The Best Flowers for Wet Soil

Turn a wet, poorly drained spot in your yard into a colorful landscape feature with these perennial flowers and ornamental grasses.

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Fall Veggies to Plant Now

Grow these cool-season vegetables and herbs to extend your garden's harvests in spring and fall. This list of vegetables includes seasonal vegetables, green vegetables, non-starchy vegetables, winter vegetables, green leafy vegetables, fall vegetables and more.

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Improve Poor Drainage

Follow these tips to transform a poorly drained area into an easy-care garden.

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Tips and Tricks to Keep Plants Blooming

Deadheading is a popular practice ¿ but do you know all the ways to keep flowers on your plants longer? Follow these easy tips for keeping your favorite shrubs and flowers blooming longer.

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Top Plant Picks for Late-Summer Color

Keep the color coming on strong through the end of the growing season with these easy-care, reliable annuals and perennials.

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Plan for a Gorgeous Fall Landscape

See how two great gardeners -- one on the East Coast and one on the West -- created knock-your-socks-off fall yards -- and learn how you can do the same.

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Best Plants for Rock Gardens

Transforming an unsightly slope or mound in your backyard into a colorful rock garden is easy when you chose the right plants. These amazing, low-maintenance ground huggers don't mind poor soil but do need good drainage to survive. Here's a list of our top plants for rock gardens.

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Organic Lawn-Care Basics

These environmentally friendly tips will keep your lawn green and healthy.

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    Everything in this slideshow

    • Choose the Right Grasses

      Focus on mixtures of grasses adapted to your region. A mix of grasses ensures that a disease problem won't affect every blade of turf in your lawn. And focus on your conditions: Almost all grasses prefer full sun, but a few, including fine fescues, tolerate some shade.

      Remember that sometimes, the best grass is no grass -- and using ground covers or planting beds makes the most sense.

    • Don't Cut Your Lawn Too Short

      Tall grass is usually healthier grass. It grows longer roots, which access more water and nutrients. And because it has more leaf area, tall grass is also more vigorous than closely mowed grass. The taller leaves also shade out weeds. Most grasses grow best when kept at least 2 inches tall.

      Hint: No matter what height you let your grass grow, remove no more than one-third of the grass blade in a single mowing. Removing too much at one time causes stress.

    • Keep a Sharp Lawn-Mower Blade

      A dull lawn mower blade tears grass instead of cutting it, resulting in frayed grass that's susceptible to disease. Sharpen mower blades at least once at the beginning of the season. Sharpen again during the season if your grass looks ragged after you mow.

    • Leave Clippings on Your Lawn

      Clippings left on the lawn decompose and add nitrogen and organic matter to the soil. (Plus, you don't have to rake as often.) Contrary to popular belief, clippings do not contribute to thatch buildup.

      Note: Use a mulching mower to finely mince blades, so they decompose and benefit your soil more quickly.

    • Control Thatch

      Thatch is an impenetrable mat made of grass blades, roots, and rhizomes that forms over the soil. A thick layer of thatch prevents water from reaching roots, and serves as a welcome mat for disease and insect pests. If thatch isn't severe, aeration may solve the problem. Thick thatch requires a vertical mower or mechanical dethatchers to break it up.

    • Aerate Regularly

      If your ground is hard, if it has dry spots where grass fails to grow, or if you can't poke a pencil 4-6 inches into a moist lawn, it needs aeration. Aeration improves drainage, breaks up thatch, stimulates lawn growth, and improves lawn health -- all without pesticides or fertilizers. Aerate when the lawn is actively growing (spring or fall for cool-season lawns; summer for warm-season lawns).

    • Water Sensibly

      Water your lawn when grass takes on a dull green or bluish color, when leaf blades begin to fold or roll, or when footprints remain in the grass after you've walked on it. Water deeply and infrequently: You want roots to grow deep into the soil -- healthy roots extend 6 inches deep or more. Consider weekly rainfall before setting out the sprinkler. Water based on the weather rather than your weekly planner.

    • Watch for Weeds

      The best thing about healthy, organic lawns is that they naturally defeat most weeds without help from you. If your lawn has weeds, it may indicate a different problem. Use organic products, such as corn gluten meal (CGM) when necessary.

    • Feed Your Lawn

      Use a balanced, natural fertilizer to feed your lawn. Most natural fertilizers are slow-acting, remain available over time in the soil, and rarely damage the lawn by burning grass.

      Apply fertilizer once or twice each year. Be careful not to use too much: Even natural fertilizers can damage plants when used in extreme. Always follow the instructions on the fertilizer packaging. With fertilizers, less is better!

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      Top Dress with Compost

      Compost works miracles in the soil for gardens and lawns. Spread up to a quarter of an inch of compost over your entire lawn each spring or fall.

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      Next Slideshow How to Repair Your Lawn

      How to Repair Your Lawn

      Solve your lawn's problems with our step-by-step guide to lawn renovation.
      Begin Slideshow »

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