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‘Drip Tubing at TPC’ CC BY USDAgov

4 water-saving tips to help your garden thrive during a drought

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Here in California we’re entering a fourth year of drought, so the thought of conserving water as our vegetable gardens spring to life is a bit unsettling. Fortunately, there’s no need to forgo a bountiful vegetable garden. A few simple reminders can help you keep your garden in tip-top shape while conserving precious resources. Here are four ways to optimize your water use: 1. Avoid overwatering. This tip is probably the…

Start seeds indoors for a jump on the growing season

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In the upper Midwest, it is crucial to start some of our fruit and vegetable seedlings indoors. Here at Heart and Soil Farm in North Dakota, our growing season is short (roughly Mid-April through early October) and you never can tell when spring will arrive. We have what we like to refer to here as Weather— with a capital “W”. Everyone talks about the weather here; people watch the news…

culinary herbs

Spice up your kitchen with a beautiful, edible herb garden

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One of the joys of gardening is the ability to snip fresh herbs as you cook. Fresh herbs liven up a dish in ways you can’t imagine if you’ve always used dried spices. When you have a culinary garden just steps from your kitchen, you’ll use fresh herbs more often — and reduce your reliance on salt and sugar to season fresh vegetables and stews. Herbs can also complement your other…

How to prune your fruit trees

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January is pruning time in the Northern Hemisphere. Even in places where it’s not snowy — like Sacramento, my hometown — it’s time to get those trees and vines in shape for a fruitful summer. The master gardeners from our local University of California Cooperative Extension gathered at the Fair Oaks Horticultural center recently to demonstrate to a packed house the basics of pruning fruit trees, berry and grape vines, and roses….

How to read a seed packet

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Gardening is seductive. It starts with the hardy little tomato plant that catches your eye at the grocery store. Heady with success, your next step is usually a modest garden of several varieties. Yep, you’re headed down a slippery slope. Before you know it, you’re curled up before the fire with a good … seed catalog. You’ve been bitten by the gardening bug. Perhaps it’s those Instagram photos of colorful…