STARTING TOMATOES FROM SEED

The tomato seeds will germinate more effectively if you have a heat mat under the cups or trays. This will warm the soil with dependable heat, allowing the seedlings to germinate more quickly and grow out more quickly. Just be sure to get a thermostat with the mats so you can adjust the temperature so you don’t end up cooking your seeds.

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Laying Out the Garden the Square Foot Way

The backbone of the garden is the one-foot square. You take four of these one-foot squares and put them together in a grid. Separating these squares are paths, about a foot or two wide, so you don’t walk on the soil inside the four-foot areas. (Soil compaction is bad news in the garden. I lay board walkways in the garden so I can keep from mashing the soil. A light, airy soil is very good for plants.)

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WHAT PLANT TAGS ACTUALLY MEAN

Plant tags make all kinds of crazy claims. But do you know what the truth is? The problem with plant tags is that the people who write them up are not allowed to tell the unvarnished truth about the plant, even if the plant is a real dog. If they do speak, highly suspicious things happen to them.

I was able to wrest a few secrets out of one such writer before she met her doom in a freak rose accident. Here’s a primer on what the plant tag says … and what it actually means.

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Garden Design … And Creativity (Spoiler: You already have it)

When I was reading my usual pile of articles and books while researching this topic, I read about some pretentious garden writer who said, of gardens, that a real work of art is not something that could be copied or analyzed. Let me tell you all the ways this is pure bull.

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Why Are Perennials Hard to Beat?

“I planted some dahlia tubers and got some fascinating, gigantic flowers. A perennial hibiscus startled me with magenta flowers as big as dinner plates. Grandma Mary wanted to know what these plants were! And she is wise in all things plant, so that’s saying something.”

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Planning the Vegetable Garden

It’s excitement time when you grab your stacks of seed catalogs and your pencils and your big sheets of paper (or, for those of you who are savvy enough to be reading this book on a Kindle or Nook, your tablet with a landscaping app). Planning the vegetable garden is when you take all those bright ideas dancing in your head and try to put them on paper (or on a screen).

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