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92
votes
4answers
10k 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 compost?...
72
votes
8answers
108k 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 ...
69
votes
7answers
19k 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 ...
60
votes
11answers
99k 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 ...
57
votes
4answers
2k 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?
53
votes
7answers
30k 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?
49
votes
3answers
5k 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 ...
48
votes
2answers
13k 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 ...
47
votes
12answers
127k 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 ...
44
votes
11answers
113k 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?
42
votes
6answers
2k 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 ...
42
votes
3answers
7k 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 ...
42
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
41
votes
3answers
65k 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 it to a well insulated ...
40
votes
5answers
12k 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?
39
votes
5answers
13k 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 ...
39
votes
3answers
24k 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 ...
39
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
38
votes
9answers
4k 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 ...
37
votes
5answers
61k 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 them?...
37
votes
4answers
3k 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 ...
36
votes
16answers
50k 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 ...
35
votes
6answers
13k 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 ...
34
votes
17answers
7k 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 ...
34
votes
10answers
7k 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 ...
34
votes
7answers
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?
34
votes
9answers
45k 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 ...
33
votes
7answers
26k views

Do tomatoes really need support to grow?

I am new to gardening and I am starting out with tomatoes. I keep reading that tomatoes need support like a stake or a cage. However is there a reason why they can't just grow on the ground like ...
33
votes
9answers
64k views

Is rain water better than tap water for plants?

Is it better to water your plants with rain water collected in water butts? I mean is that better than water straight from the tap? And is it just a matter of temperature (presumably plants don't ...
32
votes
8answers
54k 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?
32
votes
7answers
170k views

Are household LED bulbs suitable as supplemental light for plants?

I live at a fairly northerly latitude where we have limited hours of daylight during the winter. Low-wattage (5-8W) white LED bulbs seem to be becoming more common as a household light source. Do ...
32
votes
9answers
6k views

What's the best mulch material for a vegetable garden?

I want to lay mulch down around my already established plants to help retain moisture and discourage weeds. Is there a recommended material for this? Or at least some materials I should know to ...
32
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
32
votes
3answers
4k 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 ...
32
votes
2answers
2k views

Why did my carrots split in a way that looks like legs?

This is the first year I've grown carrots. What gave them legs? I have a theory that the seedlings merged together. I don't know if that is just silly or if carrots just naturally grow like this.
31
votes
10answers
25k views

Does eating fruits and vegetables watered with greywater affect your health?

Does using greywater on your fruit and vegetable garden affect your health in a negative way? Greywater is the run-off or cast off water that lolls about when you do normal washing around the home. ...
31
votes
4answers
31k views

Can aloe be grown indoors, in an office with artificial light only?

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, ...
31
votes
4answers
16k views

How can I tell if a plant given to me is patented?

Sometimes, I receive an unlabeled plant start from a friend, and they do not know if it is patented. If I want to grow and sell a plant in question, is it okay to just take the chance, or is there a ...
30
votes
7answers
45k views

How efficient are stump removal chemicals?

As a skeptic, I am generally wary of any claims that say something that is generally hard is made easy by a product. I was wondering if anyone could offer some advice if they have experience with ...
30
votes
3answers
2k views

Hugely different results storing apples from different trees?

So, I took a look at my apple store over this weekend. It being February, the apples have been in there a number of months. In previous years I haven't had a massive amount of success storing apples ...
30
votes
4answers
25k 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 ...
30
votes
7answers
15k 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 ...
30
votes
4answers
638 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, ...
30
votes
1answer
49k views

How long does it take for the compost to ripen?

I’ve got a compost bin (a big plastic box with air holes) that’s used by two or three families. We have been putting kitchen scraps and stuff into the composter for about a year now (mostly vegetables)...
30
votes
1answer
21k views

Can my lawn be saved or is it time to dig it up and re-sod?

The majority of the grass in my backyard has turned brown and/or died after what we believe was a chinch bug onslaught that went untreated for way too long. It is St. Augustine grass in South Florida....
29
votes
6answers
9k 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 ...
29
votes
5answers
14k 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 ...
29
votes
5answers
24k 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 ...
29
votes
3answers
327 views

What's the most effective way to harvest rhubarb?

I've got a big, lovely rhubarb plant in my yard which I'd hoped to be able to harvest a few different times over the course of a summer. How should I harvest my rhubarb to encourage it to regrow ...
28
votes
11answers
6k views

What are some low maintenance plant choices for apartment (indoor) living?

I'm not an expert on plants, but would like to add some plant life to my apartment. I'm looking for good choices that: don't require direct sunlight require minimal watering survive for at least a ...

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