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Memorial Hall Library

Connecting with Gardeners & More

Ask a Gardener

Email your gardening questions to and we'll ask our panel of experienced local gardeners to answer them. We'll post questions and answers on this page.

Gardening Tips and Tricks: From Local Gardeners for Local Gardeners

For the gardener who is just starting out:

  1. For new beds, when planning location, consult a sun tracking app that will help you determine the location with the most sun exposure throughout the growing season.
  2. Avoid big box stores, and buy organic, if possible. The Everything Grows Farm in Salisbury has many varieties of seedlings. Visit Bruckman's Hardware in Lawrence for soil amendments and some plants.
  3. Start small and work on being successful. You can grow more variety next year.
  4. Don't forget to "harden off" your seedlings gradually before planting (ie. put outside during the day and bring in at night). 
  5. Think about sun position, planting tall plants on north side so they don't shade shorties.
  6. Get right on top of squash vine borers by mulching stems well, keeping a vigilant eye under leaves and on stems for bronze colored eggs which are slightly spaced (if the eggs are touching, you have a bigger problem-squash bugs!), and/or weekly sprays of Bf bacillus to kill caterpillars before they get inside stems. 
  7. As the season progresses, keep an eye on your plants, and pick young fruit to increase your production. If a plant manages to produce mature seed in single fruit it will consider its job done for the season, and slow or stop producing any more fruit.
  8. Have fun and enjoy the sunshine.                                       --Cheryl

Tip: When I am transplanting  new plants from their pots to the garden or old plants that have been divided, I fill a bucket with a light solution (@ 1/2 full strength) of Neptune's Harvest liquid fertilizer. Everything I’m transplanting gets a long soak in the bucket while I’m preparing its new home. Once the plant has been transplanted, I water it into place with the liquid fertilizer from the bucket. I’ve been doing this for years and it seems to get newly planted things off to a good, strong start.  --Betsy

Trick: If you grow parsley from seed, pour boiling water over the seed after it’s in the ground! Reason: Parsley has an iron-hard seed coat which takes a long time to soften enough for the seed to begin germinating. The boiling water softens the seed coat and the parsley usually begins to show signs of growth in 10 days. --Betsy