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251. Coleus profit by being pinched off vertically, to encourage horizontal growth, giving you a bushier, fuller plant, and to keep them from flowering.

252. Increase your gardening space and soften the harsh lines of deck railings by attaching planter boxes to the edge: they'll be easy to reach and to enjoy. Try this Coronado Planter Box that is self-watering.

253. Bell peppers and other sweet peppers can be used at any size. For the best flavor, however, let them stay on the plant until they reach their mature size and color. Store in the refrigerator.

254. To speed the decay of a tree stump, drill holes in the stump, deep, big, and close to the edge. Fill the holes with any kind of sugar , such as white, molasses, etc. Buttermilk also works. Wet thoroughly, cover with a 6" to 12" layer of mulch.

255. The trunk of a tree needs a dry environment. Position plantings 3' or 4' from the trunk of a large shade tree. Try to match the plants and the tree in terms of water requirements. Don't add more than an inch or two of soil.

256. Even on the hottest, driest days, potted plants and hanging baskets are the only plants that need watering every day.

257. Mark each plant from which you want to save seed while the plant is in full bloom. A piece of ribbon or stretch plastic tied loosely around the stem will identify the plant without injuring it.

258. Garlic, leeks, and shallots are well adapted to growing in a garden or containers. They take up very little space, have shallow root systems and don't need deep soil preparation, and have few insect or disease problems.

259. When spreading small seeds over a wide area, mix the seeds with sand and put the mixture into a grated-cheese dispenser with a metal lid and large holes. Sprinkle confidently.

260. To propagate strawberries, space the runners out around the plant, and peg them down. When they are rooted and showing signs of growth, sever the runners and replant.

261. Are you rotating your crops? Changing the position of plants in different crop families from year to year can help reduce pest problems.

262. Frequent, shallow waterings lead to plants that develop shallow roots in the top 1 or 2" of the soil, where they find moisture. When you go away for a week, the surface of the soil dries out quickly and your plants suffer. Practice watering deeply and less often.

263. Succulents are natural choices for outdoor rooms that are primarily hardscape. Their architectural shapes look good against stone, stucco and concrete, and the reflected heat that bounces off these surfaces doesn't bother them.

264. To help keep roots cool and moist in a container, use plants with trailing foliage to shade the sides of the container.

265. Onion bulbs are ready to harvest when the tops have fallen over. Harvest when the soil is dry, remove any soil, and place in a warm, shady area with good air circulation til the tops have dried. Cut off dried foliage, leaving 1" of stem, and store in a cool, dry place.

266. Dried seeds you've harvested from your flowers can be planted immediately, or they can be placed in airtight, moisture-proof containers in the refrigerator for the next planting season.

Learn about 11 useful organic gardening products for your home garden.

 



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