April 16, 2010

Chasing the Green Goblin

Saint Paul, Minnesota...
Emerald Ash Borer vs. Fraxinus.

I took these pictures of Ash trees located in a St. Paul city park. The EAB was only discovered for the first time in Minnesota in spring of 2009. This is a technique called girdling, to make "trap trees" for detection and survey of the Emerald Ash Borer. By cutting the bark so severely, the tree becomes stressed, thus attracting the beetles.
These cut trees will die within 2 years now, but in the meantime during their decline, they'll become more and more attractive to the beetles and serve as a way of monotoring the infestation.

From the City of St. Paul website:
"The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is an exotic beetle that was first discovered in Michigan in July 2002, probably having arrived on solid wood packing material shipped from its native Asia. Without any natural predators or controls in North America, it has spread into nearby states, Canada, and now into Minnesota, having killed millions of ash trees along the way.
Unfortunately, wherever it has been discovered, there has been no stopping its devastation, though millions of dollars have been spent on a variety of prevention methods. The economic impact on states, municipalities, property owners, nursery operators, and forest industries has been overwhelming. Minnesota’s estimated 930 million ash trees could be decimated in Saint Paul, the metro area and the entire state".

Click the following link to go to my 2009 post about the Emerald Ash Borer in St. Paul: http://rockandrollgardener.blogspot.com/2009/07/mean-green-machine.html

This site explains it well: http://www.emeraldashborer.info/files/Using_Girdled_Trap_Trees_Effectively_For_EAB_Detection_Delimination_&_Survey.pdf

April 12, 2010

Pansies are Dramatic

Pansies and violas withstand freezing temps. They bloom until they burn out in the summer heat. It's the only annual worth planting early spring in our zone. Have you looked closely?

April 6, 2010

Look the other way, kids. I want a non-commercial garden.

I went to the garden center to look at seeds. Here in Minnesota, they're just starting to put out the very earliest pansies and violas. Our official last day of frost is May 15, which seems crazy to wait that long before planting anything outdoors. It's almost a joke here because the cold fall comes along so fast, that we never have enough time to realize our garden dreams.

Anyway, I was trying to buy some staple seeds like cilantro, radish, spinach, and marigold. Guess what my 4 year-old found on the shelf ?...vegetable seeds marketed to children, using the "Veggie Tales" show, which I can't stand because it contains a religious agenda without mentioning that anywhere on the label. They try to trick my children into buying their religious videos using cute talking vegetables...now they're moving in on my garden. And I love how they encourage kids to plant pumpkins and watermelon...Does anybody realize how much room those plants take??

And What's up with this Cactus Kit "Learning Garden"?? ...Children will "learn" about pain as soon as they touch those prickly thorns. OR, they will learn about failure when the seeds don't grow at all (most likely). There's no way my kids are going to be fooling around with cacti.

What's wrong with learning about seeds and gardening without all the marketing BS ? Plain 'ol bean seeds are very fun to plant, with a high success rate.