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Summer Flowering Bulbs

As you are planning and planting for the summer season, remember it is a great time to enjoy loud, colorful flower splashes in your garden. What better plants to use than summer bulbs? They will return year after year with brilliant color displays great for cutting or just enjoying in the garden. Plants commonly referred to as summer bulbs usually have an underground storage structure. There are many different types of storage organs, including bulbs, corms, rhizomes, and tuberous roots. Bulbs can be scaly, like those of the lilies. These bulbs require careful handling because the scales can be easily...


The sunflower may be one of America's unsung heroes. One of the few cultivated plants native to North America, it is believed that wild sunflowers covered thousands of square miles of land that is now the western United States. Sunflower remains have been found in North American archaeological sites dating from as early as 3,000 B.C. The center of origin for wild sunflowers is considered to be the Western Plains of North America, but the ancestors of the cultivated type have been traced to the Southwest or the Missouri-Mississippi River valley areas. The first breeders of sunflowers appear to be...

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Many gardeners are no longer satisfied with a vegetable patch and a flower border. They are turning to small fruits and orchards to landscape their homes and to diversify their garden produce. These research findings will help make your berry gardening fruitful. If you grow highbush blueberries, you are probably aware that some removal of old canes is necessary to keep the bushes vigorous and productive. Research quantifies and confirms this recommendation. Researchers compared the results of removing middle-aged canes, oldest canes, and a mixture of the two, and found that removing up to 40 percent of the oldest canes...

Vegetable Gardening: Faba Bean, Fava Bean, Broad Bean, Horse Bean

Fava beans are available only a few months of the year in areas that have a representation of people with Italian, Greek, and Middle Eastern heritages. The fava bean looks somewhat like a huge, overgrown green pea. Inside, the pale green, velvety pod is tightly packed with about six to eight beans that resemble large round limas. As with limas, the pods are edible only when they are very young and immature. As a rule, the pods are discarded. Fava beans, if available, arrive in spring and are out of season by early summer. California and New Jersey produce most...

Crabapple - Spring Beauty

In planting always dig a large hole, two to three times the size of the root ball or container. In setting the young trees make sure it is no deeper than it grew in the nursery. To help funnel water from rains or your garden hose make a 3 - 4 inch ring of soil 12 - 15 inches away from the trunk. Use a 3 inch mulch of pine straw, leaves or pine bark to help maintain a more uniform soil temperature and moisture level as well as reduce weed problems. Water thoroughly after planting and water each week...

Planting on Your Septic Drain Field

Select less aggressive species. By selecting trees with less aggressive roots, such as those listed in the table on the next page, you can greatly reduce the likelihood of your trees disrupting the drain field. Plant trees as far away as possible from the drain field. If you want to be absolutely certain that tree roots will not intrude into your drain field, trees should be planted at least as far away as their estimated root spread at maturity. One way to estimate this is by the ultimate height of the mature tree. For example, a weeping cherry may be...

Selecting Alternative Holiday Plants

The mention of holidays and flowers prompts most of us to think of poinsettias. Our holiday customs have become so entrenched with the use of red poinsettias that several other, well-deserving flowering plants go unnoticed. Not to take anything away from the appealing display of a properly grown, high-quality poinsettia, but more and more consumers are opting for something a little different in the way of yule flowers. There are many other flowering plants which will be available in florist shops, supermarkets, garden centers, and greenhouses during the holidays. By carefully selecting and properly caring for these plants, you can...

Weeds and Words

As I've grown older, I have learned that weeds are nothing but a matter of semantics. With an acre and a half of a somewhat cared-for and cultivated landscape, I've spent many years waging a war against chaos. First, it was the glyphosate to take down the Johnsongrass and honeysuckle that dominated the property. Then, it has been mulch, mulch, mulch, and more mulch. Some of the Master Gardeners who have visited here now refer to me as the "woman who mulched a mountain." A little extreme, I must admit, especially since my husband hauled the mulch - I just...

Understanding and Using Compost

Compost is produced when organic matter, such as garden and lawn waste, is broken down by bacteria and fungi. It contains humus, which helps hold nutrients in the soil. Humus reduces the need for chemical fertilizers and helps prevent leaching of nitrogen into groundwater. Humus-rich soil promotes healthy plants which are less susceptible to diseases and insect pests thus reducing the need for chemical pesticides. Humus also improves soil structure; sandy soils will hold water better while clays will drain faster. The improved soil structure helps reduce erosion as better drainage allows water to flow into lower soil layers, rather...

Tree Gardening Flowering Cherry

The Japanese Cherries are certainly very spectacular with their clouds of pink or white blossoms in late winter or early spring. The Kwanzan and Yoshino Cherries are two of the favorite types. The large double pink flowers of the Kwanzan Cherry are spectacular. They are the trees that are so admired each spring in our nation's capitol. The Yoshino Cherry is the species acclaimed in Macon, Georgia at the annual Cherry Blossom Festival. Flowering cherries are adapted to a wide range of soils. For maximum flower effects they should be planted in full sun. They are best adapted to soils...