The Best-Tasting Squash I’ve Ever Grown

Squash and I go way back. About 50 years ago I remember helping my Mom pick Buttercup squash after fall frosts, a variety that remained her favorite, despite our trying most of the other types during my teenage gardening years. As a young college student I worked summers for the NDSU squash breeder and in…
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Balsam: Heirloom Annual Worth New Popularity

I haven’t planted balsam, the pretty Victorian-era annual, since 1970 or possibly 1971, but I can still visualize the tidy flowers shaped like little roses or camellias. I wasn’t alone in my admiration of balsam, botanically known as Impatiens balsamina, a relative of the more common impatiens. Thomas Jefferson was a huge fan, and planted…
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Can We Reuse The Potting Mix In Outdoor Containers?

About this time every year, the melting snow reveals our last year’s flower pots and planters tucked away alongside the porch, still filled with last year’s soil. No, I wasn’t too lazy or busy to dump them last fall; we’ve found that reusing potting soil is very successful, and saves money that could be spent…
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Adding Drainage Layer Inside Pot Is Dangerous

I truly appreciate old-time gardening wisdom. It’s invaluable. Time-honored, solid, quiet gardening techniques are what turns thumbs green, and are far more important than hot new trends and flashy headlines. Very few old-time gardening ways need updating. But one of the old practices that must stop is the habit of putting rocks, stones, gravel and…
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Always Pre-Moisten Potting And Seeding Mixes

  I like the modern potting and seeding mixes – the high quality types from Miracle Gro, Burpee, or the custom blends from locally owned garden centers. When I was younger, we used to make our own mixes, blending one part soil, one part peat moss, and one part aggregate (sand, perlite, or vermiculite.) But…
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