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Your USDA Hardiness Zone

Featured Articles!

Christmas Tree Alternatives

With the Christmas season upon us, many folks have already spent $50 to $100 dollars for a dead, cut Christmas tree, or perhaps dragged their plastic version out of storage. While there is something to be said about having a traditional cut tree such as a blue spruce or Douglas fir, it is hard for me to fathom spending that much money on a dead tree you will only enjoy a few weeks. If you are one of those folks that have procrastinated and not gotten the tree up yet, you might want to think about some alternatives that will work for Christmas morning, but also give you lasting enjoyment in your landscape for years to come.

>> read “Christmas Tree Alternatives”       #Holiday: Christmas   #Decorating   #Trees
How Toxic is This Insecticide?

Few gardeners enjoy applying pesticides, but it is something we all need to do occasionally to protect our vegetables and ornamental plants from pest damage. One question that often comes to mind when planning or applying a pesticide treatment is: “How toxic is this product and how do I handle and apply it safely?”

>> read “How Toxic is This Insecticide?”    
Caring For Your Poinsettia Year Round

People have different opinions about the poinsettia. Some consider it a holiday plant to be enjoyed during the month of December, then discarded with the Christmas tree. Others like to nurture their plants, coaxing them into bloom season after season.

There's no guarantee that your poinsettia will bloom again next December, even with year-round care. But if you would like to try, here are a few tips.

>> read “Caring For Your Poinsettia Year Round”       #Holiday: Christmas   #Flowers   #How to
How to Grow Luffa Sponges

You’ve seen them in drugstores and beauty magazines as bath sponges, but did you know you can grow your own luffas? Luffa aegyptiaca and L. acutangula are members of the Cucurbitaceae family. It is an easy to grow vining plant that will happily connect itself to your garden fence.

>> read “How to Grow Luffa Sponges”       #How to   #Vegetables   #Vines
Herbal Teas
How about a nice cup of tea from your own garden herbs?

Now that the main part of the garden is “mostly” put to bed and the shelves are filled with summer in jars, it’s time to settle in for the long winter. So, how about a warm, soothing cup of herbal tea made from your own homegrown herbs?

>> read “Herbal Teas”       #Edibles   #Herbs   #Recipes
What Are Nurse Logs?

Being a gardener in shade, I have long been fascinated by logs. I have admired them in nature since childhood. There is something about the sight of one that draws me to it for a closer look; wanting to know about its past life as well as investigate how it keeps on giving even as it takes on a new life. However, it has been only in the last 5 years or so that I have begun to bring “nurse logs” into my garden.

>> read “What Are Nurse Logs?”       #Beneficials   #Environment   #Shade
Simple Winter Sheet Pan Dinners

I love winter cooking. There is nothing that makes you feel cozier than the aromas of garlic, rosemary, potatoes, and whatever else you love to eat. But I’m also all for making cooking as simple as possible. I discovered the beauty of sheet pan dinners a few years ago and have been using them as my go-to for busy days and even for entertaining ever since.

>> read “Simple Winter Sheet Pan Dinners”       #Edibles   #Recipes   #Vegetables
A Painted ‘Forest’
Try this cool idea this winter for long-lasting color

When we moved into our new condo, there was a dead mountain ash tree in the backyard. I’d just come back from a visit to Chicago and I’d seen how the parks department there had painted dead trees, turning them into art. Inspired, I painted my own dead tree, and used it to hang wind chimes, lamps, and houseplants summering outdoors. The bright purple was a great accent color in the garden.

>> read “A Painted ‘Forest’”       #Art   #Colorful   #Design   #How to
Lemony Herbs
When you can't grow lemons, grow lemony herbs

No lemons? No problem. If you want to enjoy a homegrown lemony taste, consider growing some lemony herbs in your garden.

>> read “Lemony Herbs”       #Edibles   #Herbs   #Plant Profile
Various Vinegars
Make your own herbal vinegars to add zip to your recipes

Here it is winter and I am yearning for the taste of my favorite fresh herbs. I prepared for this moment by making a variety of herbal vinegars in the early fall. It is a great easy way to add a gourmet zip to so many recipes – from salads to meats. Additionally, herbal vinegars can be used for cosmetic uses, medical purposes, plus household uses. Who would have thought you could have herbal vinegars on hand to beat the heat, as well as to battle illnesses and insects.

>> read “Various Vinegars”       #Edibles   #Herbs   #How to
Following Directions
Understanding the labels on your pesticides and herbicid

In a world of litigation and lawsuits it is no surprise that any pesticide being sold for profit must contain legal labeling. While it seems like a simple and common sense thing to do, many people never read the labels, or if they do, they don’t really understand them. Consumers flock to the stores on Saturdays purchasing an arsenal of weed killers, insecticides, and fungicides, many times not fully understanding what they have bought or how to correctly apply it.

>> read “Following Directions”       #Advice   #Health and Safety   #Pests
5 Houseplant Enemies and What to Do
How did you miss those insects? How did they get in?

You may notice yellowing or dropping leaves, or a sticky substance on the leaves or floor before you ever see a pest. Those are some of the symptoms that may clue you in that your plants have a problem.

>> read “5 Houseplant Enemies and What to Do”       #Containers   #Insects   #Pests
 
 
 

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