Garden Plot

The best mulch and where to get pine staw

Jim in D.C. writes: "I know you're a fan of using an inch of compost to mulch tomato plants, ,ut how about zukes, cukes, peppers and eggplant? What's the best mulch for them?"

Friday - 05/25/2012, 10:13am EDT
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Keep ticks at bay and mature tomato plants healthy ... here's how

Alan in Fairfax writes: "I read your suggestion on adding the crushed shells of a dozen eggs to each hole when planting tomatoes to prevent blossom end rot later in the season, but my plants are already in the ground. Is there another good source of calcium I can use?"

Friday - 05/18/2012, 11:10am EDT
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Garden Plot: The right roses and other Mother's Day tips

Bobby in Fairfax writes, "Mother's Day is right around the corner, and my wife saw a beautiful rose bush growing outside a home in Annapolis we'd like to be able to present as a Mother's Day gift. The flowers were multiple colors: red, pink and white. Please help me with the name and where I can find this particular rose."

Friday - 05/11/2012, 03:58pm EDT
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Garden Plot: Timing your tomatoes - and other tomato tips

If you live in the District or in one of the region's more southern suburbs, tomato planting time can pretty much be here if you want as your ten-day forecast shows the nighttime temperatures staying reliably in the 60s and high-50s.

Friday - 05/04/2012, 10:37am EDT

Changing temperatures and tomato plants

Mike McGrath, WTOP garden editor

Monday - 04/30/2012, 11:12am EDT

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Dandelions, the redux and aphids

Oscar in Bethesda writes: "I have a plant outside that is currently covered with small black insects. Will they damage the plant? Could you please let me know what they are and how I should deal with them?"

Friday - 04/27/2012, 11:04am EDT
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Dandelions, hydrangeas and tomatoes

Jan in Annapolis writes: "I have more dandelions in my lawn than anyone else in the neighborhood. They're using treatments that I'm sure aren't good for the Bay, and I'm tempted to do the same. Help!"

Friday - 04/20/2012, 10:39am EDT
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Moles? Voles? Let's call the whole thing off...

Moles make raised tunnels, especially in lawns, but they don't eat plants. Voles make small holes in the ground and eat lots of plants. And really big holes that plants "disappear down" could be a sign of groundhogs. Identifying the pest is job number one.

Friday - 04/13/2012, 11:32am EDT
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The tubes that take out ticks!

Tick Tubes are one of my favorite tick-prevention devices. They're cardboard tubes filled with cotton balls soaked in a pesticide called permethrin that's especially deadly to ticks.

Friday - 04/06/2012, 10:33am EDT
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Garlic sprays and taming weeds with flames

The white flowers early in the season are very distinctive, so learn what the plant looks like and pull it slowly out of wet soil right away before those flowers can turn into the explosive seedpods.

Friday - 03/30/2012, 08:58am EDT

Sudden freeze may pose threat for early flowers

You're going to need your winter coat Tuesday morning. Areas to the north and west of D.C. are under a freeze watch. Temperatures could dip into the 20s.

Monday - 03/26/2012, 03:58pm EDT

When to seed, fertilize and weed your lawn

Right now is the time to spread corn gluten meal on your lawn to prevent dormant weed seeds like crabgrass from sprouting as you give the turf a nice gentle spring feeding, Mike. But don't delay.

Thursday - 03/22/2012, 06:40pm EDT

Pre-sprout your peas for good St. Patrick's day luck

Happy peas for St. Pat's! That's right, peas. St. Patrick's Day isn't just for wearing green, it's also the unofficial kickoff to growing some delicious green-green peas.

Friday - 03/16/2012, 01:26pm EDT
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Tips on getting rid of those stinking stink bugs

All of the stink bugs that snuck inside your house last fall to hibernate are now waking up and coming out of hiding to crawl all over your morning bowl of Lucky Charms. What can you do?

Thursday - 03/15/2012, 03:38pm EDT

Don't let spring fever lead you astray

WTOP Garden Editor Mike McGrath will appear Saturday and Sunday, March 10 and 11, at the Fairfax Home Show on the Annandale campus of Northern Virginia Community College.

Friday - 03/09/2012, 12:34pm EST
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Timing is everything: Crabgrass and cherry trees

The ideal time to apply corn gluten to prevent crabgrass is generally when the local forsythia blooms, but it is always when the soil temperature reaches 55 degrees, as measured 4 inches down.

Friday - 03/02/2012, 10:54am EST
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Lawn care time is a-comin'

The only safe and sensible time to sow cool season grass seed is mid-August, when the soil is perfectly warm and the next nine months will be nice and cool.

Friday - 02/24/2012, 01:44pm EST

New lawns don't require murder weapons

Friday - 02/17/2012, 02:20pm EST
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Getting roses for Valentine's Day? Know the language of flowers

In the Victorian secret language known as the "Floral Code," each kind and color of posie holds a specific meaning. Roses in general do mean love, but the key to what kind of love is in the color.

Friday - 02/10/2012, 10:16am EST
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Keeping your lawn on drugs will cost you $4 billion

Local lawmakers acknowledge that legal limitations on fertilizer used by homeowners would lead to cleaner water essentially for free, but that such actions "face strong opposition from fertilizer lobbies."

Friday - 02/03/2012, 03:40pm EST
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, July 31, 2014
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