Clever Gardening Technique
Read Grocery Labels
Supermarket chains are touting "local" fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Look closely at labels to see just what local means. In some cases, it might mean the crop comes from somewhere in the Southeast, as opposed to California. In others, it might come from the farm down the road. Read the labels of processed fruits and vegetables, too. I picked up a jar of organic minced garlic, only to read in very small type that it was imported from China. If I'm going to use processed garlic, I'd rather it be from this country.
Garden Insects of North America
It's always a good idea to identify plant pests before taking control measures, and Garden Insects of North America:The Ultimate Guide to Backyard Bugs, by Whitney Cranshaw (Princeton University Press, 2004; $29.95) is a perfect resource for doing so. The abundant photos of both the pests and the damage they cause make it easy to identify culprits. The pests are categorized by the type of damage inflicted -- leaf chewers, sap suckers, gall makers -- so even if you haven't seen the actual pest you many be able to identify it by the damage.