Gardening

Gardening Daily Tips

Chung Le 10:56am Apr 9

“BỤT Ở MỸ DÂM HƠN
BỤT QUÊ CHOA”
– Chung Le
“Mình có trang FOOD CROPS
đang thu thập thông tin Nghề
làm vườn đấy”. Hoàng Kim

Canna (Canna x generalis)

Plant type: Perennial

USDA Hardiness Zones: 8b to 10b

Height: 24″ to 60″

Spread: 12″ to 36″

Exposure: full sun

Bloom Color: Orange, Pink, Red, Salmon, White, Yellow

Bloom Time: Early summer, Early fall, Late summer, Mid summer, Mid fall

Leaf Color: Green, Purple

Growth Rate: fast

Moisture: moist to wet

Soil Condition: Adaptable, Clay, Loamy, Sandy

Form: Upright or erect

Landscape Uses:

Border, Container, Foundation, Massing, Specimen

Special Features:

Attractive foliage, Wetlands plant, Attractive flowers or blooms

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Q&A: Growing Rhubarb

Question: What is the best soil preparation and food for rhubarb plants?

Answer: Rhubarb plants prefer rich, deep, well-drained soil. Be sure to add some compost or other organic matter to the soil before planting. They like some shade from the hot afternoon sun, and lots of water. If you’re planting from dormant root divisions, set them with their buds 1-2 inches below the soil surface. Set plants 4 feet apart. After plants sprout, mulch over the root zone with a loose organic mulch such as straw. Each spring and fall, topdress around the plants with a few inches of rich compost or composted manure to enrich the soil.  Plants should be allowed to grow for two years before any stalks are harvested. When you do harvest, grasp the stalk at the lowest part and pull, rather than cut, the stalk from the plant. If a flowering stem grows from the center of the plant, cut it down as soon as it appears. Otherwise the rhubarb plant will put all of its energy into producing flowers instead of edible stalks.

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Q&A: Indoor Plants

Question: We want to build an indoor swimming pool and surround it with plants, perhaps small to medium size trees. What is best to plant for that effect?

Answer: To some extent the plant selection will depend on the ambient temperature and humidity, air circulation, and most of all, available light. Ficus trees (fig trees) are often used indoors because they are tolerant of a variety of conditions and can be pruned as needed to maintain a given size. Interior scapes often include smaller palms as well since these are also relatively easy to care for. Depending on your horticultural skill, you might wish to start with a few plants and see how things go before investing in a large number around the pool. In my experience, a large grouping of interior plants can be quite a bit of work to keep well groomed and looking good all the time.

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Q&A: Tools for Pruning Fruit Trees

Question: What is the best tool for pruning dwarf fruit trees?

Answer: It depends on the diameter of the limb or branch that you are pruning. Bypass or anvil pruners are used for limbs up to about 1/2 inch. Loppers work well on branches up to about 1-1/4 inch. Use a pruning saw for anything larger.

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Tip: Propagate African Violets

African violets make great houseplants and will flower in winter if given supplemental light. To propagate new plants, take a leaf cutting, dip the cut end in a rooting hormone powder, and stick the cutting in a pot filled with vermiculite or sand. Cover the pot with a perforated clear plastic bag and keep the soil moist. In a few weeks you’ll have new plants.

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Tip: Grow Blooming Plants Indoors

Brighten up your living areas with colorful, blooming cyclamen and primroses. Both do best with bright light. Keep the soil evenly moist but not soggy and fertilize occasionally.

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Caladium (Caladium bicolor)

Today’s Featured Plant
Caladium (Caladium bicolor)

Read the full profile of this plant at ArcaMax.com.

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Q&A: Bird of Paradise

Question: I recently purchased a Bird of Paradise plant. It looked good and healthy at the store. Since then, I put it on my back porch (west) and have been watering it daily. Temps have been in the low to mid 90′s. The leaves are curling up during the day and a couple of leaves look almost burnt around the edges. Is it getting to hot? Am I over watering it? The card that came with it said full sun and water regularly as needed. Should I try a shadier place for it? Should I bring it inside? I’ve read on some other sites that making a bird of paradise a house plant considerably reduces the likelyhood it will flower. Thank you so much for your help.

Answer: I suspect you are overwatering your plants. They thrive in full sunshine, but sometimes in a nursery they are placed in shade (so they don’t have to water so often). Now that your plants are getting the full sunshine they crave but that they were not getting at the nursery, they’re showing some distress. They will overcome this so keep them in the sunshine. Water as often as necessary to keep the soil from totally drying out – every 3-4 days. Daily watering will keep the soil too wet and can suffocate the roots. If they’re still in the nursery pots you might think about setting the pots inside some decorative pots. Nursery pots are usually black and can absorb so much heat from sunshine that they can actually bake the roots. So, either sheild the pots from direct sunshine with some kind of screening, or set them inside decorative pots to protect the roots from excessive heat. They won’t like growing indoors so keep them outside for best results. Best wishes with your new plants.

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Q&A: Crabgrass

Question: How do I get the grass and crabgrass out of my vegetable and flower garden?

Answer: This is the type of situation where an ounce of prevention is worth several pounds of effort. It’s easier to keep weeds and grasses out of the garden than to get them out once they’ve established themselves. The safest treatment is to dig the weeds and grass out. Then cover the bare soil with an organic mulch – something you can turn into the soil later in the year, to help enrich the soil. Next time you plant your garden, add 3-4 inches of mulch around the plants. Mulch will help the soil retain moisture, and will help to suppress weeds.

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Q&A: Geranium Pointers

Question: I have a troubled variegated geranium. It seemed happy for a while, and sent up lots of new flower shoots. Once the flowers went by, I removed the spent blooms. However, lately the plant has begun yellowing all over. I repotted it in new container with new potting soil; I’ve also tried altering the water and/or light it receives. Should I have left the flower stalks on? Practically everyone in my neighborhood grows geraniums with little or no effort! What can I do for my poor plant?

Answer: Geraniums do best with full sun (a little afternoon shade in really hot summer areas), a little less than average watering, and minimal fertilizing. You were correct to remove the spent flowers–pruning them off was not the cause of the problems.

It’s possible you are “killing it with kindness.” With too much water and/or too much fertilizing, geraniums quickly succumb to root and stem rots. Once they become infected, there is little you can do to stop the infection (including repotting in clean soil since the infection is in the plant’s system).

I suggest giving the plant as much sun as possible, holding back on the water significantly (but not to the point of desert conditions), and cutting off any soft, mushy, brown-to-yellowish stems (dip your pruning shears in a 10 percent bleach solution between each cut). Hopefully, it’s not too late.

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Tip: Keep Birdbaths Clean

Birdbaths are great to add to the garden, both for the decorative aspects and the water they provide for birds. However, when they become dirty and filled with algae, they do no one any good. The safest way to clean them is to mix equal parts vinegar and water. If the birdbath is particularly dirty, let the mixture stand in it for an hour or so. Rinse with clean water. Check birdbaths at least once a week to see if they need cleaning, but check the water in them daily.

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Tip: Space Perennials Properly

Space perennials properly at planting time. If beds look sparse the first season, fill in the empty spots with annual flowers or attractive edibles such as herbs and leafy greens. Once the perennials get established they’ll fill out the bed.

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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.

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Gardening Daily Tips June 28
Tuesday June 28, 2011


Lily, Asiatic (Lilium)

Today’s Featured Plant
Lily, Asiatic (Lilium)

Read the full profile of this plant at ArcaMax.com.

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Q&A: Jade Plant

Question: My jade plant keeps dropping leaves. I have it in a window that gets the morning eastern sun. I water it thoroughly and let it dry out before watering again. The plant does not grow much from year to year.

Answer: Sounds like you’re doing everything right but your plant isn’t as happy as it could be. Jade plants grow into main-stem tree-like forms and it’s natural for them to lose leaves and branches at the bottom of the plant, but it’s unnatural for them to suddenly lose their leaves. It may be a reaction to being watered with cold, rather than tepid water, or to being overwatered. Because they’re succulents, they can go for many weeks without water, without doing them harm. This is especially true in the wintertime when their growth is slow. Succulents have evolved in the dry areas of the world and their general requirements are related to this habitat – free draining soil, sunshine, fresh air, water during the growing season, and a cold and dry resting period in the winter. Jade plants like some early morning direct sunshine and they appreciate fresh air. If you have yours growing near a sunny windowsill, open the window in the summertime to promote the circulation of fresh air. Your Jade plant might be happier outdoors for a time this summer. Find a place where it will get sunshine but with some protection from hot afternoon sun,and water it sparingly using tepid water. Once it gets the cultural conditions it craves, it should perk right up for you.

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Q&A: Compatible Herbs in Pots

Question: I want to start an herb garden in window boxes. Can you tell me which herbs grow well together and which ones really don’t do well in the same pot?

Answer: You want herbs that have similar sunlight and water requirements in the same pot. Almost all herbs like full sun. For example, herbs of Mediterranean origin, such as oregano, thyme, sage, lavender, and artemisia, do best with soil that drains very well. Basil, parsley, cilantro, and chives require soil with higher fertility and more frequent watering. Also, mint is a vigorous spreader and should be in a pot by itself or it will overwhelm other plants. Hope this gives you some ideas!

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Q&A: Moles, Voles, or Gophers?

Question: How do we tell whether we have moles, voles, or gophers digging in our yard?

Answer: Moles create characteristic mounds and tunnels that rise above the soil level. Although the tunnels aren’t always visible, you can usually spot their mounds of soil with a hole in the top. Voles are tiny creatures, and are sometimes referred to as field mice. They don’t dig tunnels or make large mounds, but rather have trails through tall grass. Sometimes voles use mole tunnels to feed on roots and bulbs. If you see fan-shaped mounds with a hole near the edge, you probably have an infestation of gophers.

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Tip: Keep Your Water Garden Mosquito Free

If you have a pond or water feature, place Bacillus thuringiensis var. israelensis in the water to control mosquito larvae. This natural biological material is very effective and will not harm fish, birds, or other wildlife.

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Tip: Apply Pesticides Properly

When applying pesticides — even organic ones — be sure to carefully follow the directions on the label, diluting as necessary and applying the proper amount at the right time.

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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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Today’s Reader Submitted Photos

Click an image above to see full size and read caption.
To see more of our subscriber photos visit our full Photo Gallery.Enter

Gardening Daily Tips June 27

Posted on June 27, 2011
Monday June 27, 2011


Blazing Star, Gayfeather (Liatris spicata ‘Kobold’)

Today’s Featured Plant
Blazing Star, Gayfeather (Liatris spicata ‘Kobold’)

Read the full profile of this plant at ArcaMax.com.

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Q&A: Squash

Question: When is the best time of day to water squash since the blooms only last one day. I noticed that the blooms close at night and does early morning watering wash off the bee polination?

Answer: You can water in the morning. If possible, keep the water on the soil and not on the plants themselves. It’s not so much a problem with rinsing off the pollen as it is subjecting your plants to possible fungal diseases from leaves that remain wet for extended periods of time. Watering in the morning will give the plants a chance to dry out before nightfall. Best wishes with your squash!

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Q&A: Controlling Cabbage Loopers

Question: Every year I have problems with cabbage loopers on my cabbage, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts. Any suggestions on getting rid of them?

Answer: The best way to protect plants from cabbage loopers and cabbageworms — the larvae of two different moths — is to exclude the moths by using fabric row covers. You can also treat the loopers with Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis). For best results, treat the plants while the caterpillars are still young. The older and larger they get, the more resilient they become. Use Bt sparingly, however, because it is toxic to all caterpillars, including the larvae of your favorite butterflies.

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Q&A: Extracting Pyrethrum from Mums

Question: I have several pyrethrum daisies. I know that pyrethrum is an insecticide. How can I use the plants to control insect pests?

Answer: You are correct that pyrethrum is a botanical insecticide derived from the flowers of pyrethrum daisies. It’s possible to dry the flowers, then grind them into a fine dust to use on flowers, or to use alcohol to create a liquid extract. Since the active chemical is toxic it is important to keep it away from children and pets. Also, don’t use your regular kitchen equipment to prepare the spray or dust. Finally, it’s impossible to give dilution rates since homemade concoctions will vary widely in strength. Why not eliminate the guesswork and use a commercially prepared, pyrethrum-based insecticide?

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Tip: Prevent Tall Containers from Tipping

To prevent tall container-grown plants from tipping over on blustery days, use a length of rebar to secure the pot. In most cases a 3 or 4-foot long rod will suffice, with half its length driven into the ground and the other half above the soil level. If not yet planted, move the container where you want it and pound the rebar through the drainage hole and into the ground below. Otherwise, drive the rebar in place first, then have a friend help you lift the pot and push the metal stake up through the hole. Be careful not to obstruct drainage, however. (And be sure to locate any underground electrical or cable lines before you begin.)

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Tip: Mow Frequently

For the lushest and most weed-free lawn, mow frequently, removing no more than one-third of the leaf blade at each mowing. This technique produces a thick turf that crowds out weeds.

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Free Health and Beauty Tips

Get simple skin and hair care tips, dieting advice, and more with a subscription to ArcaMax’s free Women ezine.

The ezine also contains women’s interest stories, daily inspirational quotes, and advice from the ladies at Annie’s Mailbox.

Subscribe to ArcaMax Women instantly.

Find out more before subscribing.

– From the ArcaMax editors

Gardening Daily Tips June 26

Posted on June 26, 2011
Sunday June 26, 2011


Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium purpureum)

Today’s Featured Plant
Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium purpureum)

Read the full profile of this plant at ArcaMax.com.

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Q&A: Lantana

Question: How do I prune a lantana?

Answer: Lantana will take any amount of pruning. If yours is the creeping or sprawling kind you can prune it back to within two feet of the main or center stem of the plant. If yours is the upright shrub type, you can prune it down to about 3′ tall and 2′ wide. Either will come back strong this summer.

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Q&A: Small, Crumbly Raspberries

Question: The raspberries on one end of our patch are small and crumbly, although the foliage appeared to be normal. The other end of the patch receives the same light, soil, and water, and these berries are large and juicy like normal. Should I destroy the canes with small berries? What could it be, and is it contagious?

Answer: It sounds like your patch is suffering from the aptly named crumbly berry virus, or perhaps another similar virus. Raspberries are especially prone to viral diseases, which is why it is very important to purchase certified virus-free stock when planting a new patch. Crumbly berry disease is caused by the tomato ringspot virus and spread by the dagger nematode. Plants may appear normal but will produce small fruit that falls apart when picked. This is a result of the failure of some of the drupelets in the berry to develop. This virus has a wide host range including many weeds, such as dandelion. Unlike some viruses, the organism can live for years in dead plant material, so when you remove the infected canes, get as much of the roots, crown, and canes as you can and burn or bury them. The virus is spread by aphids, so if you noticed these pests on your healthy canes last year, be aware that they may have infected more of your patch. As a safeguard, you can order new, disease-free stock this year and plant it at least 200 yards from your current patch, so you won’t have a break in harvest if your current patch is affected this year.

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Q&A: Japanese Beetles on Roses

Question: How do I control the Japanese beetles that are eating all my roses?

Answer: Japanese beetles are a difficult pest to control. Your best bet is a two-prong approach: one to deal with the larvae, one to deal with the adults. Japanese beetle larvae are the white, C-shaped grubs you find in the soil. They are best controlled by spraying beneficial nematodes on the lawn and garden area. The microscopic, worm-like nematodes harm only the grubs in the soil and not plants, animals or humans. Spray them in spring when the temerpatures are above 55F and you should see a difference this summer. For adult beetles, try handpicking combined with a neem oil spray. Avoid using Japanese beetle traps. In some cases, it appears that they actually draw beetles to them from the surrounding area — and you don’t need to be attracting extra beetles!

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Tip: Make More Shrubs with Cuttings

By late June, the new growth on shrubs should be perfect for taking cuttings. Propagate roses, spirea, hydrangea, azaleas, and any number of other woody plants by selecting semi-mature wood and taking a cutting about 3 inches long. Remove all but a few leaves, dip the cut end of the stem into a rooting hormone powder, and stick several cuttings in a large pot filled with growing medium. Place the container in a shady location and cover loosely with plastic to keep moist. When rooted, transplant cuttings to individual pots and gradually adapt plants to normal growing conditions.

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Tip: Water in the Morning

Water plants in the morning, including lawns, so foliage has a chance to dry before nightfall. This will help prevent leaf diseases, most of which need moisture to spread.

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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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Today’s Reader Submitted Photos

Click an image above to see full size and read caption.
To see more of our subscriber photos visit our full Photo Gallery.

Gardening Daily Tips June 26

Posted on June 26, 2011
Sunday June 26, 2011


Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium purpureum)

Today’s Featured Plant
Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium purpureum)

Read the full profile of this plant at ArcaMax.com.

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Q&A: Lantana

Question: How do I prune a lantana?

Answer: Lantana will take any amount of pruning. If yours is the creeping or sprawling kind you can prune it back to within two feet of the main or center stem of the plant. If yours is the upright shrub type, you can prune it down to about 3′ tall and 2′ wide. Either will come back strong this summer.

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Q&A: Small, Crumbly Raspberries

Question: The raspberries on one end of our patch are small and crumbly, although the foliage appeared to be normal. The other end of the patch receives the same light, soil, and water, and these berries are large and juicy like normal. Should I destroy the canes with small berries? What could it be, and is it contagious?

Answer: It sounds like your patch is suffering from the aptly named crumbly berry virus, or perhaps another similar virus. Raspberries are especially prone to viral diseases, which is why it is very important to purchase certified virus-free stock when planting a new patch. Crumbly berry disease is caused by the tomato ringspot virus and spread by the dagger nematode. Plants may appear normal but will produce small fruit that falls apart when picked. This is a result of the failure of some of the drupelets in the berry to develop. This virus has a wide host range including many weeds, such as dandelion. Unlike some viruses, the organism can live for years in dead plant material, so when you remove the infected canes, get as much of the roots, crown, and canes as you can and burn or bury them. The virus is spread by aphids, so if you noticed these pests on your healthy canes last year, be aware that they may have infected more of your patch. As a safeguard, you can order new, disease-free stock this year and plant it at least 200 yards from your current patch, so you won’t have a break in harvest if your current patch is affected this year.

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Q&A: Japanese Beetles on Roses

Question: How do I control the Japanese beetles that are eating all my roses?

Answer: Japanese beetles are a difficult pest to control. Your best bet is a two-prong approach: one to deal with the larvae, one to deal with the adults. Japanese beetle larvae are the white, C-shaped grubs you find in the soil. They are best controlled by spraying beneficial nematodes on the lawn and garden area. The microscopic, worm-like nematodes harm only the grubs in the soil and not plants, animals or humans. Spray them in spring when the temerpatures are above 55F and you should see a difference this summer. For adult beetles, try handpicking combined with a neem oil spray. Avoid using Japanese beetle traps. In some cases, it appears that they actually draw beetles to them from the surrounding area — and you don’t need to be attracting extra beetles!

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Tip: Make More Shrubs with Cuttings

By late June, the new growth on shrubs should be perfect for taking cuttings. Propagate roses, spirea, hydrangea, azaleas, and any number of other woody plants by selecting semi-mature wood and taking a cutting about 3 inches long. Remove all but a few leaves, dip the cut end of the stem into a rooting hormone powder, and stick several cuttings in a large pot filled with growing medium. Place the container in a shady location and cover loosely with plastic to keep moist. When rooted, transplant cuttings to individual pots and gradually adapt plants to normal growing conditions.

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Tip: Water in the Morning

Water plants in the morning, including lawns, so foliage has a chance to dry before nightfall. This will help prevent leaf diseases, most of which need moisture to spread.

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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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Today’s Reader Submitted Photos

Click an image above to see full size and read caption.
To see more of our subscriber photos visit our full Photo Gallery.

Gardening Daily Tips, June 25

Posted on June 25, 2011
Saturday June 25, 2011


Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens)

Today’s Featured Plant
Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens)

Read the full profile of this plant at ArcaMax.com.

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Q&A: Black Spot

Question: What can I use on my tea rose bushes to get rid of Black spot? I have 8 tea rose bushes and only 2 have it.

Answer: Black spot is one of the most common diseases of roses. Fungicides will help control it, but you’ll need to practice good garden sanitation (prune and remove the most obviously infected canes), and try to keep water off the leaves. Fungicides need to be applied every 7-14 days during the growing season. Some choices include the neem oil based Rose Defense, Funginex, Daconil, Captan, Bravo. I’m afraid black spot is just one of the challenges you’ll face when growing roses, but the reward is worth the effort. I don’t think there’s anything quite as lovely as a garden filled with roses!

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Q&A: Blossom End Rot

Question: My tomatoes last season grew nice and big, but just before they were ready to harvest they started rotting from the bottom. What caused this, and how do I prevent it from happening this year?

Answer: It sounds as though your tomatoes had blossom end rot, a physiological condition caused by a lack of calcium at the blossom end of the fruit (the end opposite the stem). Even if your soil has adequate calcium, blossom end rot can occur if there are extreme fluctuations in soil moisture. The symptoms–blackening of flesh–take some time to develop, so the damage you see is actually the result of conditions some time back. Remedies include having a soil test to make sure calcium levels are adequate, adding organic matter to a sandy soil to increase its moisture holding capacity, and keeping plants evenly moist, especially during the development of the first fruits. A thick layer of mulch helps maintain soil moisture. Affected tomatoes are still edible. Just cut away the blackened portion.

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Q&A: Dead Spots on Lawn

Question: My fescue lawn has numerous dead spots throughout. What might be causing this problem, and how can I remedy the situation?

Answer: The first thing to rule out is if the problem is being caused by neighborhood dogs who visit your lawn. Dog urine can cause brown spots. Some tall fescues are susceptible to brown patch. Conditions favoring the disease include hot, humid weather; overly wet, overfertilized lawns; and a thick layer of thatch. You can reduce the chance of future outbreaks by watering deeply and infrequently, and allowing grass to dry between waterings. Also, you might want to aerate the lawn to help break down the thatch. Be sure you are not overfeeding with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer. You may also want to test your soil to check levels of calcium, phosphorus, and potassium, since improper levels of these nutrients can encourage the disease.

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Tip: Garden Safely

Nearly 40,000 gardeners visit the emergency room each year. To avoid injury and other dangers, be cautious with chemicals and natural products that carry potential risks; use a ground-fault-interrupter plug or adaptor with electrical tools; wear clothes that accommodate the weather as well as protective gear such as gloves; stretch before strenuous activity; be mindful of repetitive motions that strain muscles and joints; stay hydrated; and take frequent breaks. Be sure to keep your tetanus vaccination up to date too.

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Tip: Foil Tomato-Eating Critters

If birds and squirrels are getting to your ripe tomatoes before you get a chance to harvest them, pick the fruit as soon as it begins to change color and let it finish ripening indoors.

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Free Health and Beauty Tips

Get simple skin and hair care tips, dieting advice, and more with a subscription to ArcaMax’s free Women ezine.

The ezine also contains women’s interest stories, daily inspirational quotes, and advice from the ladies at Annie’s Mailbox.

Subscribe to ArcaMax Women instantly.

Find out more before subscribing.

– From the ArcaMax editors

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Today’s Reader Submitted Photos

Click an image above to see full size and read caption.
To see more of our subscriber photos visit our full Photo Gallery.

Gardening Daily Tips June 24

Posted on June 24, 2011
Friday June 24, 2011


Sunflower
(Helianthus annuus)

Today’s Featured Plant
Sunflower
(Helianthus annuus)

Read the full profile of this plant at ArcaMax.com.

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Q&A: Browning
Bracts On My Bougainvillea

Question: I transplanted my bougainvillea about 2
months ago. It did lovely until about 2 weeks ago when the bracts began to brown
and fall off. It’s planted in a location where it gets full sun all afternoon on
the north side of the house about 1 foot from the wall with a trellis behind it.
It gets watered every other day or so. HELP! What am I doing wrong?

Answer: It’s natural for spent bracts to dry up and fall off after
they’ve bloomed for a while. New shoots will continue to develop throughout the
summer and colorful new bracts will appear throughout the growing season. Your
bougainvillea sounds as though it’s planted in the right place, but you may be
overwatering a bit. Try soaking the soil around the plant just once each week
rather than watering every other day. Deep soaking will encourage deep rooting
which will help your bougainvillea cope with hot or dry weather. Good luck with
your bougainvillea!

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Q&A: Picking
Green Beans

Question: When is the right time to harvest
bush-type green beans?

Answer: You can pick bush beans as soon as they
are large enough to eat, say four or five inches in length. You want to pick
them often to keep them in production — if the beans are allowed to stay on the
bush too long, the plant will stop blooming. Regular harvests promote more
blooms, which means a longer, bigger harveset. Also, smaller beans are more
tender and tend to be sweeter. If they stay on the plant until they look knobby
and the seeds inside swell, then they will be tough and have a bland flavor.

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Q&A: Supporting
Pole Beans

Question: What is the best way to support my pole
beans? I have been using twine but it is tedious to string each spring and must
be replaced each year.

Answer: Some gardeners use heavy wire instead of
twine, some use the premade string trellis netting, others use several poles
lashed together teepee style, still others have used makeshift supports such as
a large mesh “cattle panel” attached to sturdy posts. It’s really a matter of
personal preference and what is available.

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Tip: Invite Frogs and
Toads to the Garden

Encourage all types of critters to live in your yard
and gardens. Frogs and toads eat cutworms and other insect pests. Place inverted
clay pots in shady garden spots, and chip out a piece of the pot rim to give
them an entrance to their new home.

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Tip: Grow Annual
Vines for Shade

Plant fast-growing annual vines up a sturdy trellis
to shade your porch or outdoor seating area from the hot summer sun. Morning
glory, thunbergia (black-eyed Susan vine), cobaea (cup-and-saucer vine), scarlet
runner bean, and cypress vine are some options.

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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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Today’s Reader Submitted Photos

Click an image above to see full size and read
caption.

CAY LUONG THUC , FOOD CROPS, NGOC PHUONG NAM
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