The days are growing shorter, shadows grow longer and our night time temperatures are starting to drop. As fall approaches, trees prepare for dormancy and stop focusing on branch and tree top development, but rather taking up water and nutrients in preparation for next spring.

It is pretty much a given that fresh sweet corn is delicious and if cared for correctly can be a relatively easy crop to grow. Sweet corn is a warm-season crop that will germinate best when the soil temperature is above 55 degrees.

Onions are a great crop to grow in our area. They can tolerate our cool springs and are not overly complex to grow. Onions are moderate users of the three major nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium) and enjoy a soil mixed with lots of loose well composted organic matter.

We all know hot weather can be tough on plants if they do not have adequate water, or if the hot weather is made worse with drying winds. Most plants slow down their growth and production in temperatures above 90 degrees. Tomatoes for example, which are a warm-season crop, basically stop gro…

Gardening and landscaping with native plants in east Idaho is really the best way to reduce work, expense, disease issues, insect problems, pesticide use and answer the age old question of “will it survive here?” We live in an arid, high-altitude desert, and as part of that we have high diur…

Most homeowners want healthy, vigorous, and attractive lawns throughout the growing season. However, as lawns age, excessive thatch may accumulate and reduce the health, vigor and attractiveness of lawns.

Every summer I get phone calls as the season progresses about problems with tomatoes in people’s gardens. The most common malady is a leathery, rotten spot on the bottom of the fruit, and by the time people ask me about it, the growing season is coming to a close, so there isn’t time left to…

It goes something like this: You walk out onto your lawn during the spring and summer and start noticing either little rings of small mushrooms or light-brown rings in your lawn. You may wonder what happened or what was accidentally sprayed on the lawn to cause this, but it is not a chemical…

There are rewarding endeavors in the world of small-acreage businesses, and if you love trees, producing your own fruit, and all the many facets of being a tree grower, then a small-acreage orchard might be the right direction for you.

We all have a north side to our homes, outbuildings or other structures that receives very little sun and may be shaded most of the day. Too often these places are neglected, ignored, or never reach their full potential as an enjoyable place to spend time during a hot spell. Worse yet is the…

As the summer progresses and temperatures rise, proper watering is critical to keep your plants happy, as well as to prevent issues in the future. A general rule of thumb is to water your plants according to their needs; and their water needs are different from plant to plant, as well as the…

Growing up can mean so many things, but I would like to recommend a method of gardening that most people never consider. Try growing your crops vertically and use the area above where they normally grow, as additional growing space.

Idaho is known for its incredible natural scenery, short growing seasons, cold winters and a relatively low cost of living compared with states to the west of us. You mix these seemingly unrelated attributes together, and you get a place where people want to replicate the natural mountainous…

As many home gardeners try to be more self sufficient and cut gardening costs, they look to starting their own plants at home, and with the right tools can have great success.

We are at the point in our growing season where starting a berry patch sounds like a great idea. People are envisioning homegrown fresh fruit being picked and eaten, or turned into homemade jam. With sufficient planning (and some work) this dream will become a productive reality. Here are so…

One of my favorite sayings is, “If tomorrow were my last day to live, I would still plant an apple tree anyway.” You might find this as an interesting activity on your last day of life, but it truly embodies the importance of not being selfish but rather giving to those who will come after y…

We live in an era when youth have many different entertainment and activity options that were not available even 20 years ago. Whether it is playing video games, social networking, or sporting events, they have many electronic or social activity options to choose from, and nowadays one activ…

At this time of year, with sweltering temperatures and lots of sunshine, it’s not that fun to walk around on black asphalt parking lots or roads. Picture this in your mind: You are walking out of a dark, cool, air-conditioned theater and into bright sunshine and 100-degree temperatures radia…

Most gardeners plant, weed, water and try to grow a successful garden, yet for some reason it never quite grows evenly, and success will vary from one side of the garden to the other. So why does this happen? This generally occurs for a variety of environmental and cultural causes.

Using natural elements in your landscape or garden area does not mean that you are a lazy landscaper, but rather a smart gardener. Too often we bypass the usefulness of large rocks, boulders or gravel as they lack the color of annual flowers or the brightness of life growing around us in the…

There is a steadily growing interest in home production of organic food. For most home gardeners, utilizing organic methods of production comes naturally and can easily be implemented with little difficulty. The first principle of organic production is to feed the soil rather than trying to …

Beautiful trees in your landscape can be some of the most prized possessions a person can have. Beyond offering shade, wind protection, beauty, interest in the landscape and reduced heating or cooling costs, trees also add to the experience of activities out in your yard. If you think back t…

Some people are lucky enough to have a backyard visited by all kinds of wildlife. Others have about as much wildlife in their yards as there is excitement in a graveyard. Having migrant birds visit your property on an annual basis, in spite of construction and human encroachment, truly adds …

There is a steadily growing interest in home production of organic food. For most home gardeners, utilizing organic methods of production comes naturally and can easily be implemented with little difficulty. The first principle of organic production is to feed the soil rather than trying to …

The skill and knowledge to successfully grow plants in your yard, garden or indoors takes trial, error and time. Many of us know people who seem to have green thumbs and can put a plant cutting in water on a windowsill and have it root out successfully with little effort.

Over the last several years, I have browsed plant catalogs, and every now and then run into roses that have a patriotic theme. I was reminded of this with the Fourth of July upon us, and I thought it may be appropriate to find out more about them. The first and most popular rose I will menti…

Annually, University of Idaho Extension teams up with the Applied Plant Sciences Department at Brigham Young University-Idaho to host one of the region’s most interesting and educational gardening events available to the general public.

Living in the potato state and being surrounded by fields of potatoes, most people take the positive attributes of spuds for granted. Adding to their commonness, they are also inexpensive in the grocery store, and so ultimately the good old spud just isn’t as respected as it should be, espec…

We all want a beautiful yard, and we know that to have an outdoor oasis of beauty it requires lots of time, energy and just plain work. This is discouraging to most people and it’s why landscape projects or gardens get neglected, half finished or never get started.

As many home gardeners try to be more self-sufficient and cut costs, they look to starting plants at home, and with the right tools can have great success.

Often we hear people refer to their small acreages as a “hobby farm,” a “gentleman’s farm,” “a responsibility for the kids” or “something to give me some exercise.”

There are rewarding endeavors in the world of small-acreage businesses, and if you love trees, fruit, and pruning then a small acreage orchard might be the right direction.

In other parts of the country the “U-pick” farm industry has grown incredibly over the past 20 to 30 years. Some people like the experience of going to pick fruit as a family, and making memories out of a simple and fulfilling work experience.

Being prepared for unexpected events in life is just good common sense. When running a small-acreage business, there are many aspects to consider when getting prepared for unseen circumstances. There are two critical parts of getting and keeping any small-acreage business prepared.

This will be the last small-acreage / gardening article for the season and I will restart with more articles in January. But, I think it’s a good time to review a few of the simple yet easily forgotten aspects of owning a small acreage.

So, to continue our discussion from last week about how you’re going to make a small-acreage business viable and successful, you need to identify your niche.

Gardening is not a sport for the weak-hearted, the half-dedicated or the person who thinks that a pretty yard comes in a bottle. It can be overwhelming, frustrating, expensive and more work than fun.

Sometimes known as “southwest injury,” sunscald on trees is damage to the bark on the side of the tree facing the sun, which in our area is the southwest. Sunscald can occur in both the summer and the wintertime and can be caused by many environmental factors.

We all have pests come into our yards and cause problems with our landscapes, gardens, trees and bushes. These pests can range from small grubs that eat the grass roots in our lawn to moose eating our shade and fruit trees during the middle of winter.

The days are growing shorter, trees are starting to change color in the mountains, shadows grow longer, and our nighttime temperatures are starting to drop. As trees prepare for dormancy, they are not focusing on branch and tree top development but rather, they are taking up water and nutrie…