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A year after the Emmy award-winning PBS show “This Old House” chronicled the renovations of their historic houses, two Charleston families are settling into their new abodes, where they are both homeowners and stewards of history.

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Soil is the foundation of the garden. It supports plant growth by providing stability, oxygen, water, temperature modification and nutrients. In fact, improving your garden’s soil might be the single most important thing you can do to set yourself up for success.

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There’s nothing like a vine-ripened homegrown pineapple for a tasty fruit. Growing a pineapple fruit requires only a few simple tasks and a lot of patience, three years’ worth.

The dog days of summer are a sweltering time for South Carolina gardeners. As spring vegetable gardens have all but given up on production, now is the time to get started for fall garden success.

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Sure, the buried pirate treasure chests and left-behind Civil War-era mementos have mostly been scooped up in Charleston by archaeologists or private collectors and privy diggers (outhouse vault plunderers — yes, that's a thing) who have swept through Lowcountry properties in search of anyth…

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While there are at least three vegetable diseases called “black rot,” including a rot of pumpkins and a rot of sweet potatoes, I am the only bacterial black rot. The importance of this crucial difference will become apparent later.

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An easily grown annual native to South America, cleome (Cleome hassleriana, synonym C. pungensC. spinosa) is a favorite in Southern gardens. The delicate pink, rose, purple, white or bicolor spider-like flowers, along with the spidery seedpods, give it the common name, spider flower. It grows best in average, well-drained soils and in full sun to light shade. Somewhat drought tolerant, cleome will benefit from watering during periods of little rainfall. Many new dwarf hybrid cultivars (Cleome hybrida) have been bred for more compact growth habits and prolific blooms.

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This time of year has many gardeners frustrated. Lush squash plants that were producing copious amounts of fruit suddenly wilt and die. Closer inspection reveals a yellowish, sawdust-like material that is the smoking gun.

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Summer brings a whole new “crop” of weeds to the Southeastern coastal plain. Clearly, weeds that thrive now are tolerant of high temperatures, defined in biology as above 86 degrees. Many summer weeds also tolerate drought.

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On Lowcountry summer days, many locals retreat from the oppressive heat by staying inside cool buildings surrounded by their own comforts and electronic distractions. Others, like certified Clemson Extension Master Gardener Patty Miller, find happiness outside coated in sunscreen and potting…