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Tales from a Plant Addict

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


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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Picking the first zucchini is always pretty exciting, at least in our garden. But a few weeks into zucchini season, this excitement will wane a bit… ok maybe a lot. I've learned from a young age that more than one or two plants will produce far more zucchini than any family can reasonably consume. One of my early gardening memories was the summer before I entered the third grade. I stro...

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Seedless Watermelon

While you celebrate the birth of our great nation this 4 th of July weekend, you may ponder this eternal question while enjoying a delicious slice of watermelon -- if seedless watermelons have no seed, where do you get the seed to plant it? Japanese plant breeders developed the first seedless watermelons over fifty years ago. Understanding the process requires basic knowledge...

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