Tricounty News

Cutworms in the garden

Growing your own vegetable garden is rewarding in many ways, the taste of fresh carrots or peas are certainly something delightful. Inspecting your garden frequently for insects is important to a healthy, productive garden. One insect many gardeners have issues with is cutworms, especially early in the season.


There are several species of cutworms in Minnesota that feed on common vegetable plants like beans, peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, corn, peas, and more. The cutworms species common in Minnesota are the bronzed cutworm, variegated cutworm, dingy cutworm, black cutworm, glassy cutworm, and army cutworm; all are very distinct from each other in color, stripes, or spots. Cutworm larvae will grow to a two-inch length.


Ask a Master Gardener

Gardeners, do you have questions about your vegetable gardens, flowers, fruit trees, lawns, or other horticulture related questions? Not sure where to find reliable, research-based information? Join University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardeners for “Ask a Master Gardener” sessions at local Great River Regional Libraries.

The U of M Extension Master Gardeners of Benton County will be having “Ask a Master Gardener” sessions at the Great River Regional Library in Foley (251 N 4th Ave) on the following Mondays from 5-7 p.m.: June 23, July 7,  July 23, Aug. 18, Sept. 8, and Sept. 22. 


Problems with shade trees

Finally the leaves have emerged and our deciduous trees are looking lush and green; or are they? The wet conditions we have had this spring are optimal for a wide variety of diseases impacting our ash, maples, oak, and many other deciduous tree species. In general these diseases are called anthracnose.

Anthracnose is the term used to describe diseases that impact our deciduous trees caused by several closely related fungi. Each group of anthracnose fungi species affects only a limited number of tree species. Symptoms will vary on severity, but commonly it starts with brown spots or blotches on the leaves. Defoliation is possible when infection is more severe; defoliation is most prevalent when there is cool, wet weather during bud break out. Some infections occur on green twigs where small orange-brown blisters to brown bands encircling the young twig, causing shoot death. Although unattractive, single attacks of anthracnose seldom cause harm to the tree. However, if the tree sustains anthracnose damage for several continuous years it can cause reduced growth, vigor, and may weaken the tree, making it more susceptible to other more harmful diseases, viruses, or other dangers.


Annandale Garden tour July 12

Petals & Palate Garden Tour and Luncheon is a GO. The Annandale Arts Committee invites you to attend their summer fundraiser.

We have a variety of new gardens for our event this year, and homeowners are excited to share them with you.

Saturday, July 12, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Ticket Price: $30 per person (tour & Lunch). Advance tickets only are now available for purchase at the following locations in downtown Annandale: Miller’s Jewelry, In Hot Water Coffee, All Things Good, and Café Jules.

Five area gardens will be featured on this tour, providing spectacular arrays full of beauty, color and inspiration. The tour will conclude at Fairhaven Farms unique garden setting with lunch provided by Cottage Gourmets.

We look forward to seeing you at this very important fundraiser for the “FREE Summer Concerts in the City Park”. 

Contact Robin Davidson with any questions, (612) 799-2711

Ready for rhubarb

Fresh rhubarb pie, crisp, or other delicious desserts are a favorite for many. Finally the weather has warmed up enough for the rhubarb plants to start growing vigorously and many are ready for their first harvest. Rhubarb, sometimes called the “pie plant,” is a staple in many gardens that provides an early-season crop.

Rhubarb contains high levels of oxalic acid. Too much oxalic acid in the human body can tie up calcium and make it unavailable to the body. However eating rhubarb desserts occasionally will not cause a serious nutrient deficiency. People with gout or a history of kidney stones should consult their physicians before consuming foods like spinach and rhubarb that contain high levels of oxalic acid.

There are several varieties of rhubarb, but most rhubarb can be harvested once the stalks reach 12-15 inches. The stalks of the plant are actually leaf petioles and vary from green to red in color. To harvest rhubarb simply grasp the stalk firmly, pull, and twist. Keep in mind, using a knife may transfer disease from one plant to the next. The leaves are toxic and should be discarded; leaving them on for any length of time can cause wilting of the stalks. If the plant was started from seed, wait until the second season to harvest any stalks.