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Articles by Dr. Francis Gouin

Pluck off wilted flowers

For more abundant flowers on your rhododendrons and mountain laurels next year, deadhead this year’s flowers as soon as they wilt. By preventing the flowers from setting seeds, you’ll stimulate the branches to flush new growth from waiting latent buds. This is especially true if the bushes are growing in full sun.  
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Propagate a jungle of African violets using my foolproof method

Beyond their good looks and winter bloom, African violets have another charm. They’re so easy to propagate in the home that they raise your self-esteem. Here’s my foolproof method:
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Evergreens to welcome home — and those to avoid

As Christmas approaches, it’s time to bring fresh greens, with their piney aromas, into your home. Here in Bay Country, we have an abundance of evergreens to choose from. Many will last through the season, even without water. Others dry up too quickly to come inside.
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Gardening tools you can grow with

Fellow gardeners often ask me which gardening tools are my favorites. In case you’re shopping for one of those gardeners, here’s my list. I don’t stint on price because I want quality tools that last.
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We’re eating well and will be into spring

This year’s fall garden has been better than ever.
    The August plantings of Contender and Crocket green beans each provided at least three pickings of the most tender and flavorful green beans we have ever enjoyed.
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From asparagus to strawberries to tools, you’ve got a few more tasks

The gardening season is almost over, but there are some loose ends that need your attention.
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Pay for quick removal, or do it yourself slowly

Cutting down trees always leaves stumps that must either be removed or endured. The most common method of ridding your lawn of stumps is to grind it well below grade so that several inches of topsoil can be used for growing a lawn or garden.
    Grinding a stump leaves wood chips that you can use as mulch on pathways and around deeply rooted trees and shrubs.

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The Bay — and your garden — will thank you

Never leave your garden barren. As soon as you have finished harvesting the vegetables or flowers, plant another crop to prevent the soil from eroding or losing nutrients through leaching.
    Soil devoid of vegetation is easily washed away and may find its way into the Bay. Plant roots save the soil by binding particles so they will not be washed away. The tops of plants minimize the impact of water droplets that can destroy soil structure and encourage erosion.

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Leave the bugs outside

If you moved your houseplants outdoors last spring, this is the week to bring them in before the first frost.
    But first you had better inspect them for bugs. One of the major problems associated with moving houseplants outdoors in warm weather is that they become exposed to a greater variety of insects generally not found indoors.
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The right way is easier, ­cheaper and Bay-friendly

A Bay Weekly reader e-mailed me a flier titled Fall Lawn Maintenance: How to Outdo the Joneses.
    The first recommendation is to cut the lawn as short as possible to avoid problems with snow mold.
    However, snow mold is not a problem in southern Maryland.
    The same day I heard a so called-garden expert recommend scalping the lawn in the fall so that the grass will grow more roots.

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