CORVALLIS — People love end-of-the-year lists – best books, music, TV and movies. So, we’ll jump on board with our most significant gardening stories of 2017.
The criteria are rather loose. We looked back on a year of weekly stories from Oregon State University Extension Service to find those that most resonated with readers. We scoured questions, comments and social media posts and sometimes went with gut instinct.
Here’s what we came up with:
"Control moss in the lawn by keeping grass healthy": In the fuzzy world of moss, there are lovers and haters. The lovers have no problem: They can just let it grow. For those who aren’t so crazy about moss, there are ways to control it year after year. Or you can prevent it altogether by solving the conditions that cause it to grow in the first place. Features a new Extension video, along with a downloadable PDF, with detailed instructions. (LINK: http://bit.ly/2lOHbAO)
"Don’t be timid when pruning grapes" and "Wisteria care: Get out your clippers twice a year and go to town": When it comes to pruning, vines can stump the most experienced gardeners. Two in particular flummox people. Grapes and wisteria grow like mad and need a hard hand to keep them in control. Learn how from two experts. (LINKS: http://bit.ly/2E43Q3A and http://bit.ly/2ClDKIY)
"Dirty your hands and feed your brain as a Master Gardener": Almost 3,000 active volunteers in Oregon have gone through the OSU Extension Master Gardener course and are certified to help gardeners with their questions, as well as engaging in many other tasks. You can, too. Take the online course or wait for the next in-person classes. Call your county Extension office to find out when next year’s start. (LINK: http://bit.ly/2EQh70T)
"What does that mean? Experts take on gardening jargon": How many times have you read a gardening term and thought, “Huh?” Don’t be shy. We know it happens to all of us. If you don’t know what it means, it’s difficult to be successful. There’s no need to search the internet, where you can find conflicting information. Extension horticulturists weigh in with definitions. (LINK: http://bit.ly/2hKO9F9)
"Give bees a chance by knowing their needs" and "8 winter-blooming plants give bees needed nourishment": As they should, bees – and other pollinators – continue to concern and fascinate us. Decreasing habitat and a raft of other problems are shrinking their numbers. Learn how you can turn your garden into a bee paradise and be part of the solution. (LINKS: http://bit.ly/2lRKs28 and http://bit.ly/2CBeyRS)
"Fight fires with appropriate landscaping": In a time of increasing wildfires threatening urban areas, protecting your home is paramount. Create a defensible area around the home with a far-ranging palette of fire-resistant plants, from delphinium to daphne. (LINK: http://bit.ly/2qkWDKp)
"Samurai wasp takes on brown marmorated stink bug" and "Control sneaky root weevils with beneficial nematodes": The brown marmorated stink bug, which feeds on more than 100 plants, has finally met its match in the samurai wasp. Much to our chagrin, root weevils love our beloved rhododendrons, but can be controlled with a “good” bug. (LINKS: http://bit.ly/2qncIPX and http://bit.ly/2Cz95fg)
"Slinky, slimy slugs on the loose and chomping through gardens": Though we’ve never done a survey, we’ll bet slugs are in the Top 10 pests in most gardens. In spring, they come in droves to eat our most vulnerable plants, including new vegetable seedlings. What to do? We’ve got a slew of suggestions. (LINK: http://bit.ly/2ENZheW)
"Spring is the time to turn attention to blackberries and raspberries": The popularity of edible gardening continues to trend upward and berries along with it. To help get the most out of your blackberries and raspberries, an Extension berry specialist gives her advice on how to care for them and which varieties she recommends. (LINK: http://bit.ly/2lRPagz)
"Myth vs. reality: What’s the truth behind some common gardening practices?": Sometimes we do things and we don’t even know why. When it comes to gardening that can lead to practices that cause more problems than solutions. Change your perspective with a reality check. (LINK: http://bit.ly/2CCs6xt)