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When Do You Prune Blueberries?


“I live in zone 8 and have Blueberries. Do you prune Blueberries, and if so when?” Question from Lynn of Sacramento, California
Answer: Blueberry pruning is done to maintain crops as well as shrub shape and size. There are several rules when it comes to pruning blueberries. First, wait until shrubs are mature and fruit-bearing (at least five years old) before pruning for the first […]

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How Do You Keep Bigleaf Hydrangea Flowers Blue?


“What’s the best way to ensure that my blue [bigleaf] hydrangea stays blue?” Question from Gaye of Saint Peters, Missouri
Answer: It all has to do with soil pH. There are two hydrangeas that have flowers whose color changes depending on whether the soil is acidic (3.5-6.8), alkaline (7.2-10), or neutral ( around 7). These are bigleaf hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla, Zones 5-11) and Japanese mountain […]

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How Can I Tell When Root Vegetables Are Ripe?


“How can I tell when an underground veggie (onion, potato, etc) is ready to harvest.   I have tried growing onions and I get large green growth above ground and there is basically a marble-sized onion bulb underneath — or smaller!” Question from Naomi of Oakdale, California
Answer: It’s an excellent question. In most cases, it is pretty easy to tell because most root crops bulb […]

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How Do I Fertilize Blueberries with Black Gold Fertilizer?


“I would like to fertilize some small blueberry plants I bought this year. I have your BLACK GOLD RHODODENDRON, AZALEA & EVERGREEN FERTILIZER, and I have some questions about its use because I don’t understand the instructions. It says “new plantings, 500ml per 1.5 m squared.  Or 1.5 cups for every inch of diameter of the trunk.  My plants are nowhere near 1-inch in […]

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How Do You Grow the Juiciest Fruits and Vegetables?


“What is the best for growing the juiciest plumpest fruits and veggies?” Dave from Springfield, Massachusetts
Answer: Give your fruits and vegetables the best care possible and make sure that you water and fertilize regularly. (Click here for a full vegetable garden growing guide.) It sounds obvious, but limiting environmental and physical stresses as well as those from pests and diseases will also ensure good […]

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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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