Ripe tomatoes are susceptible to Anthracnose

MSU Extension:

For many gardeners, the end of August and beginning of September are the big times for harvesting ripe tomatoes from their home gardens. As is the usual case, those same excited gardeners have planted too many plants and a great number of tomatoes are being picked almost daily. What many of these gardeners are finding is these ripe tomatoes are rotting rapidly. When the gardeners looked at their plants, the leaves and stems looked good, the fruit was good, but what happened to the lovely tomatoes?

The answer is anthracnose (Colletotrichum coccodes). This is fungus that causes fruit to rot and can also be responsible for a high mold count in canned tomatoes.

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Labor Day signals time for Fall lawn chores

MSU Extension:

It’s a busy time of year with school starting, fall sports kicking into full gear, and of course lawn chores preparing for winter. Throughout most of Michigan, the summer of 2014 will likely be remembered for cool temperatures and adequate if not excessive rainfall. Some will also remember 2014 as the summer the turf would never quit growing. Probably the biggest challenge I’ve seen with most lawns is simply a lack of fertility. With perfect growing conditions, turf has burned through fertilizer applications quicker than normal resulting in many lawns starting to lose density and becoming invaded by pests such as white clover and rust.

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Cook some classics with green tomatoes

The Detroit News:

I may have a ripe tomato before the frost hits. Feeling full of gratitude that most of my garden survived the cruel winter just a few months ago, I planted several varieties of tomatoes in containers on my deck. The plants grew tall, the buds finally formed and then the cooler weather and gray skies put the kibosh on all of it. The one Early Girl that I was watching longingly as it began to redden and ripen turned up in a squirrel’s jaws the next morning. My voice was the scream heard ’round the block.

So, I’ve adopted a new philosophy: When life gives you green tomatoes, put them in a frying pan, a pickle jar or a cake or a soup or a casserole. Don’t bemoan that the lovely heirlooms are taking their sweet time coming around; instead, take action and put those green tomatoes to good use.

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Where are the monarch butterflies?

Detroit Free Press:

Look closely outside. Something’s missing. Something orange, black, white and fluttery.

Monarch butterflies, once a ubiquitous spring and summer presence throughout Michigan, are yet again a rare sighting this year.

It’s the result of two factors: An ongoing crash in the migratory monarch’s populations due to the loss of habitat — particularly milkweed — and Michigan’s long, cold winter causing many returning butterflies to hang farther south or to arrive much later than usual.

“It’s really a big difference. It’s a tragedy,” said Diane Pruden, a Milford Township resident who serves as a citizen researcher for Monarch Watch, a nonprofit education, conservation and research program based at the University of Kansas.

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‘The Mackinac Grand’ named the 2014 Peony of the Year

peony-the-mackinac-grand-jul-14The American Peony Society has selected the peony ‘The Mackinac Grand’ to receive the APS Gold Medal Award and to be the 2014 Peony of the Year.

‘The Mackinac Grand’ was originated by David L. Reath in 1992. Blooming early to midseason, this medium-sized plant has warm red, semi-double and ruffled blooms. On sunny days, the flowers exhibit a gamut of red, from deep shades in the shadows to fiery red highlights and the sparkle of sunlight from the petal’s gloss. From afar, the color has great carrying power and always attracts attention. The bush itself has an open, somewhat spreading habit, with strong, rigid stalks. ‘The Mackinac Grand’ is a strong grower and reliable bloomer; performance improves with age and stem increase.