Gardening Daily Tips August 17

Wednesday August 17, 2011

Pink, Cottage (Dianthus plumarius)

Today’s Featured Plant
Pink, Cottage (Dianthus plumarius)

Read the full profile of this plant at

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Q&A: When to Harvest Sweet Corn

Question: We planted sweet corn for the first time this year, and we’re not sure how to tell when it’s ready to harvest. Any tips?

Answer: Knowing exactly when to harvest corn is as much an art as it is a science. Seasoned gardeners begin checking for peak ripeness three weeks after corn silks appear by pulling back part of the husk and piercing a kernel with a thumbnail. If a milky juice spurts out, the corn is ready for harvest. If not, the husk is replaced and and the ear is allowed to mature for a few more days. Hope you have a terrific harvest!

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Q&A: Safe Bird Netting For Blueberries

Question: Could recommend a type of netting that I can safely use to prevent the birds from eating my blueberries that does not also entrap the birds?

Answer: You can use commonly available bird netting over your blueberry bushes, the kind with the quarter-inch openings, to protect the fruit. If you secure the ends of the netting by anchoring them to the ground, birds should not be able to get inside the netting and become trapped. If your plants are small, you can make cylinders out of chicken wire to encircle the bushes. Then place a circle of the same material over the opening in the top. Either way, your blueberries will be safe from the birds and the birds won’t get stuck inside the enclosure.

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Q&A: Mushy Pickled Peppers

Question: I pickled my ‘Hungarian Hot Wax’ peppers following the instructions in my canning guide, but the pickles are mushy. What did I do wrong?

Answer: You may have started with overripe peppers or used the wrong vinegar or type of water. Both mistakes can make pickled peppers mushy. Harvest disease-free peppers just before they’re fully ripe and process them within 24 hours. For extra firmness, but a little less flavor, harvest peppers when they are a bit underripe and, before processing, remove 1/16 inch of the blossom end of the pepper, where the softening enzymes reside. Use a 5 percent vinegar solution and soft or distilled water when pickling. You can turn hard water into soft water by boiling it for 15 minutes, letting it stand for 24 hours, then skimming off the top layer that forms. Also, processing peppers for too long will make them mushy.

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Tip: Prepare Soil for Fall Planting

Prepare soil for cool season veggies and flowers now. Plants do much better when compost is added and soil is prepared for planting ahead of time. As a general guide add an inch of compost to the soil every time you transition from one annual planting to another. Then rototill or spade it in.

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Tip: Prepare Garden for Fall Crops

After harvesting warm-season crops like beans, remove the spent plants, add compost, and till it in to prepare the area for fall crops. Mulch the area with straw to inhibit weeds until you’re ready to plant.

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Reader Photos Being Discontinued

Dear Readers,

Unfortunately, we will be having to discontinue the Reader Photos section of this ezine when we launch a new format later this week.

For several years, reader-submitted photos was a very popular feature. Participation has since declined and we can no longer justify the expense in maintaining this feature.

We thank everyone who used the feature. The photos will still be available on the Web site for a short period of time following their removal from the ezines.

ArcaMax Editors

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Today’s Reader Submitted Photos

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To see more of our subscriber photos visit our full Photo Gallery.

Enter your Gardening Daily Tips pictures so you can show them off to other readers right here in this ezine and on the Web site. Click here to submit your photo.

ArcaMax Editors


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