Vegetable Gardening Tips

1. If its getting cold and you have tomatoes still ripening on the vine — save your tomatoes! Pull the plants up and bring them inside to a warm dry place. Hang them up, and the tomatoes will ripen on the vine.

2. Keep garden vegetables from getting dirty by spreading a 1-2 inch layer of mulch (untreated by pesticides or fertilizers) around each plant. This will also help keep the weeds down.

3. Paint the handles of your gardens tools a bright, color other than green to help you find them amongst your plants. You can also keep a mailbox in your garden for easy tool storage.

4. Compost needs time to integrate and stabilize in the soil. Apply two to three weeks prior to planting.

5. There is an easy way to mix compost into your soil without a lot of back breaking work: Spread the compost over your garden in the late fall, after all the harvesting is done. Cover with a winter mulch such as hay or chopped leaves and let nature take its course. By spring, the melting snow and soil organisms will have worked the compost in for you.

6. Like vining vegetables, but don’t have the room? Train your melons, squash, and cucumbers onto a vertical trellis or fence. Saves space and looks pretty too.

7. Garden vegetables that become over-ripe are an easy target for some pests. Remove them as soon as possible to avoid detection.

8. Onions are ready to harvest when the tops have fallen over. Let the soil dry out, harvest, and store in a warm, dry, dark place until the tops dry. Cut off the foliage down to an inch, then store in a cool, dry area.

9. Over watering is worse than under watering. It is easier to revive a dry plant than try to dry out drowned roots.

10. When planting a flower or vegetable transplant, deposit a handful of compost into each hole. Compost will provide transplants with an extra boost that lasts throughout the growing season.

11. Insects can’t stand plants such as garlic, onions, chives and chrysanthemums. Grow these plants around the garden to help repel insects.

12. Plants will do best if they are well suited to your growing area. Take some time to read up and choose plants accordingly.

13. For easy peas, start them indoors. The germination rate is far better, and the seedlings will be healthier and better able to fight off pests and disease.

14. If you’re short on space, garlic, leeks and shallots make excellent container plants. They tend to have few insect or disease problems and don’t require much room for roots.

15. Another reason to use natural and organic fertilizers and soil amendments: earthworms love them! Earthworms are extremely beneficial in the vegetable garden; increasing air space in the soil and leaving behind worm castings. Do what you can to encourage earthworms in your soil.

16. Water your garden in the early morning to conserve moisture loss and to help avoid powdery mildew and other fungal diseases that are often spread by high humidity levels.

17. Some vegetables actually become better after a first frost, including kale, cabbage, parsnips, carrots, and Brussels sprouts.

18. When transplanting tomatoes, cover the stem with soil all the way up to the first set of leaves. This greatly encourages root growth, making a stronger, healthier plant.

19. Healthy soil means a thriving population of microbes, earthworms and other organisms. A soil that has “good tilth” will produce robust garden plants that are better able to resist pests and disease.

20. A simple five percent increase in organic material (compost) quadruples the soil’s ability to store water.

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14 Simple Gardening Tips and Tricks

From using leftover coffee beans to preventing dirt from getting underneath fingernails, master gardener Paul James shares his top 14 tips and shortcuts to make spring gardening a breeze.

Here, the latest tips and tricks from Paul James, host of Gardening by the Yard:
1. To remove the salt deposits that form on clay pots, combine equal parts white vinegar, rubbing alcohol and water in a spray bottle. Apply the mixture to the pot and scrub with a plastic brush. Let the pot dry before you plant anything in it.
2. To prevent accumulating dirt under your fingernails while you work in the garden, draw your fingernails across a bar of soap and you’ll effectively seal the undersides of your nails so dirt can’t collect beneath them. Then, after you’ve finished in the garden, use a nailbrush to remove the soap and your nails will be sparkling clean.
3. To prevent the line on your string trimmer from jamming or breaking, treat with a spray vegetable oil before installing it in the trimmer.
4. Turn a long-handled tool into a measuring stick! Lay a long-handled garden tool on the ground, and next to it place a tape measure. Using a permanent marker, write inch and foot marks on the handle. When you need to space plants a certain distance apart (from just an inch to several feet) you’ll already have a measuring device in your hand.
More Tips and Tricks from Paul 04:28
How can you use bubble wrap to keep your potted plants from stressing out? Find out from gardening expert Paul James.
5. To have garden twine handy when you need it, just stick a ball of twine in a small clay pot, pull the end of the twine through the drainage hole, and set the pot upside down in the garden. Do that, and you’ll never go looking for twine again.
6. Little clay pots make great cloches for protecting young plants from sudden, overnight frosts and freezes.
7. To turn a clay pot into a hose guide, just stab a roughly one-foot length of steel reinforcing bar into the ground at the corner of a bed and slip two clay pots over it: one facing down, the other facing up. The guides will prevent damage to your plants as you drag the hose along the bed.
8. To create perfectly natural markers, write the names of plants (using a permanent marker) on the flat faces of stones of various sizes and place them at or near the base of your plants.
9. Got aphids? You can control them with a strong blast of water from the hose or with insecticidal soap. But here’s another suggestion, one that’s a lot more fun; get some tape! Wrap a wide strip of tape around your hand, sticky side out, and pat the leaves of plants infested with aphids. Concentrate on the undersides of leaves, because that’s where the little buggers like to hide.
10. The next time you boil or steam vegetables, don’t pour the water down the drain, use it to water potted patio plants, and you’ll be amazed at how the plants respond to the “vegetable soup.”
11. Use leftover tea and coffee grounds to acidify the soil of acid-loving plants such as azaleas, rhododendrons, camellias, gardenias and even blueberries. A light sprinkling of about one-quarter of an inch applied once a month will keep the pH of the soil on the acidic side.
12. Use chamomile tea to control damping-off fungus, which often attacks young seedlings quite suddenly. Just add a spot of tea to the soil around the base of seedlings once a week or use it as a foliar spray.
13. If you need an instant table for tea service, look no farther than your collection of clay pots and saucers. Just flip a good-sized pot over, and top it off with a large saucer. And when you’ve had your share of tea, fill the saucer with water, and your “table” is now a birdbath.
14. The quickest way in the world to dry herbs: just lay a sheet of newspaper on the seat of your car, arrange the herbs in a single layer, then roll up the windows and close the doors. Your herbs will be quickly dried to perfection. What’s more, your car will smell great.
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9 Gardening Tips for Beginners

1.Know Your Region

It may sound obvious, but not everything grows everywhere, so what you plant is determined by where you live. “Take a look at the characteristics of your garden area—from the climate to sun exposure,” says Brian Sullivan, Vice President for Gardens, Landscape, and Outdoor Collections at The New York Botanical Garden. “It’s the most important thing to start with because you’ll want to understand the limits and the possibilities.” Talk to someone who works at your local garden center about the best native plants for your region, says Chris Lambton, professional landscaper and host of DIY Network’s Yard Crashers. “These will perform the best with less maintenance.”

2.Test Your Soil
To get a thorough reading of your soil’s pH and nutrient levels, send a sample to your local nursery or cooperative extension, suggests garden expert Christy Dailey of christy gardens. (There are also at-home testing kits available at Lowes, Home Depot, or any gardening store.) The results will tell you how acidic or alkaline your soil is, which affects how plants absorb nutrients. Since different plants thrive best in different pH levels, this test will help you decide what to plant or indicate how you should treat the soil.

Examine soil texture, too. “It should be easily shoveled and crumble in your hands,” says Annette Gutierrez, owner of Potted in Los Angeles. “If your soil is super hard or clay-like, it will be difficult for most plants to grow roots. Add fresh soil, mulch, and compost, being careful to aerate as much and as deep an area as you can before planting.”

3.Start With “Easy” Plants
“Growing vegetables is a fun introduction to gardening,” says Sullivan. They don’t take as long to grow, so if you make a mistake you won’t have wasted months and months of your time. Sunflowers are also a good option, since they grow quickly and tall, or try easy-to-grow ferns—both of these can be grown all across the United States. “Early success is inspiring,” he says. “It might make you want to move on to more complicated plants.”

4.Create a Plan
To avoid crowding, Sullivan suggests researching your plants first so you know exactly how big they will get and how to space them out accordingly. “Typically perennials, plants that live for more than two years, should be spaced approximately 18 inches apart,” says Dailey. “This allows enough room for new growth and will usually make the garden look filled right away.”

It’s also important to know how high your plants will grow, he says. “Shorter and creeping ones should be planted toward the front and edges of the garden bed, with the taller plants in the back.” This is where knowing about sun exposure comes in handy—be mindful of taller plants that would block smaller ones, or the varieties that prefer a lot of sun or shade.

5.Keep a Notebook
“A journal is really about the big picture, so jot down your dreams for the garden or inspiration,” says Sullivan. “It’s a great way to keep track of garden activity. You can also use it to keep notes about the interesting plants you come across elsewhere, so you can make a reminder to include them in your garden next year.”

6.Set a Calendar…
…or have a general idea of your big gardening tasks each season. “In the spring, I start fertilizing all plants and do that every six-to-eight weeks throughout the growing season, which usually ends in the fall,” says Gutierrez. “It’s usually too hot to plant in the summer. In the fall, after the heavy heat has passed, I prune trees and large shrubs. If I want to add bulbs or any new plants for the next year, I add them at this time, but you can also plant in early spring. And winter is when I cut back woody plants and roses, usually before the first frost.”

7.Water Carefully
“Give a consistent and ample amount of water,” says Sullivan. “’Consistent’ means you’re doing it on a regular basis and ‘ample’ means enough, which varies from plant to plant. Make sure the water penetrates the soil as opposed to just putting a little bit on the surface.” Newer plants will need to be watered more frequently because their root systems aren’t completely developed. As for the best time of day, Lambton suggests early morning before it gets too warm so the plant can really soak up the water. If you water in the evening, your plants might be more prone to fungus and other diseases.

8.Keep Up the Good Work!
You might not have to do a lot of work everyday, but “proper maintenance is the greatest thing you can give your garden and the most rewarding,” says Dailey. “Taking time to deadhead, weed, prune, and tidy up will get you in tune with what the plants need to thrive. You will inevitably see how each plant reacts to weather changes and how to correct issues like infestations before they become too problematic.” If you notice stunted growth, check what’s going on with the roots of the plant by carefully examining and digging around the underlying soil, Sullivan says—sometimes they will need to be gently opened or teased so that they can spread out in the soil.

9.Try to Be Patient
“Gardening is a process,” says Sullivan. “It doesn’t just happen in one day—it takes time.” Sometimes impatience will cause you to overwater or fuss too much with the plants in the hopes that they will grow faster. Monitor them regularly, but unless something looks wrong, let them be.

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Top 10 Tomato Growing Tips

Is it ever too early to be thinking about your tomato plants? Not if you’re the competitive tomato gardening type who wants the earliest and sweetest tomato on the block. Unfortunately, growing great tomatoes doesn’t just happen. Sample some of the science experiments on sale at your grocer’s this winter, if you don’t believe me. Choose your favorite varieties to grow, start them off right and control problems before they happen. Start here with some time tested tomato growing tips, to insure your bragging rights this year.
1.  Don’t Crowd Seedlings.
If you are starting tomatoes from seed, be sure to give the seedlings plenty of room to branch out. Crowded conditions inhibit their growth, so transplant them into their own individual 4 in. pot, shortly after they get their first true leaves.
2.  Provide Lots of Light.
Tomato seedlings need strong, direct light. Days are short during winter, so even placing them near a very sunny window may not provide them with sufficient natural light. Unless you are growing them in a greenhouse, your best option is to use some type of artificial plant lighting, for 14-18 hours every day.

To ensure the plants grow stocky, not spindly, keep the young plants only a couple of inches from florescent grow lights. You will need to raise the lights (or lower the plants) as the seedlings grow. When you’re ready to plant them outside, choose the sunniest part of your vegetable garden. 
3.  Put a Fan on Your Seedlings.
It seems tomato plants need to move and sway in the breeze, to develop strong stems. That happens naturally outdoors, but if you are growing your seedlings inside, provide a breeze by turning a fan on them for 5-10 minutes, twice a day. Another option is to ruffle them by gently rubbing your hand back and forth across their tops for a few minutes, several times a day. It’s a bit more effort, but their wonderful tomato scent will rub off on you, as a bonus.
4.  Preheat the Soil in Your Garden.
Tomatoes love heat. Cover the planting area with black or red plastic a couple of weeks before you intend to plant. Those extra degrees of soil warmth will translate into earlier tomatoes.

A reader, David, wrote to say he thinks clear plastic works best. It “…lets the sun’s energy through and then traps that heat energy.” Plus it causes weed seeds to germinate and then fries them, so they won’t come back.
5.  Bury Them.
Plant your tomato plants deeper than they come in the pot, all the way up to the top few leaves. When planted this way, tomatoes are able to develop roots all along their stems. And more roots will make for a stronger plant.

You can either dig a deep hole or simply dig a shallow trench and lay the plant sideways. It will quickly straighten itself up and grow toward the sun. Just be careful not to drive your stake or cage into the buried stem.
6.  Mulch Later.
Hold off on mulching until after the ground has had a chance to warm up. While mulching does conserve water and prevents the soil and soil born diseases from splashing up on the plants, if you put it down too early it will also shade and therefore cool the soil. Try using plastic mulch for heat lovers like tomatoes and peppers.
7.  Remove the Bottom Leaves.
Once your tomato plants reach about 3 ft. tall, remove the leaves from the bottom 1 ft. of stem. These are the oldest leaves and they are usually the first leaves to develop fungus problems. As the plants fill out, the bottom leaves get the least amount of sun and air circulation. And being close to the ground, soil born pathogens can easily splash up onto them. Spraying weekly with compost tea also seems to be effective at warding off fungus diseases.
8.  Pinch & Prune for More Tomatoes
Pinch and remove suckers that develop in the crotch joint of two branches. They won’t bear fruit and will take energy away from the rest of the plant. But go easy on pruning the rest of the plant. You can thin out a few leaves to allow the sun to reach the ripening fruit, but it’s the leaves that are photosynthesizing and creating the sugars that give flavor to your tomatoes.
9.  Water the Tomato Plants Regularly.
Water deeply and regularly while the plants are developing. Irregular watering, (missing a week and trying to make up for it), leads to blossom end rot and cracking. The rule of thumb is to ensure your plants get at least 1 in. of water per week, but during hot, dry spells, they may need more. If your plants start to look wilted for most of the day, give them a drink.

Once the fruit begins to ripen, you can ease up on watering. Lessening the water will coax the plant into concentrating its sugars, for better flavor. You your judgement. Don’t withhold water so much that the plants continually wilt and become stressed or they will drop their blossoms and possibly their fruit.
10.  Getting Them to Set Tomatoes
A lot of vegetable gardening is at the mercy of the weather, but sometimes we can help things along. There are two types of tomato plants. Determinate tomatoes reach a certain height and then set and ripen their fruit all at one time, making a large quantity available when you’re ready to make sauce. These tend to start flowering fairly early in the season and shouldn’t be a problem getting them to set fruit, unless weather conditions are unfavorable and cause a condition aptly named “blossom drop”.

Those big, juicy beefsteak tomatoes we all crave grow on indeterminate plants. By indeterminate, they mean the plants just keep growing. Tomatoes are vines, after all, and indeterminate tomatoes reach for the sun. They like to grow tall before they start setting fruits. If you’re impatient, pinching off the tips of the main stems in early summer will encourage them to start putting their energy into flowering. This is also a handy trick toward the end of the summer, when you want the last tomatoes to hurry up and ripen.


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Your Guide To Growing Carrots

Orange carrots are the traditional standard, but you can try planting white, yellow, crimson, or even purple-skinned carrots, too. More important than color, though, is choosing the right root size and shape to suit your soil. Carrot size and shape varies by type, and there are five major categories. Ball-type, Chantenay, and Danvers carrots have blocky shapes that can handle heavy or shallow soil, while slender Nantes and Imperator carrots need deep, loose soil. All types are available in early and late cultivars; many are disease-and crack-resistant. Some catalogs don’t describe carrots by type, but will point out which cultivars do better in heavy or poor soil.

We Like This: Art Pack Organic Seed Collection
Planting: To produce the best crop possible, double-dig your planting area or build up a raised bed. Loose, rock-free soil is the goal. If you have heavy soil, add plenty of mature compost.

Start sowing this cool-weather crop 3 weeks before the last expected frost; plant again every 2 to 3 weeks after that. Most cultivars take 70 to 80 days to mature, so sow your last planting 2 to 3 months before the first expected fall frost. In Zone 8 and warmer, plant carrots in fall or winter.

Rake the soil free of lumps and stones. Broadcast the tiny seeds, or for easier weeding, plant in rows. Put a pinch of about six seeds to the inch. They will take 1 to 3 weeks to sprout (they germinate more slowly in cold soil than in warm), so mix in a few quick-growing radish seeds to mark the rows. Cover with ¼ to ½ inch of screened compost, potting mix, or sand—a little more in warm, dry areas—to make it easier for the delicate seedlings to emerge. Water gently to avoid washing seeds away; keep the soil continuously moist for best germination.

Related: The Surprising Health Benefits of Purple Carrots

Growing guidelines: Thin to 1 inch apart when the tops are 2 inches high, and be thorough, because crowded carrots will produce crooked roots. Thin again 2 weeks later to 3 to 4 inches apart.

As the seedlings develop, gradually apply mulch to maintain an even moisture level and reduce weed problems. It’s best never to let young carrot plants dry out. However, if the soil dries out completely between waterings, gradually remoisten the bed over a period of days; a sudden drenching may cause the roots to split. Carrots’ feeder roots are easily damaged, so hand pull any weeds that push through the mulch, or cut them off just below the soil surface. Cover carrot crowns, which push up through the soil as they mature, with mulch or soil to prevent them from becoming green and bitter.

Related: Roasted Carrots With Mint And Honey

Problems: The biggest threats to carrots are four-footed critters such as deer, gophers, woodchucks, and rabbits. For controls, see the Animal Pests entry. Otherwise, carrots are fairly problem free.

Keep an eye out—particularly in the Northwest—for carrot rust flies, which look like small green houseflies with yellow heads and red eyes. Their eggs hatch into whitish larvae that burrow into roots. Infested roots turn dark red and the leaves black. Infestations usually occur in the early spring, so one solution is to delay planting until early summer, when damage is less likely. Or cover plants with a floating row cover to keep flies away.

Parsleyworms are green caterpillars with black stripes, white or yellow dots, and little orange horns. They feed on carrot foliage, but they are the larval stage of black swallowtail butterflies, so if you spot them on your carrots, try not to kill them. Instead, transfer them to carrot-family weeds such as Queen Anne’s lace, and watch for chrysalises to form, and later, beautiful butterflies!

The larvae of carrot weevils, found from the East Coast to Colorado, tunnel into carrot roots, especially in spring crops. Discourage grubs by rotating crops.

Nematodes, microscopic wormlike animals, make little knots along roots that result in stunted carrots. Rotate crops and apply plenty of compost, which is rich in predatory microorganisms. (For more controls, see Plant Diseases and Disorders.)

Leaf blight is the most widespread carrot disease. It starts on leaf margins, with white or yellow spots that turn brown and watery. If leaf blight is a problem in your area, plant resistant cultivars.

Hot, humid weather causes a bacterial disease called vegetable soft rot. Prevent it by rotating crops and keeping soil loose. The disease spreads in storage, so don’t store bruised carrots.

Carrot yellows disease causes pale leaves and formation of tufts of hairy roots on the developing carrots. The disease is spread by leafhoppers, so the best way to prevent the problem is by covering new plantings with row covers to block leafhoppers.

Related: How To Start Carrots Outdoors

Harvesting: Carrots become tastier as they grow. You can start harvesting as soon as the carrots are big enough to eat, or leave them all to mature for a single harvest. Dig your winter storage crop before the first frost on a day when the soil is moist but the air is dry. Since spading forks tend to bruise roots, hand-pull them; loosen the soil with a trowel before you pull. Watering the bed before harvesting softens the soil and makes pulling easier.

Carrots are excellent to eat both fresh and cooked. Note that purple-rooted varieties will lose their purple pigment if cooked in water, but tend to keep it when roasted.

To save harvested carrots for winter use, prepare them by twisting off the tops and removing excess soil, but don’t wash them. Layer undamaged roots (so they’re not touching) with damp sand or peat in boxes topped with straw. Or store your fall carrot crop right in the garden by mulching the bed with several inches of dry leaves or straw.


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Planting Rose Bushes – Step By Step Instructions To Plant A Rose Bush

Planting roses is a fun and enjoyable way to add beauty to your garden. While planting roses may seem intimidating for the beginning gardener, in fact, the process is very easy. Below you will find instructions on how to plant a rose bush.

Steps for Planting Roses

Start by digging a hole for planting the rose in. See if the depth is right for your area. By this I mean that in my area I need to plant the actual graft of the rose bush at least 2 inches below what will be my finished grade line to help with winter protection. In your area, you may not need to do that. In areas that get cold winters, plant the rose bush deeper to protect it against the cold. In warmer areas, plant the graft at the soil level.

The grafted area usually is easily seen and looks like a knot or bump out just above the root system start and up onto the rose bush trunk. Some rose bushes are own root and will not have a graft at all, as they are grown on their very own roots. The grafted roses are rose bushes where a hardier rootstock is grafted onto a rose bush that might not be so hardy if left on its own root system.

Okay, now that we have placed the rose bush in the planting hole, we can see if the hole is deep enough, too deep or too shallow. We can also see if the hole is big enough in diameter so as not to have to bunch the roots all up just to get it in the hole. If too deep, add some of the soil from the wheelbarrow and pack lightly into the bottom of the planting hole. Once we have things just right, we will form a little mound in the center of the planting hole using some of the soil from the wheelbarrow.

I put 1/3 cup of super phosphate or bone meal in with the soil in the bottom of the planting holes for the big rose bushes and ¼ cup in the holes for the miniature rose bushes. This gives their root systems some great nourishment to help them get well established.

As we place the rose bush into its planting hole, we drape the roots carefully over the mound. Slowly add soils from the wheelbarrow to the planting hole while supporting the rose bush with one hand. Tamp the soil lightly, as the planting hole is filled to support the rose bush.

At about the half full mark of the planting hole, I like to add 1/3 cup of Epsom Salts sprinkled all around the rose bush, working it lightly into the soil. Now we can fill the planting hole the rest of the way up, tamping it lightly as we go ending up by mounding the soil up onto the bush about 4 inches.

Tips for Care After Planting Rose Bushes

I take some of the amended soil and make a ring around each rose bush to act a bit like a bowl to help catch the rainwater or water from other watering sources for the new rose bush. Inspect the canes of the new rose bush and prune back any damage thereto. Pruning off an inch or two of the canes will help send a message to the rose bush that it is time for it to think about getting to growing.

Keep an eye on the soil moisture for the next several weeks — not keeping them too wet but moist. I use a moisture meter for this so as not to over water them. I sink the probe of the moisture meter down as far as it will go in three areas around the rose bush to make sure I get an accurate reading. These readings tell me if more watering is in order or not.

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How to Grow Grapes

Learn how to grow grapes in your own garden.

Discover how to grow grapes, and you’ll enjoy the amazing pleasure of picking a grape fresh off the vine and popping it into your mouth. When you bite into a grape that’s warm from the sun and bursting with juice, you’ll be hooked on growing grapes.
When we think of growing grapes, we dream of green or purple table grapes (the kind you eat fresh), jams and jellies, or perhaps a good wine grape, just in case you want to make your own Cabernet.
Knowing how to grow grapes successfully means selecting the right variety for your region. Grapes will grow in almost any part of the country (Zones 5-9), but you need to choose one that suits your local conditions of summer heat and winter cold. Your local extension office can suggest a specific variety, whether table or wine.
Grapes need full sun all day whatever the region you live in, and well-drained soil that’s free of weeds and grass — you don’t want any competition for water and nutrients. Just think of all those pictures you’ve seen of the Italian hillside vineyards — that’s what you’re aiming for.
Are you ready to grow more edibles? Check out our guide to vegetable gardening.
Planting Grapes
Plant grapes in early spring, when you’ll find bare-root varieties available. As you plant, cut the existing root back to 6 inches; this will encourage feeder roots to grow near the trunk. The root system of a grapevine can grow deep, so well-cultivated soil is best. You will probably need to do some pruning at planting time, too. Prune off all except for one stem, and then look for the buds on the stem; cut the stem back to only two buds. You’re on your way.
Feeding Grapes
The first two or three years, each early spring, apply a nitrogen fertilizer. You may not have to do this as the vines mature; it all depends on your observation. Do the vines look vigorous and healthy? Maybe you don’t need any fertilizer.
Pruning Grapes
Learn how to grow grapes trained on a vertical trellis or on an overhead arbor — you can decide which method fits into your garden better, but be sure to have the supports in place before you plant the vines. On a vertical trellis, branches from the previous year’s growth are selected to grow along the wires of the trellis or fence. The buds along the stems will flower and set fruit. Just like a fence, the trellis can have two or three levels, and the center stem is left to grow up to the next level.
If you’d like to see your grapes hanging down from overhead, you can train the vines that way, still shortening the branches and selecting just a few to secure to the metal or wood arbor.
The technique for how to grow grapes that are the most productive is good pruning practices. Pruning grapes and the training techniques may sound complicated, but they don’t need to be. Each dormant season, keep a few stems that grew last year, and train them on the wires or trellis. You’ll probably have to shorten them to fit your space. Prune everything else off. It’s shocking to see how much you will cut off, but your grapes will grow better because of it. You’ll see buds on the remaining growth: each of those buds will produce several shoots that grow leaves and flowers.
Vines can overproduce grapes. This isn’t a case of too much of a good thing, because overproduction leads to poor-quality fruit. Avoid this by thinning flower clusters that look misshapen and cutting off fruit clusters that develop poorly.
Don’t jump the gun on harvesting: grapes won’t improve in taste after you pick, so sample a grape or two occasionally until they are ripe. Then get busy picking!

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6 Golden Rules for Planning a Garden

Most successful gardens have foundation plants, trees and shrubs, and ground cover, along with perennials, annuals, and vines. Here’s how to choose what works best for you.

Planning your foundation plantings.Foundation plantings—the small trees and shrubs planted around the perimeter of the house—soften the straight lines of the building and ease the transition from the house to the flower bed and lawn. Choose trees and shrubs that look good year-round and won’t grow too large for the spot. Place them so they won’t grow into the house, damage the foundation with their roots, or block entrances and windows when they are mature. Evergreens work in cold climates, because they keep their foliage and color all year round; several yews in a row with a tall evergreen on the corner of the house is a timeless arrangement.Planning your trees.Before you go to the nursery, think about what you want—and don’t want—in a tree: height, width, form, bark texture and color, fruit or berries, flowers, when the tree drops its leaves and over what period of time, seasonal color and interest, disease problems, suitability to your climate, how much shade it will create when mature, pruning needs, as well as sun, soil, and water needs. A crabapple, for example, has gorgeous blossoms, but unless you choose a sterile variety, it will produce thousands of little fruits, which can litter walks and drives. Trees may be evergreen or deciduous. Evergreens are great for spots that need some green year round; deciduous trees offer more variety, changing their look with each season, and offering beautiful leaves, flowers, and fruit.Planning your shrubs.Entire gardens created with shrubs and shrub borders are low-maintenance alternatives to flower borders. When choosing a shrub, consider characteristics besides size—flower or berries; bloom time; leaf form and seasonal color; requirements for sun, soil, and water; and pruning needs. Like trees, shrubs are classified as either evergreen or deciduous. They can fill a landscape with flowers, fragrance, greenery, color, and form in a way that belies their size.Planning your ground covers.Ground covers require less maintenance than a lawn, so use these plants in areas that receive little traffic. Nearly any low-growing, spreading plant can be used for ground cover. The thicker and more vigorously a ground cover grows, the less you will need to weed the area and the less watering or other care it will need. When selecting a ground cover, consider height and spread; foliage color throughout the year; thickness of growth habit; disease resistance; soil, water, and sun needs. You will also need to find out how well the ground cover will coexist with other plants it might be near—some types of ground cover are so vigorous they choke out less aggressive plants. Top picks for ground cover include ajuga, hedera, hosta, lily-of-the valley, pachysandra, spreading juniper, and vinca.Planning your perennials and annuals.Perennials come back year after year, blooming for two weeks or even all season long, depending on the variety. They are more expensive initially, but save money over time. Annuals die after one year. They are less expensive than perennials initially, but must be replaced each year. A few begin blooming in late winter or early spring, but most bloom in mid-to late spring and provide color for months. A good local nursery will feature those that are easiest to grow in your region, but ask about sun, soil, and water requirements; how long it blooms; what the flower looks like; and any diseases or pests that threaten it. When choosing a perennial, also ask if the plant dies back in cold weather or, if not, what the foliage looks like throughout the year.Planning your vines.Vines add greenery or color to create vertical interest in your garden, and use little ground space. They’re also useful in creating privacy, hiding eyesores, and making the most of a small garden. Whether you choose an annual or perennial vine, pay attention to how it will attach itself to its support. Some vines (such as morning glories, wisteria, honeysuckle) twine, others (clematis, grapes, most sweet peas) send out tendrils. Still others (such as trumpet creeper, ivies, climbing hydrangea) cling with “holdfasts” or tiny suction cups. The clinging types are somewhat permanent and are suitable only for brick, stone, and other surfaces that are virtually maintenance-free. Some vines, such as large-flowered clematis, take two or three years to attain just six to ten feet. Others, such as wisteria, grow that much in a year, reaching 40 feet or more and toppling all but the sturdiest supports.

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How Much Water Do Vegetables Need?

A good general guideline is an inch of water per week, either by rain or watering; in arid climates, it is double that. In hot weather, vegetables need even more water, up to about ½ inch per week extra for every 10 degrees that the average temperature is above 60 degrees.
By definition, the average temperature is the daytime high plus nighttime low, divided by 2. So, if the high is 95 and the low is 73, the average is 92 + 73, divided by 2. The answer is 82.5. In this case, the garden needs at least another inch of water. This explains why most vegetable gardeners in hot climates just laugh at the “1 inch of water per week” recommendation. That simply doesn’t work in really hot weather for squash, eggplant, tomatoes, and other crops that need lots of water and have big leaves that wilt easily.
You can measure an inch of water by putting a rain gauge or even a plastic container or other container under your sprinkler, soaker, drip, or other watering system. You’ve applied an inch of water when the vessel collects water an inch deep.

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7 tips for 'Garden Warfare 2', whether you're undead or a vegetable

1. Try Super Brainz or Kernel Corn first
For brand-new players who aren’t sure where to start among the new characters, Super Brainz is probably the most versatile zombie.The dual ranged and melee main attacks are both forgiving in terms of accuracy, and the vortex special ability is a powerful way to get outof a tight corner.

On the plant side, Kernel Corn is the most classic of the newcharacters, an all-around solid pick. Like Super Brainz, it has apowerful attack for escaping mobs of baddies. Add extra firepowerfrom the missiles or the butter airstrike, and you have strong toolsto help press the advantage in combat.
As you find your footing, though, each of the other characters have somepowerful options. Citron is hard to kill and Rose can manage thebattlefield with crowd control. The Imp’s small size makes it atricky moving target while Captain Dreadbeard can strike from afar.

2. Don’t forget alternate abilities
The original Garden Warfare took its time rolling out special attacks. You had to unlock all three for each class and got a video focused on the new skill. In this sequel, there is a splashy video that shows all three special skills, but not how to control or execute them. It’s best to find a chill game mode to experiment with your attacks and how they can complement each other.

Also, the game doesn’t explain that some abilities have additional controls or power-ups. For instance, two of the new zombie classes have different main attacks depending on whether they’re zoomed in or not. That means Super Brainz and Captain Dreadbeard can throw down at close and long range — just decide whether or not to look down your scope. Citron also has additional controls for its ball mode, allowing for mobility and damage. Even though the action can get chaotic mid-game, sneak a peak at the controls in the lower right corner of your HUD to make sure you know all the skills at your command at any given time.

3. Infinite ammo still has a cooldown
Some of your hero options have main attacks with infinite ammo. If that weapon is any type of gun, though, “infinite” does still have some restrictions. Both Citron’s orange beam and the heroic beam for Super Brainz will overheat if you sit on the trigger for too long. So even though you don’t need to reload, you’ll still need to take pauses.Super Brainz has unlimited punches for his melee heroic fists, but those attacks have pacing built in. It’s a triple-hit that ends on a big uppercut. The zombie takes a quick breather before he can continue pummelling, even if you’re still pressing the trigger.Plan accordingly.

4. Stickers (and coins) are your friends
Given the casual origins of the mobile Plants vs.Zombies game, one might assume that a mechanic of coinsand stickers are just cosmetic. Think again. The stickers, boughtwith in-game coins, include a range of content that can have a bigimpact on your gameplay options.

First, they contain the small minions that help you out inGraveyard Ops or Garden Ops missions, as well as the central flagcontrol game. Those can offer a big boost, especially when you’replaying solo. Second, they have alternate costume pieces for each ofthe heroes. Again, these aren’t just for show. These alternateidentities can include different weapons and skill upgrades. Forinstance, you can turn Rose’s attacks into frosty, slowing ones, orCaptain Dreadbeard can become a more damaging fire attacker. Besideslooking cool, these customizations can give you a little extra edgein the multiplayer matches.

Just about any activity in the game can reward you with coins. So keep playing and keep up with buying packs.

5. Check the Quest Board regularly
Garden Warfare 2 puts more responsibility onplayers to manage their progress through the levels than itspredecessor. The good news is that with this model, you can level upquickly by choosing the quests that match the characters and gamemodes you enjoy the most. Those quests offer experience mutipliersand stars, an in-game currency for unlocking special reward chests.

The flip side of that player agency is that you’re in charge ofkeeping your quest log full. You can have as many as seven activequests at any time. More completed quests means faster leveling andmore access to chests.

6. Explore and play the main map
Rather than spending time in lots of menus, GardenWarfare 2 has created an open-ended main map where playerscan direct their own session. With hubs for the solo quests,character selection, splitscreen, multiplayer and more, there’splenty to explore and play in the main areas for the zombies andplants.

But don’t forget to wander outside the strongholds. The flagcontrol game at the center is a great way to test your skills andearn coins. Plus you may find chests or quests hidden around the map.These can offer big rewards fof coins or stickers, which, as we’veexplained, further your characters’ awesomeness.

7. Read the in-game tips
Finally, the in-game tips appear at the bottom of the screenduring loading. Some of them just emphasize the universe’s oddballsense of taco- and brain-fueled humor, but others have good insightsto help your game strategy. For instance, did you know that the Imp’smech is more susceptible to Citron’s shock attack? Stay alert inthe down time and you may just learn something valuable.  


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