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Help! I Have Egg-Covered Tomato Hornworms on My Tomatoes.


“I noticed two strange-looking caterpillars with eggs on their backs in my tomato garden this year and learned these were hornworms and they are terrible for tomato plants.  I intend on moving my tomatoes elsewhere next year.” Question from Jennifer of Nesquehoning, Pennsylvania
Answer: You are in luck! You don’t need to worry about the tomato hornworms on your tomatoes because the eggs on their […]

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What Are Good Small-Space Garden Vegetables for Spring?


“What food crops can I plant in my vegetable plot this upcoming spring, if any?  I already dug out my summer plot and have limited land, so I would like to use it, if possible.” Question from Jennifer of Nesquehoning, Pennsylvania
Answer: There are so many wonderful cool-season spring vegetables that will grow well in your limited garden space. These can be started indoors […]

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When is the Best Time to Prune Buddleia in California?


“When is the best time to prune Buddleia?” Question from Angie of Fort Bragg, California
Answer: In your coastal Mendocino County location, I would cut your butterfly bush (Buddleia spp.) back when your cool, wet winter hits. Butterfly bush does not look its best when chillier temperatures hit, even though it remains evergreen to semi-evergreen where you live, so prune it back by 1-2 feet […]

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What Potting Mix is Best for Planting Agastache in the Southwest?

Licorice mint is one of the best species for New Mexican gardens. (Image by Jessie Keith)
“I have rooted Agastache cuttings in perlite and seed starting mix, but now they are ready for real pots and soil. What would you suggest for the soil or soil mix?” Question from Melissa of El Prado, New Mexico
Answer: Hyssops or hummingbird mints (Agastache spp.) are fragrant perennials in the […]

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How Do I Stop Powdery Mildew?

This zinnia has a severe case of powdery mildew.
“Every year I get white mold on the leaves of various plants in my vegetable garden. I don’t use any fertilizer or pesticide, other than an organic compost in the soil. It usually doesn’t cause a great deal of problems but is there something I could or should be doing?” Question from Lynda of West Warwick, Rhode […]

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Can You Share Some Good Raised Bed Plans?


“As an older crippled up fogey, I appreciate raised beds. Do you have plans available for different kinds of raised beds?” Question from Kevin of Belleville, Ohio
Answer: We don’t have raised-bed building plans, but we may in the near future. What a good idea!
This Old House has some great free plans that are well-conceived and useful. If your back gives you trouble, consider building […]

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Is Bat Guano Good for Flower Beds?


“I have a large amount of bat dung in our barn and have heard that it is an excellent fertilizer for flowers. Is that true?” Question from Catherine of White Cloud, Michigan
Answer: Bat guano makes an excellent plant fertilizer once it has been composted. Fresh bat guano is rich in nutrients, particularly nitrogen, but it needs to be broken down and mellowed before use. […]

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I Need Tips for Cold Frame Gardening


“With which of your products does one prep the soil for winter crops in a mini greenhouse, type Cold Frame Mini Green House by Juwel (I just got one)?  It will face South-East.  Any experience growing with this method?  Any easy crop recommendations?” Question from Judy of Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts

Answer: Thank you for your questions. I have gardened in a cold frame and observed […]

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When is the Best Time to Plant Spring Bulbs?


“When is the best time to plant spring bulbs?” Question from Donna of Smithfield, Pennsylvania
Answer: Fall is the best time to plant bulbs–starting in late September and ending in late November. This is the ideal window, but I have even planted bulbs in December when the soil could be worked, and the flowers appeared as expected in spring. Just don’t wait until the soil […]

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When Are Herbs Ready For Harvest?


“How do you know when herbs are really ready to pick for use?  I never seem to get it right.” Question from Jim of Peoria, Illinois
Answer: By in large, the best time to harvest many herbs is when their leaves are healthy and lush in spring and midsummer. This is particularly the case with chives, chamomile, lemon balm, mint, parsley, and oregano.
In many cases, […]

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