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How Do You Manage Whiteflies Organically?


“What is the best organic way to get rid of whiteflies?” Question from Shawn of Kenosha, Wisconsin
Answer: Whiteflies can become awful pests to manage if the populations become large, but they are relatively easy to kill. Here is a little more information about these pests and some organic methods for handing them.
What Are Whiteflies?
Whiteflies sucking insects that remove the juices from plant leaves and […]

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What Black Gold Potting Soil is Best for Potted Tomatoes?


“Hi — I just transplanted tomato starts from the bathtub to larger containers and used Black Gold All Purpose for much of it.  I had one bag of All Purpose and one of Natural, Organic.  I noticed that the All Purpose has more fertilizer in it.  The Natural Organic has less, but it is natural and organic.  Still, I’m thinking I should generally use […]

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How Do I Build Up Tough Clay Garden Soil?


“I live in the San Fernando Valley – Woodland Hills alongside the 101 freeway which follows the Los Angeles River. The soil is horrible – topsoil atop the riverbed, which was diverted to a cement-based flow.  How do I build it up – besides gypsum – are there plants more suited to help break it up long term.” Lorraine of West Hills, California
Answer: Your […]

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How Do You Get Rid of Canada Thistle?


“How does one get rid of [Canada] thistle?” Question from J Marsh of Fenton, Michigan
Answer: I am so sorry that you have this plant in your garden. Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense) is by far one of the worst of all garden weeds. It has painfully prickly foliage and produces lots of early summer flowers that produce copious puffy seeds that are distributed by wind and […]

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What Small Trees Can I Plant Close to My Home?


“Is there a type of ornamental tree that I can plant within 6 feet of my house (in zone 5)?” Amy of Grand Rapids, Michigan
Answer: Aside from being attractive and suited to your garden and area, any tree that you choose must be compact and have a root system that is somewhat shallow. Here are five selections that are both beautiful, compact, and native.

Lavender […]

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What Garden Companion Plants Control Insect Pests?


“What’s the best flower to control unwanted bugs in your veggie garden?” Question from Sylvia of Belle Plaine, Minnesota
Answer: Some commonly recommended companion plantings are ineffective, while others are supported by research. Most of the research surrounds vegetable crops and companion plants that reduce the number of insect pests that attack these crops. Companions fall under two categories:

Trap crops: These plantings attract insect pests, luring […]

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What Is the Best Time of Day to Water Plants?


“What time of day should I water my plants?” question from Courtney of Roebling, New Jersey
Answer: It really depends on where you live and what your soil and climate are like. In a very dry region, I’d suggest watering in the evening and possibly again in the morning, depending on the time of year and the severity of drought. But, where you live in […]

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Do Old Coffee Grounds And Tea Leaves Help Gardens?

 

“Are sprinkling used coffee grounds around flowerbeds or tree and shrubs a good idea?  We have our neighbor dogs and cats issues. Thanks!” Misty from South Carolina
Answer: It’s a question that I asked myself some time ago because my grandmother’s favorite amendments for roses were old tea leaves and coffee grounds. Both organic materials, derived from plant leaves and seeds, are slightly acidic and […]

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When Do You Fertilize Rhododendrons?


“When is the best time to fertilize Rhododendrons?” Question from Carin of Fall Creek, Wisconsin
Answer: When it comes to questions about Rhododendrons and Azaleas, even experts like me turn to the American Rhododendron Society. Their goal is to teach gardeners how to make the most of these beautiful flowering shrubs. Their advice follows that of professional growers: if the plants look happy, perform well, […]

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Is This Tomato Mosaic Virus?


“Hi! Doing good? Please, can you tell me if this is tomatoes mosaic virus or others, or simply burn from the heat lamp? How can I send you pictures, please? Thank you for caring! Anne ;-)))” Question from Anne of San Diego, California
Answer: It is hard to tell at this stage. There are points where physical damage, such as foliage burn or herbicide damage, […]

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