Garden Plot

The real secret to keeping your Christmas tree fresh

No, the secret to keeping a cut tree fresh is not in any magic mixture you place in the water holder in the tree stand. It's in the handling of the tree before the bolts that hold it in that stand get tightened.

Friday - 12/02/2011, 09:48am EST
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Ladybug, ladybug, get out of my home

Getting rid of pesky ladybugs might not be as straightforward as you think.

Friday - 11/25/2011, 05:31am EST

Put the lime in the coconut -- not the compost

Anybody who tells you to add lime, fertilizer, wood ash or other junk to your compost is wrong, wrong, wrong. You want a second opinion? They're ugly, too.

Friday - 11/18/2011, 10:57am EST

Mulching mounds, ivy eradication and late-blooming lilacs

Any mulch can provide cover for shrews and voles, especially wood, bark and root mulches, and especially when such mulches are applied too heavily or mounded right up against the sides of plants.

Friday - 11/11/2011, 11:04am EST
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Baby, it's cold outside -- for plants, too!

You can't leave rosemary -- or pretty much any plant -- outside in a container over winter. The roots, trapped above ground, would freeze and the plant would die.

Friday - 10/28/2011, 12:11pm EDT
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What to do with those fallen fall leaves

Shredded leaves are one of the best mulches you can use around any plant -- they prevent weed growth, retain soil moisture and attract earthworms to aerate the soil and feed your plants for free.

Friday - 10/21/2011, 12:03pm EDT
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Beware wood mulch within 30 feet of your car or home

Listeners beware -- this is what happens if you use any kind of wood mulch within 30 feet of your home or car.

Thursday - 10/13/2011, 04:45pm EDT

Put down those pruners!

Fall is not the time for pruning -- nothing should be pruned between now and the dead of winter.

Friday - 10/07/2011, 11:48am EDT
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Wet weekend woes

Well, here we go again. Another weekend with a slew of gardening chores that should be done, but with way too much wetness in the ground and in the forecast to do almost any of them.

Friday - 10/07/2011, 09:44am EDT
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Catch indoor stinkbugs with homemade traps

The cries have been heard from all over TOP-land: The stink bugs are coming; the stink bugs are coming ... INSIDE!

Saturday - 09/24/2011, 06:15pm EDT

Don't aerate now and pick flowers off tomato plants

After the deluge of rain last week, Mike McGrath has advice for you about lawn care and about your tomato and pepper plants.

Friday - 09/16/2011, 10:23am EDT

Don't touch your lawns this weekend, plan for the fall

The best thing to do this weekend is to plan what needs to be done sometime this fall, like core aeration, the filling in of bare spots and/or giving the grass its biggest feeding of the year. Then arrange the machine rental or get the supplies in hand and hope the ground is dry by next weekend.

Friday - 09/09/2011, 12:23pm EDT
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After Irene, be careful during yard cleanup

Well, Irene sure was an unwelcome guest now, wasn't she? Next time I go three days without electricity, I hope it's because I went camping.

Friday - 09/02/2011, 12:00pm EDT
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Fall vegetable gardening tips

Wait until the temps are cool enough and there aren't enough days left to get a harvest.

Friday - 08/26/2011, 11:56am EDT
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End of August garden tips

The possibility of Hurricane Irene dropping by might make it hard to cross most items off of our big fall "Honey do" list this weekend, but here's what needs to be done sometime over the next month.

Friday - 08/26/2011, 08:33am EDT

It's lawn care time

WTOP's Garden Guru Mike McGrath offers up advice for your fall lawn.

Friday - 08/26/2011, 07:17am EDT

Blister beetles and baby stink bugs

Blister beetles are dangerous farm pests.

Friday - 08/05/2011, 10:35am EDT
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Calcium's the answer for tomato troubles

Gayle from Fairfax has a common complaint. She writes: "This is the second year in a row that my balcony tomatoes have ALL succumbed to blossom end rot. Every. Stinking. One."

Friday - 07/29/2011, 10:29am EDT
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Avoid this herbicide, if you love your trees

WTOP's Mike McGrath says you need to make sure your lawn care company isn't using Imprelis, if you have spruce or pine trees.

Tuesday - 07/26/2011, 09:12am EDT
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Wonderful water features and bustin' some bugs

The annual Parade of Ponds organized by Premier Ponds of Burtonsville, Md. is a great way to see lots of examples of the different ways you can use water in the landscape.

Friday - 07/15/2011, 03:25pm EDT
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