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Peas and Beans, Part One

by Tim Baker, Regional Horticulturist

The legume family of plants is an interesting one. It includes everything from common beans and peas to soybeans to peanuts to kudzu. It even includes larger species such as mimosa, redbud, carob, and locust trees. Some legumes are toxic to humans, but many food crops come from this family.

The peas and beans are widely varied in size, shape, taste, and color. For my

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Chinese Solar Greenhouse for Winter Crops

by Tim Baker, Horticulture Specialist

I recently attended an update on high tunnel technology at Lincoln University in Jefferson City. One of the speakers was a grower who was sharing his experiences building and using a Chinese Solar Greenhouse.

Submitted Photo/Patrick Byers

I first heard the term, “Chinese Solar Greenhouse,” from our former State Vegetable Specialist, Dr. Sanjun Gu, at the Great Plains Growers Conference several years ago. Dr. Gu

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If Bagworms Aren’t Your Bag

by Tim Baker, Regional Horticulturist

I recently received my first call of the year about bagworms, so I thought it might be a good idea to remind everyone that in a few months it will be time to spray for them.

Bagworms can occur on a variety of trees and shrubs. These infestations range from minor to severe. A severe case of bagworms on a small tree can easily defoliate

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Growing Grass in the Shade

by Tim Baker, Extension Professional and Horticulture Specialist

One common question I frequently receive concerns how to establish and maintain a lawn in the shade. While we like to have shade trees in the yard, it’s sometimes difficult to persuade grass that it needs to grow underneath those spreading branches. Grass prefers to grow in full sunlight, and the reduced sunlight and the increased competition for water and nutrients makes

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Historic Winter Storms — Don’t Park It Here

by Tim Baker, Regional Horticulturist

As I write this in early January, we are well into winter’s grasp. So far, it hasn’t been too severe here in Daviess County, other than that polar vortex that hit everyone in the Midwest.

But when looking at historic winter storms, it becomes apparent that severe winter weather can come upon us very quickly, with sometimes life-threatening conditions.

One of the classic winter storms

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Excitement Growing for Growers Conference

by Tim Baker, Horticulture Specialist

In less than one month, it will be time for the Great Plains Growers Conference. This is an exciting conference for horticulture producers, with many new ideas presented from growers, researchers, and Extension specialists. The conference is organized by Extension educators from five states: Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota. We hold the conference every January in St. Joseph, Missouri. Our 18th annual conference

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Introduction to Agroforestry

by Tim Baker, Northwest Region Horticulture Specialist

Agriculture, when taken as a whole, can be a very complex system. We tend to isolate our thinking in terms of our specialty. I am a Horticulture Specialist. We also have agronomy, livestock, Ag business, and Ag engineering specialists, all studying some concentrated aspect of agriculture.

Now don’t get me wrong. I really like the specialist system. But sometimes we need to think

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It’s a Good Egg, The Eggplant

by Tim Baker, Northwest Region Horticulture Specialist

If we were to make a list of favorite garden vegetables, you probably wouldn’t find eggplant very near the top of the list. While it may not be as popular as the tomato, it does produce good yields of fruit, which can be used in a wide variety of dishes. In addition, it is somewhat attractive, and has been used on occasion in

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And the Skies Are Not Cloudy All Day

by Tim Baker, Northwest Region Horticulture Specialist

It seems to be a common theme in American music that clear skies are good. Cloudy, stormy skies are bad. When Irving Berlin wrote “Blue Skies” in 1926 he seemed to have that idea. Even the frontier physician, Dr. Brewster M. Higley, felt that way when he penned the words to what is now known as “Home on the Range,” where the “skies

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