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Master Gardeners in Blue Earth County

    Goldenrods: Global Invasive?
    Thought to be introduced to Asia and Europe via gardeners, goldenrods have managed to cause havoc across the globe. Three Minnesota natives that are commonly put on worldwide “most wanted” lists include Canada goldenrod (Solidago canadensis), stiff goldenrod (Solidago rigida), and giant goldenrod (Solidago gigantea).
    The Mystery of the Maltese Mushroom
    Maltese plants have several tricks under their leaves when it comes to survival. One plant in particular is not only a survivor, but has a fascinating, strange history.
    Native Poinsettia in Minnesota
    While we enjoy displaying them for the holidays, poinsettia itself is quite a wimp when it comes to cold, and would be doomed growing in a backyard in the Midwest. However, its close relative the wild poinsettia does manage to eke out a living in southern Minnesota.
    Christmas Cacti: A Bit Of Brazil In Winter
    One reason these plants are so robust lies in their homeland, southeastern Brazil. Wild Christmas cacti thrive in rocky, well-drained areas underneath trees.
    Use Soil Health Tests Wisely
    Most gardeners know an unhealthy soil when they work one, no test required. However, if you take steps to improve your garden beds, you may want to know if you are on the right track.
    Cover Crop Grades for the Garden
    Cover crops are a underused asset to any garden. See how common (and some uncommon) species did during the spring and most of the summer.
    Garlic Mustard: A Vinegary Disposition
    One aspect of garlic mustard, aside from its annoying growth habit, is its influence on the soil underneath.
    What Makes a Plant False?
    Whether it is Solomon's seal or false Solomon's seal, we must remember that plants, even the “false” ones, play an important role in their native habitat.
    Solarization in the Garden
    Solarization is where transparent plastic (2 to 6 mil) covers a garden bed and uses trapped heat to kill weed seedlings (and some diseases). Common in southern states, more temperate areas such as Maine, Indiana, and Minnesota have found some use in this process and are continuing to explore how to make it more effective.
    Oats: A Domesticated Weed
    In their day, oats were not a weed suppressor, but a weed. Before agriculture as we know it, wild grasses such as oats (Avena sp.), wheat (Triticum sp.), and barley (Hordeum sp.) often grew in the same area and were occasionally munched on by the earliest humans. Over time, people selected barley and wheat for domestication, leaving oats in the dust until fairly recently.

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