Spring Garden Tips
Grow Your Own and Save

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grow your own vegetables, planting a garden Add one or more tomatoes, peppers or eggplants to your existing gardens or plant in a pot. The colorful fruits can add beauty to any garden and a tomato in your flower bed is sure to draw a bit of attention. Train vines crops like pole beans, cucumbers, melons and squash up a fence, trellis or fancy obelisk. Use a cloth sling to support heavy fruit as it develops.

Include greens like lettuce, and spinach and arugula in spring and fall plantings. Mix in a few pansies, they’re edible too, and other flowers for added eye appeal. And, add a bit of crunch and nutrition to your diet with carrots, radishes, beets and other root vegetables.

And don’t forget the herbs. Their color and texture are perfect additions to flower beds and container plantings. Use them fresh, dry for winter and use a few to create gifts for friends and family.

A bit more information: Preserve some of your favorite garden herbs to use throughout the year. Harvest herbs just before they flower for the most intense flavor, though anytime will work. Lightly rinse to remove any soil and remove any dead or damaged leaves. Bundle several stems together and hang upside down to dry. Place inside a paper bag to catch any leaves or stems that drop during the drying process. Or dry small quantities in the microwave. Place one to two cups of fresh herbs between microwave safe paper towels. Microwave on high for 2 to 4 minutes or until dry. Check to make sure you do not overcook. Store dried herbs in an airtight container until ready to use.

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Growing Onions

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Growing Potatoes

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Growing Potatoes in the Garden or Container

What is white, red or yellow, can be eaten fresh, fried or even raw and is one of the most important staples of the human diet? If you guessed potato, you are right.

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Harvesting Vegetables and Melons

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Hot Pepper Myths

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Hot Peppers

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Ketchup 'n Fries Tomato-Potato Plant for the Garden

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Love Apples for Valentine's Day

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Low Maintenance - Big Impact Perennials

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Make Gardening a Family Affair

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Making Flavored Vinegars

Liven up your meals and extend your garden enjoyment with flavored vinegars.

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Managing Picnic Beetles

Eat up and clean up to keep those little black beetles from enjoying your harvest.

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Managing Picnic Beetles

Don't share the harvest with picnic beetles this summer. Regular harvesting and sanitation can help reduce problems with this garden pest.

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Managing the Heat of Hot Peppers

Turn down the heat on those hot peppers with proper selection and preparation.

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Maximize Your Sweet Corn Harvest

Nothing beats fresh from the garden corn on the cob. But this is one vegetable that takes up a lot of space for a small harvest. Each plant usually produces just one ear of corn. A healthy pest free plant may produce two. So get the most out of your harvest with proper planting and care.

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May is National Physical Fitness Month: Get the Kids Outdoors

Celebrate National Physical Fitness Month this May by getting the whole family out into the garden. It is a great way to stretch, increase muscle strength, reduce stress and improve your mood. And if your garden includes some vegetables you will be increasing your health and fitness with nutritious and flavorful homegrown produce.

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Mexican Mint Marigold

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Midseason Fertilization for Vegetable Gardens

Increase this season's harvest with a midseason fertilization.

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More Herbs, Less Salt Day (August 29)

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National Acorn Squash Day

Bake it, broil it, microwave it or stuff it– acorn squash that is. And if you didn't grow your own, visit the Farmer's Market and buy it.

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National Acorn Squash Day

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National Bloody Mary Day - Ode to Lovage

January 1st is National Bloody Mary Day. As you start the New Year consider growing all the ingredients, including the straw, in this year's garden.

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National Garden Bureau Declares 2016 to be the Year of the Carrot

Once grown for medicinal purposes, we now consider carrots a tasty part of our diet. And in celebration of this nutritional vegetable the National Garden Bureau has declared 2016 The Year of the Carrot.

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National Gardening Association - National Garden Month

Join the National Gardening Association and celebrate the joys and benefits of gardening this month – National Garden Month.

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National Gardening Exercise Day

It's National Gardening Exercise Day, so get out and workout in your garden today!

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National Pear Month

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National Pumpkin Month

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National Zucchini Day

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No Tomatoes? Check the Weather

No fruit on your tomato plants? Blame it on the weather. Tomatoes thrive in warm sunny conditions; but temperature extremes can prevent otherwise healthy plants from setting fruit.

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Nutritious and Delicious Peppers

They're not just pretty and delicious, peppers can help strengthen your bones, fight cancer and reduce inflammation.

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October Birth Flower - Calendula

An edible beauty serves as the birth flower for those born in October. The yellow and orange blooms of calendulas were considered sacred by some and magical by other cultures of the past. And many used them for dyes, insect repellents and medicinal remedies.

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Orienting the Rows in Your Veggie Garden

North to south, east to west – does it matter how you orient the rows in your garden?

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Ornamental Cabbage and Kale

Ornamental cabbage and kale are popular cool season annuals. Their colorful leaves brighten the fall and for some, the winter landscape. But what's the real difference between these two.

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Outdoor Vegetable Cleaning Station

Don’t let your garden soil end up in the kitchen. Instead create a produce cleaning station outside near the garden.

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Pansy Wreath

Pansies are a favorite cool season flower. Try displaying them in a new and different way by creating a living wreath of pansies.

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Picking Apples & Pears

Whether you grew them yourself or visited a Pick-Your–Own farm, get the best flavor from your apples, pears and plums by harvesting them at the right time.

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Plan and Plant a Row for the Hungry

Make a difference one row of vegetables at a time.

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Plan and Plant Now for a Bountiful Fall Harvest

Now is the time to plan and plant vegetables for a bountiful fall harvest.

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Planning a Vegetable Garden for Harvest and Preserving

Nothing beats the flavor of fresh produce, but canning, freezing and drying can help extend your enjoyment throughout the year.

Take some time to plan a garden that will provide you and your family with fresh produce and enough extra to preserve as needed or desired.

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Plant a Gift for Dad this Father's Day

Plant a gift for dad this Father’s Day and give a gift he can enjoy all season.

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Plant a Row for the Hungry in Your Community

Gardeners are some of the most generous people I know. They love to share their ideas, passion for gardening and of course produce. So when you are overwhelmed with tomatoes, peppers, greens and zucchini, contact a nearby food pantry or meal program that can get these vegetables to people in need.

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Plant Broccoli, Kale and More Now for Fall Harvest

Plant broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, collards, kohlrabi and other cool season crops now, for a fall harvest.

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Planting a Garden...Double Up for a Bigger Harvest

Double your harvest without increasing your garden space. Try planting short season vegetables like lettuce, radishes and beets between long season vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, okra, cabbage, and broccoli. When the short season veggies are ready to harvest, the longer season larger vegetables will need the space.

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Planting a Garden...Jump Start the Growing Season

Don’t let cold soil and late spring frost delay the start to your garden season.

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Planting and Training Cucumbers, Squash and Melons

The soil has finally warmed and it is time to get pumpkins, melons, squash and cucumbers in the ground.

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Planting Garlic

Lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, fight heart disease, boost your immune system, and add a bit of flavor to your meals by growing your own garlic.

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Poor Fruiting on Cucumber, Squash and Other Vine Crops

Your plants look great, loaded with healthy leaves and flowers, but there is still no fruit. This is a common complaint I hear from gardeners growing squash, cucumbers and other vine crops.

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Poor Garden Harvest

Blame it on the weather. This could be one cause for a poor garden harvest.

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Poor Melon Harvest - Few and Tasteless Fruit

It's not your fault. Blame it on the weather when your muskmelon harvest is small or the fruit is tasteless.

You'll notice muskmelons lack the usual sweet flavor when the weather is dark and cloudy. Overwatering or excess rainfall as the melons ripen also dilutes the sweet flavor.

mgm audio 080316 poor melon harvestPoor pollination explains the lack of fruit. The first set of flowers are all male. The second set are male and female so pollination and fertilization can occur for fruit to develop. Cold rain and cloudy conditions can reduce pollination. Make sure to grow bee friendly plants in your landscape.

Very hot weather and drought can also prevent fruit development. Be sure to water plants thoroughly when the top few inches of soil are crumbly and slightly moist. Mulch with straw, shredded leaves or other organic matter to conserve moisture and suppress weeds.

A bit more information: Water properly throughout the season, manage weeds and mulch the soil. Keeping plants healthy reduces the risk of diseases that can also impact the fruit's flavor.

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Prepare Garden Soil Now for Next Season

Now is the perfect time to start preparing for next season's garden. As you finish harvesting a garden bed start preparing for the season ahead.

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Preserving and Sharing Your Harvest

Are you like me and always squeeze in that extra tomato plant, another row of beans or that one left over pepper plant? It seemed like a good idea at the time. But now you have more produce than you need.

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Preserving the Asparagus Harvest

Preserve the flavor and nutrition of asparagus to enjoy year round.

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Prevent Problems in Your Vegetable Garden

Try a bit of preventative care in this year’s garden. You’ll increase your landscape’s beauty and productivity with less work on your part.

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Pruning Currants and Gooseberries

Many gardeners are growing their own fruits and vegetables, including some traditional favorites like currants and gooseberries. Proper pruning will keep these plants looking good and productive.

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Pruning Fruit Trees

Increase your harvest with proper pruning.

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Pruning Grapes

Tame overgrown grape plants down to a manageable and more productive size.

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Pruning Perennials

Tame those unruly perennials with a little early season pruning.

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Pruning Raspberries

Prune raspberries in winter to increase your harvest and reduce pest problems.

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Quick and Easy Fall/Thanksgiving Centerpiece

Get the family involved and look for fun, quick and easy ideas for decorating your Thanksgiving or fall dinner table.

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Relay Planting for Bigger Harvest

Plan for a season long harvest of corn, beans and other vegetables with relay planting!

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Reseeding Annuals

Tight budgets or just a sense of wonder may have you looking for annuals that readily reseed in the garden.

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Rhubarb

Grow the main ingredient for a classic, delicious, and family favorite – rhubarb pie.

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Sage, a Holiday Herbal Favorite

When you contemplate a winter holiday meal, stuffing seasoned with sage may be on the menu. This herb has long been used for culinary and medicinal purposes.

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Save Money and Still Have a Big Tomato Harvest

Whether you have a large or small planting budget, the more you save on each project means the more projects you can do.

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Save Money by Starting Plants from Seed Directly in the Garden

Maximize your plant budget and enjoyment by starting plants from seeds right in the garden.

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Saving Heirloom Tomato Seeds

Be a part of history and save money when planting next year’s garden. Collect and save the seeds from your favorite heirloom tomatoes this fall.

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Saving Heirloom Tomato Seeds

Be a part of history and save money when planting next year’s garden. Collect and save the seeds from your favorite heirloom tomatoes this fall.

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Saving Leftover Seeds for Next Season

Take a break and prepare for next season by organizing your left over and partially filled seed packets.

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Scarlet Runner Bean: Colorful, Edible with Great Hummingbird Appeal

Add some color and hummingbird appeal to your garden and containers with scarlet runner bean.

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Sealed Lid Seed Sprouting

Increase seed starting success and fun with the sealed lid method my friend and horticulturist Bob Polomski learned from his father.

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Shared Border

Get rid of the fence dividing yours and your neighbors’ yards. Instead create a beautiful garden you both can enjoy.

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Simple Strategies for Planting Small Seeds

Do you have trouble properly spacing the small seeds of carrots, radishes or lettuce? It's easy to end up with half the package in one short row. This is a waste of seed and time spent thinning.

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Sneak Some Zucchini on Your Neighbor's Porch Night

Once again it's time to celebrate Sneak Some Zucchini on Your Neighbor's Porch Night. August 8th, National Zucchini Day, inspired Pennsylvania gardeners Tom and Ruth Roy to encourage gardeners to share their excess zucchini with neighbors.

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Space and Time Saving Garden Technique

Create a raised bed, compost and rotate your garden crops in one space using this convenient garden technique.

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Space Saving Vegetable Gardening Tips

Don’t panic if your garden plans are bigger than the available planting space. I have some space saving techniques that can help you get the most out of your landscape.

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Speed Up Your Tomato Harvest

Be the first in your neighborhood to harvest a red ripe tomato from your garden this summer.

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Spots, Stripes and Unusual Squash Fruit

Spotted acorn squash, striped zucchini and warty pumpkins are sometimes found on volunteer plants growing in gardens and compost piles. No need to worry, most are edible but not always as tasty as the original variety.

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Spring Container Gardens

Add a bit of color and fragrance to your entryway with a spring container garden.

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Squash Vine Borer

All your hard work is paying off with an abundant harvest. Then, one day you notice your squash plants are wilted and near death.

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Still Time to Plant Vegetables - Late Additions to the Garden

Don’t let the calendar stop you from gardening. There is still time to plant vegetables for you and your family to enjoy.

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Storing and Preserving Herbs

Preserve the flavor and zest of herbs with proper storage and preservation.

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Storing Squash for Winter

Continue enjoying homegrown flavor of squash throughout much of the winter.

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Sustainable, Low Maintenance Keyhole Gardening

Increase garden productivity while decreasing water and fertilizer needs with keyhole gardening.

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Sweet and Tasty Homegrown Carrots

Grow the best crop of carrots yet with proper selection, timing and care.

Select carrot varieties known for their sweet flavor. Dantes, Little finger, Short 'n Sweet, Sweetness, and Tendersweet are just a few to consider.

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Sweeten Your Garden and Meals - Stevia

Grow your own natural sweetener. Use leaves of the Stevia plant to sweeten soups, sauces, or beverages.

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Take a Walk in the Park Day

Improve your family’s health and support your local park by celebrating Take a Walk in the Park Day.

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Take Cuttings Now to Overwinter Annuals

It’s never too early to start preparing for winter. Start taking cuttings from annuals and herbs you want to overwinter indoors. Your garden plants are healthier and will root faster now than they will later in the season.

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The First Day of Winter

Celebrate the first day of winter with a walk around the neighborhood or nearby botanical garden. It’s a great way to walk off a few of those holiday calories and plan for added winter interest in your landscape.

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The Last of the Tomatoes

Fall has many of us scrambling to protect plants from frost, move tropicals indoors or finish harvesting our vegetables. Be sure you collect a few green tomatoes to ripen indoors.

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Three Sisters Planting Tradition

Try a Native American tradition of planting corn, squash and beans - the three sisters’ method - together in your garden this year.

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Time Vegetable Plantings for Greater Success

It's all in the timing and that goes for planting vegetables.

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Tomato Growing Tips

Space challenged gardeners can grow tomatoes in containers. A 3 to 5 gallon pot is perfect for a single tomato plant skirted by a few flowers or herbs. Or try mixing a few tomatoes in with your shrubs and flowers.

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Tomato Troubles

You waited all season for that first red ripe tomato only to discover less-than-perfect fruit. But don’t worry, you can still have a great harvest and improve things for next season.

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Trailing/Spreading Pansies

Add some instant color to your fall garden with pansies.

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Try Black-Eyed Peas and Cabbage This New Year

Start the New Year with a good luck meal of black-eyed peas and cabbage.

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Use Row Cover for Chemical-Free Insect Control

Prevent insect damage on your vegetables with the help of floating row covers. These spun fabrics let air, light and water through, but prevent many insects from reaching the plants.

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Vanilla Orchid Vine

You may be surprised to discover that one of the most popular flavors in the world, vanilla, comes from an orchid.

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Vines and Groundcovers for Fall Interest

Add a bit of color and fragrance to your fall garden with groundcovers and vines.

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Visit a Farmer's Market and Plan Your Garden

Farmers Markets are on the rise as more and more of us are looking for locally grown fresh produce. You may be surprised to find one or more popping up near your home.

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Visit a Park and Improve Your Mood

Gather family and friends and head out to a nearby park to celebrate holidays, family events or just to relax and escape the stress of everyday life.

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Waterwise Vegetable Gardening

You can grow garden fresh produce while conserving water and limiting the time spent watering.

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What's On My Plate Day: Grow Nutritional Vegetables

Celebrate “What’s on my Plate Day” and surprise your family with a plate full of nutritious vegetables. Serve ‘em cooked up as ratatouille, chopped and mixed in a stir-fry or tossed in a tasty salad.

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Year of the Watermelon

The National Garden Bureau has declared 2013 the Year of the Watermelon.

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You Can Plant Cucumbers Next to Pumpkins

The old adage "don't plant your cucumbers next to your pumpkins" is not true. You can plant pumpkins next to other squash, melons and cucumbers.

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