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By JON TRAUNFELD AND ELLEN NIBALI and JON TRAUNFELD AND ELLEN NIBALI,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | February 11, 2006
In the most recent issue of your newsletter, you said compost encourages earthworms. What's the point of having more earthworms? Earthworms are essential for good soil. When earthworms digest compost (or other organic matter such as lawn thatch), they excrete castings 10 times richer than average soil. Their tunneling creates avenues for water, nutrients, air and plant roots to reach deeper into the earth. (Often we don't think of roots as needing air, but they will suffocate without it.)
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By Ellen Nibali, For The Baltimore Sun | February 21, 2013
The soil test on my garden says the pH is 6.7. I need to find out what plants grow in that pH. Congratulations. Your soil pH is in the ideal range that most plants like — slightly acid. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14, with 7 as neutral. Numbers above 7 are alkaline, and numbers below 7 are acid. Each number increases exponentially to the 10th power. Thus, a 6 pH is 10 times more acidic than 7 pH; and 5 pH is 100 times more acidic than 7 pH. Soil pH determines the availability of nutrients to plant roots.
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By Karol V. Menzie and Randy Johnson | October 13, 1996
Randy recently collected his first flame on the Internet, when he entered a newsgroup discussion about foundation plantings and whether they lead to water problems in basements.One newsgroupie wrote that he had been told by a house inspector not to put foundation plants (flowers, bushes or shrubs) close to his house "because they retain water and would aggravate an already worrisome wet-basement problem."Randy wrote back, "I think foundation plantings are OK, as long as they don't restrict the flow of water from the house."
FEATURES
By Ellen Nibali and Jon Traunfeld | April 26, 2008
This weekend, I plan to plant a row of evergreens using soil from the hole mixed 50/50 with peat moss. Do I fertilize at this time? Use much less organic matter in the planting hole. Ten percent is plenty. In order for plant roots to grow outward, the soil in the hole must be similar to the surrounding soil. A hole with too much organic matter encourages the roots to stay in the hole, circling around. Peat moss actually repels water when it is dry and is fairly expensive. Compost is a better choice.
NEWS
April 15, 2001
Q. Last year I finally learned that the large nests that appear in my crabapple trees each year are not from gypsy moths -- they are Eastern tent caterpillars. My neighbor burns them out of his trees with a blowtorch. He offered to do the same for my trees. Is that safe for the tree? A. You should politely decline his offer. The blowtorch could easily damage the bark and vital plant tissues, leading to dieback and pest problems. You can use a garden hose or broom to dislodge the nests and drop them into a bucket of soapy water.
FEATURES
By Ellen Nibali, For The Baltimore Sun | February 21, 2013
The soil test on my garden says the pH is 6.7. I need to find out what plants grow in that pH. Congratulations. Your soil pH is in the ideal range that most plants like — slightly acid. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14, with 7 as neutral. Numbers above 7 are alkaline, and numbers below 7 are acid. Each number increases exponentially to the 10th power. Thus, a 6 pH is 10 times more acidic than 7 pH; and 5 pH is 100 times more acidic than 7 pH. Soil pH determines the availability of nutrients to plant roots.
FEATURES
By Ellen Nibali and Jon Traunfeld | April 26, 2008
This weekend, I plan to plant a row of evergreens using soil from the hole mixed 50/50 with peat moss. Do I fertilize at this time? Use much less organic matter in the planting hole. Ten percent is plenty. In order for plant roots to grow outward, the soil in the hole must be similar to the surrounding soil. A hole with too much organic matter encourages the roots to stay in the hole, circling around. Peat moss actually repels water when it is dry and is fairly expensive. Compost is a better choice.
FEATURES
By MIKE KLINGAMAN | March 5, 1995
Flowers are pretty, it's true, but let's get to the root of their charm. A plant's soul lies beneath the soil. Beauty is only stem deep -- in gardening, as in life.Behold the lowly root, unsung hero of the garden. While flowers bask in brilliant sunlight, winning praise for their good looks, roots toil in total darkness to support their verdant kin.Roots claw their way through the soil, seeking nourishment for plants. Roots anchor plants in place and help to hold them upright. Roots defend their underground terrain against the invasive roots of other plants.
FEATURES
By Amalie Adler Ascher | January 5, 1991
Mulching can be a tricky business. Like extra amounts of TC pesticides or fertilizer, overdoing a mulch can be too mulch, er, much of a good thing. Some observations on mulching from various sources are worth passing along, especially since the time is at hand.As a summertime measure, mulch laid on flower or shrub beds chokes out weeds, removing them from competition with plants that then can gain full access to the supply of nutrients and water. Mulch holds down the evaporation of moisture from the soil, while keeping it cool and keeping plant roots from overheating.
NEWS
By Ary Bruno and Ary Bruno,Special to the Sun | August 29, 1999
The drought has taught many gardeners at least one thing: The hassles of working with clay soil. Rather than despairing, though, there is a fairly painless way to improve the problem -- clay-busting plants.If you're still in doubt about what kind of soil you have, here are some diagnostic clues:* Has your garden soil turned into a brick with the lack of rain? We're talking about that cracked, solid surface in which wilting tomatoes and marigold seedlings are held so tightly they seem cemented in. (This isn't to be confused with the dry crust that forms over good dirt.
FEATURES
By JON TRAUNFELD AND ELLEN NIBALI and JON TRAUNFELD AND ELLEN NIBALI,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | February 11, 2006
In the most recent issue of your newsletter, you said compost encourages earthworms. What's the point of having more earthworms? Earthworms are essential for good soil. When earthworms digest compost (or other organic matter such as lawn thatch), they excrete castings 10 times richer than average soil. Their tunneling creates avenues for water, nutrients, air and plant roots to reach deeper into the earth. (Often we don't think of roots as needing air, but they will suffocate without it.)
NEWS
By Jon Traunfeld and Ellen Nibali and Jon Traunfeld and Ellen Nibali,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | February 27, 2005
Something in my house is biting me. I've used foggers, had pest control companies come, but no one can even find the little pest. I'm at my wits' end. The itching is driving me crazy. Help! No insects that bite humans are invisible to the naked eye. However, there is a long list of things that make people feel as though insects are biting them. This phenomenon is known as "delusory parasitosis," but the sensation of being bitten is usually anything but delusory. Possible causes can include medication side effects, hard water, harsh detergent, wool allergies and aging.
NEWS
By Andrea F. Siegel and Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF | October 4, 2004
Keith Underwood lightly taps a spindly stem in a ravine near the Magothy River, relieved to find Maryland's last remaining box huckleberry plant is still hanging in there. The Crownsville restoration ecologist is a driving force behind saving and propagating the Ice-Age cultivar, as well as other plants, and creating the environments that could be used to re-establish them. Admittedly passionate about his environmental views and impatient with bureaucracy, he is always ready to start a conservation project, where he blends his beliefs in rebuilding dwindling environments and purifying water bound for the Chesapeake Bay with work, mixing paid and volunteer roles.
NEWS
By Lane Harvey Brown and Lane Harvey Brown,SUN STAFF | July 24, 2003
When Judy Harlan's husband, Bill, walked up the hill to their Harford County farmhouse in late May and told her she had to come see something by the Little Gunpowder Falls, she knew it would be unusual -- but an alienlike plant, growing fast, with leaves the size of tabletops? "I was just amazed at the size of the leaves," Judy Harlan said. "It looked like a giant Queen Anne's lace." What they had found next door to their farmland was giant hogweed, a cousin to the carrot and an invasive species worthy of a most-wanted list for noxious plants.
NEWS
By Kathy Hudson and Kathy Hudson,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | September 22, 2002
"You can eat these," says Kathy Beam, pinching off a minuscule "lemon gem" marigold and popping it in her mouth. This variety of marigold dates back to 1798 and is one of hundreds of heirloom annuals, perennials, vines and shrubs that Beam sells at her Seasons Past Farm and Gardens in Littlestown, Pa. Heirloom plants, Beam explains, are varieties that originated 50 years ago or more. She rattles off the botanical names of heirloom varieties of morning glories, nasturtiums, zinnias, peonies, phlox, nicotiana, petunias, hosta, hydrangea, weigela, deutzia, spirea and chrysanthemums.
NEWS
April 15, 2001
Q. Last year I finally learned that the large nests that appear in my crabapple trees each year are not from gypsy moths -- they are Eastern tent caterpillars. My neighbor burns them out of his trees with a blowtorch. He offered to do the same for my trees. Is that safe for the tree? A. You should politely decline his offer. The blowtorch could easily damage the bark and vital plant tissues, leading to dieback and pest problems. You can use a garden hose or broom to dislodge the nests and drop them into a bucket of soapy water.
NEWS
By Jon Traunfeld and Ellen Nibali and Jon Traunfeld and Ellen Nibali,SPECIAL TO THE SUN | February 27, 2005
Something in my house is biting me. I've used foggers, had pest control companies come, but no one can even find the little pest. I'm at my wits' end. The itching is driving me crazy. Help! No insects that bite humans are invisible to the naked eye. However, there is a long list of things that make people feel as though insects are biting them. This phenomenon is known as "delusory parasitosis," but the sensation of being bitten is usually anything but delusory. Possible causes can include medication side effects, hard water, harsh detergent, wool allergies and aging.
NEWS
By Lane Harvey Brown and Lane Harvey Brown,SUN STAFF | July 24, 2003
When Judy Harlan's husband, Bill, walked up the hill to their Harford County farmhouse in late May and told her she had to come see something by the Little Gunpowder Falls, she knew it would be unusual -- but an alienlike plant, growing fast, with leaves the size of tabletops? "I was just amazed at the size of the leaves," Judy Harlan said. "It looked like a giant Queen Anne's lace." What they had found next door to their farmland was giant hogweed, a cousin to the carrot and an invasive species worthy of a most-wanted list for noxious plants.
NEWS
By Ary Bruno and Ary Bruno,Special to the Sun | August 29, 1999
The drought has taught many gardeners at least one thing: The hassles of working with clay soil. Rather than despairing, though, there is a fairly painless way to improve the problem -- clay-busting plants.If you're still in doubt about what kind of soil you have, here are some diagnostic clues:* Has your garden soil turned into a brick with the lack of rain? We're talking about that cracked, solid surface in which wilting tomatoes and marigold seedlings are held so tightly they seem cemented in. (This isn't to be confused with the dry crust that forms over good dirt.
NEWS
By Rafael Alvarez and Rafael Alvarez,SUN STAFF | July 6, 1998
Ruth Carras was ready to quit Baltimore a few years ago. Nothing especially bad had happened, but when the time came to give up her apartment, the retired college teacher started thinking about living somewhere quieter and cleaner.One amenity kept Carras from moving over the city line: her gardens in Druid Hill Park."We got our first tomato [last week]," said Carras, 76, who tends six plots with her daughter, Kate. "Not bad."In a city known for narrow back yards as likely to be concrete as soil, Baltimore's urban farming program has waiting lists for an estimated 600 plots at seven parks: Druid Hill, Patterson, Holabird, Carroll, Leakin, Clifton and a smaller area on Woodbourne Avenue called Dewees.
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