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How Do I Bring My Tropical House Plants Indoors Pest-Free?


“Any tips on bringing tropical plants indoors during the winter season? They always end up getting buggy.” Question from Chris of Orange, Connecticut
ANSWER: Thanks for the excellent question. It’s always nice to bring tropical house plants outdoors in summer. They thrive in the natural light, humidity, and warm weather, but they also attract pests. These pests are less of a problem outdoors because natural predators […]

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How Do I Eliminate Fungus Gnats?


“I would very much appreciate an answer to my question… specifically… which of your Black Gold soil products contain perlite/vermiculite as I have learned this is best [for fungus gnat problems]. I am also aware that organic soil may perpetuate the fungus gnat problem as well. Since I have been having a terrible problem with fungus gnats as a result of having many plants, I […]

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Does Beer Really Kill Snails and Slugs?


“Does beer really kill slugs and snails and how? Also, what’s the best way to use it if it does?” Question from Greg of Olympia, Washington
Answer: Yes! Beer is a safe way to attract and kill slugs. The yeasty sweet smell lures them and the ethanol in the beer kills them, or they simply fall into the traps and drown. The  key to a smart […]

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How to Rid an Organic Garden of White Mold


“What is the best way to get rid of white mold in an organic garden? I pulled the plants this summer but I’m curious if there’s something I can do if it happens next year.” Question from Lynda of West Warwick, Rhode Island
Answer: White mold (Sclerotinia spp.) is a real problem, particularly with legumes (plants in the bean family), sunflowers, and many veggies and bedding […]

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Beating Squash Vine Borers


“The last couple of years that we have planted zucchini, a worm of some sort has eaten to roots and caused the plants to die. We try to use as little chemicals as possible but don’t know what else to do. We have tried 7 dust, diatomaceous earth and this year we even tilled several times before planting but yet our plants still died because […]

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Giant Crane Fly


“What is this giant insect? Does it bite? It’s almost 3 inches across!” Question from Mary of Delaware
Answer: Even though it looks like a giant mosquito, this insect is harmless. It is called a giant crane fly (Tipula abdominalis), and it does not bite, sting, or damage plants in any way. Giant crane flies are attracted to night light, so they are often seen around […]

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Managing Watermelon Black Rot


“I lost all of my watermelons to black rot. How can I prevent this next year?” Question from Tina of Holley, New York.
Answer: I am so sorry! The excess moisture of the season has caused extra problems for fruit and veggie growers out East. Black rot on watermelon (more commonly called “gummy stem blight” (GSB)) is a nasty disease caused by the fungus, Didymella […]

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Help! Tomato White Heart Disorder!

The right soil and irrigation water pH is essential for good tomato production.
“I am growing in raised beds and hydroponically in EarthBoxes. Nothing does very well and tomatoes are horrid with hard white cores. I recently found the water from our community well tests at 8.6 pH. I am wondering if your peat formula would buffer the high water pH. Right now I am using […]

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Best Way to Kill Poison Ivy


“What’s the best way to kill poison ivy?” -Question from Grace of Raleigh, North Carolina
Answer: It’s the age old question. The best method depends on your infestation–do you have lots of seedlings, a big vine or shrub, or all of the above? Either way, there are several consistent “dos” and “don’ts” when it comes to effective poison ivy removal. The important thing to remember […]

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Yellow Chlorotic Blueberries


“My blueberry plants have yellow leaves. Why is this happening and what can I do?” -Question from Emily of Columbus, Ohio
ANSWER: Your blueberries have chlorosis. This is caused by a soil pH problem. Blueberries like acid soils between 4.5 and 5.5. When soils are too alkaline (have a higher pH) blueberry plants cannot access necessary nutrients, and their leaves start to turn yellow. Thankfully, […]

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