Home Style: ‘Plant This Instead’; lawn gone bad; sports-stain cleaner

Published: February 10, 2014
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‘Plant This Instead!’

Troy B. Marden believes that when it comes to gardening, a lot of us could do better. We could grow plants that are more resistant to pests and diseases, plants that are less aggressive, plants that require less effort or are just more attractive than the common varieties we’re used to seeing. Marden, a garden designer, recommends dozens of those alternatives in “Plant This Instead!” published by Cool Springs Press and sells for $24.99 in softcover.

Get your lawn in shape

Is your lawn a wreck? Getting your soil in good shape is the first step toward growing a healthy lawn. A soil test will tell you which nutrients your soil is lacking, so you can feed it accordingly. It will also tell you the soil’s pH level, which determines whether the grass plants can use the nutrients in the soil. Consider giving it a core aeration and top-dressing it with compost, or renovating it, either by over-seeding or replacing it.

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