General Gardening Topics
The topics below are relevant to a variety of home gardeners.
Soil & Compost
Healthy soil ensures you can grow healthy plants in your garden. It’s a great place to start for any gardener!
Publications on Soil
- Careful Soil Sampling- The Key to Reliable Soil Test Information
- Soil and Water Quality
- Extension Gardener Handbook, Chapter 1. Soils and Plant Nutrients
- A Gardener’s Guide to Soil Testing
Soil Testing Resources
Soil testing kits are available from your local N.C. Cooperative Extension office.
- Find your soil test report
- Lawn and Garden Soil Sample Form
- Soil Sampling Home Lawns and Gardens Brochure
- Home & Backyard Composting Introduction to Home Composting
- NC State Extension Composting Portal
- Backyard Composting of Yard, Garden, and Food Discards
- Extension Gardener Handbook, Chapter 2: Composting
Printable list of resources on soil and composting.
I have lots of weeds in my garden! What are they and how do I control them? A good place to start is our publication, Identifying and Managing Landscape Weeds.
Pruning questions are some of the most common questions we receive, from both new and experienced gardeners. Check out this article about pruning trees and shrubs in the landscape.
These resources focus on propagating landscape plants by methods other than seed propagation.
- NC Extension Master Gardener Handbook, Chapter 13: Plant Propagation
- N.C. Cooperative Extension: Plant Propagation by Stem Cuttings
- N.C. Cooperative Extension: Plant Propagation by Layering
- N.C. Cooperative Extension: Plant Propagation by Leaf, Cane, and Root Cuttings
Dirr, M.A. The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation: From Seed to Tissue Culture.
Printable list of resources on plant propagation.
Most gardeners have a certain tool (or tools) that she/he reaches for all the time. By taking proper care of your tools, including cleaning and sanitizing, you can extend the life of the tools and possibly your plants as well. Read our article about tool care, which is a great task to complete in the winter or on a rainy day, but can be done in any season.
Pesticides should be the last step in your integrated pest management (IPM) plan. Try other methods for managing garden pests (insects, weeds, diseases, etc) before you reach for a pesticide. If you are using a pesticide, always read the label for information on how to properly use the product. For more assistance on choosing and using pesticides safely, see our homeowner pesticide resource page.