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A Multi-Pronged Approach to Weed Management

Cirsium vulgare or Bull thistle, an invasive weed
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Weed control is one of the fundamental challenges for organic gardeners, and prevention and early interception of weed flushes will be your best strategies. It’s important to remember that there is no silver bullet – even if you do use herbicides, it is still better to combine a variety of approaches to weed management. Look [...]

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The Herb Arsenal: Grow Your Own Pesticides

Herbs as Pesticides
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Experimenting with herbs can unearth your creative side, getting you cooking, planting, and healing in new ways. A variety of herbs in your garden serves many needs – culinary, medicinal, aesthetic, aromatic, and even natural pest deterrents. The strong scents of many common herbs can discourage insect and rodent pests when planted as companions to [...]

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The Scoop on Seeds for the Upcoming Season

Seeds Aplenty: Photo credit, USDA Agricultural Research Service.
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Selecting seeds for the upcoming growing season isn’t just about figuring out what to plant. It’s knowing your climate, soil, sunlight, and how different crop varieties measure up to the specifics of your locale. Start by knowing where you fall on the USDA map of plant hardiness zones, since much seed information (on seed packets [...]

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Soil Freezing and Pesky Bacteria: The Soil Process in Winter

Trichoderma Harzianum
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Sure, your garden looks lifeless, brown and less than appealing in the winter months, but what’s really going in there? The truth is, there are always life and life-related activities underway below the surface. No soil process stops completely during the winter, but may slow dramatically, as many creatures go dormant and put their busy [...]

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For the Gardener: A Guide to Planting Lettuce in Winter

Winter Salad. Photo courtesy of the BBC
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It’s easy to forget that delicate lettuce, seemingly so removed from the thick, tough leaves of kale or chard or the fibrous, rubbery anatomy of cruciferous vegetables, is a cool weather crop. Lettuce’s tender leaves, blink-of-an-eye shelf life, and shallow roots belie its vigor and hardiness (and, in many cases, high nutritional quality). With a [...]

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A Friendly Guide to Winter Mulching

Kale with Straw Mulch, Courtesy Gardening After Five
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Perennial plants generally have many of their own defenses to help see them through harsh weather, and are often used to cold spells and somewhat variable conditions. You can get them jump started, however, by winterizing your garden with a layer of mulch. In general, ground should have a covering layer around crops or wherever [...]

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Tips and Techniques to Keep Your Garden in Tip-Top Shape through the Chilly Winter Months

Winter Gardening, Photo courtesy The Maine Blog
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When it comes to late season harvests, we often think of vegetable farmers stretching the growing season with a plethora of greenhouses or high tunnels, heaters, row upon row of frost-resistant floating row covers, and other inputs geared toward mass production. In a sense, however, we small-scale gardeners have all these techniques at our fingertips [...]

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