General Gardening

Knowing what family a plant belongs to can be useful in making decisions about rotating plants for managing pests and soil fertility in the garden.

When seedlings grow their first pair of identifiable true leaves, they are ready for transplanting.

High tunnels offer plants protection from wet, saturated soils and low temperatures in the spring and fall, thereby extending the gardening season.

Extending the Garden Season with High Tunnels

Certain design elements found in modern gardens have been adapted from colonial gardens of the past.

Proper soil fertility is the foundation for plant health. Different types of plants have specific nutritional requirements and Soil pH and nutrient levels vary greatly from site to site, so guessing about nutritional needs often misses the mark.

In order to sell products as organic, farmers and processors must use production and handling practices contained in the National Organic Standard.

Many cost conscious home gardeners and do-it-yourselfers are often looking for cheaper ways of growing plants for home and garden use. One way to achieve this may be by making homemade potting media.

To increase the survival rate for seedlings during germination, containers and tools should be sterilized and pasteurized or sterile soilless mixes should be used as growing medium.

When considering starting your plants from seed, it is useful to know what information is found on the seed packet.

Although common names are often easier to pronounce, using them is not the best way to refer to specific plants. Plants may be known by different common names throughout the country, and one name may refer to various plants within several species. Use the scientific or botanical name to properly identify plant material.

What can gardeners do when they admire a plant in a neighbor’s garden and want to purchase one of their own, but don’t know its name? Or if a gardener finds that a weed has “taken over the yard” and needs to identify it before properly applying an herbicide? This can be difficult, especially if gardeners don’t recognize the plant and don’t know how to identify it. Gardeners, however, do have some resources that can help with this task.

Plants are classified by the number of growing seasons required to complete their life cycle. Generally, these groups are annuals, biennials, and perennials. Annuals will provide continuous blooms throughout the growing season, while biennials provide blooms during their second year of growth. Perennials will bloom for 2 to 8 weeks or longer, however, bloom time will vary and can occur during the beginning, middle, or end of the growing season.

Some plant varieties that are compact, with strong stems do not require support to hold them upright, however, plants with heavy flowers or tall stems will require some assistance. Many methods have been devised for supporting these plants.

Compost is a term for organic matter that has decomposed into a form that plants can use. Compost can be used in potting mixes or mixed in with garden soil. It has many benefits for your plants and recycles materials that may otherwise be thrown into landfills. Though composting bins are available for purchase, methods described in this fact sheet rely on materials from your garden, kitchen, and, if needed, a few items from your garden center.

Edible flowers can be used to add color, fragrance, and flavor to salads, soups, entrees, desserts, and drinks.

Have you ever wondered how plants tell time?

Advice for collecting a good plant or insect sample for identification.

Listing of flower garden plants (and some choice woody plants) that are categorized by type of garden and resistance to deer.

Soil health and best practices for Philadelphia Gardens