Gardening Daily Tips August 8

Monday August 8, 2011

Stock (Matthiola incana)

Today’s Featured Plant
Stock (Matthiola incana)

Read the full profile of this plant at

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Q&A: Harvesting Habanero Peppers

Question: I have a habanero pepper plant that is quite large and loaded with peppers. Some of the peppers are orange and others are still green. How do I know when the peppers should be harvested?

Answer: Hot peppers may be harvested at any stage of maturity. The longer they’re allowed to ripen, the hotter they will become. There’s no “best” time to harvest; taste and decide for yourself if the peppers should remain on the plants. Red peppers are generally 2-3 times hotter than green ones and dried pepper pods can be 2-10 times hotter than fresh peppers. Habanero peppers are some of the hottest peppers you can grow!

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Q&A: Composting Dog Manure

Question: Can I add fresh dog manure to my compost bins?

Answer: No. Dog, cat and pet bird manure can contain parasites that can be transmitted to humans. Manure from barnyard animals such as cows, chickens, horses, rabbits, goats is okay.

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Q&A: Growing Ornamental Cabbage

Question: I would like to start seeds for some ornamental cabbage for fall planting. When should I start the seeds? Do I need to pinch back the seedlings to get that nice, compact head?

Answer: Ornamental kale and cabbage grow best in cool weather and generally take about 60 days to mature. To avoid stressing the seedlings during the hottest days of summer, wait until 4 to 6 weeks before your average first frost date to sow seed. You don’t need to pinch back the seedlings. The plants should form a nice head on their own.

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Tip: Easy Veggie Cleaning

Replace the bottom of a wooden box with half-inch hardware cloth or chicken wire for use as a colander. Collect fresh-picked vegetables in the box, and rinse them off to remove excess soil. The soil will remain in the garden, and only final cleaning will be necessary indoors.

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Tip: Control Lawn Grubs

White grubs are the larval stage of many adult beetles such as Japanese beetles. If your lawn is infested, you can treat it organically with beneficial nematodes and/or milky spore.

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