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What is the Pollinator For Summer Squash?

Male squash bee (Peponapis pruinosa). (Photo courtesy of USDA-ARS Bee Biology and Systematics Lab)
“What is the pollinator for summer squash? I stopped trying to grow them after getting zero fruits last summer!” Question from Robin of Warner, New Hampshire
Answer: It is frustrating when squash do not set fruits. There can be several reasons why, but the primary reason is lack of pollination. The main pollinators […]

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Should You Start by Tilling a No-Till Vegetable Garden?

Here’s a shot of my no-till garden three years after its creation.
“When creating no-till garden beds, do you think it’s best to till once and never again, or just use a never till method?” Question from Anthony of Bentonville, Arkansas
Answer: There are lots of benefits to going no-till with vegetable beds, especially when it comes to weed and weed seed control and the encouragement of […]

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I Need Organic Solutions for Vegetable Pests and Powdery Mildew


“Which is the natural and most efficient solution against pests, aphids, white powder, etc. that year after year destroy our vegetables?” Question from Doina of Bothell, Washington
Answer: I wish that I could give you a simple answer. There are so many vegetables and so many pests and diseases that attack them that it is impossible to know where to start. You specifically mention aphids […]

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Help Me Understand Cacti and Succulent Mix Components and Characteristics


I belong to the Michigan Cactus and Succulent Society, and I like to create my own mixes. To perfect my blends, I am always trying to figure out what materials will provide the characteristics I need for drainage, aeration, water-holding capacity and so on. I also want to understand how particle size impacts the performance of primary mix materials. Does the blend of ingredients […]

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Should Potting Mix Be Added to Ground Soil?


“When planting, is it good to mix potting soil with earth soil?” Question from Pamela of Richmond, Indiana.
Answer: Don’t waste potting mix on in-ground plantings. Add products created to be garden amendments instead. These contain the ingredients that gardens need, while leaving out unecessary components, like perlite, vermiculite, and other additives, that don’t benefit garden soils. Potting mixes are also typically more expensive when […]

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Is There a Natural Method for Dechlorinating Water?


“I was wondering what’s a cheap and effective way for the home organic grower to remove chlorine and, more importantly, chloramine without using expensive reverse osmosis filters. Can you recommend a product that is inexpensive and effective at making water safe for all the organic goodies we work so hard to cultivate?” Question from Stephen of Elizabethtown, Kentucky.
Answer: There are several inexpensive solutions that […]

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Can I Use 2, 4-D to Remove Weeds In My Ornamental Grasses?


“I have a pampas grass – it grows in our ditches in Iowa. Unfortunately, I have had creeping jenny find it’s way into one area of it. Can you spray the grasses with 2/4D to kill the jenny without killing the grass?” Question from Brenda of Peterson, Iowa
Answer: Pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana) survives in USDA Hardiness Zones 8 to 10, so it is not […]

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Do I Have To Worry About Your Soils While Pregnant?


“I am pregnant and was watering my plants when I got Black Gold potting soil on my hands. I am concerned about toxoplasmosis and have questions. Is your soil made in areas where cats are present?” Question from Katie
Answer: Feline waste is not an ingredient present in our mixes! As you probably know, toxoplasmosis may be present in fresh or old cat feces. Any […]

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What Are the Best Hanging Basket Flowers For the High Desert?

 
Flowering purslanes are drought-tolerant, tough, succulent, and have ever-blooming flowers in a wide variety of brilliant colors.
“What are the best flowers to plant in hanging baskets for high desert? We have lots of wind also?” Question from Jill of Greybull, Wyoming
Answer: There are several options for you. All of the plants I will mention are tender in your area. Some can be brought indoors to […]

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Can I Make Seedling Soil Blocks With Black Gold?


“I realize that you sell several potting soils. The one that I want to use to make soil blocks is your organic potting mix.  Do I need to add anything besides water to it to act as a binder?” Ken from Washington State
Answer: Black Gold Natural & Organic Potting Mix is perfect for seedling block making.  All you need to do is fully moisten […]

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