August 16, 2014

Pinching Basil

For our tip of the week we had a simple one for you. This one is all about extending your harvest of your basil well into the season. If your basil is starting to get a flower stem you need to pinch it off. This will promote new leaf growth which is what you use for your pestos and salads. It will also give you a stronger and healthier plant and extend your harvest season.


July 12, 2014

Pet Urine

If you have seen big green spots in your lawn it means you have a pet (or a frequent visitor). These green circles are from your pet’s urine and it is caused by the salts that occur in the urine. You may also notice that there is a dead spot in the center of the green; this is the grass dying from too much salt. You are seeing it more now because of the summer stress that the grass is under from all the heat and the lack of water. To get rid of the spots you have to flush them with water as soon as the animal is done. This will dilute the salts and reduce the problem areas. You can also train your dog to use a specific area of the lawn or set up a dog run to limit their movement. If you can’t flush the area, try to keep your lawn in good shape, that will minimize the stress and help the spots blend in. Some people recommend that you add tomato juice to your dogs food to help neutralize the salts in the urine, but we would recommend that you check with your vet before you add anything to your pet’s food.

June 28, 2014

July 4th Prep

Our tip of the week is about getting your home and garden ready for the fireworks of the 4th of July. The days leading up to the event you should clean all the dried leaves and debris from your roof and gutters so there is nothing to catch on fire if a stray firework makes it up to your roof. The afternoon of the 4th you should water your yard and garden for the same reason. The additional moisture will help prevent fires from flaring up. If you have acreage or a larger lot, make sure that you create a ‘defensible’ area around your home in case of wildfire. Check out the FEMA website for more helpful information.

June 14, 2014

Deadheading Rhodies

So your early blooming rhododendrons are starting to lose their bloom. Here is a tip to help you get more bloom out of them next year. Take the spent bloom at the base and snap it off. Be careful not to damage the new growth coming out at the base of the bloom. By removing the old bloom you are telling the plant to not produce seed heads and to spend its energy on the bloom for next year.
If you are looking to limit the growth of your plant you may want to do a little trimming. Snap off some of the new growth to keep the plant at the same height. This may also damage some of the blooms for next season since the plant sets buds in late July and August. You can reduce the height of your plant by cutting down the branch to the next leaf bud. This will cause the plant to not bloom on that branch for next year, but you can generally expect a new bloom on that branch the year after that. Also remember to wear a glove when cutting your rhododendrons back; they have a coating that may irritate your skin.

June 7, 2014

June Drop

If you are new to growing fruit you may have noticed that your fruit trees are dropping a bunch of small fruit right now. This is called ‘June Drop’ and it is normal. At this time of year the immature fruit on the trees is dropped by the plant to make room for the fully pollinated fruit. It is the plant concentrating the energy into viable fruit. You may also notice a drop later in the season as the plant once again drops fruit to make more room before the harvest. In fact, if the plant doesn’t do it, you may want to thin out the fruit later in the season. Keep your fruit clusters to 2 or less. This will give you bigger, healthier fruit.

May 31, 2014

Deadheading Iris

The irises are finally blooming and as the first blooms fade you can freshen them up with a little pruning. Steve from Schreiner’s Iris Gardens (1-800-525-2367) showed how easy it is to groom your irises for an extended bloom period. Just take your pruners and cut off the dead blooms as they get old. Just be careful to not cut off the new blooms that are usually lower on the stem. These blooms will mature and give you great color for weeks to come. If the foliage is looking a little tattered you can cut that back as well. Just remember to leave as much green foliage as possible. This green foliage will feed the roots and result in more blooms next year!

May 24, 2014

Washing Peonies

This is peony season, but if you love peonies you know that they can get covered in ants. This is a normal thing. Ants love the sweet nectar that forms around the top of new buds. This is not a problem. They don’t hurt the plant and they don’t help the plant either. We know this because of our friends at Adelman Peony Gardens (503-393-6185). Jim and Carol are one of the largest growers of peonies in the country and they have a solution for those ant problems so you can enjoy your blooms indoors too. Simply take your buds, right before they bloom and swish them in a bucket of water. This will dislodge the ants and give you a nice clean bloom to display, and because you have the bloom at the beginning of its bloom period you will get to enjoy it longer!

May 17, 2014

Coffee Pot Filters

Good drainage in your pots and containers is very important to the health and success of your flowers and vegetables. In the past we have suggested using broken pottery shards, rocks, and even foam packing peanuts to keep the hole at the base of your container from clogging. Recently we read a tip that may have all of those beat! Coffee Filters! You just place a coffee filter in the bottom of your planter or container and fill with soil. These filters are designed to drain water through and not let anything else leak out (either coffee or soil). Over time the filters will breakdown and then the soil should be set up enough to not leak all over your deck or patio. Try them out and see how well they work for you.

May 10, 2014


People often wonder how they can prune their conifers. It can be hard if your trees and shrubs get away from you and get too big. There is one way you can keep them in check! It is called candling. When your conifer starts showing new growth, those are called candles. You can regulate the growth of your conifers by removing some or all of these candles. It is a great way to avoid unnecessary pruning as your plants get older.

May 3, 2014

Raking Needles

The summer means bare feet in the grass, unless you have fir trees in your backyard! Our tip this week will help make your lawn more bare-foot friendly! After you mow your lawn, simply give your lawn a quick rake and then mow again. The quick raking will draw some of those pesky needles to the surface and they will be picked up by the second pass with a mower. Once we get into the middle of summer you will not have to do it quite as often, since the trees will drop fewer needles then.

April 26, 2014

Painting Weeds

Getting rid of weeds is tough. It becomes nearly impossible when that weed appears entwined inside one of your favorite plants. How can you get rid of the pest without damaging your favorite plant? Our tip takes care of the problem. We used a paint brush to brush the weed control directly on the weed without touching the plant. It is pin-point application without waste and worry. Remember to use gloves and follow all label instructions.

April 19, 2014

Plant Tag Ring

Our tip of the week is all about memory! If you are like us you have planted wonderful plants in your garden and then forgot what they were. Or, you may have planted the tag at the base of the plant, or put it in an file or envelope on your desk only to lose them when you move things around. This tip tells us to simply punch a hole in the tag with a hole-punch and then string the tag on a wire or string. Then you can hang it up in your garden shed or garage and always have the plant picture, growing instructions and other information at your fingertips! No more trying to remember every plant in your garden!

April 12, 2014

Garden Staking

Our tip of the week is about preventative gardening. Late in the season a lot of flowers like peonies and dahlias tend to flop over and droop. Now is the time to plan to prevent that. Go to your local garden center and pick up a circular plant grid. Take it home and place it on the ground around your peony, dahlia or other floppy plant. As your plant grows it will grow in the middle of this grid and when it starts to flop, you just raise the ring and stake it high. Then the plant will be held up and you can enjoy the blooms longer!

April 5, 2014

Double Gloves

A painful blister on the hand of Producer Jeff brings us the tip of the week. If you ever get blisters from working with your garden tools you may want to try this tip. We recommend that you wear double gloves when you are working. First put on a pair of latex surgical gloves and then put your garden gloves over the top. The friction that causes the blister between your glove and your skin now happens between the 2 sets of gloves. This will prevent blisters and will make your gardening much less painful.

March 8, 2014

2 Season Seeds

Our tip this week will help you with a full belly later this summer. We talked about 2-season seeds. We visited a local garden center and picked up some early germinating varieties of vegetable seeds and bought 2 packs of each. These seeds will grow faster and mature earlier in the season. Then once they are done you can plant them again to enjoy a second harvest of your favorite vegetables this summer and fall.


March 1, 2014

Lawn Mushrooms

We always get questions this time of year about the mushrooms in lawns. Are they dangerous? Judy talked about the conditions that cause the mushrooms. They are caused by decomposing matter in your yard and that there is no way to remove the mushrooms from a lawn. They will continue to occur where organic matter exists. To be on the safe side they should be removed if you have small children or pets, they could be poisonous. If you don’t have pets or small children, you can choose to let them be and enjoy nature at work!

2019 20182017 20162015 2014
201320122011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006

main page this week

plant of the week

tip of the week tool shed how to gardens to see sponsors events calendar the happy spot
streaming video read our blog join our twitter e-mail us archive press relations links to other websites

Website design and content ©2006-2022 Gustin Creative Group.  Please send website inquiries to  This page last modified March 17, 2022.