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Tales from a Plant Addict

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

Seed Saving

One of the first "gardening lessons" I remember as a young girl was saving seed from marigolds. I remember my mom showing me how to pick the flowers that were dead and dried on the plant and put them in a brown lunch sack. I also remember that brown lunch sack sat in a cabinet in our basement, and if you wanted to plant marigolds in the spring, you took some of the dried flowers from th...

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Caryopteris

It seems like this time of year our gardens are just as exhausted in the heat as we are. Some might say their garden just looks "tired out". We've waited in anticipation for spring and summer's colorful displays, and by August sometimes plants are looking a bit stagnant and worn. One way to reinvigorate the late summer garden is by using later-flowering plants, those that don't start to...

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Saddleback Caterpillar

If asked to name a stinging insect, most people would give answers like bee, wasp, or hornet. A Master Gardener came to me this week with a story of his neighbor that had encountered a Saddleback caterpillar, which has the ability to "sting". I had never heard of a Saddleback caterpillar. A quick search on the internet revealed that I certainly would have remembered it if I had seen it!...

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Plants & the Weather

The Master Gardener Help Desk at the Extension office is always busy this time of year. Calls come in year round, but spring and summer are always the busiest months. It's not unusual to see the same problem show up again and again depending on the time of year. For example, Japanese Beetle questions typically begin in late June, and Asian Lady Beetle questions usually start in the fall as the...

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Common Tomato Problems

  Home vegetable gardening continues its rise in popularity. A survey by the National Gardening Association showed a 19% increase in home vegetable gardening from 2008 to 2009. Tomatoes are a great beginner plant for those new to gardening, and offer incredible diversity in shape, size, color and flavor for the seasoned gardener looking for variety.   At some point, eve...

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