Browse Month: December 2022

How to Plant Better Boy Tomatoes

“Better Boy” tomatoes are a favorite among home gardeners to get their medium to large red fruits weighing approximately 16 ounces. This highly disease-resistant tomato is an superb addition to any garden, with an ability to resist verticillium and fusarium wilts, alternaria, grey leaf spot and root knot nematodes. “Better Boy” tomatoes reach about 5 feet tall, with an indeterminate growth habit; you can anticipate the very first vegetables 72 to 75 days after placing them in the garden.

Select a sunny, well-draining planting site using a soil pH between 6.0 and 6.8. Amend the top 12 inches of garden soil having 3 to 4 inches of compost using a rototiller or scoop if drainage problems exist. Replace missing nourishment while correcting the drainage if a soil test shows below average results.

Prepare your “Better Boy” tomatoes right before planting in mid-May, when soil temperatures are above 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove all but the top one or two pairs of leaves out of your tomato transplant prior to burying about 75 percent of every single plant in holes just wide enough to get every single rootball, spaced 2 to 3 feet apart in 3-foot rows.

Water your transplant thoroughly to settle on the soil, before mulching up the plant into the leaves. Place a cage round the transplant as soon as possible to avoid damaging roots. Continue to include mulch since the plant grows, until the mulch layer is 2 to 4 inches deep. Water weekly, but withhold fertilizer until the tomato plant has already set green fruits which are around the size of a quarter.

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Flying Insect Killer for your Yard

Walking through a cloud of gnats or hearing the high-pitched drone of a mosquito can quickly make your yard somewhere to avoid rather than enjoy. The elements that we value in our yard — grass, trees, flowers and water features — are the same things that attract flying insects. Taking back control of the space from these annoying intruders is feasible often quite simple. Chemicals, baits and other practices reduce or remove flying pests.

Flying Insect Pests

With over 90,000 pest species from the United States alone, distinguishing what is flying over your head can appear to be a intimidating task. On the other hand, the typical micro climate and food sources out there on your yard attract specific flying insects. While we often see bees, wasps, beetles and butterflies flying around the yard, the most annoying insects are usually the flies (Diptera). The group contains gnats, midges, black flies and mosquitoes.

Chemical Control

Commercially available aerosol foggers and sprays have been generalist insecticides targeting several species at the same time. Fogging or spraying the yard eliminates flying insects on contact but potentially harms individuals, pets and beneficial insects such as bees, ladybugs and lacewings. Products containing pyrethrin have minimal impact on mammals and are deemed safe for aquatic life when absorbed into the groundwater. Protect mammals in the toxic effects of this pesticide by applying it during the nighttime or early morning when bees are inactive. Less toxic options, such as insecticidal soap, kill insects but has to be sprayed directly onto the pest to work.

Bait Traps and Tapes

Draw pests away from your yard by putting baits or sticky insect tape around the outside of the property. Baits containing an attractant and insecticide put out of reach of children and pets in surrounding leaf will pull away bugs away from the middle of your yard. Sticky tape hung from tree branches can also be effective but can remove beneficial insects also.

Biological Control

Luring beneficial bug-eating predators to your yard will decrease flying pests. Providing a birdhouse for purple martins, or food such as suet for swifts and swallows will encourage these useful creatures to visit and feed excessive flying pests. Bats also eat a large amount of flying insects. Installing a bat home might help attract these creatures to your yard but ensure that it’s situated in an area where people won’t experience the bats or their droppings. A garden water feature with reeds and tall grasses can attract dragonflies, voracious feeders of flying insects.

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Maggots in the Yard

Maggot is a general term for the larvae of various insects at the Diptera order, which includes flies, gnats, mosquitoes and midges. Root maggots are the larvae of flies that lay their eggs in soil close to the base of a plant. These damaging insects feed on the roots of various plants, such as grass, fruits, vegetables and ornamental plants. Properly controlling them needs a combination of biological and cultural controls.

Chemical Control

There are no effective pesticides available for homeowners to dominate root maggots, notes Cornell University Department of Entomology. However, the University of California Integrated Pest Management Program advocates Diazinon or chlorpyrifos insecticides to control root maggots. Unfortunately, these pesticides might require a license before usage, so get in touch with your county agricultural commissioner to request about any permits required. Chemical control should be the last option after cultural and biological controls have been exhausted.

Biological Control

Biological control methods consist of organic ways to kill insects, such as viruses or bacteria. Beneficial nematodes in the Heterorhabditidae and Steinernematidae species naturally dominate maggots and are available at garden centres. The beneficial nematodes are generally mixed with water and applied as a soil or foliar spray. Parasitic wasps and also rove beetles are two predatory insects that feed on root maggots keeping their amounts in check. The bacterium insecticide Bacillus thuringiensis targets the larvae of specific insects — such as flies — and controls maggots.

Cultural Control

Root maggots thrive in soils having a high proportion of organic matter. By regularly removing plant debris, leaf litter and decaying plant matter, you will discourage adults from going to the area and laying their eggs. Furthermore, rotate susceptible crops each year with non-susceptible species. When planting plants, utilize transplants or pre-germinated seeds as they’re not as vulnerable to maggot damage. Avoid from over-fertilizing plants and lawns with high organic matter or manure because maggots tend to favor laying their eggs in rich soil.


The best defense against maggots will be to prevent the adult flies from laying eggs in the lawn. Missouri Botanical Garden suggests protecting vulnerable crops with an agricultural fleece barrier. Diatomaceous earth or wood ashes scattered around crops and lawns will help discourage root maggots. Diatomaceous earth is a naturally occurring material made up of the fossils of microscopic aquatic organisms. It’s nontoxic to humans, mammals and many beneficial insects. It’s offered in a dust or powder form that you sprinkle over the yard or about plants. It causes soft-bodied insects that come in contact with it to dehydrate and die.

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How to Landscape a Full Sun Slope

Think about an unusable or boring slope as a creative opportunity and transform it into a vibrant garden which adds interest to your outdoor space. Although landscaping slopes can be hard, a slope also presents an perfect chance to create a low-maintenance garden get the most out of open space which may otherwise go unused. Successfully landscaping a slope is dependent upon plant selection and placing the right plants in the right locations.

Evaluate the slope’s dirt to find out the soil type. Sandy soil does not retain nutrients or water; while clay soil compacts easily and tends to drain poorly. Although the general recommendation for poor soil is to include a few inches of organic substances to the ground, this may not be a practical solution to a steep slope since tilling the soil may increase soil erosion. Colorado State University Extension recommends selecting plants which are tolerant of these states, spacing plants farther apart than standard so that there is less competition for soil resources, and planting little transplants which may adapt to inadequate soil simpler than growing plants from seed or planting massive transplants.

Stabilize a gentle or moderately sloped area using plants. The website recommends selecting plants with deep, big, strong root systems. Trees and shrubs for example ceanothus, better known as California lilac, help hold soil in place and combat soil erosion. Trees and shrubs also usually need less maintenance than flowering perennials. The University of California’s Sonoma County Master Gardener recommends planting trees, big plants and shrubs on a slope rather than allowing them to reach from the slope at precisely the same angle. indicates building berms, ridges which are just 1 or two inches high, on the side of the plant which faces downhill. This catches rainwater, preventing runoff.

Build a terrace or even many terraces on a steep slope, as ascertained by the rise and run of the wave. Terraces create mini-gardens, make planting areas more accessible and decrease soil erosion by shortening the length of the wave. Gardeners can create terraces by digging trenches to form the front and side of each terrace, leveling the trench and installing a retaining wall to stabilize the slope. Although stone and brick may be used to create the retaining walls which encourage each terrace, landscape timbers would be the most cost-effective substance. advocates reviewing your plans using a structural engineer prior to getting started.

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The way to Ground a Chandelier

Despite their outwardly verdant outside, a chandelier is little more than a typical light fixture in an elegant package. A chandelier requires a hot lead, a neutral and a ground wire connected to the light switch to be able to operate. The bottom on a chandelier is linked to a copper cable within the junction box that connects back into the grounded bus pub within a breaker panel. You can ground a chandelier to the bottom wire in the junction box in a couple of minutes using some hand tools.

Turn off the main circuit breaker into the home. Remove the switch cover at the wall switch with a screwdriver, and also hold a non-contact electrical tester to the wires around the side of the chandelier’s wall switch. If the light on the tester illuminates, the circuit still has power.

Remove the cover to the electric breaker panel and locate the circuit for the chandelier. Follow the black wire from the breaker into the perimeter of the breaker panel to discover the electrical cable from which this black cable is separated. Follow the bare copper cable of this cable into the bus bar, and verify the grounding wire is securely attached to one of the screw terminals in the bus bar. Alter the breaker panel cover.

Loosen the mounting screws and pull the switch into the chandelier. Check to see that the bare wire from the breaker panel and the bare wire from the chandelier are linked, so the green grounding screw to the body of this switch is also tied into this link. Alter the switch and switch cover.

Place a stepladder beneath the chandelier. Loosen the canopy nut and slide the canopy down the chandelier’s chain. Locate the green grounding screw to the chandelier’s mounting flange (attached to the junction box). Verify that the green wire from the chandelier and the bare copper cable from the switch are linked to this green grounding screw. Tighten the screw with a screwdriver if needed, then slide the canopy into position and tighten the canopy nut.

Turn on the main circuit breaker and test the chandelier.

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The way to Fix a Pedestal Fan

Usually, the more reliable components of a pedestal fan would be the base, fan and motor. Conversely, the more unreliable components are the height and angle-adjustment mechanics on the tube of a pedestal fan. A busted fan-blade assembly is easily replaced with a new one. If the motor is noisy or does not work, you ought to choose the lover to a repair store. Fixing a wobbly tube or worn adjustment mechanisms which don’t stay tight isn’t difficult. In a brief while, your lover will be circulating the air for your liking.

Unplug the power cord for the fan from the electrical outlet.

Tighten the screws which fasten the circular flange in the lower end of the tube to the top of the base, using a screwdriver. If the lower end of the tube fits into the base, tighten the massive locknut at the bottom of the tube with adjustable pliers.

Loosen the height-adjustment knob in the tube and allow the fan to lower to the lowest setting. Completely loosen the knob and pull the knob and then attached threaded stem out of the bracket in the tube.

Slide a lock washer on the end of the threaded stem and also contrary to the base of the knob. Insert the stem into the bracket and then cease if the end of the stem is in the gap between the inner edges of the bracket. Fit a lock washer on the end of the stem in the gap. Screw the stem fully into the bracket using the knob. Raise the fan to the desired height and tighten the knob.

Ask an assistant to hold the fan stable to repair the angle-adjustment for the fan. Loosen the adjustment knob and pull the knob and then attached threaded stem out of the adjustment bracket. Repeat the previous step to set up two lock washers around the stem, and then tighten the knob.

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How to Plant a Blue Potato

A blue potato is more than a garden novelty — its vivid blue-purple coloring adds nutrients into the starchy tuber. The blue coloring of the spuds doesn’t alter their taste, but it will not add anthocyanin, a flavonoid with antioxidant properties accountable for purple, blue and red hues in fruits and vegetables. These specialty potatoes are available in cultivars which have blue to purple skin and white or yellowish flesh, blue all the way through or with blue skin and a marbled blue and white interior. The planting procedure is no different than for regular potatoes: simply keep in mind that blue potato varieties often produce fewer tubers than traditional white potatoes.

Remove weeds and stone from an area of the garden in full sun with loose soil and good drainage in early spring or late summer. All these are a cool-season crop and you can work in a second crop where there is not any frost for 70 to 120 days after planting, depending on whether the blue potatoes you plant are early, mid-season or late maturing. Clear enough room to allow 6 to 10 inches between plants and 3 feet between rows.

Spread a two- to 3-inch layer of compost across each planting row and sprinkle 10-10-5 fertilizer across the ground at a rate of 3 pounds per 100 square feet of planting row. The numbers indicate the proportions of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium from the item.

Dig the fluid and compost into the ground at least 6 inches deep, loosening the ground and breaking up any clumps as you go.

Dig a 3-inch-deep trench down the center of each row.

Cut blue seed potatoes into pieces which each have at least one eye — the small bud-like indentation where shoots grow — and are at least 1 inch round. Let the pieces sit uncovered for one to two days before the cuts dry slightly. This prevents decay when the bits are from the ground.

Set the bits 6 to 10 inches apart from the bottom of the furrow and cover them with 3 inches of soil.

Water once or twice weekly if there is no rain to maintain the soil consistently moist, but not soggy, since the shallow-rooted plants grow.

Draw any weeds and hill 3 inches of soil above any new increase in four to six weeks so the seed pieces are buried 6 inches deep. Potato tubers develop above the seed bits.

Water plants, enough to moisten soil 8 to 10 inches deep, once the plants are 6 to 10 weeks old and tubers are growing.

Hill up more soil in between the rows above and about the developing plants with a hoe at about the 10-week mark. After this moment “hilling up” only ensure any tubers near the top of the mound are covered with soil or mulch.

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