Gardening Daily Tips July 4

Monday July 4, 2011

Maltese Cross (Lychnis chalcedonica)

Today’s Featured Plant
Maltese Cross (Lychnis chalcedonica)

Read the full profile of this plant at

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Q&A: Harvesting Carrots

Question: This is my first time growing my own vegetables and I planted carrots. How do I know when the carrots are ready to be harvested?

Answer: You can pull carrots as soon as they are large enough to eat, but they are usually harvested when the tops are about 3/4 inch to an inch across. (This will depend somewhat on the variety you have grown.) Some gardeners think carrots are sweeter if left in the ground for a month or so after the first frost. Enjoy your carrots!

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Q&A: Propagating a Jade Plant

Question: How can I start a jade plant part and get it to root?

Answer: Jade plants are really very easy to propagate. You can start a new plant with a single leaf, or with a short piece of stem. Pull or break the leaf or stem from a healthy plant and allow it to callous over for a few hours. Then stick the end of the leaf or stem into moistened sand. After a few weeks roots will develop and you’ll see new growth. You can repot the new little start once it has developed a good-sized root mass.

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Q&A: Remove Stakes on New Vine?

Question: I recently purchased a large honeysuckle vine that’s supported by three stakes in its container. When I install my trellis, should I untie the vine from the stakes and drape it over the trellis or should I leave the stakes in place?

Answer: The honeysuckle will wend its way through a trellis sooner or later, but you could certainly leave the stakes intact for the time being. Then once the vine has grown a bit more and become supported by the trellis as well as the stakes, remove the ties holding it onto the stakes. Also, in the meantime, you should loosen the ties if they begin to bind as the vine grows thicker. As it grows, too, you may want to gently direct or “train” the new growth toward the trellis so that it finds it right away, pretty soon it will be scrambling all on its own.

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Tip: Prepare Your Garden for Vacation Time

Help the garden hold its own while you’re away by harvesting vegetables, pulling weeds, adding mulch where needed, and cutting back annual flowers such as marigolds, zinnias, and petunias. Prune roses, too, and fertilize for a fresh wave of blooms when you return. Group houseplants and other low-light containers in a shady location and move sun-loving containers to a spot with morning light and afternoon shade. The day before departure, cut the grass and water everything deeply. Even if you’ve had recent rains, extra moisture will ensure the garden’s beauty and productivity while you are away.

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Tip: Make Your Landscape Pet-Friendly

Like you, your pets spend more time outdoors in the summer, so make sure your landscape is pet-friendly. Use pesticides judiciously, if at all, checking the labels for specific cautions. Avoid toxic plants, especially if your pet likes to graze.

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80 Comic Strips Now Available by Email!

ArcaMax has added dozens of new comic strips to its Comics page, including Archie, Hi and Lois, and 77 others. Subscribe to as many as you like via email, and start your day with a laugh!

Visit the Comics page and subscribe or read online right away.

— From the ArcaMax editors

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