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Help! I Can’t Keep Herbs Alive.


“I can’t keep any herbs alive.  I’ve killed 3 basil plants and a thyme plant.  I’m also not really sure how to cut them to use them.  Do they grow after you cut them?  Please keep in mind I live in Arizona and have killed several cacti.  I guess I need major help.” Question from Denise of Mesa, Arizona
Answer: One of the most common […]

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What are Some Good Root Vegetables for Containers?


“I need ideas for growing root vegetables in containers.” Inquiry from Karen of Randolph, Vermont
Answer: You can grow just about any root vegetable in containers, but I choose smaller varieties for greater yields–petite French Breakfast radishes rather than giant Korean daikon radishes. Here are some excellent small, fast root vegetables for pots:
D’Avignon French Breakfast Radish: This traditional radish always tastes crisp and sweet when I […]

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Help Me Grow Better Potted Tomatoes in NYC


“I like to grow tomatoes on my steps in Brooklyn, NY. I believe I can do better and get a better product by having guidance.” Question from Chante or Brooklyn, New York
Answer: The plant in your photo looks quite healthy! As long as you have a spot with at least 8 hours of sunlight, you can grow great tomatoes. Here are five steps to growing […]

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What’s Your Favorite Eating Tomato?

Tomato ‘Gold Tomato’
“For Central MS, what is your best suggestion for a good “eatin’ ‘mater?” Question from Judy of Louisville, Mississippi
Answer: You can never love just one tomato! I have three standbys for great overall eating tomatoes. These are the ones I grow each year no matter what, and they’ll grow well in your Southern heat.
The best tomato for flavor is ‘Gold Medal’, a golden heirloom […]

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My Heirloom Tomatoes Rot on the Vine Before Ripening!


“I have planted heirloom tomatoes and they rot on the vine before they turn red. Why?” Question from Susan of Lexington, Kentucky
Answer: There are several reasons why this can happen, but the most common is a physiological disorder called blossom end rot. This is most likely your problem, especially if your plants look fine. You can see an example of this disorder in the photo. […]

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My Tomatoes Developed Spots After Chilling. Why?


I have tomato seedlings that have tiny dark spots on the top of the leaves after it got down to 40 degrees the other night. I live in South Florida. Could this be cold damage? Question from Susan of Pembroke Pines, Florida.
Answer: The most common physical tomato leaf response to chilling is physiological leaf roll, which your tomatoes don’t seem to have. Unfortunately, cold […]

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How Do You Start Raspberries from Canes?


How do you start raspberries from canes? Question from Deborah of Los Lunas, New Mexico
Answer: Raspberries are one of the easiest fruits to propagate from canes or cuttings because they readily root, even without the help of rooting hormone. In fact, if you let canes naturally weep to the ground in your garden, they will root as they touch the ground. In time a single […]

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When Do I Start My Garden Seeds?


“How early can I start seeds in lower Michigan? Question from William of Southgate, Michigan
Answer: It depends on whether you are growing, annuals, perennials, summer vegetables or spring vegetables. Here’s what I suggest for your USDA Hardiness Zone 6 planting area. (These suggestions may also apply to other gardeners, based on their own specific seasonal planting windows.)
Spring Vegetables: I recommend starting cool-season broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, […]

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How Do I Get Rid of Squash Bugs?


“How do you get rid of squash bugs?” Question from Judy of Louisville, Mississippi
Answer: Surely these are some of the most annoying and destructive of all summer vegetable garden pests. To manage squash bugs (Anasa tristis), you need to understand their life cycle.
Squash Bug Life Cycle
These true bugs attack squash and relatives, like cucumbers, pumpkins, and zucchini. They spend their winters sheltering under garden debris, […]

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Should I Fertilize My Vegetable Garden in Winter?


“What is the best nutrient to use when preparing for a vegetable garden in the winter months?” Question from Denise of Clemmons, North Carolina
Answer: Vegetable fertilization regimes always depend on the plants you are growing. Winter crops for cold frames or hoop gardens tend to consist of cold-tolerant greens, herbs, and root crops. Nitrogen is the best fertilizer for growing leafy crops, while phosphorus and […]

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