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What Preventative Strategies Stop Garden Pests Before They Attack?


“What is best to use to be on the offensive and keep pests from coming into your garden?” Question from Marilyn of Roseburg, Oregon
Answer: You cannot keep pests from visiting, especially if you are growing their favorite foods. But, cleanliness, monitoring, and planting robust pest-resistant varieties are three excellent tools for keeping pests at bay. Planning ahead for potential pests is another tactic. Let […]

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How Do I Build My Soil in Fall to Increase Vegetable Yields?


“Hello, I just moved to a place this year that had semi-raised beds for gardening. I planted several “crops” and the yields were not great. I don’t know if it was the seeds I used or if it is the soil itself. I waited until the ground was warm enough, and I watered regularly and planted as directed, but my yields were about 50% […]

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Can Potatoes Survive in the Ground Through Winter?


“Can potatoes survive in the ground if they are not harvested when the above-ground foliage is removed? If yes, how long will they last?” Question from Ed or Coats, North Carolina
Answer: It’s an interesting question. The answer is yes and no. Potatoes (Solanum tuberosum) are perennial plants and some cultivated potatoes can be quite hardy. The ability of cultivated forms to survive winter cold […]

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How Long Should My Pineapple Top Stay in Water Before Planting?

How Long Should My Pineapple Top Stay in Water Before Planting?
“How long should I keep my pineapple plant in water before planting?” Question from Daniel of Omaha, Nebraska
Answer: It is always fun to start your own pineapple plants from tops! And, if you give them the right care, they may even produce fruit for you–even more exciting! You will know that your top is ready […]

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Do Blueberries and Strawberries Need to be Fertilized?

Do Blueberries and Strawberries Need to be Fertilized?
“Do blueberries and strawberries need to be fertilized?” Question from Melanie of Holton, Michigan
Answer: Absolutely! Fertilization will encourage better growth, flowering, and fruit set. Each berry type has different needs when it comes to fertilizer.
Fertilizing Blueberries
Blueberries grow best in more acid soils (pH between 4.5 and 5.5) and require a specialty fertilizer formulated for acid-loving plants and/or berries. […]

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Why Aren’t My Pumpkins Fruiting?

Why Aren’t My Pumpkins Fruiting
“How do I get my Pumpkins to get past just flowering?” Question from Marilyn of Roseburg, Oregon
Answer: I am sorry to hear that your pumpkins are not producing! There are lots of things that could keep your pumpkins from setting fruit. Let’s start with what pumpkin vines need to grow and produce fruit.
What Pumpkins Need to Fruit

Full sun (8 hours per […]

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Why Did My Pear Trees Lose Their Fruits?

Why Did My Pear Trees Lose Their Fruit?
“I had a pear tree with pears and then before they were ready, bam, no pears. They all fell to the ground. How can I get them to stay on the tree?” Question from Stephanie of Tylertown, Mississippi
Answer: What a disappointment. There are lots of factors at play when it comes to nurturing a fruit tree to production. […]

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Where Can I Buy Campari Tomato Seed?

Where Can I Buy Campari Tomato Seed?
“Where can I buy Campari tomato seeds for plants?” Question from Rena of Morehead City, North Carolina
Answer: The seed for commercially available Campari tomatoes is generally difficult to find (click here for a possible source), but there are many comparable well-branched, tasty, cocktail tomatoes that taste even better. ‘Mountain Magic’ is one to try that rivals Campari. Another is […]

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How Do I Organically Feed My Vegetable Garden Soil for Fall?

How Do I Organically Feed My Vegetable Garden Soil for Fall?
“I’m getting ready to prep my raised beds for the fall crop.  What is best to amend the soil with since I do not use chemical fertilizers?” Question from Randal of Chiply, Florida.
Answer: There are lots of things that you can do to feed your soil for fall and winter crops. Here are some of […]

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When is the Best Time to Plant Lettuce in California?

When is the Best Time to Plant Lettuce in California?
“When generally is the best month to start lettuce planting [in California]?” Question from Rebekah of Clovis, California
Answer: Lettuce is a cool-season crop, which means that it thrives in cool weather and can even take a light frost but not hard freezes. When the weather becomes hot, most lettuce varieties quickly become bitter-tasting and set seed […]

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