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Articles written by Mike Heath


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  • Support Your Local Farmer's Market

    Mike Heath Laramie County Master Gardners|Sep 7, 2023

    Umm! Fresh veggies. Absolutely delicious. And where do you get them? Definitely not at the grocery store. Not that the grocery store is bad, but they all have to deal with the logistics of getting the vegetables from the farm to your house. That takes time and a lot of it. The logistics chain of today is pretty good but, out of necessity, it has a lot of links and they all delay the food getting to you. Let's start at the farm. And no, children, your food doesn't come off the grocery store...

  • Creating a Mental Health Crisis

    Mike Heath|Aug 31, 2023

    In the last week Laramie County was shocked by four violent crimes, two in Pine Bluffs and Burns respectively. The two in Cheyenne weren’t quite as shocking since crime there seems to be escalating but they were horrendous none the less. Eastern Laramie County isn’t used to such crimes so it’s particularly disturbing for us. It’s been over twenty years (from memory?) since we’ve had a crime of this nature. Cheyenne had two horrifying and senseless crimes this week. One involved a “mother” (Hannah Wingert) and her boyfriend...

  • It's a Strange Year for Growing Vegetables

    Mike Heath Laramie County Master Gardners|Aug 31, 2023

    I was having a hard time believing it's already late August. But as I look at my garden it's starting to look like late September. Everything I planted outdoors took forever to start growing. I think because of the cooler than normal temperatures. Everything was transplanted on June 1st but didn't start to grow until mid-July. It all stayed about six inches tall except for the cabbage. It seemed to love the cool weather but it's even growing a little slower than I expected. The chilis, Roma...

  • We Are Not a Democracy

    Mike Heath|Aug 24, 2023

    I’m seldom surprised by the Left anymore. Nor am I surprised by the media. For the most part, they’re either ignorant or they’re working tirelessly supporting an agenda to destroy the United States. So when I hear any of them talking about how particular actions, usually conservative actions, are destroying our “democracy” I just shake my head at how utterly stupid they can be. However…when I hear anyone from Wyoming, especially a conservative, talking about our democracy, or our representative democracy, my jaw hits the floor. I...

  • Garden Pests Decrease Yield

    Mike Heath Laramie County Master Gardners|Aug 24, 2023

    Garden pests are a natural event every year and they can be devastating to your garden. In July-August every year they become more noticeable and it gets worse as the season progresses. You may not notice the pest itself but you'll surely notice the damage to your plants. It could be discoloration on the leaves or stem, perhaps leaves that have been chewed, maybe even the fruit or vegetable itself that's been chewed. Most often the culprit is eating to either reach maturity or to reproduce. But...

  • Roses are Everybody's Flower

    Mike Heath Laramie County Master Gardners|Aug 17, 2023

    Roses seem to be a favorite flower for everybody, even those who don't grow them. They come in every color under the rainbow plus a few others. They're large. They're small. Some have double blooms and some are single. Most smell sweet but some have almost no scent at all. Most have thorns but not all. But whatever the characteristic, "a rose by any other name would smell as sweet". Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. The history of roses is about as long as the history of the world. One...

  • Tomatoes 2023

    Mike Heath Laramie County Master Gardners|Aug 10, 2023

    Tomatoes are such a universally loved fruit that they deserve a unique, and special, mention every year. Stop and think about it. Tomatoes are everywhere. In ketchup, pizza sauce, marinara sauce, on sandwiches (gotta love the BLT), in stew, just name something. Then, of course, there are fresh tomatoes. I may be prejudice but I love my tomatoes right off the vine, not harvested green then allowed to ripen while they're in transit to the store. Tomatoes are coming into season now for local grower...

  • Raspberries are a Perfect Fruit

    Mike Heath Laramie County Master Gardners|Aug 3, 2023

    Raspberries are the first berry that comes to my mind after strawberries. They are pretty common here and come in a wide variety of colors and flavors...anything from gold, to red, to black. Generally speaking, the red raspberries are the hardiest in our area, followed by yellow, purple and black. Raspberries can be used for all sorts of dishes from jams, to baking, pies, raspberry liqueur or just as a fresh snack. They're great with cream. Whatever you have leftover you can freeze. Rinse, dry,...

  • Religion Belongs in Our Schools Part 2

    Mike Heath|Jul 27, 2023

    Taking religion out of schools is essential to destroying the United States, a long-standing goal of Communism. Other goals go even further and seek to remove religion from our culture. Communists have been actively promoting “freedom from religion” as long as I can remember and too many so-called conservatives have fallen into the trap of Communist indoctrination. For many, this indoctrination has been going on so long that they truly believe our Founders wanted religion removed from schools. Since the Communists had already infiltrated...

  • Children Love to Garden

    Mike Heath Laramie County Master Gardners|Jul 27, 2023

    Children are simply amazing. Especially when it comes to doing anything outdoors. Our granddaughter will be four years old soon and she loves to be outside with us. It doesn't matter what we are doing. It could be mowing the yard, planting, watering, pulling weeds, or just looking at the stars. As long as she's with us and outside, she's happy. And so am I. When the grass is ready to mow she tells me about it then mows the yard with me on the riding lawn mower. Of course, I drive the mower and s...

  • Noxious Weeds - Dalmatian Toadflax

    Mike Heath Laramie County Master Gardners|Jul 20, 2023

    We've had a great year for rain, especially after the drought of the last two years. Here it is almost mid-July and I've only watered twice and that was just to start new plants. I took a trip a few weeks ago and covered half of the state in a weekend. I couldn't believe how green it was everywhere. However, the water causes more than grass to grow. It also gives new life to weeds, even noxious weeds, like Dalmatian Toadflax. When it didn't come up at the expected time of the year, I thought I...

  • On This Day - July 4, 1776

    Mike Heath|Jul 13, 2023

    It was a hot, sweltering day in the Philadelphia conference room when members of the second Continental Congress approved a document that was destined to change the course of world history, the American Declaration of Independence. The doors and windows were closed to keep the meeting secret and most of the delegates wore heavy coats and wigs. Although the outside temperature was comfortable, 76 degrees at 1 pm according to WeatherBug, the delegates had to have been dripping with sweat in the confined space of the Assembly Room in what’s now...

  • Living in the Country-A Primer

    Mike Heath Laramie County Master Gardners|Jul 13, 2023

    This time of year I look around me at all the new people who've moved to the country from the city. Some are from small towns and some are from large cities, even out of state. Those I speak to want to escape city life with all of its constraints and "get closer to nature". They want clearer air, more elbow room, and more freedom, among other things. Unfortunately, far too many of them have no idea how to live in the country and they often bring their city habits with them. Believe it or not, th...

  • Indicators of a Healthy Pasture

    Mike Heath Laramie County Master Gardners|Jul 6, 2023

    A healthy pasture is a good thing whether you have five acres or five thousand acres. Farmers and ranchers have a great understanding of the soil and what it takes to keep their pastures healthy but for the rest of us, most haven't had the training or experience necessary to know what it takes to keep our pastures healthy. I've had a running conversation on social media for the last few days concerning dalmatian toadflax. It seems as though it has grown with a vengeance this year. I thought I ha...

  • Specialist 4 Robert Kraus A Veteran's Story

    Mike Heath|Jul 6, 2023

    Last week I was honored to meet with Specialist 4 Robert Kraus, US Army, in his home in Sidney, Nebraska. Spec 4 Kraus enlisted in the Army at age 17 and served from 1957 – 1960 in the Army's Special Weapons Project at the Sandia Army Base in New Mexico. The Top Secret base carried on the atomic weapons research, development, design, testing, and training commenced by the Manhattan Project during World War II as well as fabrication, assembly, and storage of nuclear weapons. After completing...

  • Why Do I Garden?

    Mike Heath Laramie County Master Gardners|Jun 29, 2023

    On one of our recent rainy mornings I sat at the table looking out the window while I slowly sipped a cup of coffee. Very slowly sipped a cup of coffee. It felt like a good morning to be lazy and I have to admit I enjoyed it. As I viewed the front yard, I couldn't help but be overwhelmed by the complexity of creation and awed by the beauty of the flowers and other plants. The blue flax whose color is so soft that it's felt as well as seen. The brilliance of the bouncing betties, the myriad of...

  • Lawn Maintenance and Diseases

    Mike Heath Laramie County Master Gardners|Jun 22, 2023

    Earlier this spring we talked about getting a lawn started and annual fertilizing. With all the rain we've been having we have just about reached the perfect storm for lawn diseases. I've always been a strong advocate of leaving grass a little longer than golf course length to maintain the health of the root system. Longer blades shade the roots and keep them from baking in the sun, causing them to sunburn. That hasn't been an issue so far this year but there is another issue we need to be on...

  • Waterwise Planting

    Mike Heath Laramie County Master Gardners|Jun 15, 2023

    We are still in a drought over most of our region. Can you believe that! All of Laramie County is abnormally dry except a small portion of the southwest corner. The Albin area is still in moderate drought, even though at least one county road has been closed due to rain. The southern half of the Nebraska panhandle is in moderate to severe drought conditions. There are rumblings in Wyoming government that California is considering exercising its rightful option over the Green River water. If...

  • Compost - Black Gold

    Mike Heath Laramie County Master Gardners|Jun 8, 2023

    Of all the soil amendments we could use in the garden, compost is the undisputed top of the list. This is the "Black Gold" of gardening. It adds organic material to the soil which is fantastic for many reasons. Not only does it provide nutrients for the plants, but it also provides food for the earthworms and microorganisms that live in the soil and break nutrients into forms that the plants can absorb. A spin-off, and a very important one, is that is loosens clay and packed soils when it's...

  • Water is Essential - Getting it to Your Plants

    Mike Heath Laramie County Master Gardners|Jun 1, 2023

    We all know that living things, both plants and animals need water to survive. Some more than others but water is a necessity of life. Animals can at least move around to find water but plants are dependent on their environment. Since we create their environment, it's incumbent on us to also provide water. Irrigation systems are the answer. Since it will be time to plant in about a week this is a good time to discuss the transportation of water to your plants. God's irrigation system works best...

  • Planting Time is Almost Here

    Mike Heath Laramie County Master Gardners|May 25, 2023

    We've had some really beautiful weather for the past few weeks. As I write this I'm thankful for what some people would call terrible weather. But after two years of drought, I think the rain has been great. Thankful, too, that it's been rain without hail. There was enough of a break that I was able to get the potatoes and onions planted. Right now, that's all that I want to plant and root vegetables are the only thing safe to go in right now. But...planting time for everything else is coming...

  • Preserve Our Pollinators

    Mike Heath Laramie County Master Gardners|May 18, 2023

    Finally! The spring flowers are starting to bloom. That means the bees and other pollinators won't be far behind. I haven't seen any yet but I have seen a few ladybugs out already. Except for root vegetables we'll start planting shortly. For me, that will be in about two weeks in the outside gardens. Tomorrow in the greenhouse. Dandelions are up and they're the first food for the pollinators in the spring. But there's a lot we can do to help them out alter by the type of plants we put in our...

  • Planting and Growing Potatoes

    Mike Heath Laramie County Master Gardners|May 11, 2023

    Last year I tried growing potatoes for the first time with unexpected success. I always try to grow varieties that are out of the ordinary so I ordered Kennebec seed potatoes rather than the russets that are carried by every grocery store. Kennebecs are much finer grained than russets and have a thinner skin. Russets have a thick skin that holds up better to harvesting with less damage. Russets have the coarse texture normally associated with potatoes and is evident regardless how they are prepa...

  • The Death of a Nation - Part 4

    Mike Heath|May 4, 2023

    If you watch the national news you may be wondering what in the h*** is happening to our country. Chicago has always had an abnormally high number of shootings every weekend but it’s nearly doubled in the last few years. Then the riot that broke out last week was terrifying. Thousands of teenagers vandalized stores, stole merchandise, damaged cars and broke out windshields, and harassed tourists and others who happened to be in the area. We would expect the police to respond to stop the riot…or at least arrest as many perpetrators as they...

  • Spring Chores for the Garden

    Mike Heath Laramie County Master Gardners|May 4, 2023

    It looks like spring has finally sprung even though we had about five inches of snow last week and nighttime temperatures are still below freezing. That means that it's time to dust off the garden gloves and sharpen the tools. Let's garden! My first chore this year is to get the beds ready for the potatoes and onions. This is a new bed that I'm putting beside the lavender field so it'll take some work. Fortunately, there's already a water line at the top of the field so I can just tie into it fo...

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