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By Brian Barth

Where I come from — the Deep South — iced tea is a religion. Traditionally, most Southern families make it with Lipton tea bags, a little lemon and a lot of sugar. The sole ingredient in those Lipton bags is black tea, which comes from the Camellia sinensis plant. The species was once grown on a limited commercial scale in the South, but today it's produced primarily in Asia. Gardeners in mild-winter areas can grow the traditional "tea" plant (warning: it's finicky), but green thumbs everywhere can easily grow perfectly suitable substitutes that combine into a delicious, caffeine-free iced tea.

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Alex Eben Meyer

By Jillian Mackenzie

Spraying chemicals in the yard is a tempting shortcut for many a home gardener looking to protect a tasty crop or a bed of flowers. But weed killers aren't necessary, and they may be linked to health risks.

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Petri Oeschger / Moment / Getty Images

Food gardens can be beautiful — a cherry tree in full bloom, the mesmerizing foliage of trout back lettuce — but purely ornamental gardens can also be edible.

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Serge Vuillermoz / EyeEm / Getty Images

By Brian Barth

Most gardeners accumulate a cornucopia of partially used seed packets. After all, who's going to plant 500 lettuce seeds? After a few years, the germination rate drops significantly after the expiration date and you end up buying new packets. A "chaos garden" is the lazy person's way to use up those old seeds that may or may not still be viable.

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Pixabay

By Brian Barth

There are insects that feed on plants and those that feed on other insects. In your garden, you want as many of the carnivores as possible so that the herbivores won't devour your crops. Unfortunately, the predators don't always show up in time to save your broccoli seedlings from those little white bugs sucking the life out of them. But if you create the right habitat, you'll increase the chances that the good bugs will be on hand when the bad bugs show up to feast.

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White mulberry's growing on a tree. Nastasic / iStock / Getty Images

By Brian Barth

The world of fruit is far more expansive and exciting — not to mention flavorful — than the dozen or so varieties on offer at your local supermarket would suggest. Ever try a translucent white mulberry? How about a jujube — the fruit, not the candy?

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By Brian Barth

Early spring is the time to dream big about your garden. This year, I'm going to grow 10 varieties of tomato — and I will not let a weed be among them! But any grand vision, if it is to be executed, must be matched with the right implementation plan and tools. Here are a few ideas to help you brainstorm.

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Pexels

By Brian Barth

Looking to spice it up this year in the old vegetable patch?

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Johner Images / Getty Images

By Brian Barth

Virtually all fruiting trees, shrubs and vines can be planted during their winter dormancy as long as the ground isn't frozen. But when it comes to smaller edibles — the sort that can fit in an average garden bed — the options are more limited. The following crops can not only survive being planted while dormant but also thrive.

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By Kelly Magyarics

Growing up in a family of gardening enthusiasts, Tobin Shea recalls devouring the pages of seeds, flowers, fruits and vegetables every time his grandparents received a new issue of the Burpee seed catalog. "I was always fascinated with gardening and being able to enjoy the fruits of one's labor," said the bar director at Redbird, a 120-seat Modern American restaurant in Los Angeles. "I've always felt inspired by the catalog's mission to encourage subscribers to grow their own produce at home."

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Berezko / iStock / Getty Images

The last thing on your mind in February is gardening. But this is prime time to prepare for a very important task: planting fruit trees.

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