13
votes
2answers
828 views

What is in seed starting soil that justifies wearing gloves while handling?

I was adding miracle-gro seed starting soil to paper pots with my daughter a few months ago and was a little leery about letting her touch the stuff (let alone breathe it in). What's in it that is ...
15
votes
4answers
144 views

How healthy are seedlings sent by mail?

I've never bought seedlings out of seed catalogs, but am sometimes tempted to (especially by the flashy free $20, no obligation seed catalogs). I'm just wondering what the considerations are when ...
7
votes
1answer
2k views

How I can persuade an olive tree to flower?

I have an olive tree that was a mail order gift about four years ago. Unusually for mail-order florist "living plant" deliveries, this one has survived more than a few months! It came with two olives ...
12
votes
2answers
283 views

What are some good companion veggies/flowers/herbs to scare off beetles?

I've had the biggest problems with Asian Stink Bugs (an invasive species that is terrorizing the Midatlantic USA region) and Asparagus Beetles. Oddly enough the asparagus beetles (right pic) are ...
8
votes
2answers
173 views

How do I tell which direction a gourd is going to grow?

I transplanted a 10 or so gourds seedlings growing around my garden (which somehow survived my compost [mainly because I composted them intact and smashed them with a brick later]) around a teepee ...
24
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
20
votes
3answers
337 views

Should I insulate my compost heap?

I understand that compost heaps have an ideal temperature for the bacteria to decompose the material into compost. Living in the changeable Great Britain, the weather can be windy, rainy, sunny and ...
8
votes
1answer
549 views

Is this a normal amount of sap from an apricot tree after pruning?

My apricot tree is secreting what seems to me as copious amounts of sap. Is this a normal amount of sap after pruning about a year ago, or is my tree sick?
13
votes
2answers
2k views

How is manure tea made without E. coli?

As the title would suggest, I may or may not have given my kids e. coli by steeping a bag of what I thought was mushroom compost in a 35 gallon drum and watering my garden with it. (I know it was ...
36
votes
3answers
4k 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
180 views

Why are my squash shrivelling?

I put squash seeds in with my compost at the end of last year, and apparently it didn't get heated up enough to kill everything. I now have Delicata plants with dinner-plate sized leaves growing out ...
10
votes
1answer
846 views

Is it possible to create lilacs with different colored flowers on different branches?

Is it possible to create (using grafting) a Lilac (Syringa vulgaris) which has different colors? One branch with white flowers, the other with lilac?
22
votes
5answers
715 views

What is “Compost Tea” good for?

I have read that you can get a tumbler type of composter and collect the "juices" from the composter. This is referred to as "compost tea". Does anyone know what the real usage of this is? Some ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

How do I get rid of houttuynia (heartleaf/lizard tail)?

A previous owner left me with a garden full of Houttuynia cordata (also called hearleaf/lizard tail/chameleon plant), an invasive weed that I've been trying to eradicate. I can't believe it is sold ...
13
votes
2answers
220 views

What is a good method for extracting the earliest-viable seeds from young pumpkins?

I am in need of a good strategy to extract the earliest-possible batch of seeds from an upcoming batch of white pumpkins (I may have a few available within a month). My main uncertainty is at what ...
18
votes
2answers
2k views

Will dumping paint destroy a nearby tree?

One of my neighbors complained that another neighbor killed a tree in front of her home by dumping paint in the soil. (Never mind that his trees are fine and there seems no way the paint could be ...
37
votes
6answers
1k 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
1k views

How and When to prune a Montmorency Cherry Tree?

I recently acquired a Montmorency Cherry tree that is a couple of years old. I want to make sure it grows in a healthy, maintainable way, but my only experience of pruning fruit trees is with apples. ...
13
votes
3answers
290 views

What should I do to a homemade paper pot before planting it?

I got one of these snazzy paper pot makers and made a ton of pots to grow all sorts of stuff. It's pretty cool because, unlike a bedpost, you can press the newspaper you use to make the pot into a ...
28
votes
3answers
26k 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
763 views

How is short grass like those at miniature parks maintained?

How do they maintain very short grass like at Legoland? Is there a variation of grass that only grows this short? I've tried maintaining a portion of grass myself in my garden that is part of a ...
7
votes
1answer
378 views

Do opuntia (prickly pear) cacti readily form hybrids in the wild?

I suspect the answer is yes, because they are the most diverse group of cacti. The reason I ask is that we actually have four varieties/species and I'm having a lot of trouble identifying them! The ...
10
votes
1answer
2k views

Moving lemon and satsuma trees?

I have a lemon and a satsuma tree in my yard that I planted roughly 2 years ago. So they are still fairly young. I planted them in a bad location and realized that in a few years they are going to end ...
24
votes
5answers
761 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.
34
votes
2answers
729 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 ...
25
votes
4answers
467 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, ...
14
votes
3answers
1k views

How should I till topsoil into thick clay in small garden beds?

My house is in an area where the native earth is basically solid clay. This means that wet or dry, you can't dig with a shovel and get crumbling dirt — it always clumps together, unless you ...
16
votes
5answers
273 views

What are some fast-growing, voluminous vines that are suitable to be grown in containers?

I have a large terrace in New York City, and am looking to fill it with some greenery without spending a fortune. In the past I have had good luck with morning glories in containers - they grow ...
12
votes
3answers
4k views

Why have my tomato leaves started yellowing at the base?

One of my tomato plants (Better Boys if that matters) has a few leaves that have started yellowing on the lower branches. Not sure if they aren't getting enough water, or if they are diseased or what. ...
9
votes
1answer
2k views

What kind of black and yellow insect has a zebra like pattern?

Can anyone help me identify a insect with the following features: black and yellow long feelers body is tapered toward the back zebra like pattern on the shell about 1.5 inches long found in ...
7
votes
1answer
208 views

What is a good strategy for laying patio pavers?

I would like to lay several patio pavers for a new patio. The pavers are 12" square. The size I want to do is rectangular, and the base is flat with a slight slope away from the house. Should I ...
16
votes
6answers
5k views

What kind of plants will survive the heat from an air conditioner?

I live on the 18th floor of a building in Hong Kong. In summer, all of my neighbors turn on their air conditioners, which generate a huge amount of heat. I have a little balcony like gardening area ...
8
votes
2answers
162 views

How are wind flattened plants realigned?

Holy cats, that was a nice storm last night. 100 MPH gusts have flattened my 12in tall tomatoes, cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage. This morning I straightened them out by propping them up with a ...
19
votes
3answers
1k views

How does one determine when to pick corn?

Last year I grew a little stand (4x4) of short-season corn. I hand-pollinated it and everything was growing great. But I waited a little too long, I guess, and when I picked it, my corn tasted ...
11
votes
1answer
622 views

“Forcing rhubarb” - what does that mean?

In the question Forcing rhubarb - alternatives to fancy forcing jars?, the poster is asking how to "force rhubarb". What does that mean? The house we bought has a rhubarb plant in the yard, but I ...
9
votes
3answers
790 views

Forcing rhubarb - alternatives to fancy forcing jars?

Gardening guides, when discussing rhubarb, will always illustrate their advice with a picture of some fancy forcing jars, or else reclaimed old-fashioned chimney pots, which look great and add ...
29
votes
8answers
19k 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
394 views

Why does one of my onion varieties (Red Baron) invariably bolt?

I plant onion sets every spring and, with the exception of Red Baron, they all flourish. The Red Baron variety invariably bolt in early summer, although they are planted and fed in exactly the same ...
18
votes
8answers
26k views

How to keep chipmunks out of my garden?

Forget rabbits, I have a fence around the garden, my real pest problem is chipmunks. I've got a fence, with some below ground barriers, to keep larger pests out and to keep them from digging but the ...
13
votes
2answers
833 views

How should I treat a frangipani?

I've just potted a frangipani cutting given to me by a friend and since it's not in it's natural climate, I'm wondering what conditions it will thrive in? If it matters, I live in a temperate zone. ...
10
votes
1answer
1k views

What is this white growth on my cactus?

I have several cacti growing in my yard and one (t. pachanoi, if it matters) has developed a white layer across the top of the plant. It is very fine and looks almost sandy, like perhaps a mould or ...
10
votes
1answer
127 views

Why are my courgettes enormous, and my pumpkins puny?

Typically in August/September I get vigourous courgette plants but if I don't catch and harvest the fruits quickly I end up with enormous useless marrows. At the same time my pumpkins are doing the ...
72
votes
2answers
5k 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 ...
24
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?
14
votes
3answers
9k views

How do I get rid of insects on fruit trees?

I have an infestation of aphids on my citrus and pomegranate trees. The bugs are being "farmed" by ants. I read they might actually be bringing the aphids to the trees. Is this at all a problem? Can ...
9
votes
1answer
178 views

What can be planted on a shady, damp slope to help remove weeds?

I am removing ferns and brambles from a steep, damp and shaded hillside. Proper planting will come later but first I want to have some ground cover that will help keep the weeds from re-establishing ...
18
votes
3answers
2k views

Does fruit on fruit trees need to be thinned?

Do fruits need to be thinned on the tree? For example, I have a young Pomelo tree that's producing fruit for the first time. In order to get bigger, nicer fruit, should I be thinning the fruit? How is ...
20
votes
4answers
13k views

What do purple tomato leaves mean?

Sometimes the leaves of the tomato seedlings we grow in pots gain a purplish shade on the bottom; the plants themselves (don't know if this is a coincidence) also seem to turn out stockier, shorter, ...
11
votes
1answer
1k views

How would I go about grafting Japanese Maples?

I would like to plant a nice weeping Japanese Maple in my yard, but the nice ones at the nursery are quite expensive. Some friends have exactly the type of Japanese Maple that I would like in my ...
15
votes
1answer
887 views

How is crabgrass removed from lawns?

I have some crabgrass in various patches in my lawn that I would like to remove. At the same time, I would like to fill in some patches (and the crabgrass locations) with new grass seed. I can buy ...

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