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Gardening Advice

Garter snakes are a gardener’s friend! Harmless to humans, they eat the pests that wreak havoc in your garden. Learn more about the shy but helpful gardening helper who just wants to live peacefully in harmony with you—and eat your slugs!I found a snake skin in my garden a few weeks ago. While other people might have been freaked out, it made me happy to know…
One unwelcome visitor to my garden at this time of year is powdery mildew. Here’s how to control this plant disease with natural remedies, including a homemade baking soda spray treatment.Signs of Powdery MildewIt starts as white patches on the leaves of squash, lilacs, phlox, bee balm, and other plants, making them look like they have been dusted with baby powder. Early on, it…
Every year, I face the same dilemma: how to tell if a watermelon is ripe. Muskmelons are easy—they will slip right off the vine at the peak of perfection. However, watermelons remain firmly attached even when they are overripe.I am no good at the “thump” test. Old-timers swear that they know when a watermelon is ripe just by rapping it with a knuckle. It is ready if the sound is low-…
It’s time to replace that boring patch of lawn with a bright and beautiful flower garden! Let’s talk about how to start your first flower garden from scratch. We’re going to start small with some expert flower design tips to consider—plus advice for choosing, planting, and growing your flowers.We all dream of a lush, lovely flower bed full of colorful blooms all season long. What we end…
Did you know that houseplants help purify the air in our homes? We’ve long known that indoor plants improve our mood and reduce stress levels, but improving air quality is an additional benefit! See the best air-purifying houseplants.Today, Americans spend up to 90 percent of their time indoors, often in places with little or no ventilation. The air inside our super-insulated modern homes…
Gardeners are often given the advice to sprinkle diatomaceous earth (DE) around plants to deter pests. Unsurprisingly, we’re often asked, “What is diatomaceous earth, exactly?” Well, here’s your answer…What Is Diatomaceous Earth? Diatomaceous earth (DE) is the fossilized skeletons of microscopic single-celled aquatic organisms called diatoms. Their skeletons are made of a…
Considered the Holy Grail of the garden, no color is more challenging to find in the plant world than true blue. Supposedly, only 10% of all the flowers on Earth are blue! Here are 20 beautiful blue flowers—with pictures to gaze upon!Many plants marketed as blue are actually closer to purple. Petunias are a prime example. True blue is a pure blue hue that isn’t shaded with black, white, or…
You have probably noticed the little white chunks in commercial potting soil and wondered what they were and why they were there. They are often mistaken for pieces of Styrofoam, but are much harder. Actually, it is perlite, a natural stone that is added to the soil mix to improve drainage. Keep reading to learn about perlite and tips for using it in your garden!What is Perlite?Perlite…
Time to mulch! Most of us know the amazing benefits of mulch in the garden. But when should you mulch? How much should you mulch? Can you mulch too much? What type of mulch is best? See our guide on how to mulch your garden beds and plants.Mulch has been called the gardener’s friend—and for good reason. In the spring, mulch retains moisture, suppresses weeds, and prevents …
As spring and summer flourish, so do the biting bugs! Can plants alone really repel mosquitoes and other nuisance insects in the garden? Here’s what the science says, as well as a list of plants with actual insect-repelling properties.Mosquitoes are more than a nuisance, as there are many mosquito-borne diseases out there, including viruses such as West Nile, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, and…
Which are the most beneficial insects? We’re talking about bugs that are good for plants in the garden and eat pests that would otherwise eat your plants. Find out and start thinking about which plants and flowers attract pollinators and other beneficial insects!What Are Beneficial Insects?The average backyard is home to thousands of insects, but you may be surprised to learn that…
Have you ever struggled with keeping your plants happy? Maybe your soil is too heavy and suffocating its roots, or perhaps it drains so quickly that it dries out before it can thrive. If so, then vermiculite might be the answer you’ve been looking for! So, grab your trowel and get ready to learn how this minteral can take your gardening game to the next level.What is Vermiculite?…
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