10 Ways to Conquer Your Fear of Gardening

You might not believe it, but you were born with a green thumb. It may have gone untended for a while, but it's there waiting for you to nudge it awake. Put away your theory of being a plant killer, that anything dies under your care. Forget those nagging thoughts of where your garden will live or when you'll find the time, it's there somewhere. It doesn't have to cost a fortune and you'll get more than you give. So, here are 10 tips for conquering your fear of gardening:

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Gardening Tips for Renters

Want to bring more green to your house or apartment? Using a few easy, inexpensive techniques, <a href="http://www.thehorticult.com/">The Horticult</a> shows how you can garden like you own the place -- without risking your security deposit. You don't have to own your home to create a garden that reflects your personal style. Grow your favorite plants and create an inspired landscape -- or patio, interior, or balcony -- using these fun, low-commitment methods. (Although you might want to check with your landlord about the larger projects!) And if you move, you can take it all with you. These 10 tips for renters will give your garden a new lease on life.

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Summer Checklist

Summer is a gardener¿s busiest season. If you¿re short on time or not sure what to do, follow this easy summer gardening checklist to keep your lawn and garden in great shape all season long.

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Drought-Tolerant Grasses

Drought! The word itself strikes fear into the hearts of gardeners everywhere. Scarce water resources, especially in hard hit areas such as California and Texas, are making it almost impossible to maintain traditional style lawns. That's why many people are replacing their lawns with groundcovers and native plants. But for those who want a lush green lawn, here are some less-thirsty options.

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How to Improve Garden Soil

Many homeowners inherit bad garden soil ¿ but you don¿t have to live with it! Learn how to get the best garden soil possible through amendments, composting, and more.

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Top Shade Perennials

Shade plants are perfect for those tough spots in your yard. Learn about the best shade-loving perennials, including flowering shade perennials, partial shade perennials, and full-shade perennials.

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Landscape Ideas

Landscape ideas provide inspiration, and studies show that upgrading your landscape will add value to your home. Here are some great landscape ideas to improve your home's outward appeal.

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Lawn-Care Calendar for the Northeast

Our lawn-care calendar will show you what to do, and when, for the lawn of your dreams.

Spring

Getting your mower ready: Start the lawn-care season by taking care of your mower. Bring in your mower for service in early spring. This helps you beat the rush so your mower is in tip-top shape right when you need to use it. Be sure to sharpen the blade at least once a year.

How to Sharpen Your Lawn Mower Blade

Starting a new lawn from seed: Though fall is the ideal time to start a new lawn from seed, you can also do it in spring. Don't wait until late spring, though: Give your lawn a chance to grow in and get established before summer temperatures arrive.

More About Overseeding Your Lawn

Attacking crabgrass: Because crabgrass and other annual weeds need to sprout from seeds each year, a well-timed application of pre-emergence herbicide can do wonders for keeping these pests at bay. Spread the pre-emergence herbicide as forsythia blooms in your area start to drop.

Aerating: If your lawn doesn't grow well due to compacted soil, springtime -- when your grass is in active growth -- is a great time to aerate. This loosens the soil, allowing grass roots to reach deeper and the soil to absorb moisture better.

Mowing: Start mowing once your grass reaches about 3 inches tall. It's best keep most turf types in this region at least 2 inches tall -- this helps the grass ward off weeds and withstand summer drought.

Fertilizing: If you feed your lawn a couple of times a year, a light application of lawn food in early spring will help get your lawn off to a great start. Keep it light, though, and use a slow-release or organic fertilizer. Wait to fertilize until your lawn needs mowing for the first time.

Summer

Controlling grubs: Attack grubs and keep them from destroying your lovely lawn with a grub-control product that continues to work throughout the season. Apply your grub control in early June.

Mowing: Watch how your lawn grows. During hot, dry periods, it may only need mowing once every two or three weeks (when the grass grows about 3 inches tall). During cooler, moister periods, it may need mowing twice a week.

Watering: It's fine to let your grass go dormant during drought. It'll turn brown, but it'll stay alive and then will go green and start growing when the rains come again. If you don't want a brown summer lawn, select drought-tolerant types such as buffalo grass or plan on giving your lawn about 1 inch of water a week.

Fall

Fertilizing: If you only fertilize your lawn once a year, fall's the time to do it. In fact, your lawn could take a light application of fertilizer in early fall and again in late fall.

Mowing: As temperatures cool, your lawn will start growing faster: You'll likely need to mow regularly through the end of the season.

Cleaning up: For a healthy lawn, it's a good idea to clean up fallen leaves. If you don't want to rake up leaves, do several passes over your lawn with a mulching mower. You'll chop up the leaves into fine pieces so they decompose and add to your soil's structure. It's easier and also better for the health of your lawn!

Overseeding: Most grasses in this region grow and take best in cool temperatures, making autumn the ideal time to overseed. Give your new grass about a month before your first average frost date so it can get established.

Find your average first frost date here

More About Overseeding Your Lawn

Attacking perennial weeds: Most perennial lawn weeds, such as dandelion and creeping Charlie, are most susceptible to spraying in fall when they're winding down and getting ready for winter.

More About Lawn Weeds

Aerating: Cooler autumn temperatures mean your grass will start growing more again -- so it's a great time to aerate to loosen compacted soil.

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