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Can I Use Black Walnut Leaves for Compost?

Can I Use Black Walnut Leaves for Compost?
“I have several black walnut trees in my yard. Would it be alright to use the leaves in the compost? Question from Raymond of Holt, Michigan
Answer: I would not recommend it. As you surely know, black walnut trees (Juglans nigra) excrete the toxin, juglone, which is deadly to quite a few ornamental plants. The toxin helps reduce competition, […]

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Why Are the Leaves on My Potted Lemon Tree Disfigured?

Why Are the Leaves on My Potted Lemon Tree Disfigured?
“Ever since I started my lemon tree from seed, its leaves appear cut around the edges. I’m not overwatering. Today I gave it Jobe’s Organics Fruit & Citrus fertilizer and treated with Bonide Systemic Insect Control, both of these being used for the first time, as I haven’t done anything but water and mist it since […]

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How Do I Keep Squirrels from Stealing My Tomatoes?


“Squirrels have stolen all my tomatoes for the last 3 years.  Is there any option other than putting up fencing?” Question from Barbara of Portage, Michigan
Answer: Squirrels tend to steal fruit when they are thirsty as well as hungry, and there are several proactive things that you can do to keep them away. Fences do not work due to the acrobatic nature of squirrels. […]

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When Do You Prune Pomegranates and Figs?

When Do You Prune Pomegranates and Figs?
“When do you prune pomegranate trees and fig trees?” Question from Renita of Flomaton, Alabama
Answer: Pomegranate (Punica granatum, USDA Hardiness Zones 8-11) and figs (Ficus carica, Zones 6-10) may both grow as trees or shrubs and have different pruning needs. Here are tips for when and how to prune them.
How to Prune Figs
Figs are deciduous further north and evergreen […]

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Which is Better, Hydroponic or Potted Indoor Vegetables?


“Why should I continue to use Black Gold products for my indoor gardening projects, rather than switching entirely to hydroponics?” Question from Vicki of Brownsburg, Indiana
Answer: It depends on your home, budget, and goals, but I favor soil growing for lots of reasons. Either way, both methods have value. To help you make up your own mind, here are the plusses and minuses of […]

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Can I Grow Vegetables Indoors in a Sunny Room?

Can I grow vegetables in this sunny room?
“Is it possible to grow any vegetables indoors in a sunny room with a grow light? I live in NE PA and we have long cold winters. I would love to grow veggies over the winter. I have a room that I think would work.” Question from Melanie or Susquehanna, Pennsylvania
Answer: What a nice space! You can certainly […]

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How Do You Overwinter Strawberries?

How Do You Overwinter Strawberries?
“What do you do with strawberry plants in the winter?” Question from Jacklyn or Portland, Oregon
Answer: In mild areas like yours, strawberries (Fragaria spp., USDA Zones 4-9) are very hardy, so no special overwintering measures need to be taken. You can, however, clean them up and thin clumps that are over 3 years of age to encourage strong fruiting. Central plants […]

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What Are the Benefits of Raised Bed Gardening?

What Are the Benefits of Raised Bed Gardening?
“Are raised beds easy to grow in and maintain? I live in North Carolina. During the winter can I put a tarp-type Greenhouse over them to help protect vegetables from the cold.” Question from Karen of Rougemont, North Carolina
Answer: There are many benefits to growing in raised beds and very few downsides. Here are the pros and cons […]

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Why Does My Amended Container Soil Become Compacted?

Why Does My Amended Container Soil Become Compacted?
“Why does the soil in my container garden compact super tight? I use garden soil mixed with potting mix and perlite.” Question from Nell of Salem, Indiana
Answer: It sounds like your soil ratios are off, and your in-ground soil is high in clay. If you have not added the right amount of Black Gold amendment or potting soil […]

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How Do You Grow Paw Paws?

How Do You Grow Paw Paws? (Image thanks to Stark Bro’s)
“I have heard that it is almost impossible to grow a pawpaw tree. Is it possible for someone that is not a master gardener to grow this tree?  I would love to have a few.” Question from Cheryl or Harrison, Arkansas
Answer: You are in luck! Pawpaws (Asimina triloba, USDA Hardiness Zone 5-9), also called custard […]

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