Keep time on your side

Young plants, with their tender, succulent stems, are easy prey for pests. As plants mature, their tissues become more fibrous and less prone to damage. Use this to your advantage: Plant a crop so that it's growing strong by the time the predominant pest insect hatches. In some regions of the North, for example, early plantings of corn can avert corn earworm and fall armyworm, which migrate from the South and arrive in the North later in the season. You can also time your plantings for a couple of weeks after the pest eggs hatch so that the young larvae will die from lack of food before your plants are up and growing.

^ Pests emerge earlier in the season if local temperatures have been high and later if temperatures have been cool. Farmers and other agriculture experts ■ VQJ ■ use these temperature records to predict the emergence of key pests — when the pests emerge from their winter hiding places. Talk to local growers and your local extension office about pest-emergence predictions and recommended planting times. Some extension Web sites offer weekly pest-emergence updates during the growing season.

Herbs 101

Herbs 101

Learn what you can do with herbs! How to Plant, Grow, and Cook with Natural Herbs. Have you always wanted an herb garden but didn't know how to get started? Do you want to know more about growing your own herbs in the privacy of your home and using them in a variety of cooking?

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