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Articles by Dr. Francis Gouin

Cut before month’s end so you have plenty of fruit to pick later

If you want your high-bush blueberry plants to produce the giant fruit photographed and described in nursery catalogs, then you have to prune them severely. If the plants are not pruned yearly, before April, you’ll get clusters of small berries that are a chore to pick.
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Read this before you start cutting

What should I prune when? is one of the most common questions I am asked.
    I answer that we prune for quality — with exceptions.
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Snatch branches from pussy willows and flowering shrubs

Pussy willows are busting out all over. Forsythia buds are starting to swell as are flowering quince, cherries, almond, weigela and crab apples.
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Prune blackberries and ­raspberries; mulch strawberries

With the weather cool but comfortable to work outside, the time is right to prune both blackberries and raspberries.
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Consider your space as you plan your vegetable garden

For the best harvest, plan before you plant. Crowded plants that have to compete for light do not produce a good crop and often have disease and insect problems. Here’s how I plant my garden to give each plant the best chance.
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And it will be good to you

A Bay Weekly reader asked how to care for a potted cyclamen she received from a friend.
    Cyclamen make excellent potted plants, as they come in a large selection of colors and flower for a long time with minimal care. However, the cyclamen has a dormancy requirement, and it will tell you when it is ready to take a rest.

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Here’s how to tell

If you want to be sure your seeds will sprout, buy fresh ones this season. Fresh seeds have a higher percentage of germination and germinate faster than old seeds.
     

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My six favorite catalogs for dreaming and ordering

Seed catalogs begin arriving in my mailbox with the new year. Is there a benefit in ordering from catalogs? Or is it just as good to buy seeds locally?
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Some varieties want winter pruning

If your roses have grown tall and have been in the ground for less than a year, pruning them back to within 18 inches of the ground will minimize wind whipping, which loosens the roots in the soil.
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If you’ve grown horseradish, it’s time to harvest and prepare it

Did you remember to plant horseradish? If so, you’re in for a treat.
    Horseradish is a hardy herbaceous perennial plant that produces fleshy roots. Now that the tops of horseradish plants have died back to the ground, it is time to dig up the roots and make next year’s supply of ground horseradish.
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