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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Harvest Tips for the Freshest Vegetables

Most vegetables reach their peak flavor when they're young and tender. Try these strategies for the freshest, tastiest home-grown vegetables.

If you plant in mid- to late spring, beans continue to set through most of the summer if you keep picking them. For best flavor, pick them when they are thinner than a pencil.
Test Garden Tip:
For variety, harvest some immature, or baby, beans and add them to salads. They have a slightly different flavor when they're young.
Get more tips on growing beans.

Don't wait for the broccoli in your garden to get as big as the ones you see at the grocery store to pick them; home-grown plants rarely reach that size. Cut the primary crown (where the individual heads come together) when it's about 4 inches across.
Test Garden Tip: Give your broccoli an extra dose of plant food and a crop of new flower heads will start to form where the leaves join the main stem.
Get more tips on growing broccoli.

Carrots are fully ripe when their shoulders reach up out of the ground and the leaves turn a rich, darker green than they were during the growing season.
Test Garden Tip: If you get impatient, you can harvest carrots as soon as they're large enough to eat. Plant extra so you can harvest baby carrots during the growing season while you wait for them to fully mature.
Get more tips on growing carrots.

If you grow newer corn hybrids, they'll hold their flavor for a week or maybe more. But regardless of the type, it's best to wait until the silks at the ear tips turn brown. Feel the ears and make sure they're full and solid.
Test Garden Tip: If you're not sure, peel back the shuck and pierce a kernel with your fingernail. If the juice looks milky, your corn is ready. If the juice is clear, give the corn a little more time.
Get more tips on growing corn.

Check out these 10 must-grow vegetables!

Watch for cantaloupes to be ripe when they bear a yellowish color on the bottom of the fruit. Look for a brown line around where the stem attaches to the fruit. For watermelons, the best indicators are that the curly tendrils closest to the fruit turn brown and dry, the fruit goes from shiny to dull, and when the bottom of the watermelon (where it sits on the soil) goes from light green to yellowish.
Get more tips on growing melons.

Okra matures fast -- harvest the pods about four days after the flowers close. Pick the pods before they become tough; this is usually when they're about 4 inches long.
Test Garden Tip: Cut off any old, over-mature pods. If you leave them on, your okra won't continue to produce as well.
Get more tips on growing okra.

One good indicator that your onions are ready is when the foliage topples over. Dig the bulbs and store them in a dry place to cure for at least a week.
Test Garden Tip: If your onions bloom, harvest the blooms and use them in salads for extra flavor.
Get more tips on growing onions.

It's best to pick them early; if they're left a couple of days too long, they'll go from sweet to starchy. Gather flat-pod snow peas when you see a hint of peas forming inside. Let snap peas plump up a bit before picking. Harvest shell peas before the pods have a chance to turn waxy.
Test Garden Tip:
 Like beans, you can harvest peas when they're still young and immature. They're also great in salads!
Get more tips on growing peas.

Sweet Peppers
Peppers are more flavorful -- and nutritious -- if you allow them to ripen beyond the green stage. Most bell peppers will turn red, orange, yellow, chocolate-brown, or purple when fully ripe.
Test Garden Tip: Like tomatoes, peppers will continue to ripen after they're harvested.
Get more tips on growing peppers.

Hot Peppers
Like sweet peppers, the hot varieties will have the best flavor if you let them ripen fully. They ripen best at warm temperatures -- so be patient during periods of cool weather and watch them carefully during hot spells.
Test Garden Tip: Wear gloves and wash your hands after handling hot peppers; the hot oils can irritate your eyes, nose, or mouth if the oils rub on them.
Get more tips on growing peppers.

Don't worry if you can't wait for your potatoes to ripen; sneak a few spuds as they develop. Just feel around the top inch or so of the soil and gather the small, young potatoes. The tubers are fully ripe after the plants bloom and start to turn brown and die back.
Test Garden Tip: Too much sun on the potato skins will cause them to become bitter and distasteful. Make sure your potatoes are mulched well and brought inside promptly after harvesting.
Get more tips on growing potatoes.

Salad Greens
Most salad greens are a great "cut and come again" vegetable. When they're about 4 inches tall, cut the tops of the leaves off and enjoy them in your salads. The plants will grow a new set of leaves that you can cut and harvest again.
Test Garden Tip: Plant a big patch and stagger your harvesting times so you can always have a fresh supply of greens during the growing season.
Get more tips on growing lettuce.
Get more tips on growing spinach.
Get more tips on growing kale.

Summer Squash
Many gardeners let zucchini and other summer squash get big before they harvest them. But the fruits have the best flavor and texture if you pick them when they're about 4 or 5 inches long.
Test Garden Tip: Look for male squash flowers -- they're the ones without the little baby squash on the stem side -- and shred them for a colorful addition to salads or stuff them with cheese and cut-up fresh vegetables.
Get more tips on growing summer squash.

Winter Squash
Let winter squash mature before harvesting -- wait until their rinds are thick enough that you can't pierce them with your thumbnail. Then store them for several months in cool, dry conditions.
Test Garden Tip: Like summer squash, you can harvest winter squash when they're still young (less than 6 inches in size) and eat them when they're fresh.
Get more tips on growing winter squash.

One of the tastiest vegetables (at least in our opinions!), tomatoes are also some of the easiest to harvest. Wait for them to fully change color and the fruits to have a bit of softness before picking. If frost threatens your tomatoes as they begin to color up, harvest them and allow them to finish ripening indoors.
Test Garden Tip:
 Harvest tomatoes on the verge of changing color for fried green tomatoes or green-tomato salsa.
Get more tips on growing tomatoes.


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