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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How to do a Soil Test

A simple soil test will pinpoint what your soil lacks -- so you won't have to buy unneeded additives or the wrong plant.

A soil test has been noted by successful gardeners as the most efficient and money-saving step toward better gardening. A soil test measures levels of nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium) in your garden soil that are available to plants, as well as what your soil lacks.

The test also indicates your soil's pH level -- the relative acidity or alkalinity -- that affects how plants take up nutrients and thrive. Soil pH ranges from 1.0 (acid) to 14.0 (highly alkaline), with 7 being neutral. In certain regions, soil is typically more acid (in rainy regions) or more alkaline (in desert areas) and needs to be amended accordingly for plants to thrive there. To raise too-low pH (acidic): add lime, dolomite limestone, or wood ashes. To lower too-high pH (alkaline): add horticultural sulfur, composted oak leaves, or pine needles.

How to Do a Soil Test

  1. Collect soil from six different areas around the garden, using a trowel or spoon. 
  2. In each area, dig six inches deep and remove a sample of soil without collecting roots, mulch, or stones. 
  3. Mix samples in a quart jar. 
  4. Place the sample in a paper bag and send it to a soil lab or nearby county extension service. 
  5. Use a soil test kit from a garden center or nursery to test the sample yourself.
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