Mid-American Gardener: soil testing, mulches, rose types, garlic mustard, Amaylis Belladonna

February 13, 2014

Mid-American Gardener Horticulture specialist Dianne Noland and guest panelists David Robson, Doug Williams and Martie Alagna discuss soil testing, the different types of mulches that best serve our gardens, rose types that produce the best colors and some of the most efficient ways to uproot garlic mustard. Doug Williams explains the blooming of the Amaryllis flowering bulb and reminds us that the Amaryllis Belladonna was George Washington Carver's favorite. Plus much more!

>>> WE WELCOME YOU.
THIS IS “MID-AMERICAN GARDENER.”
I AM LOOKING AT THREE REALLY TALENTED PEOPLE.
NEXT TO ME AND WE ARE GOING TO ANSWER SOME OF YOUR QUESTIONS.
SO GET READY.
MY NAME IS DIANNE NOLAND, AND I TEACH HORTICULTURE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS.
WHO ELSE IS HERE?
LET’S FIND OUT AND TELL US THEIR EXPERTISE AND WE ARE PROBABLY GOING TO DO SOME VIEWER E-MAILS AS WELL.
LET’S START OUT WITH DAVID ROBSON.
>> I AM A HORTICULTURALIST HERE, AND I HAVE A QUESTION FROM SOMEONE IN SPRINGFIELD THAT WANTS TO KNOW ABOUT CASTOR BEANS.
ARE THEY TOXIC TO ANIMALS AND HUMANS?
UNLAWFUL IN THE STATE?
WE’LL GET TO THAT.
SHE WANTS TO KNOW HOW TO GROW THE PLANTS BASICALLY.
THEY ARE A TROPICAL LOOKING.
CAN GET EIGHT TO TEN FEET TALL.
THEY ARE BURGUNDY AND HAVE A SEED AND PRODUCE A SEED THAT IS VERY TOXIC.
YOU CAN ACTUALLY DIE FROM EATING THE SEED AND THAT’S PROVEN QUITE OFTEN.
CASTOR BEANS ARE USED TO RING A PROPERTY IF YOU DON’T WANT MOLES TO GO INTO YOUR PROPERTY.
THERE IS SOME ACTION THAT HAS BEEN DISCOVERED AT MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY.
THE SEED WON’T LAST DURING THE WINTERTIME.
YOU HAVE TO START YOUR OWN PLANT FROM SEEDS OR BUY THEM FROM THE NURSERY EARLY IN THE SPRING.
YOU ARE NOT GROWING THE PLANT FOR FLOWERS WHICH AREN’T THAT ATTRACTIVE.
ONE HOUR IN NITROGEN SHOULD BE ENOUGH.
DID YOU ANSWER ABOUT IT BEING ILLEGAL?
>> I DON’T KNOW IF IT IS ILLEGAL IN ANY STATE.
THERE ARE THINGS THAT YOU CAN DERIVE FROM THE SEEDS THAT ARE ILLEGAL, BUT THE PLANTS ARE NOT.  YOU HAVE TO DO SOME INTERNET SEARCH.
>> THEY ARE A GREAT PLANT AND GROWS FAST AND PRODUCES SHADE.
>>IT IS A GREAT TROPICAL PLANT.
>> WONDERFUL QUESTION.
LET’S GO ON TO YOU, MARTIE.
>> HELLO.
I AM MARTIE.
I AM A PRIVATE LANDSCAPER.
I ENJOY PERENNIALS AND WE HAVE A QUESTION HERE.
THANK YOU FOR WRITING IN TO US.
THIS MAN WONDERS IF PUTTING A GRANULE FERTILIZER RIGHT NOW IS A GREAT IDEA OVER THE SNOW TO MAKE SURE THAT EVERYTHING GROWS IN THE SPRING.
HE NEEDS A QUICK, EASY SOLUTION, AND IT IS DIFFICULT FOR HIM TO GET AROUND.
I WOULD SAY, RANDY, I WOULDN’T RECOMMEND DOING THAT.
USUALLY, THE FERTILIZER IS JUST FOR THE SEASON.
I WOULD WORRY ABOUT THE BIRDS EATING OFF OF THE SNOW AND IT IS NOT GOOD FOR THEM.
YOU STAYED THAT YOU DON’T HAVE THE RESOURCES TO AMEND YOUR SOIL.
BUT OBVIOUSLY, COMPOST IS WHAT YOU NEED.
A REGULAR FERTILIZER ON YOUR GARDEN.
I DON’T KNOW IF YOU WOULD DO YOUR OWN COOKING OR HOW DIFFICULT YOUR DISABILITY IS.
IF THERE IS ANY KITCHEN SCRAP AT ALL, PUTTING THAT ON THE GARDEN.
I DON’T KNOW IF YOU HAVE A RAISED BED OR WHAT YOU HAVE.
I ASSUME YOU DO.
COFFEE GRINDS, EGGSHELLS, ANYTHING AND YOU DON’T HAVE TO HAVE A TUMBLER TO MAKE COMPOST.
IF YOUR SOIL IS REALLY THAT LOOSE, YOU ARE NOT GOING TO BE HELPING IT WITH GRANULAR FERTILIZER.
COMPOST IS THE EASIEST THING IN THE WORLD.
IT HAPPENS EVERY SECOND.
CONSIDER THAT, PLEASE.
IT IS NOT GOING TO HELP YOUR TILT, AND THAT’S THE PROBLEM.
>>GET THAT ORGANIC MATTER.
>>TO HOLD THE MOISTURE, YOU HAVE TO.
THANK YOU, MARTIE.
NOW WE GO TO YOU, DOUG WILLIAMS, HOW ARE YOU?
>> I HAVE A PH.D. IN HORTICULTURE HERE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS.
I HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT THE AM RALLIES AND IT IS ONE OF THE LARGEST BULBS, AND TRACY HAS A QUESTION.
ONE OF HER AMARYLLIS BLOOMED ONCE IN A SEASON.
IT WAS MORE THAN LIKELY STRESSED.
WITH IT BEING OUTSIDE, THERE WAS A PROBLEM WITH A LOT OF ORGANIC MATTER.
BRINGING IT IN WITH SUNLIGHT AND OTHER CONDITIONS, IT WAS ALLOWED TO HAVE THREE STOCKS IN ONE SEASON.
TYPICALLY, THE FLOWER WILL BULB IN THREE TROPICS WITH THE WARMER COLORS OF REDS AND WARMER MIXTURES AS WELL.
THIS WAS GEORGE WASHINGTON CARVERS, THEY—FAVORITES.
I JUST HAPPEN TO KNOW THAT FACT.
IF YOU WANT THEM TO BLOOM, YOU CAN FERTILIZE THEM WHEN THEY ARE INDOORS.
I HAVE SOME NOW FROM A FRIEND OF MINE AND ALLOWED ME TO HAVE THEM WHEN THEY COULDN’T FIT THEM WITH THEIR CURRENT LIVING CONDITIONS.
>> THAT’S THE MOST I HAVE LEARNED ABOUT THE AMARYLLIS.
THANK YOU, DOUG.
WE ARE GOING TO GO TO A SPECIAL “DID YOU KNOW” NEXT.
>>ALL RIGHT, A LITTLE INFORMATION ABOUT TOMATOES AND THIS IS SO GREAT.
WE ARE GOING TO GO TO LINE ONE, AND TONY HAS A QUESTION ABOUT TOMATOES.
HELLO, TONY.
DOING GREAT.
>>TOMATOES AND I GROW ABOUT 150 PLANTS PER YEAR.
I HAVE A GARDEN THAT IS 50 BY 70 AND YOU TOLD US IT IS NOT WISE TO PUT TOMATOES BACK ON TOMATOES.
WHAT DO YOU DO TO MAKE SURE THAT IT IS GOING TO BE A GOOD CROP NEXT YEAR IF YOU PUT TOMATOES ON TOMATOES?
>> THE FIRST THING THAT I WOULD DO IS ABSOLUTELY CLEAN UP EVERYTHING FROM LAST YEAR.
AND I DON’T HAVE THE SOIL WITHOUT IT BEING MULCHED.
I DON’T DO TOMATOES ON TOMATOES, SO I WILL TURN THAT OVER TO SOMEONE ELSE.
>>YOU WANT TO MAKE SURE IT IS REMOVED AS FAR AS SANITATION.
THAT’S PULLING EVERYTHING OUT, PUTTING IT IN THE COMPOST PILE.
IF SOMETHING IS DYING, YOU GET RID OF THAT PLANT MATERIAL AND GET IT OUT OF THAT AREA.
AND LIKE YOU SAY, MULCHING, AND AS LONG AS YOU CAN KEEP THAT VEGETATION AND FRUIT OFF OF THE GROUND.
>>AND AERATE IT.
>>GOOD CIRCULATION.
IT IS GOOD THAT HE IS GROWING DIFFERENT TYPES.
IF YOU CAN’T ROTATE, AT LEAST ROTATE THE TYPES.
>> 150 PLANTS IS REALLY IMPRESSIVE.
>>I HAVE GOT TO GET SOME OF THOSE TOMATOES HERE.
>>TONY, WE ARE VERY IMPRESSED WITH YOU, BUT TRY AND KEEP IT AS CLEAN AS POSSIBLE.
>>THERE IS ALSO—OWN YOUR PLANTS.
>>MAKE SURE YOU PICK OFF EVERY BAD LEAF OR IT WILL COME UP NEXT YEAR.
THAT’S THE PROBLEM.
150.
WE THANK YOU FOR THAT QUESTION.
WE ARE GOING TO GO NEXT AND THIS IS A GREAT QUESTION ABOUT AMENDING SOIL, ON LINE TWO, WITH SHIRLEY.
SHIRLEY, LINE TWO.
>>THANK YOU FOR TAKING MY CALL.
I HAVE A SMALL AREA AND A ROCK DRIVEWAY AND ROCKS THAT WENT INTO THE GARDEN.
I TRIED DOING FLOWERS THERE, BUT THEY DID POORLY.
I DECIDED TO PULL THE FLOWERS OUT AND PUT SOME VEGETABLES AND WHAT DO I PUT THERE?
I DON’T KNOW WHETHER TO GET A LOAD OF MUSHROOM COMPOST OR WHAT TO DO TO MAKE THE SOIL BETTER.
>>GET A TEST KIT.
GET A LITTLE TEST KIT AT YOUR GARDEN CENTER AND YOU WILL KNOW WHAT TO DO.
COMPOST IS NEVER A BAD IDEA.
YOU ARE NOT GOING TO OVER COMPOST.
YOU NEVER WILL.
THE SOIL MIGHT BE A LITTLE—THE PH MIGHT BE A LITTLE TOO HIGH AND HIGHER THAN YOU WANT IT TO BE.
TEST THE SOIL AND IT IS FUN AND EASY AND EDUCATIONAL.
IF YOU DON’T FEEL LIKE YOU ARE UP TO, WHICH YOU TOTALLY ARE, TAKE A COUPLE OF SOIL SAMPLES TO THE PLANT CLINIC AND HAVE THEM TESTED AND YOU CAN EASILY HAVE THEM TEST AND YOU WILL KNOW WHAT TO DO.
>>FIND SOME PLANTS THAT MATCH THAT PH AND YOU WILL BE SUCCESSFUL.
>>I KNOW A LITTLE BIT, BABY’S BREATH, LAVENDER.
>>SHE WANTED VEGETABLES.
>>OH, I AM THINKING FLOWERS YEAH, I CAN’T THINK OF ANYTHING BESIDES POTATOES.
>>ADD THE SULFUR.
>>AND BAG THE SOIL.
>>MAYBE SHE CAN’T MODIFY THE SOIL, AND SHE HAS TO MAKE A RAISED BED IN THAT AREA.
>>THAT WOULD BE A GREAT WAY TO GO AND THEN PUT A FEW FLOWERS IN THERE ANYWAY.
>>POSSIBLY IN HER GARDEN.
>>AMARYLLIS.
>>THERE WE GO.
THANK YOU, SHIRLEY.
>>WE ARE GOING TO GO TO LINE ONE, AND KENT HAS A QUESTION ABOUT ROSES.
KENT?
>> YEAH, I WAS WONDERING WHERE I COULD GET A COUPLE BLUE ROSES.
I HAVE A RAISED ROSES FOR PROBABLY 33 YEARS, AND I WANT SOME DIFFERENT COLORS.
>>I AM LOOKING ALL AROUND THE TABLE HERE.
>>IF YOU WANT BLUE, LIKE MY SHIRT, YOU ARE OUT OF LUCK.
>> WHAT DO YOU REALLY MEAN?
>> THERE ARE NO BLUE ROSES.
>> THERE ARE SHADES OF PURPLE.
THERE IS A NICE SILVERY LAVENDER.
I AM PULLING ONES OUT THAT I KNOW THAT YOU CAN FIND.
>>A RED ROSE THAT CAME OUT OF IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY AND, AGAIN, IT IS THE PURPLY COLOR.
>>HOW DO YOU GET THE BLUE ROSES?
THEY ARE DYED?
>> IF IT IS VIOLET BLUE, IT IS FAKE.
IT IS ABSORPTION DIED.
THERE IS NO BLUE IN THE ROSE.
>>JUST LIKE THERE ARE NO BLUE TULIPS.
>>HIGH—
>>LET’S GO BACK AROUND, AND DO SOME E-MAILS AND, DAVID, WE WILL START WITH YOU.
>>I HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT GARLIC MUSTARD AND EVERYONE WHO HAS A WOODED PROPERTY HAS PROBABLY SEEN GARLIC MUSTARD.
THEY HAVE SPRING BEAUTIES COMING UP, AND I WANT TO THOUGH IF THERE IS A NICE WAY OF GETTING RID OF THE GARLIC MUSTARD WITHOUT HARMING THE PERENNIALS.
IT IS CLASSIC TO THE OTHER VEGETABLES THAT WE HAVE IN THE GARDENS AND BROUGHT OVER TO THE UNITED STATES IN THE EARLY 1860’S AND FOUND A PERFECT WAY OF GOING ALL OVER THE PLACE.
DEER DO NOT EAT IT.
DEER DO NOT LIKE IT BECAUSE OF THE GARLIC TASTE OF THE LEAVES.
IT HAS TO BE PULLED OUT.
IF YOU CAN PULL IT OUT BEFORE IT STARTS BLOOMING, IT WILL HELP.
IF YOU SEE THE STALK STARTING TO RISE AND CUT IT OFF.
IT MAY TRY AND FLOWER AGAIN, BUT USUALLY ONCE OR TWICE, AND THAT’S IT.
IT IS GOING TO BE TWO YEARS TO TOTALLY TRY AND CONTROL IT.
IT IS A BI-ANNUAL AND PRODUCING IN THE OPPOSITE YEARS.
ANIMALS CAN TRANSPORT IT.
THE WIND CAN TRANSPORT IT.
YOU MAY HAVE ONE AND A HALF ACRES OF WOODS, AND IT CAN BE BLOWN IN.
IF YOU CATCH IT IN THE YOUNG STAGE, GET IT WHILE IT IS STARTING.
IT CAN LOOK NICE AND PRETTY WHEN IT IS BLOOMING.
IT WILL ACTUALLY PREVENT OTHER THINGS FROM GROWING, AND THE NEXT THING THAT YOU KNOW IT IS THE ONLY THING IN THE FOREST FLOOR IS THE GARLIC MUSTARD.
I DON’T WANT TO RECOMMEND ANY CHEMICALS FOR IT AS YOU HAVE A LOT OF WILD FLOWERS IN THE AREA AND BLOOMING AT THE SAME TIME AS THIS.
THERE IS GOING TO BE A LOT OF PHYSICAL LABOR.
PULL AFTER DINNER ONE NIGHT AND THE NEXT NIGHT AFTER DINNER.
>>WE ARE DEVELOPING A TASTE FOR GARLIC MUSTARD.
VERY GOOD PRIMER ON GARLIC MUSTARD.
THANK YOU.
WHAT HAVE YOU GOT?
>>SANDY DIDN’T PLANT ALL OF HER BULBS IN THE FALL.
I DON’T KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO SANDY.
WE ALWAYS DO.
I FIND TULIPS IN THE BACK OF THE REFRIGERATOR.
IS THERE ANYWAY THAT I CAN SAVE THEM AND PLANT THEM IN THE SPRING?
>> YOU CAN.
BUT YOU CAN ALSO POT THEM UP AND GIVE THEM A LITTLE COLD TREATMENT IN THE REFRIGERATOR FOR A COUPLE OF MONTHS AND BRING THEM BACK OUT AND HAVE THEM BLOOM IN THE POTS.
THEN, AFTER THEY BLOOM FOR YOU IN THE POTS, THEM YOU CAN TIP THEM OVER.
LET THEM DIE DOWN AND PLANT THEM IN THE FALL AND THEY WILL BLOOM FOR YOU NEXT SPRING.
OR YOU CAN DOUBLE DUTY AND HOLD THEM AND WAIT.
KEEP THEM SOME PLACE COLD AND NOT TOO DRY.
SOMETIMES THEY WILL DEPLETE THEIR PRESERVES.
>> IT DEPENDS ON WHAT THEY ARE.
SHE DOESN’T SAY WHAT KIND THEY ARE.
IT IS NOT SOMETHING TO WORRY ABOUT, BUT TULIPS—SO TRY ONE OF THOSE ACTIONS.
>>WHAT I FIND, THE MINUTE THAT YOU PURCHASE THEM, YOU PLANT THEM, AND YOU ARE MUCH MORE LIKELY TO GET THEM IN THE GROUND.
>> A BULB AUGUR.
>>YEAH, THAT’S GREAT.
I TOTALLY GET IT, SANDY.
WHAT IS YOUR QUESTION?
>> I HAVE A REAL EASY ONE.  I WAS DELIGHTED TO GET IT AND IT IS AN ID AND ONE OF THE CALLERS SENT IN AN IMAGE OF A PLANT THEY WANTED TO IDENTIFY.
I LOOKED AT THE FLOWERS AND THE ANGULATING LEAVES AND REALIZED THEY MUST BE A HAZELNUT OR FILBERT.
I AM THINKING OF OAK LEAF HYDRANGEAS, AND, OF COURSE, A BEAUTIFUL TEXTURE.
THAT’S WHAT YOU HAVE, A HAZELNUT OR FILBERT, AND TREAT IT AS SUCH.
>> IT IS BEAUTIFUL IN THE FALL.
IT IS REALLY PRETTY.
WE ARE PLEASED TO HAVE THE PLANT ID SPECIALIST HERE.
LET’S GO TO LINE TWO, AND KAREN HAS A QUESTION ABOUT MULCHES.
>>I HAVE A SMALL GARDEN AND HAVE A LITTLE BIT OF POTATOES AND SQUASHES.
I LIKE TO PUT BLACK PAPER DOWN FOR TWO WEEKS AND STRAW ON TOP OF IT SO THE GROUND WILL WARM.
CAN I DOUBLE MULCH LIKE THAT?
>> THAT’S A GOOD IDEA.
BLACK PAPER MULCH.
>>WILL DECOMPOSE.
>> THAT’S A REALLY GOOD IDEA.
>>IT WILL BREAK DOWN WITHIN A YEAR OR TWO, TOO.
>> SO WE’RE THINKING ABOUT STEALING YOUR IDEA.
>>TEST IT.
>>YEAH, TEST IT BECAUSE THE BLACK SHOULD WARM THINGS UP.
YOU MIGHT HAVE TO USE PLASTIC TO WARM IT BACK UP.
IT WILL ADD GOOD—DID YOU SAY TIL.
>>I DID.
>>GOOD ORGANIC MATTER.
I THINK THAT SOUNDS GOOD.
VERY GOOD.
THANK YOU.
I THINK THAT YOU HAVE A GREAT IDEA.
WE WANT TO GO NEXT TO THE LITTLE QUIZ AND HERE IT IS.
>>WHILE WE ARE WAITING FOR A PHONE LINE TO COME THROUGH, WE ARE GOING TO TALK ABOUT WHAT WE CAN DO RIGHT NOW TO GET READY AND DO GARDENING THINGS.
WHO WANTS TO JUMP IN?
>> WAIT NOW.
>>WAIT UNTIL THEY CALL.
>>I WOULD START ON PLANTS.
IT IS ALMOST TIME.
>>I WOULD MAKE SURE THAT ALL OF MY TOOLS ARE REALLY SHARP AT THIS TIME.
TAKE A SATURDAY AFTERNOON AND BRING ALL OF YOUR SHOVELS AND HOES AND BRING A NICE EDGE TO THEM.
SOME PEOPLE THINK THAT YOU BUY IT ONCE AND THAT’S IT.
IF YOU BRING A NICE EDGE TO THEM AND SO SHARP THAT IT COULD CUT YOUR SKIN, IT IS SO MUCH EASIER TO DIG INTO THE SOILS AND CUT ACROSS WEEDS.
AND CLIPPERS AND PRUNERS AND THEY ARE ALL SHARP AND READY TO GO IF AND WHEN IT WARMS UP.
>>DID YOU SAY WHEN?
>> WHEN.
>>I AM STARTING TO LOOK THROUGH SEED CATALOGS.
I PURCHASE LOCALLY A LOT.
SO I ENJOY THEM.
>>PURCHASING LOCALLY IS GOOD.
I LOVE LOOKING THROUGH.
>>YOU NEED TO PLANT BEFORE YOU START LOOKING, TOO.
THAT’S WHAT A LOT OF PEOPLE DON’T DO.
>> I HAVE BEEN PLANNING AND THAT’S A GREAT TIME DURING SOME OF THESE FOOTBALL GAMES THAT WE HAVE HAD ON.
>> AND THE BACK GAMES.
>>YEAH, SPECIAL EVENTS AND DURING SOME OF THOSE SEASONS.
WELL, THANK YOU, FOLKS, FOR WATCHING.
IT IS SO FUN TO TALK ABOUT PLANTS.
THANK YOU GUYS FOR BEING HERE WITH ALL OF YOUR EXPERTISE.
GET OUT THERE AND PLANT AND GET GARDENING.
WE WILL SEE YOU NEXT TIME.

Air Dates and Times

Channel Day Time
WILL-TV, Urbana Thursdays 7 pm (live)
  Saturdays 11 am (repeat)
WTVP-TV, Peoria Saturdays 10:30 am
WEIU-TV, Charleston Sundays 4:30 pm
WILL-AM/90.9 HD2 & HD3, Urbana Saturdays 6:30 am
WSEC-TV, Springfield Saturdays 11 am
WQEC-TV, Quincy Saturdays 11 am
WMEC-TV, Macomb Saturdays 11 am
WYCC-TV, Chicago Wednesdays 1 pm

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