Holiday-Inspired Outdoor Decorating that Lasts

Dress up your front porch and yard with these holiday outdoor decorating ideas that last from the first days of fall through the New Year. They look great on a porch or just outside your door.

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Outdoor Christmas Decorating Ideas

Make the outside of your home as ready for the holiday season as the inside with these outdoor Christmas decorating ideas. Our holiday decorating ideas, including beautiful Christmas greenery, festive light displays, and more, are sure to get your yard Christmas-ready.

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Grow Beautiful Amaryllis

Amaryllis flowers are easy to grow from bulbs and great for adding color to your holiday decor.

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Deer-Resistant Shade Plants

Gardening in the shade where deer are plentiful can be a challenging situation. But there are plants that thrive in the shade that aren't tempting to hungry deer. Although no plant can be considered completely deer-resistant, here's a list of shade dwellers that most deer avoid. Plus, we've added some fun facts about deer that might help you understand them better.

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Shrubs with Winter Interest

A winter landscape has a beauty all its own. An unexpected plant feature -- winter blooms that perfume the air, bright berries, colorful or textured foliage or unusual bark -- add a welcome element to gardens. These winter shrubs will not disappoint.

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Tips for Moving Plants Indoors

Here's a handy guide for moving your favorite plants inside once the weather turns cold.

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Regional Vegetable Gardening Calendar

Use these seasonal tips to get the most from your vegetable garden.

Advice for Cool Climates


  • Start seeds for warm-season vegetables indoors under fluorescent lights about 8 to 10 weeks prior to the date you expect the last frost.
  • Build raised beds for intensive and succession planting. Cover the beds with black plastic sheeting to warm up the soil.
  • Set up a soaker-hose or drip-irrigation system for beds to supply low-maintenance watering.
  • Plant seedlings outdoors for cool-weather crops such as broccoli, cabbage, lettuce spinach, radish, and peas.
  • Perform needed maintenance on permanent trellises used for growing crops vertically.
  • Harden off warm-season seedlings raised indoors to prepare them for transplanting into the garden.


  • Harvest cool-weather crops such as peas. When the harvest slows markedly, pull out the vines and plant a summer crop.
  • Cover berries and peas with netting to protect the crops from birds or animal pests.
  • Plan to extend the gardening season into fall. Start seeds for cool-weather crops indoors or in a nursery bed outside about three months prior to the expected first frost.
  • Water when rainfall is sparse. Most plants need about 1 inch of water per week.
  • Remove black plastic mulch or cover it with organic mulch. Cover soil with organic material such as compost to moderate temperature and retain moisture.
  • Monitor plants for insect problems and begin controls immediately.
  • Stimulate production of squash, beans, cucumbers, eggplants, and other by picking them when they are young.


  • Keep polyspun garden fabric (row covers) handy to cover summer crops such as beans and peppers if an early light frost threatens.
  • Harvest crops such as pumpkins, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and onions. Brussels sprouts, carrots, parsnips, and other root crops can stay in the ground through light frosts.
  • Clean up plant debris in harvested beds. Mulch empty beds to protect the soil over winter.
  • Tend fall crops such as broccoli, cabbage, spinach, and onions until they're mature and ready for harvest.
  • Harvest green tomatoes and store them indoors if a frost is predicted.
  • Build more boxed raised beds. Repair trellises. Clean out cold frames.

Advice for Warm Climates

Mulches are critical to preventing moisture loss in warm climates.


  • When danger of frost is past, set out warm-weather plants such as tomatoes and peppers. Sow seeds for squash, beans, corn, and melons.
  • Mulch beds with organic matter to discourage weeds and keep the soil from warming too much and too soon.
  • Use shade cloth or polyspun row cover fabric to protect young transplants from strong sun.
  • Harvest cool-weather crops, such as lettuce and broccoli, before hot weather causes them to bolt and set seed.


  • Water when rainfall is sparse. Most plants need about 1 inch of water per week. Tomatoes like even more moisture.
  • Mulch all bare soil in the garden to prevent evaporation of moisture and to discourage weeds. Renew the layer when it decomposes.
  • Monitor plants for insect problems and begin controls immediately.
  • Plant succession crops of beans, carrots, and corn as you harvest earlier crops.
  • Erect shade cloths over plants to shield them from the afternoon sun, even if they're sun-loving varieties; most benefit from some shade in the hottest months.


  • Renew beds for fall planting by adding more organic material such as compost and rotted manure.
  • Sow carrots, beets, and other root crops as well as lettuce for fall harvest.
  • Set out cole crop transplants such as cauliflower, Chinese greens, cabbage, broccoli, and mustard. Shade them if the days are still warm.
  • Clean up plant debris in harvested beds. Mulch to protect the soil over the winter.
  • Build more boxed raised beds. Repair trellises.


  • Look through mail-order and seed catalogs in time to start cool-weather crops indoors.
  • Continue to enjoy lettuce and Chinese greens by protecting them in a cold frame or with polyspun row cover fabric, or a plastic tunnel.
  • Get out seed-starting equipment and order peat pots and other supplies.
  • Plant peas.
  • Build new compost bins or repair old ones. Turn and consolidate compost piles to prepare for the new season.

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