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May 24, 2013

30 years: The more things change

This month celebrates the 30th anniversary of North Shore Gardener. Thirty years have gone by in a flash; now we’re dealing with a few changes. We have genetically modified seeds and grafted tomato plants. In the garden, we have seen sweet corn developed that can grow in containers on the patio, and plants that bloom and then bloom again, such as lilies and iris and hydrangeas.

And some things remain the same. We’re still growing the old favorites because they grow best in the Northeast. I still get many of the same questions about bulbs, tomatoes and geraniums, and lots of questions about pests. We’ve all got them, but how do we deal with them? Now we’re using safer insecticides instead of poisons, and our children and pets are healthier.

We still plant geraniums at Memorial Day and tulips in the fall, but we’re getting more adventurous indoors, growing orchids and other tropical plants on the windowsill. We still move the houseplants out in June for a brief holiday in the sun and take them back in September.

Contact with my readers means so much. I don’t have all the answers to your gardening questions, but boy, do I have a network of resources built over the past 30 years. I thank you for reading.

Q: I always started my own seeds until three years ago when I bought a few mass commercial tomato plants with tomatoes on the stem, hoping for earlier crops. These seem to have infected all of my tomatoes. The plants start well, but at 3 or 4 feet they start getting yellow leaves, which die, beginning low on the plant and moving up. I get tomatoes, but the plants look terrible. Now each year, even though I dispose of all vines in the trash, the blight seems to be in the soil, even when I move my plants to a new spot each year. Are we New England farmers always going to have blight now?

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