62
votes
2answers
3k views

Can weeds be put into compost, or will they grow again when the compost is used?

I usually discard weeds but it occurred to me that they would probably be good for compost. Are there any steps I can take to use them in compost without having them grow again when I use the ...
48
votes
7answers
4k views

What are the best conditions for basil?

What are the best conditions for basil to grow? I live in the UK and it never seems to last that long. Recently I've been putting the plants in the shade and drenching them in water, which seems to be ...
45
votes
9answers
77k views

How do you identify a plant?

I'm pretty new to gardening and landscaping. Having recently bought a house, one of the things I'd like to be able to do is identify the trees and smaller plants that are on the property so I can ...
43
votes
4answers
756 views

Tips on lawn maintenance and weed control

I have a lawn that is growing more and more weeds as the days go by. What is the best method of tackling this problem and returning my lawn to its former lush and green self?
36
votes
6answers
5k views

Is it bad to water plants in the evening?

Is it bad to water plants after the sun has gone down or near dusk? If so, why?
35
votes
9answers
48k views

How do I apply spent coffee grounds as a fertilizer?

I've read that spent coffee grounds work well as a fertilizer. But the methods of application are all over the map. Some indicate using it in compost, others suggest spreading it and broken ...
35
votes
2answers
757 views

What factors affect the spiciness of jalapeños?

Researching growing jalapeños, I've seen people mention how water-starving your jalapeño plants can lead to spicier peppers. How true is this? If there's any truth to it, what tips can you provide ...
34
votes
3answers
3k views

How do you know if you are watering a plant too much vs. too little?

I live in Arizona, and I can never tell if I am watering my plants too little or too much. Plants are very touchy here - and you have to be able to read the signs correctly. I can't. What signs are ...
32
votes
3answers
3k views

How hot can my compost get?

I went to stir my compost pile the other day, and to my surprise, when I dug into the center of the pile, I found that it was hot. As in, really hot. Once I removed the top layer steam was literally ...
32
votes
2answers
1k views

How long before poisons like Round-up become inert?

If I spray some grass with a poison like Round-up or Kills All, how long before that spray is not dangerous to plants? So for example, if after spraying, I walk through the sprayed area and then onto ...
31
votes
6answers
912 views

Crop rotation theory v. practice

Every guide to growing vegetables will have an early section on rotating roots, brassicas and legumes. There might even be a little diagram with neat evenly spaced and sized areas marked out for each ...
30
votes
5answers
5k views

How often do you need to turn the compost heap?

If you have a compost heap, how often should you turn it? Does it make a difference if it's a simple heap (a mound on the ground) or in a tumbler? Alternately, is it even necessary to turn the heap?
30
votes
2answers
562 views

Does unused compost keep on getting better and better?

We have a compost bin to which I've been adding kitchen scraps (and some garden waste) over several years. I have never used the resulting compost (mainly because I have a ready supply of horse manure ...
29
votes
11answers
36k views

How often should you mow a growing lawn?

During the warm months when my grass is growing, is there a mowing schedule I can use to encourage the lawn to be green and healthy? Mine often seems "unhappy" when it's been cut (goes pale, some ...
29
votes
9answers
10k views

How do you safely and effectively stop a cat from pooping in your yard?

Our neighbor's cat keeps pooping in our mulch and around our yard. Is there a safe and effective way to stop neighborhood pets from doing so? Has anyone used a method that works well?
29
votes
4answers
5k views

How do I encourage lawn seeds to germinate successfully?

I'm trying to repair some patches in my lawn with grass seeds, but I can't seem to get the seeds to germinate. Is there anything that can be done to encourage germination? In addition, the weather ...
28
votes
7answers
2k views

How should I speed up the decomposition of sickly sweet smelling giant compost heap?

I have created a monster of a compost heap on my property (3 meters, by 2 meters, by almost 2 meters tall) next to an old granite rock wall. Anyway, I mostly put all my grass clippings (primary ...
27
votes
8answers
15k views

My lettuce is flowering - does that mean it has bolted?

I planted a batch of "zesty blend" lettuce seeds. They seem to be doing fine, but suddenly they started flowering: Have they bolted? They look healthy otherwise. Still edible?
27
votes
4answers
1k views

How do I know when and how much to aerate my lawn?

I have a section of my lawn which seems prone to standing water, grass that doesn't grow very quickly, and seems very hard-packed. I think it's probably in desperate need of aeration. What is the ...
26
votes
8answers
2k views

What is an effective organic pesticide to use against aphids or cabbage loopers?

I have a vegetable garden that bugs just love. Since my family is going to eat these vegetables (and I'd prefer that the bugs do not), what organic pesticide is most effective? The main culprits are ...
25
votes
16answers
16k views

Is it possible to kill a large area of weeds organically/naturally?

We've got a ~4500sq/ft back yard that's probably 90% weeds. Is there an organic/natural way to kill off all the weeds so we can start from scratch? With kids and dogs and a swimming pool right beside ...
24
votes
5answers
2k views

How do I work with soil that has a high clay content?

The clay content in my garden soil is rather high. Tilling it is a royal pain, especially if there is even the slightest hint of moisture in the soil. It just turns into big sticky clumps instead of ...
24
votes
3answers
1k views

Making a yard that's settled more level?

My yard was installed when the prior owners built our house a dozen years ago. They did a decent job with the landscaping and yard. The problem is that some areas of the yard have settled and I'd like ...
23
votes
4answers
2k views

What is a good grass replacement plant?

I don't like mowing my lawn. Is there a grass replacement plant which: looks like grass, one can step on it, does not need mowing?
22
votes
10answers
8k views

What is the best way to prevent animals from eating my garden without a fence?

We have a raised bed garden that does well for the most part. For aesthetic purposes, my wife will not let me put a fence around the garden. Most of the veggies and herbs do well and do not get ...
22
votes
5answers
2k views

Any benefit to watering whole plant (leaves and all) instead of just the soil/roots?

A question I often wonder about when watering outdoor pots in the dead heat of summer. Should I just make sure the soil in the bed/pot is watered sufficiently, or is it necessary/advisable to also ...
22
votes
4answers
4k views

Can aloe be grown indoors with artificial light?

I came across a very beautiful aloe in a shop a few days ago, which I would like to plant in my office next to my computer. However, there is no natural light (sunlight) and only fluorescent light, ...
22
votes
5answers
463 views

Is it wise to reuse potting soil?

The potting soil in question is in medium to large sized pots that had/have tomatoes or small fruit trees in them.
22
votes
2answers
11k views

When should I pile more dirt onto a growing potato plant?

I've heard that I should be piling dirt onto my potato plants as they grow so that I end up with little mounds. My potato plants have started to poke through the surface. Should I totally cover ...
22
votes
7answers
6k views

What are some natural ways of killing ground ivy (creeping charlie)?

We have ground ivy (creeping charlie) that is trying to take over our back yard. We are against using pesticides, as we have a young son. Are there natural/organic ways of beating it (other than ...
22
votes
2answers
187 views

What are the criteria for picking out vegetables to grow together in “Three Sisters” garden?

A "Three Sisters" garden is a garden grown consisting of three different crops which help each other grow in some fashion. Such as Corn, Squash and Beans. I read about it in Roots Shoots Buckets and ...
22
votes
1answer
837 views

How do you prune a rose bush?

I tried to prune a rose bush and it stopped growing from all the branches I pruned, and instead shot one big green stem up from the root again. What is the proper technique?
21
votes
11answers
7k views

What is an easy vegetable to grow in a hot, dry summer / cool, wet winter climate?

I want to try growing vegetables. What is an easy veggie to start with? I live in a climate with hot, dry summers and cool rainy winters.
21
votes
4answers
1k views

Is it safe to grow food plants near the road?

I have been told that debris/pollution from the road will find its way into my plants, but I don't know how much to be concerned about this. We have a nice porch which could be used as a vegetable ...
21
votes
3answers
3k views

How do I compost a large pile of branches and heavy shrub clippings?

This Spring, I pruned all my shrubs and pulled out a few pine stumps. My first thought was just to pile them all up on their own. I have never had good luck trying to compost such material with the ...
21
votes
2answers
19k views

How do I get rid of white flies on my basil?

I've recently noticed that my basil and other herb plants are infested by tiny white flies. They spread out like snow-flakes when I spray the plants with water, and there are scary looking number of ...
21
votes
4answers
379 views

How do I grow a usable vegetable garden indoors?

I'm from a very rural area and love to garden, however, for work I just moved into an apartment in the city. I miss being able to grow vegetables and so I attempted to start some leaf lettuce indoors, ...
21
votes
2answers
921 views

Why do my upside-down tomato plants curve up and break?

When I try to grow "upside-down" tomatoes, they always curve back up towards the sun and eventually break, causing massive damage. Could I be doing something wrong, or is there a way to avoid this?
21
votes
2answers
7k views

What's an organic way to discourage crabgrass from a large “lawn”?

I have a large area that's infested with crabgrass. I'd like to use organic methods to encourage the grass mix over the crabgrass. The fact that it's a large area means I can't afford to apply (nor ...
21
votes
5answers
3k views

Ants in my garden: good or bad?

While weeding my garden I found a bunch of ant nests (red ants and small black ants). My first inclination was to destroy the nest and send them packing, but I didn't know if they might aerate the ...
21
votes
3answers
1k views

How should I prune my vine tomatoes?

I've been growing my tomatoes up a 6ft trellis of nylon netting for the last couple of years, with good results. But they tend to grow out of control, eventually toppling over the trellis and ...
21
votes
5answers
6k views

Ant colony in my compost bin: are they beneficial?

I've got a smallish black plastic compost bin in my garden and I recently noticed that an ant colony has taken up residence. This has happened a couple of times in the past, but they tend to move on ...
21
votes
2answers
825 views

How can I revive a tree that's been stripped of bark?

I've got what I think is a cedar tree in my backyard that is missing most of its bark on one side from the ground to about 4' up. (Thanks to my puppy who is a shredding machine.) The branches next to ...
21
votes
3answers
10k views

How to prevent avocado from drying out indoors?

I have an avocado plant that has grown indoors since it was a pit. It grew first in a badly insulated, north-facing, wet and cool house, where it grew splendidly. After i moved to a well insulated ...
21
votes
2answers
380 views

How do you discourage cilantro/coriander from bolting too quickly?

What techniques can be used to discourage cilantro from bolting too quickly? I plant them and it seems that they almost immediately go to seed after they've reached maturity.
20
votes
9answers
5k views

What are inexpensive materials for homemade tomato cages?

After starting our tomato plants from seed this year, we have many more small plants in the ground than in the past years. We are looking to make our own inexpensive and durable cages that we could ...
20
votes
10answers
1k views

What is the best organic way to defeat slugs?

Most of the seedlings I have planted out this year have been eaten by slugs within a day. I have my final two runner bean plants that need to go out. How can I prevent these from being the next ...
20
votes
5answers
11k views

Which side of a house will get the most sunlight?

Which side of a house will get the most sunlight? Articles on the internet seem to have conflicting answers. Is this because it is dependent on location?
20
votes
6answers
296 views

Is it necessary to purchase seed potatoes?

I recently tried growing potatoes using a method I saw on TV. This is just cutting up potatoes into reasonable sized sections and placing them several inches down. The results have been fantastic. ...
20
votes
6answers
11k views

How can I control thistle in a lawn?

Our back fence (an iron bar fence) borders a golf course, and between us and the fairway is about 50 feet of "native" landscaping. This mostly means long, native grass (some type of crab grass?). ...

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