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By Dr. Tamitha Skove

Updated:  09/02/2020

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#151 - Easy D.I.Y. Air-Pruning Grow Containers

My next-door neighbor who owns a landscaping company thinks I have lost my mind. I am cutting rows of big round holes in the sides and bottom of the 30 new 27-gallon growing containers that I bought this year to expand my garden with a hold saw attached to my cordless drill. He laughed and said "they will never hold any soil in them now with all those holes in them". Apparently he is absolutely clueless when it comes to air-pruning. Air-pruning allows the plants to develop a fuller healthy root system which does not happen when growing in traditional plastic pots. When you grow in a plastic pot, once the tap roots reach the sides of the pot they continue to grow, wrapping round and round the

#150 - How To Keep Birds From Eating The Fruit In Your Garden

First off, Happy Memorial Day to everyone. I am often asked how to keep birds out of a garden, or if someone should use bird netting over their crops to protect them from birds, so I though I would tackle that question today in my Gardening Quick Tip. Contrary to popular opinion, birds are actually very beneficial to a garden as they eat many of the harmful insects that we are trying to keep out of our gardens. Yes, from time to time you may have some fruit damaged by birds, especially tomatoes, but it isn't because of what you think. While there are a few birds who do eat fruit, they are not as common as you would think, especially in the United States. Generally, the reason birds are eatin

#149 - Targeted Tomato Hornworm Control

Tomato Hornworms are a very common pest that gardeners have to deal with regularly. These pests can decimate an entire crop quickly if they are not kept under control. Even though they are referred to as the Tomato Hornworm, they attack other similar plants in the nightshade family (Solanaceae), including potato, and tobacco. Last year I wrote an article about organic solutions for controlling caterpillars and hornworms, but that should be used as a last resort in controlling them. Anytime we are trying to garden organically, we should use the least invasive technique possible to achieve the desired pest and disease control results. While Bacillus Thuringiensis, otherwise known as BT, is a c

#148 - Gardening Quick Tips - Blossom End Rot & Epsom Salt

This time of year many people are experiencing a very common plant disease called Blossom End Rot where the bottom of their fruit is turning black and seems to be rotting away. And that is exactly what it is doing, it is rotting from the calyx end of the fruit where the flower blossom was attached and typically appears as the fruit begins to mature and ripen. This commonly happens to tomatoes, but it is not limited to just tomatoes. Zucchini, squash, peppers, cucumbers, melons, apples, pears, etc., can all suffer from blossom end rot, and it is always caused by the same thing, a lack of calcium in the plant, however, there may be more than one reason for it. Most people will immediately thin

#147 - Gardening Quick Tips - The Best Tomato Plant Pollination Method

I have had people ask me when I am growing tomatoes, how I am able to have almost every single flower pollinated to end up with a larger harvest. Over the last few years, people have noticed that there are less natural pollinators visiting their tomatoes so a lot of their plants produce many flowers, but they are not getting pollinated so they end up with less fruit being developed on the plants. Ok, well, I am going to give my secret away. I do not rely on natural pollinators to pollinate my plants. I hand pollinate them myself. I have tried several different methods of hand-pollinating, using paintbrushes, q-tips, etc., and I finally found one that works perfectly every single time. I rare

#146 - Gardening Quick Tips - Reusable Plant Tags

Have you ever grown a garden throughout the summer and then suddenly realized that you do not remember what variety a certain plant was? Was it n heirloom variety that you should be saving seeds from for next year, or was it a hybrid variety which the seeds will not be savable? Perhaps you were smart enough to write the variety name on a plant tag when you planted them, which I have done for several years. But then you notice there is a problem. All summer long that plant tag has been sitting in direct sunlight with the ink slowly getting bleached out over time until it is left unreadable. Like most gardeners, I have run into these situations many times over the years until I finally found t

#145 - Brewing A Batch of Vermicompost Tea.

I decided to brew a batch of Vermicompost Tea today to feed the pineapple plants along with some new Areca Palms that I planted a couple months ago. This will be the first feeding for the palms as I have been waiting for them to become established and make sure there was no shock from their planting. For the pineapples, this will be a supplemental feeding as pineapple plants normally feed through their leaves however they do absorb some nutrients through their roots also. I will be creating both a fungal and bacterial tea this time to better infuse the root zone with lots of beneficial microorganisms to help the plants. Vermicompost, or worm castings, is one of the most beneficial fertilizer



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MSgt. RC Anderson

United States Marine Corps

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