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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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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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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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What Plants Deter Insects from the Vegetable Garden?


“What are the best plants and/or flowers to deter insects from a vegetable garden?” Question from Vesta of Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia
Answer: Research has shown that some companion plantings will reduce the number of insect pests that attack specific vegetable crops. These companions fall under two categories: trap crops and insect-repelling companion plants. Trap crops are plantings that attract insect pests, luring them away from […]

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What are the Best Raised Bed Plants for High Desert Gardens?


What are the best plants to grow in a raised bed garden in high desert regions?” Question from Jill of Greybull, Wyoming

Answer: With the dry, scorching highs of the day and cool nights, you are certainly limited in what you can grow in the high desert unless you […]

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Can You Help Me Learn How to Grow Herbs?


“I want to start growing my own fresh herbs. I am CLUELESS on gardening….help!” Question from Lisa of Erie, Pennsylvania
Answer: You are in luck! Herbs are some of the easiest plants you can grow. Almost all herbs require full sun, fertile soil with good drainage, and average water. Some are perennials (meaning they will survive the winter and grow each year) and others are […]

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How Do I Get Lavender to Grow Up North?


“How can I get my lavender plant to grow? I bought it last year and it’s still the same size and hasn’t flowered. I put it this spring and it’s thriving, just not growing. Does it need to be planted in the ground to be happy?” Question from Cassi of Plymouth, Minnesota
Answer: Lavender is truly an outdoor plant, though plants can be container-grown and […]

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Can I Grow Vegetables in Pots in Summer and Winter?


“I am from SC. Will any veggies grow indoors in pots in the summer or winter?” Question from Donna of Newberry, South Carolina
Answer: There are lots of vegetables that are easily grown in containers. The key is choosing large containers that will give their roots enough space to grow and choosing varieties that are more compact. Providing excellent potting mix, like Black Gold Natural […]

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What Are the Best Vegetables for Cool Summers?


“What are the best vegetables for cool summer areas?” Question from Angie of Fort Bragg, California.
Answer: The classic cool-season vegetables are cole crops (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, collards, and kale), root crops (turnips, beets, onions, and spring carrots), and greens (lettuce (see video below), spinach, arugula, and Swiss chard), but there are also typically warm-season vegetable varieties specially bred for cool-season growing. Here are some […]

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What are Some Good Companion Plants for Strawberries?


“Are there any companion plants to help strawberries grow and produce better? Or to keep bugs away from them?” Question from Amber of West Plains, Missouri
Answer: The true effectiveness of companion plants to ward off pests is argued. That’s because insect pests can detect their host plants from great distances, and/or they overwinter near host plants from year to year. So, if your strawberries […]

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