Dibbles And Bits

Today’s Plant Exchange Blog features short plant-related topics that may be of interest to people who like plants.

A way to get a standout container garden by combining ordinary plants from the local greenhouse, is to select plants, not only for color and texture, but also for contrast. Contrast light and dark plants such as lime green-leafed nasturtiums and purple basil. If you include some light plants and some dark plants in the container, balance the plant mass by the volume light and dark take up, such as one plant of large-leafed burgundy coleus and 3 light green ivy. If you use only one color, be sure to use light and dark tones of plants such as light green cypress and dark green sweet potato vine. A black and white photo of the container garden will show if there is contrast present and balanced. Contrast light and heavy with ornamental grasses or Gaura and large sun impatiens. See more detail and photos in the August 2019 Fine Gardeningmagazine, found in the browsing section at the Yankton Community Library, 515 Walnut Street.


All vegetable gardens have limited space. Vertical spacing is a space option. Choose plants and aids to help save space and give plants adequate sunlight. These are ideas from the All-America Selections website. Choose vining varieties of beans and cucumbers for the garden. Indeterminate tomatoes can use more vertical space than traditional bush tomatoes because they grow taller. Choose structures to hold vining plants that take up less space, such as hog panels held up by steel fence posts. Use natural twine or plant ties to encourage vine growth where needed. If using tee-pee or an A-frame structure for a vine trellis, plant lettuce, radishes and leafy greens in the space underneath. Consider hanging herb pots from the A-frame.


Pine Wilt disease attacks Scotch and Austrian pines of this region. Pine Wilt was identified in Nebraska in the 1970’s and was detected in Lake Andes in the early 1980’s. According to Dr. John Ball, SDSU Extension Forest Health Specialist, Pine Wilt has stayed along the southern border of South Dakota but now is also identified in Watertown, Pierre and Spearfish. The native nematode attacks exotic pines such as Scotch, Austrian and Mugo but not the native Ponderosa. His advice is to plant fewer of these exotics. The disease is known for sudden decline from one season to the next. Sawyer beetles carry the nematode from tree to tree, so dead tree removal is necessary; by April 1stis best, according to Dr. Ball. Healthy Austrian and Scotch pines can be protected by injections of nematocidal avermectincompounds – abamectinand emamectin benzoate. More about Pine Wilt or inquiries at Dr. Ball’s “The Update”:https://sdda.sd.gov/conservation-forestry/forest-health/tree-pest-alerts/PDF/2019/05-15-2019.pdf


The video of the “EAB Update and Public Form” can be found on the Yankton Parks and Recreation Facebook page in case you missed the talk. Look for the “Video” tab and choose “Emerald Ash Borer: It’s Here” by Dr. John Ball, South Dakota Tree Health Specialist.


Tips for cutting flowers that stay fresh longer in a bouquet include: Cut plenty of stem but leave some leaves on the plant so it can continue to make food and produce more flowers. Cutting flowers in this way encourages more bloom production. Strip leaves from stem when you put it in a vase of water. Harvest blooms early or late and give blooms time to recover a few hours in water before displaying them. More tips in the May/June issue of The American Gardener magazine.


Thanks for visiting Plant Exchange Blog. See you next week!



3 thoughts on “Dibbles And Bits

  1. Wow! Yucca rostrata! I know it is not your topic here, but I am impressed. In case you are not aware, they can rot if watered too much, and are more susceptible to rot in pots. If if rots after only a few years, it is nothing you did wrong. They can just do that. It is worth growing, even if only for a few years.

  2. Yay! I am glad I came across your blog. I am actually trying to be good at this gardening thing and it looks like you have some great information! Thanks! I had to start a potting garden in my back yard because my dog keeps urinating on the plants I place in the ground…any suggestions on keeping him from doing that?

    • Do you have bunnies, other dogs or wildlife that visit the area? Our dog marks on their trails. Is it just the new smell of the plant that your dog wants to mark? What do others think?

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