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Do You Have Tips for Straw Bale Gardening?


“We are trying to establish a straw bale garden because our soil up here in the Rockies is so bad after years of ranchers over-grazing the entire area. Any tips on how to make this succeed? Question from Wolf of Westcliffe, Colorado
“Do you have any advice or opinion when it comes to hay bale gardening?” Question from Pamela of Conroe, Texas
Answer: What are the […]

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What are the Best Fruits and Vegetables to Grow in Central Florida?


 
“What are the best fruits and vegetables to grow in Central Florida?” Question from Sherry of Silver Springs, Florida
Answer: Other than northern fruit trees and berries and a few other crops that require cold winters and droop in hot weather, you can grow most fruits and vegetables in Central Florida. We have many articles that cover some of the best fruits and vegetables for […]

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Can I Grow Plants in Pure Compost?


“I have some large compost bins, which produce a lot of compost. Can I plant things in pure compost, or do I need some “dirt” with inorganic materials for the best results?  How much inorganic material do I need?” Question from Naomi or Oakdale, California
Answer: Congratulations on your composting success! Compost is one of the best garden amendments available. You can plant in straight […]

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How Do I Manage Chickweed in the Garden?


“Chickweed is on the attack! Help!” Question from Judy of Louisville, Mississippi
Answer: Winterweeds like chickweed (Stellaria spp.) are such a pain because they sprout and take over our gardens while we are enjoying a respite from outdoor gardening. Sneaky! You will be glad to learn that they are easy to tackle. Here are five good ways to wage war on chickweed.

Mulch beds in fall […]

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How Do I Keep Seedlings from Becoming Long and Leggy?


“I start my seedlings indoors. How do I keep them from shooting up 6 inches with a weak stem before I can get them outdoors?” Question from Jerry of Lead, South Dakota
Answer: This is all about providing lots of high-quality light from start to finish. When light is insufficient, seedlings will reach and stretch towards the source, which results in elongated, leggy shoots and […]

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Is It Better to Grow Vegetables From Seed?


Is it really better to grow veggies from seeds or do buying big plants work just as well? Question from Donna of Newberry, South Carolina
Answer: It depends on the vegetable and your sense of adventure. Let’s start with the vegetables that should always be grown from seed.
Vegetables You Should Always Grow from Seed
Large-seeded veggies sprout and grow very quickly and are much cheaper to […]

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What Herbs Can I Grow in Central Florida?


What are the best herbs for Central Florida? Question from Sherry of Silver Springs, Florida.
Answer: You can grow common, heat-loving herbs well in Florida. These include basil, lavender, oregano, rosemary, sage, and thyme. The only potential caveat is that these popular herbs are Mediterranean and don’t like excessive moisture. For this reason, I would plant them in raised beds or containers, which tend to […]

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Should I Sterilize Potting Soil to Reduce Greenhouse Pest Problems?


“In an effort to keep down the insect population of my indoor veggie garden, I’ve been sterilizing my soil in the oven or microwave. I’ve had whitefly and fungus gnat infestations from using Miracle Gro and other soils right out of the bag, so someone told me to sterilize, and it seems to work. However, if there are beneficial microorganisms in your Black Gold […]

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How Much Outdoor Cold Can Ginger Plants Survive?


“What is the minimum temperature for growing ginger plants outdoors?” Question from Susan of Pembroke Pines, Florida
Answer: Culinary ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a true tropical plant that originates from Southeast Asia. It survives in USDA Hardiness Zones 9 to 12, which means that it can withstand outdoor cold reaching down to 25 to 30 degrees F, no colder. Temperatures on the coldest end will […]

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How Do I Harvest and Store Hardneck Garlic?


“I planted garlic bulbs for the first time and chose the hardneck variety ‘Music’. I understand that they will be fully mature around the first of August. Where is a good place to cure the bulbs for the duration? I live in a USDA Hardiness Zone 6 area.” Question from Belinda of Fort Wayne, Indiana
Answer: I have actually grown ‘Music’ garlic with great […]

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