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Tales from a Plant Addict

Fun (& a few serious) facts, tips and tricks for every gardener, new and old.

Hardy Kiwifruit

My husband jokes with me about our yard being "one giant experiment". We have planted a lot of different plants over the years, both ornamental and edible. We have had a lot of spectacular successes and failures in each category. As time goes on we have found some new favorites in the edible category. One of those is a hardy kiwifruit, Actinidia kolomikta . I love kiwifruit so the promi...

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Homegrown Tomatoes

Any tomato lover can relate to the statement that nothing quite matches the taste of a homegrown tomato. The factors that contribute to that delicious flavor may surprise you—or at least make you appreciate great tasting tomatoes even more! Tomatoes will not ripen properly in daytime high temperatures above about 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Researcher's evidence suggests that night temperatu...

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In my own limited experience, it seems like there is no middle ground in fondness for eggplant. People either seem to love it or hate it, with no in between. I don't remember ever eating it growing up. I recall my mom saying she didn't really like it, and it took a long time to prepare, so there was never any eggplant served in the Schultz house. My first taste of eggplant was about 13...

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This time of year I am on the lookout for plants that still look good in the garden. Most plants look pretty tired and haggard by the time August rolls around. Adding in some plants that are starting to bloom or still blooming by late summer breathes some life into a tired landscape. If you're looking for a real workhorse of a plant for your perennial garden, consider Coreopsis...

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It seems like whenever I travel outside of our Zone 5 climate, I get a case of what some people call "zone envy". There's always a plant or two at my destination that would look perfect in my garden back home, and further research usually reveals the disappointing news that the plants I'm admiring will only survive winters much warmer than central Illinois. While on our honeymoon years...

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Night garden smaller

Night Gardening

Those first few spring days in the garden are deceiving-- we happily work all day in the garden, grateful for the warmth of the sun after a long cold winter. Fast forward a few months, and the thought of working in the sun all day in August seems like cruel and unusual punishment. That's where the idea of night, or moonlight gardening comes in. During the dog days of summer, many of us...

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small bell pepper

Chile Peppers

Language is a funny thing. Mention chile peppers, and many people assume you are talking about some burning hot pepper that only a mouth made of steel can tolerate. Technically speaking, the term "chile" includes all the fruits we call peppers, even those that are not considered "hot", like bell and banana peppers. Apparently the confusion stems from Christopher Columbus, who assumed th...

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