Use Plastic Mulch For Earlier Tomatoes And Melons

There’s only one thing better than homegrown vine-ripened tomatoes and melons. That’s enjoying them sooner. There’s an easy and efficient way to coax tomatoes, cantaloupe, watermelon, peppers and all heat-loving vegetables to bear earlier: use clear plastic mulch to warm the soil. I first heard of the technique about 45 years ago, as area universities…
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How To Tell If Lawns Need Power Raking

When I was a kid, ‘power raking’ just meant you were putting a little more muscle into the annual spring task. A good raking after the lawn has dried sufficiently always perks it up. How do we know if a few rounds with a leaf rake are sufficient, or if we’re supposed to call in…
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How To Choose The Best Grass Seed For Northern Lawns

How do you know which grass seed to buy when you’re standing in the lawncare aisle of the hardware store or garden center? There’s usually a dizzying array of packages with headlines like Sunny Mix, Shaded Lawns, Bluegrass Mix, Fast Growing, Playground Mix, etc. And there’s a wide variety of prices, some expensive, some cheap.…
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Crabgrass Prevention Is All About Timing

Wide-bladed weedy grasses are an irritation to homeowners who enjoy a uniform, crisp-looking lawn. Crabgrass is a weedy species, whose only redeeming quality is that it’s an annual grass, meaning it must grow from seeds each spring, rather than having a perennial root system that survives winter, as quackgrass does. Crabgrass sprouts each spring from…
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Internet’s Corn Meal Weed Control Story Debunked

There’s a story circulating the internet and being shared on multiple Facebook pages promoting cornmeal for weed control in gardens, lawns and flowerbeds. It’s highly deceptive and can lead to widespread disappointment. It started well enough when Iowa State University innocently discovered in 1991 that corn gluten meal (abbreviated CGM), which is a byproduct of…
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