Blog Banner

Good Growing

Keeping you growing with good ideas

Soils Tests, Site Considerations, and Changing Gardens

Posted by Kari Houle - Articles

One of the suggestions we usually tell gardeners is to have a soil test done especially on new garden sites. It's better to see where your pH and soil fertility levels stand prior to applying anything and leads to determining better soil management practices. Before applying fertilizers what are the existing levels of phosphorous and potassium and are they at optimal levels or are they on the e...

Read More >

Why Do We Grow Garden Tomatoes?

The tomato. A native to Central America and bred over centuries to become a staple summer crop. Gardener's across the United States compete openly and sometimes covertly to be the first with ripe tomatoes. Ribbons and trophies are handed out in nearly every community for the best-tasting tomato. Competitive tomatoe growers hold dear to 'secret' cultural practices. Some of these tricks never lea...

Read More >

Favorite Illinois Natives

Posted by Kari Houle - Articles

I was super excited the other day when I looked over while sitting on my back porch and noticed that my Cup Plant ( Silphium perfoliatum ) was in bloom. The common name comes from how the leaves are attached to the square stem in such a fashion that they form a "cup". It's a native plant to Illinois and I have a beautiful stretch of them along the one side of my house and here and there...

Read More >

Don’t Seed A Cool Season Lawn in the Summer

A scenario: Sometime between the end of May to the end of July you've noticed your lawn is in bad shape. You go to the garden center and see shelves full of grass seed. If the store is carrying seed that must mean it is okay to sow your new lawn at this time, so you purchase a bag or two. But what type of grass did you get? Cool season or warm season? In my neck of the woods (Central Il...

Read More >

Plants and Pets

Posted by Kari Houle - Articles

I was working on a PowerPoint the other day for an upcoming program on houseplants. As I sat there thinking about what information I wanted to include and being a dog person (I have an English Bulldog who thankfully leaves my plants alone) got me to thinking about plant toxicity and animals. I have a number of houseplants as well as the plants in my yard and decided to do some research into wha...

Read More >

Gardening for Therapy

During recent years, research on the benefits of gardening has been capturing more attention. Professor of landscape architecture William Sullivan, along with his colleagues, have published several papers surrounding how exposure to nature reduces stress and improves the health and well-being of people. Published articles that seem to make the rounds on social media reveal that the bacteria fou...

Read More >

Japanese Beetles....Again

Posted by Kari Houle - Articles

I think this week I have talked more about Japanese Beetles either on the phone, email, social media, or in person than anything else. Everyone seems to be fighting these coppery colored monstrosities that seem to be more prevalent this year than anyone would hope. The last two winters have been mellow and it's led to their overwintering survivability. I know some may not like this – but we nee...

Read More >