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~Written and photographed by gardening expert

 

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Reusing cardboard can add new life to the garden, if properly applied.

Ever notice how many challenges in the garden are four-letter words? Wind, hail, rust, mold, cold, vole, mole, deer, bugs, ouch, and weed conjure up stressful garden situations, which must be immediately addressed, leading to even more work (another four-letter word). How we deal with the cursed weed that pops up here and there in our little corner of Eden usually involves back-breaking hoeing, tugging, digging, or spraying. What if there were easier, more organic ways to eliminate weeds before they even sprout? This is where using effective mulches can help clean up both your garden and your vocabulary.

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~Written and photographed by gardening expert
(c) Eddie Greenly 2011

The more you can do to make plants healthy and avoid stressful conditions, the likelier they are to thrive.

In many of these web articles, I have often stressed the importance of soil health. Whenever we plant something in the ground it offers an opportunity to amend the soil around and below the root zone. At no other time can one easily add compost or fertilizer to the soil around and below the roots. The same thing is also true when we plant something in a container, except that in a container we have more control over the actual soil.
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~Written and photographed by gardening expert
Lycopersicon esculentum 'Early Girl' JaKMPM

Scorching summer heat slows or halts tomato flowering and fruit production in the American Southwest. (Photo by Jessie Keith)

Out here in the dry western states, the growing season is far longer than most realize. We plant earlier, our plants peak earlier, and by the time the heat of late July and August rolls around, growth and yields have slowed considerably. This is partly due to temperatures flirting with 100 degrees Fahrenheit in low humidity, which halts flower production, slows fruit production, and stimulates pests, like wooly aphids and spider mites. Once the days cool at the start of September, the month of the Equinox, many summer vegetable plants like tomatoes start to flower again and will produce a secondary crop, but only under the right conditions.
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~Written and photographed by gardening expert
A little bit of seed-free straw or hay makes a great bedding for strawberry plants.

A little bit of seed-free straw or hay makes a great bedding for strawberry plants.

Sometimes old-time gardening advice is the best advice. When I searched for the most complete tips for growing the best strawberries (Fragaria x ananassa), I eventually turned to two of my oldest gardening books–How to Grow Vegetables and Fruits by the Organic Method (J.I. Rodale, 1961) and the Cyclopedia of Horticulture (L.H. Bailey, 1902). Both offer a wealth of information for strawberry growing success. In fact, my new strawberry patch is already producing good fruit!
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~Written and photographed by gardening expert
Look closely and you'll see a delicate hummingbird enjoying the fresh water of this fountain.

Look closely and you’ll see a delicate hummingbird enjoying the fresh water of this fountain.

In addition to enjoying summer color from my plants, I always have an assortment of plants that will attract hummingbirds. With the many containers that are on my deck and the surrounding garden area, I always select some plants that are known to be hummingbird magnets.

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~Written and photographed by gardening expert
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The mouth of a foxglove flower is perfectly tailored to attract and accommodate bumblebees.

Everyone is buzzing about bees because these vital pollinators need safe habitats where they can freely live and feed. The problem for many who don’t have space to grow bee plants is how to support these amazing insects. Even if you have just a small apartment or condo balcony, you can do your part to care for bees by growing a few outstanding bee plants. And of these plants, foxgloves (Digitalis spp.) are some of the best early summer bloomers for bees. Grow foxgloves in large pots to see the bees visit the colorful flower spikes while you relax and watch them work.

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Is your potting soil made by a horticulture company?

Sun Gro is North America's largest producer of sphagnum peat, and the largest distributor of peat moss and peat- and bark-based growing media to professional greenhouse operators in the U.S. and Canada.

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