Gardener Ed Buyarski says it's time to get your begonias, dahlias and fuchsias inside a cool, but not a freezing place. Tuesday morning's record low temperature of 23 degrees at the Juneau International Airport may be Mother Nature's way of saying more cold snaps and frosty mornings are not that far off. We haven't seen this a lot in Alaska lately. Both #Juneau and #Ketchikan saw record cold � for October 8. In #Juneau, Tuesday was the coldest October 8th in over 60 years. #akwx .@KTOOpubmedia .@JuneauEmpire .@800KINY .@KRBDRadio .@KDNNews pic.twitter.com/LYdCMAiI8B — NWS Juneau (@NWSJuneau) October 9, 2019 Buyarski recommends snapping off begonia stems and then putting the whole pot into the garage so the plant will dry out for a while. Later, he'll take the begonia tubers out of the soil and store them for the winter in cardboard boxes or paper bags in an area which will remain at 50 degrees. For dahlias, cut the stems about two inches above the soil. Pull them out of the pots, wash off the soil, and then let the tubers dry out. Strip all the leaves off fuchsias and apply a soap spray to eradicate any aphids still hiding in the soil. Store the pots in a cooler space, like a root cellar or crawl space. Check on them at least once a month and water them occasionally so they don't dry out completely. Buyarski also answered more questions from listeners. "Can you suggest plants that could provide year-round privacy on a very small condominium deck?" writes Michele. Buyarski recommends an arborvitae or an upright yew. As winter approaches, he suggests insulating plastic pots with bubble wrap or flexible foam wrapping. Covering the plants with burlap will help protect them from cold, drying winds and repeated freeze-thaw action. "Do you know where I can buy plants and flowers that isn't a retail shop" writes Shawn. Buyarski said Juneau area growers (like himself) have important local knowledge and can make recommendations for specific micro-climates around Juneau. He recommends checking out Glacier Gardens, Landscape Alaska and Sunny Slope Farm on Douglas Island. Listen to the October 10th edition about begonias, dahlias, and fuschias: https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/ktoo/2019/10/garden101019.mp3

Gardentalk – Bring your begonias, dahlias and fuchsias in for the winter

Gardentalk – Listener question lightning round

This is the second year that this beehouse has remained vacant in a North Douglas yard. (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO) In this week's edition of Gardentalk, Master Gardener Ed Buyarski tackled a series of yard and garden care questions sent in by listeners. The first few questions were related to last week's segment on garlic. "I've harvested and dried my garlic, but haven't cut the stems off each bulb yet. Is it necessary to cut stems off before storing over winter?" asks Ann. Buyarski said it depends on how much room you have. "If you've got three foot long stems, you can use those stems to hang up a bunch," Buyarski said. "Simple answer is no, it doesn't matter." A reminder to keep them in a warm place about 60 degrees. Don't refrigerate them. "How do you know its ready? Not a lot of luck here. I am told it's too hot, but then why do we have wild garlic growing?" asks Bonnie. Buyarski said he hopes that it doesn't mean her garlic is still in the ground. He said it certainly should have been harvested now. "When to plant garlic in Oklahoma?" asks Ida. Buyarski said the basic rule is planting at four to six weeks before the ground freezes. "I'm planting garlic right now and I have planted garlic as late is between Christmas and New Years when the ground's not frozen," Buyarski said. "So, that gives her some latitude." "I'd love to hear some bee friendly recommendations from Ed. And, do those bee houses that popped up everywhere actually help our bees?" ask Sarah. Buyarski said those beehouses are usually good for orchard mason bees. But he can't confirm if they actually work in Juneau. He said bee-friendly plants commonly found in Juneau include dandelion, raspberry, crocus, and pussy willow. "I planted peony crowns in spring (in pots) and transplanted to a south slope. How do I best prepare the transplants for winter?" asks Andrea. Buyarski recommends lightly fertilizing them with bulb food, cutting off all stems to two inches above the ground, and sheltering them for the winter with spruce boughs or other material. "So, they don't emerge too early in the springtime, and hopefully, have a few flowers next year," Buyarski said. Listen to the Oct. 3 "Gardentalk" focusing on listener questions. https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/ktoo/2019/10/garden100319w.mp3 Finally, the Garlic Lovers Potluck will be held 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Oct. 26 at the Northern Light United Church. Everyone is invited to bring a tasty dish with garlic in it. Buyarski said that has previously included soups, salads, and garlic flavored brownies and chocolate cake. The free event will also include presentation on the basics of garlic growing, harvesting, and storage. Do you have a garden question for Ed? Fill out the form below, and he'll answer your question in an upcoming segment. Listen to past episodes and subscribe to the podcast on the "Gardentalk" page, so you'll never have to worry about missing Thursday's live radio broadcasts.

Gardentalk – Listener question lightning round

Gardentalk – How do you plant 10,000 garlic?

These homegrown hardneck garlic bulbs weren't stored properly after harvest and already started sprouting before planting. Break apart each bulb, and set aside the smallest individual cloves for cooking. Use the biggest cloves for replanting. Plant each clove with pointy end up, about 6 inches apart at a depth of 2 inches. On top of the soil, layer with seaweed or other mulch, and then cover with plastic so the garlic doesn't start rotting during the fall rains. (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO) A Haines vegetable grower is set to embark on a mammoth effort to plant thousands of tiny garlic cloves. Master Gardener Ed Buyarski explained more about Scott Hansen's efforts during a recent edition of "Gardentalk." He said Hansen will enlist the help of family members to get 10,000 garlic cloves planted over the weekend or over several days. Since garlic cloves must be oriented with the pointy end up, they all have to planted by hand. But Buyarski said Hansen has found a way to expedite harvesting on his half-acre plot next summer. "He is going to try to use his tractor and potato digger to lift the garlic once it's ready," Buyarski said. Buyarski and a fellow grower in Juneau together have harvested about 500 bulbs each year, which usually yields about 3,000 individual cloves. Listen to the Sept. 26 edition of "Gardentalk" about garlic planting. https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/ktoo/2019/09/garden092619.mp3 Whether it's 10 or 10,000 garlic, there are some basic techniques that any gardener should keep in mind. It's best to use hardneck garlic, not the softneck garlic that you usually find in the vegetable section of retail stores. Break apart each garlic bulb and use the biggest individual cloves for replanting. Set aside the smallest individual cloves for cooking. Find a plot with good drainage and ample sun. Before planting, be sure to mix extra nutrients into the soil in the form of compost, seaweed, horse manure, brewers grain, or coffee grounds. Plant each clove with the pointy end up, about 2 inches deep and 6 inches apart. On top of the soil, layer with seaweed or other mulch, and then cover with plastic to prevent the fall rains and winter snow from rotting the garlic and washing the soil's nutrients away. Hundreds of garlic plants waiting to be harvested in July 2019. (Photo courtesy of Ed Buyarski) Do you have a garden question for Ed? Fill out the form below, and he'll answer your question in an upcoming segment. Listen to past episodes and subscribe to the podcast on the "Gardentalk" page, so you'll never have to worry about missing Thursday's live radio broadcasts.

Gardentalk – How do you plant 10,000 garlic?

Gardentalk – Planting for a colorful fall

Leaves begin to turn on a Norway maple outside KTOO studios in September 2019. (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO) Do you enjoy the trees and shrubs that are changing color around Juneau right now? Master Gardener Ed Buyarski says you can plant in your own yard now or plan for next year instead. "So, we can add more to basically get more enjoyment out of our fall landscape," Buyarski said. Screen capture of Picture This app tries to identify leaf of a tree near KTOO studios. Popular trees, which show autumn colors and grow well in the Juneau area, include the maple, birch, cottonwood, dolgo crabapple, cherry, and golden willow. The Japanese katsura will change from pink to salmon to orange colors. Color-changing shrubs include the wild blueberry, devil's club, red twig dogwood, gold flame, and the burning bush. "If you go past Fred Meyer's, there's some beautiful burning bush plants turned from green to bright red-orange," Buyarski said. For flowers and perennials, Buyarski recommends monkshood, ligularias, turtlehead, and black-eyed Susan. The Miskin lilac and the P.J.M. rhododendron will eventually turn purple in the early fall. Buyarski says it's a great time of year for planting, because the early fall rains are finally moistening the soil. He recommends loosening the roots once you get the plant or tree out of the pot. "Water them once thoroughly, throw some compost on the surface or some seaweed, and a couple inches of mulch over the top," Buyarski said. "The roots will continue to grow well into the fall as long as the ground isn't frozen." "The mulch is really important, because of the potential for freeze-thaw action during the winter if we don't get consistent snow cover," Buyarski said. Listen to the Sept. 19th edition about fall colors: https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/ktoo/2019/09/garden091919.mp3 If you're reluctant to do any planting now, then Buyarski encourages taking pictures of trees and shrubs as part of next year's planning. There are several plant identification apps that are available for your phone that will help figure out the type of plant or tree that is changing color. Do you have a garden question for Ed? Fill out the form below, and he'll answer your question in an upcoming segment. Listen to past episodes and subscribe to the podcast on the "Gardentalk" page, so you'll never have to worry about missing Thursday's live radio broadcasts.

Gardentalk – Planting for a colorful fall

Gardentalk – The bulbs have arrived

Bulbs bloom in the middle of the Douglas roundabout in spring of 2015. (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO) Pick your bulbs now and plant later this fall for a colorful yard next spring. In this week's edition of "Gardentalk," Master Gardener Ed Buyarski said local retailers and service organizations are getting all types of bulbs shipped into Juneau now. But don't start planting as soon as you get those bulbs home. "We don't want them in the ground yet because then they might start growing too early and then (they'll) start getting killed too early," Buyarski said. He suggests storing them in a cool, dry and dark place until the end of September or early October, or at least until just before the ground freezes and the snow falls. Only then should you plant the bulbs. Listen to the Sept. 12 edition of "Gardentalk" about bulbs: https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/ktoo/2019/09/garden091219webfinalc.mp3 Buyarski said tulips are popular as an annual in Juneau, while some varieties, like daffodils and crocus, may return in subsequent years after the initial planting. "Tulips have a difficult time returning year after year because so many of the bulbs are native to the Middle East, to Southern Asia, Russia and other places where they would normally get dry baking conditions," Buyarski said. Do you have a garden question for Ed? Fill out the form below, and he'll answer your question in an upcoming segment. Listen to past episodes and subscribe to the podcast on the "Gardentalk" page, so you'll never have to worry about missing Thursday's live radio broadcasts.

Gardentalk – How to avoid the greenhouse blues

In this picture taken in early June 2019, tomatoes, peppers, and other vegetables thrive in the scratch-built geodesic greenhouse that Tom Lafollette made at the Annex Creek hydroelectric facility in Taku Inlet. Lafollette explains that he's set up an automated watering and venting system to keep the plants watered and the greenhouse ventilated. (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO) For those gardeners with greenhouses, don't forget to open the vents and windows to create some air flow inside. Otherwise, gardeners may be disappointed to find their vegetables and plants turned to mush and covered with a grayish mold. "That's with our cooling temperatures, nighttime temperatures and higher humidity," said Master Gardener Ed Buyarski. "That's what happens. It's perfect mold-growing conditions." Buyarski encourages using heavy oscillating fans inside the greenhouse to keep the air moving and prevent mold spores from settling on your plants. He also advises removing the offending leaves and parts of the plant immediately if they become infested with mold. Tomato plants may still be flowering, but Buyarski recommends thinning plants, trimming plant tops, and removing any of those new flowers. It's way too late anyway for those new flowers to develop into ripe tomato fruit this season. "So, if we can trim those tops, then that forces the plant to put his energy ripening the tomatoes it's already set," Buyarski said. "We can also help stress them to do that by slowing our watering." Also, don't forget to harvest other vegetables, like cucumbers, that have already stopped producing. Listen to the Sept. 5 edition of "Gardentalk" about greenhouse management and woolly bear caterpillars (again). https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/ktoo/2019/09/garden090519.mp3 In this picture taken in early June 2019, Tom Lafollette, caretaker of the Annex Creek hydroelectric facility in Taku Inlet (obscured behind left side of greenhouse), explains to visitors how he scratch-built this geodesic greenhouse for growing tomatoes, peppers and other vegetables. The greenhouse is about 10 feet in diameter and is a slightly-smaller version than a previous greenhouse he constructed from plans. (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO) Buyarski said he's still getting comments about removing woolly bear caterpillars before they attack kiwi plants, berry bushes and apples trees. He got some feedback at the recent Juneau Food Festival from someone who wasn't happy about his suggestion of squishing and squashing the fuzzy, black-and-orange caterpillars into oblivion. "I'm growing stuff for me, for my friends and for other people, and trying to teach people to do that ," Buyarski said. "Grow food for us. I'm selective about who I'm sharing with, let's say." Buyarski also reports that a neighbor recently developed a severe allergic reaction after getting a woolly bear caterpillar and its irritating long, white hairs down his shirt. His skin was already blistering by the time his neighbor's wife got his shirt off. "She ended up giving him a couple of Benadryl and using some alcohol to wipe down, to clean off the skin," Buyarski said. "And it took some hours for the swelling and reaction to go away." Buyarski also said that an emergency room provider suggested applying an oatmeal paste or a paste of water and baking soda on the blisters to help soothe the skin. Captured! A woolly bear caterpillar with those irritating white hairs crawls inside a jar shortly before it starts cocooning for the winter. (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO) Do you have a garden question for Ed? Fill out the form below, and he'll answer your question in an upcoming segment. Listen to past episodes and subscribe to the podcast on the "Gardentalk" page, so you'll never have to worry about missing Thursday's live radio broadcasts.

Gardentalk – How to avoid the greenhouse blues

Gardentalk – Is the drought over? Can I stop watering now?

Potatoes for sale at Farmers Market and Food Fest 2014 at the JACC. (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO) No, the drought is not over. And don't stop watering, said Master Gardener Ed Buyarski during this week's edition of "Gardentalk" on KTOO's "Morning Edition." Buyarski said a few days of rain showers is not enough to keep the ground moist for your garden vegetables. The National Weather Service also has said that sporadic spurts of rainfall will not be enough to remedy dry conditions in Southeast Alaska over the last two years. "Dig down deep and see what the soil is telling us," Buyarski said. "We need a lot more moisture." Buyarski also notes that extra watering — especially on the tender plants themselves — will help provide a little frost protection as temperatures drop to near-freezing with clear skies overnight. Jugs of water placed around the garden during the height of the afternoon sun will serve as a heat sink and delay frost conditions, if they occur. Blankets and sheets placed over squash and zucchini plants will also provide a layer of insulation. "Clear (sheets of) plastic isn't the answer," Buyarski said. Listen to the Aug. 29 edition of "Gardentalk." https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/ktoo/2019/08/garden082919.mp3 Buyarski also answered a few questions from listeners this week. After last week's segment about woolly bear caterpillars, Juneau listener Jolene asked about alternative methods of eradicating them, instead of squishing or stepping on them. Buyarski said a less brutal alternative that does not require touching the caterpillars includes using a spray bottle to spray the caterpillars with a soapy water solution. Juneau listener Cathy asked about purchasing garlic bulbs. Buyarski said several vendors may be on hand selling garlic and other vegetables during the Juneau Food Festival at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center on Saturday, Aug. 31 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Free workshops are also planned on a variety of gardening and preservation subjects. Do you have a garden question for Ed? Fill out the form below, and he'll answer your question in an upcoming segment. Listen to past episodes and subscribe to the podcast on the "Gardentalk" page, so you'll never have to worry about missing Thursday's live radio broadcasts.

Gardentalk – Is the drought over? Can I stop watering now?

Gardentalk – Ripe corn and woolly bear caterpillars

Woolly bear caterpillar tries to escape its glass habitat located in a North Douglas kitchen in August 2019. (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO) Master Gardener Ed Buyarski said he's almost ready to pick his sweet corn that he's growing this season in his garden. "The ears are filling out when I feel them," Buyarski said. Each of the 2-inch-diameter ears feel solid, and their silk is turning brown. Buyarski recalled that this is probably the first time he's tried growing corn in Juneau in over 20 years. In this week's edition of "Gardentalk," he said the final test will come in about a week or so when he carefully peels back part of the husk and silk from an ear. The kernels of the bicolor corn should be yellow and white, and their juice should spurt out when the kernel's skin is punctured. As for winter squash, Buyarski said they'll be ripe when you're able to scratch a thumbnail through the outer skin, but you're unable to scratch through into the hard inner shell. And don't forget to check on your potatoes. Steal a few early spuds for dinner and contemplate digging them all up soon. Listen to the Aug. 22 edition about corn, squash, caterpillars, and the Harvest Fair: https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/ktoo/2019/08/garden082219b.mp3 Buyarski also answered a question about the woolly bear caterpillar, the larval form of the spotted tussock moth, that is seen around Juneau. Before they weave a cocoon, he said the non-native, orange-and-black caterpillars like to feed on raspberry plants, alder trees and apple trees. He said that's why he tries to get rid of them when they enter his yard and garden. He also has a caution for children and those with sensitive skin who would be affected by handling the fuzzy caterpillar and touching their white, spiky hairs. "People might have a skin irritation or allergic-type reactions to them," Buyarski said. The Juneau Community Garden on Montana Creek Road is holding its annual Harvest Fair and Farmers Market on Saturday, Aug. 24. Juneau gardeners are invited to bring in their fruits, vegetables, flowers and preserves for judging before 11 a.m. Entries will be open for public display at noon. An award-winning basket from the 2015 Harvest Fair. (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO) Do you have a garden question for Ed? Fill out the form below, and he'll answer your question in an upcoming segment. Listen to past episodes and subscribe to the podcast on the "Gardentalk" page, so you'll never have to worry about missing Thursday's live radio broadcasts.

Gardentalk – Ripe corn and woolly bear caterpillars

Gardentalk – 'You can be the bee'

Sugar pie pumpkin flowers close up at the first drops of rain on Aug. 15, 2019. (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO) In this week's edition of "Gardentalk," Master Gardener Ed Buyarski explains what gardeners can do to help with pollination, especially if bees and other insects are not around. "We would like to have warm and sunny weather so the insects are more active," Buyarski said. If vegetable plants and berry bushes are blooming during wet or cool weather, then Buyarski said there may not be that much natural pollination happening. He suggests moving pollen from one plant to another plant of a similar variety. Some plants like beans, peas and tomatoes pollinate themselves. Others, like squash, have male and female flowers. There are also other plants, like kiwi, which require pollination between separate male and female plants. "You can actually tear off those plant (flowers) and in your greenhouse and you can be the bee," Buyarski said, explaining how the male flowers can be dabbed on the female flower pistils for pollination. Listen to the Aug. 15 segment of "Gardentalk" about pollination. https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/ktoo/2019/08/garden081519wfinal.mp3 Do you have a garden question for Ed? Fill out the form below, and he'll answer your question in an upcoming segment. Listen to past episodes and subscribe to the podcast on the "Gardentalk" page, so you'll never have to worry about missing Thursday's live radio broadcasts.

Gardentalk – How to eat your flowerbed

Beebalm, nasturtium and begonia flowers ready for eating. (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO) Flowers from ornamental plants and even garden vegetables are much more than just pretty. They're tasty, too. Master Gardener Ed Buyarski said beebalm, nasturtium and begonia flowers are a great addition to any salad. Calendulas, pansies, johnny jump ups and violets also produce edible flowers. From the vegetable garden, flowers from bolting radishes, turnips and broccoli can actually taste quite sweet. Buyarski said he stuffs squash blossoms and dips them in a batter before frying. "I would advise that folks be growing these with clean soil and probably organic fertilizers," Buyarski said. He cautions against eating flowers from plants that were purchased from a retailer. You'll probably never know what kind of fertilizer or pesticides were used by the nursery. Listen to the Aug. 8 edition of "Gardentalk" about edible flowers. https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/ktoo/2019/08/garden080819w2.mp3 Buyarski also notes that some flowers, like buttercups and anything from the buttercup family, are just plain poisonous. Other poisonous flowers you should avoid eating include peonies, delphiniums, monkshood or wolfsbane, columbine and foxglove. Nasturtium and begonia flowers, and beebalm flowers and leaves, liven up what would've been a routine and forgettable salad. (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO) Do you have a garden question for Ed? Fill out the form below, and he'll answer your question in an upcoming segment. Listen to past episodes and subscribe to the podcast on the "Gardentalk" page, so you'll never have to worry about missing Thursday's live radio broadcasts.

Gardentalk – Juice, jams, jellies and pie. Oh, my!

These salmonberries recently picked from North Douglas may be enough for a few pies or a homebrew. (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO) What can you do with all those berries you just picked? Master Gardener Ed Buyarski said there are plenty of things you can make out of the blueberries, cherries, salmonberries and other berries found around Juneau. Buyarski said homebrewers may be able to make homemade wine with some yeast from a homebrew shop or supplier. "I've had some real good red currant wine," Buyarski said. "The wild stink currants makes some surprisingly good wine." Buyarski just finished making natural juice by putting a little water or apple juice in a stove pot and cooking the berries or cherries until he could gently squeeze out the juice. He advises using a colander to strain out the clear juice instead of running berries through a crank grinder, which will leave more pulp in the juice. He's heard of berrypickers who've used their own juice to flavor their homemade kombucha. Jams and jellies are always a favorite. Buyarski said gelatin or pectin packets usually contain directions and recipes for the novice jammer or jelly maker. "And, of course, there's a YouTube video for everything," he said. My personal favorite is frozen yogurt, which I make almost every season from salmonberries picked from the bushes in my yard. Not sure what to make right now? Stick those berries into a freezer bag and freeze them for now. And don't forget pie. Buyarski reminds novice bakers to add enough sugar and corn starch to sweeten and thicken the pie filling. "Apples are going to be ready here. In fact, some of them are already ready for pie," Buyarski said. "They are so early this year." Listen to the Aug. 1 edition of "Gardentalk." https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/ktoo/2019/08/garden080119.mp3 Do you have a garden question for Ed? Fill out the form below, and he'll answer your question in an upcoming segment. Listen to past episodes and subscribe to the podcast on the "Gardentalk" page, so you'll never have to worry about missing Thursday's live radio broadcasts.

Gardentalk – Juice, jams, jellies and pie. Oh, my!

Gardentalk – Nip that flower after pollination

A sugar pie pumpkin flower opens in the early morning sunlight in a North Douglas garden. Visible just to the immediate right is a previously bloomed flower that has fallen onto a leaf and begun developing mold. At the far right is a cucumber plant that needs support up off the soil's surface. (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO) In this week's edition of Gardentalk, Master Gardener Ed Buyarski starts out with a listener question that is very appropriate for this week's cooler, wet weather. "How do I keep my Zucchini and Squash from rotting?" asks Christine. The best way to prevent rot or fungus is to remove the plant's female flower when it starts shriveling up. Buyarski said it's a sign the flower has already served its purpose in the pollination process. "That dying flower is a perfect avenue for fungus to attack," Buyarski said. "The flower first and then go into the end of the zucchini." For plants in a greenhouse, don't forget to ventilate by turning on fans and opening doors, windows and vents. Other methods include removing leaves and branches — particularly those that are yellow and dying — at the bottom of the plant near the soil to enhance air circulation. Buyarski said such techniques are also useful to prevent fungus development on cucumbers and tomatoes. Use care while watering so that fungus spores in the dirt are not splashed up on the plant. Trim off extraneous tomato and cucumber stems and provide ample support with cages or string for lifting the plants up off the soil. On a related subject, Buyarski had another reminder to harvest all your garlic now, regardless of whether all the stems and leaves still haven't all turned yellow. White mold will soon develop in the lower stem and creep into the bulb. Listen to the July 25 edition of Gardentalk about squash flowers and coffee grounds: https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/ktoo/2019/07/garden072519.mp3 Finally, most gardeners have their own technique for trapping or eradicating slugs, like beer and bricks. But Buyarski said a gardening friend told him that old coffee grounds spread out on the soil's surface seems to keep many slugs at bay. And it's good for plants when it breaks down in the soil, too. Do you have a garden question for Ed? Fill out the form below, and he'll answer your question in an upcoming segment. Listen to past episodes and subscribe to the podcast on the "Gardentalk" page, so you'll never have to worry about missing Thursday's live radio broadcasts.

Gardentalk – Nip that flower after pollination

Gardentalk – It's garlic harvesting time!

Hundreds of garlic plants waiting to be harvested. (Photo courtesy of Ed Buyarski) It's a sure bet that some gardeners just can't wait. All that garlic they planted last fall is almost ready to be harvested. In this week's edition of Gardentalk, Master Gardener Ed Buyarski has some tips and hints for harvesting garlic and long-term storage techniques. If you see yellow or brown developing in garlic stalks and at least half of the leaves, then the garlic is ready to be picked. For those gardeners who did not trim the scapes earlier, Buyarski said if you see them curl and then straighten up, then that's another sign that the garlic should be harvested. Carefully loosen the soil around the garlic and gently reach for the bulb so that you don't damage the fragile, thin skin surrounding them. Don't bang the bulbs together to shake off the dirt or you may bruise or damage the skins and the cloves. Those skins are essential for proper curing and long-term storage. Leave the stems and roots on the garlic and let them dry out for a while in a warm and dry environment. Buyarski said you don't necessarily have to leave them in a darkened room under 50 degrees. "I do some of this in my greenhouse," Buyarski said. Other potential places include a furnace room or another dry place with 70- or 80-degree temperatures. After a few weeks, you can trim off all but two inches of the stems and all of the roots, and gently clean the skins of any dirt. Listen to the July 18 edition of Gardentalk: https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/ktoo/2019/07/garden071819web.mp3 If you have very small garlic that is already turning yellow, then you may want to harvest them now. You could cut off the stems, fertilize again, and leave them in the soil over the winter. But Buyarski said you're not going to get bigger bulbs or cloves, just many more small cloves. It's better to harvest now, break apart the cloves, and replant this fall. He also notes that bulbs left too long in the soil during the late summer's rains will develop a fungus that will eventually break down the important outer skins. Do you have a garden question for Ed? Fill out the form below, and he'll answer your question in an upcoming segment. Listen to past episodes and subscribe to the podcast on the "Gardentalk" page, so you'll never have to worry about missing Thursday's live radio broadcasts.

Gardentalk – It's garlic harvesting time!

Gardentalk – Harvest potential exploders before the big rain

In this picture taken in early June 2019, tomatoes, peppers and other vegetables thrive in the scratch-built geodesic greenhouse that Tom Lafollette at the Annex Creek Hydroelectric Facility in Taku Inlet. (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO) As Juneau transitions from hot and dry weather to relatively cool rain showers, gardeners are being urged to do a little picking before their potential harvest gets ruined. Master Gardener Ed Buyarski said cherries and cabbage can burst or explode if the tree or plant takes in too much water. He recommends that you harvest as many ripe cherries and cabbage as you can before they split apart and become inedible. "What happens, particularly after a dry spell, is that those cherries will explode," Buyarski said. "Then they get moldy and rotten." Buyarski said cabbage heads can also crack open because of the sudden growth. Some varieties of potatoes may also split or crack. He also recommends using a trellis to support blooming delphiniums, which may accumulate water in the flowers and collapse after a rainfall. Buyarski also said the tussock moth or woolly bear caterpillar has reappeared in the Juneau area. He recommends that you squish them before they feed on all your leaves. But some people should be careful if their skin reacts with the caterpillar hairs. Listen to the July 11 edition of "Gardentalk." https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/ktoo/2019/07/garden071119.mp3 Buyarski also answered another question from a listener. "I have a dwarf rhodie that won't bloom," Sam writes. "I give it acid fertilizer and compost each spring and fall. What am I doing wrong? Thank you." Buyarski said it sounds like Sam is feeding the rhododendron properly, but he doesn't know if the plant is in the sun or shade. "The dwarf rhodies particularly need full sun to bloom, compared to the big ones which may get 4-6 feet tall and can tolerate some shade," Buyarski said. "That's the one thing I can think of that may be inhibiting blooming." Do you have a garden question for Ed? Fill out the form below, and he'll answer your question in an upcoming segment. Listen to past episodes and subscribe to the podcast on the "Gardentalk" page, so you'll never have to worry about missing Thursday's live radio broadcasts.

Gardentalk – Harvest potential exploders before the big rain

Gardentalk – Ed answers your questions on gardening and yard care

Thirsty garlic in a North Douglas garden get a much-needed drink. (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO) The warm, sunny weather experienced by Juneau residents this week is a gardener's dream. But the current drought conditions also means gardeners should make sure that their garden vegetables and other outdoor plants don't dry out. "It's amazing," said Master Gardener Ed Buyarski. "Eighty-one degrees at my house in the shade yesterday." This season, he's growing sweet corn, a very non-traditional Alaska crop. In this week's edition of Gardentalk, Buyarski reminds Juneau area gardeners to make sure everything is getting enough water. "Definitely got to be watering hanging baskets," Buyarski said. "I'm doing those everyday now, and stuff in the greenhouse." Tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, and other tall and reaching plants also need regular watering. He suggests adding a light dose of fertilizer to the water to keep those vegetables growing and flowers blooming. Buyarski also answered some listeners' questions that were recently sent into KTOO's Gardentalk page. "I've got a crabapple tree that leafed out nicely, before any of the buds could bloom they rotted, and now the leaves have moldy black spots," wrote Jane. Buyarski said it could either be a fungus or more severe damage to the stem or roots. A solution of baking soda mixed with water and sprayed on the leaves could get rid of the fungus. Buyarski recommends that Jane scratch through the bark to make sure it is still green underneath. If it is no longer green, then it could be a sign that the tree is dying. Close up view of horsetail which has invaded a North Douglas yard. (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO) "Is there a way to get rid of horsetail?" asks Michele. "It's taking over a raspberry patch and creeping into a vegetable garden." Buyarski said a heavy fabric, sometimes called roadbuilder's fabric, can prevent the small rhizomes or root fragments from resprouting. The herbicide Roundup is sometimes only marginally effective in controlling horsetail. The most practical method of getting rid of horsetail is simply picking it all out by hand. Otherwise, he jokes that the best method of controlling the persistent and resilient plant may be "four inches of concrete, lots of rebar, and hope it doesn't grow back." Shirley wants to know the best care for hydrangea. "Soil, sun, water?" she asks. Buyarski said choosing the right variety, like hydrangea paniculata, is key. Plant in an area with full sun, good drainage, and shelter from coldest north winds. Listen to the June 27th edition of Gardentalk: https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/ktoo/2019/06/garden062719.mp3 Buyarski also says tickets are still on sale for the Southeast Alaska Master Gardener Association's Summer Garden Tour on Saturday, June 29, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. See the poster below for additional details and contact information, and click on the link above to buy tickets.

Gardentalk – Ed answers your questions on gardening and yard care

Gardentalk – Preparing your picked peonies for a perfect, prolonged presentation

Peonies (Creative Commons photo by Samantha Forsberg) Are your peonies getting ready to bloom? If you want to enjoy them longer indoors, then don't wait to pick them until they blossom. Peonies from Brad Fluetsch's home garden. (Photo by Elizabeth Jenkins/KTOO) Master Gardener Ed Buyarski recommends harvesting the flowers early if you gently squeeze the unopened buds and they feel soft like a marshmallow. Cut them with about 12 inches of stem. In a vase of warm water, the opening blooms could last a week or more. For display later, Buyarski suggests putting them loosely in a plastic bag with a damp paper towel around the stems before putting them in the refrigerator. They may be able to last for a few weeks. When you pull them out of the fridge, trim off the bottom inch of stem before putting them in water. Listen to the June 20 segment about peonies and bark mulch for rhododendrons: https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/ktoo/2019/06/garden062019.mp3 Buyarski also answered a question from listener Sam, who asked the following: Can rhododendrons tolerate bark as a mulch? The short answer is yes: Rhododendrons can tolerate bark as a mulch. Buyarski said the shallow-rooted rhodies actually like the bark's acidity when it breaks down and decomposes. He recommends a 1-inch to 2-inch layer that will keep the moisture in and the roots cool. Do you have a garden question for Ed? Fill out the form below, and he'll answer your question in an upcoming segment. Listen to past episodes and subscribe to the podcast on the "Gardentalk" page, so you'll never have to worry about missing Thursday's live radio broadcasts.

Gardentalk – Preparing your picked peonies for a perfect, prolonged presentation

Gardentalk – Why a mulch is useful for your yard and garden

Landscapers for the newly-constructed Father Andrew P. Kashevaroff Library, Archives and Museum Building have staked freshly-planted trees and spread mulch around the planting area in this photo from May 2016. (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO) Master Gardener Ed Buyarski explains that a mulch or a non-living ground cover can inhibit weed growth, conserve moisture and provide a more aesthetically-pleasing surface than just bare soil between your trees and shrubs. Listen to the June 13 segment about mulching: https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/ktoo/2019/05/13garden061319.mp3 Buyarski recommends a first layer of a heavy-duty, woven, porous landscaping fabric. That can be topped with bark, woods chips or gravel. He also uses a lot of cardboard as the first layer, which adds nutrients when it slowly breaks down into the soil after a year or two. Do you have a garden question for Ed? Fill out the form below, and he'll answer your question in an upcoming segment. Listen to past episodes and subscribe to the podcast on the "Gardentalk" page, so you'll never have to worry about missing Thursday's live radio broadcasts.

Gardentalk – Why a mulch is useful for your yard and garden

Gardentalk – Summer's second planting season now underway

Seed packets can be purchased in local stores or online. (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO) Now that we've finished with the first spring harvest of garden vegetables, we can get started on a second summer crop. Master Gardener Ed Buyarski said it's way too late to plant tomatoes, peppers and eggplant. Instructions on back of seed packet. (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO) But it's certainly not too late for a second crop of peas, carrots, beets, swiss chard, lettuce and kale. Gardeners can start planting again as soon as their first crop is harvested. "We have nice, warm soil," Buyarski said. "The seeds that we are planting will germinate quickly." He recommends looking at the seed packets to determine how long each vegetable will take from planting to harvest. As mentioned in an earlier segment on spring planting, Buyarski still advises to wait before planting your second crop of spinach and radishes. Otherwise, they will bolt during the upcoming longer daylight hours. Listen to the June 6 segment about summer planting: https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/ktoo/2019/05/06garden060619.mp3 Do you have a garden question for Ed? Fill out the form below, and he'll answer your question in an upcoming segment. Listen to past episodes and subscribe to the podcast on the "Gardentalk" page, so you'll never have to worry about missing Thursday's live radio broadcasts.

Gardentalk – Summer's second planting season now underway

Gardentalk – Preparing for early vegetable and garlic scape harvest

Super close-up view of pollen and a very small, winged visitor, which has landed on garlic planted in a North Douglas garden. (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO) In this week's edition of "Gardentalk," a heads-up about harvesting the first, early crop of spinach, arugula, mustard greens and radishes. Master Gardener Ed Buyarski said those cool weather plants may be early this season and could start bolting soon with the longer daylight hours. Buyarski also recommends gardeners start harvesting their kale and spinach that was planted late last summer and left in the ground over the winter. And don't forget to feed your other vegetable plants. Listen to the May 30 segment about garlic and early vegetable harvest: https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/ktoo/2019/05/garden053019.mp3 "We can give them a little boost to keep them going if we've had a lot of rainfall," said Buyarski, who admits that it's not the case with this year's dry conditions. But Buyarski said if your vegetables start turning a little yellowish-green, then it may be a sign they still need a nutrient supplement, like liquid fertilizer or homemade weed juice. This garlic scape is all curled up in a North Douglas garden in this picture taken in 2017. (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO) For garden vegetables, he recommends a balanced, commercial liquid fertilizer, like 4-4-4 or 4-6-2 with a little more phosphorous. Leafy greens may prefer more nitrogen than root crops, which is reflected in the higher first number. If you use a granular fertilizer instead of a liquid, apply it just before it rains or before you water your garden. "You should be watering it in," Buyarski said. Buyarski said he's already harvested some green garlic. He's looking forward to harvesting scapes in the next few weeks. A garlic scape will have a small, bulbous form that will grow about midway up (see picture right above) as it begins to curl or loop on itself. Each scape can be pinched off and made into a spicy pesto or chimichurri, and Buyarski said harvesting the scape will also allow the garlic to devote more energy to bulb growth in July. Do you have a garden question for Ed? Fill out the form below, and he'll answer your question in an upcoming segment. Listen to past episodes and subscribe to the podcast on the "Gardentalk" page, so you'll never have to worry about missing Thursday's live radio broadcasts.

Gardentalk – Preparing for early vegetable and garlic scape harvest