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Shaded gardens are prone to slug problems, and if undetected, slugs may destroy young plants. Slugs are active during the night, but leave slime trails that can be seen in the morning. Slugs are most fond of hostas. Other shade plants, such as pulmonaria, ajuga, lamium, hellebore, and aruncus, don't seem to tempt them.

One safe slug solution is to sink a small tuna or cat food can with its upper edge at ground level near slug-prone plants. Fill the can with stale beer or yeast dissolved in water. Slugs will probably have been attracted to, and drowned in it by the next morning. Empty the can, refill, and put it back. Other slug traps are citrus rinds, cabbage leaves, or rolled-up moist newspaper. Check the traps daily and destroy your catch. CSU Fact sheet 5.515

Cut Flowers. Pick flowers early in the morning. Indoors, re-cut the stems while holding them under water, and remove any leaves that will be below the water line in the container. Fill the container with lukewarm tap water and set the flowers aside in a cool, dimly lit place for an hour or two before you display them. Remember, the more you pick annual and some perennial flowers, the more they will bloom.

Use Those Herbs. Cut herbs for immediate use, drying, or freezing before they bloom and cut them early in the day. Use sharp pruning shears or scissors to avoid damaging the plants. Cut herbs with woody or semi-woody stems, such as thyme, sage, rosemary, hyssop, and lavender, when the new shoots are still soft and green.

To dry herbs, gently wash and pat them dry. Hang small clusters of stems upside down in a dark, dry place. A paper bag over the drying leaves catches any leaves that might fall and keeps the dust off.

In recipes, one tablespoon of fresh herb equals one teaspoon of dried. In general, add fresh herbs just before serving; dried herbs during the cooking period.

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Date last revised: 01/05/2010