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The Scoop

Gardening news, notes and trivia for this week.
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Study shows row direction in the veg garden can help fight weeds

A report in the journal Weed Science describes the results of a three-year Australian study of crop direction and its effect on weeds. The study showed that planting rows at a right angle to the sunlight direction can influence weed growth between the rows. The crops throw shade on the weeds, suppressing their growth. Tall crops (in the study, wheat and braley) made the most difference, while broadleaf crops (canola, field peas and lupine) did not make much difference, compared to the same crops grown in rows parallel to the sun. Location determines the compass orientation of crops for weed suppression. The Western Australian Wheat Belt ranges from 28 degrees to 33 degrees south in latitude with a winter and spring growing season, making east-west crop orientation the most advantageous. Near the equator, north-south orientation would yield the best results, while latitudes up to 55 degrees would benefit from north-south crops in the summer and east-west crops the rest of the year. At latitudes above 65 degrees, east-west orientation would offer the best light absorption throughout the year. Read the full article.

Squash is named the Vegetable of the Year

The National Garden Bureau has named squash its Vegetable of the Year. Squash grow best in loose, well-drained soil and full sun (at least six hours of direct sun each day). They should be planted after the soil has warmed up in the spring. The newsletter Missouri Environment and Garden has a great article on growing squash. Click here for the full text.

Green Thumb Challenge provides inspiration, resources and grants for young gardeners and their leaders

The Green Education Foundation, an organization that aims to connect children with the pleasures of gardening, offers a Green Thumb Challenge to youth gardening groups across the U.S. The goal is to plant 10,000 classroom and outdoor gardens in 2010. All groups that participate receive a coupon for $10 off a $50 purchase at Lowe's and the chance to win a $5,000 grant. More details and registration page.

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