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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What Seeds Should Be Soaked Before Planting?

Which type of seeds should be soaked before planting, and for how long? Question from Lisa of Auburn, Washington
Answer: The seeds of many different plants benefit from presoaking to encourage faster germination. With thousands of seed-grown plants on the market, I cannot speak to every single one, but I can provide some general groups that benefit from presoaking.
When it comes to soaking time, allow […]

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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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When Do You Plant Onions and Potatoes in Southeast Texas?

“For Northeast Texas, when is the right time to plant onions and potatoes? Question from Ronnell of Linden, Texas
Answer: Potatoes like it cool, so you want to get them in the ground in late winter–February is a good month. Some varieties are better than others for growing in your area. ‘Yukon Gold’ is a good yellow variety to try, ‘Atlantic’ is a good white, […]

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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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Can Rosemary Be Grown in Florida?

“Can one grow rosemary in Florida? Mine always dies.” Question from Jane of Tampa, Florida
Answer: Yes. Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis, USDA Hardiness Zones 8-10, 1-5 feet) can be grown in Florida, but it may need extra care because it is adapted to an entirely different climate.
Rosemary is native to the Mediterranean where it grows in upland, limestone soils, endures sunny, dry weather conditions through much […]

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Do You Have Container-Gardening Tips for Desert Gardeners?

“I live in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona, so I have to garden in containers that can be moved when it gets hot. What is the best thing I can do for plants that are confined in containers in a hot climate like this?” Question from Jacqueline of Casa Grande, Arizona
Answer: Aside from choosing more drought-tolerant plants to grow, there are several other things […]

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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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