Growing Biennials

Biennials are started from seed the first year then they flower and die the second year. There are many exceptions to this description. Some biennials self seed so appear to be perennial. Others, such as pansy, are grown as annuals. The seed is usually started during the summer of the first year.
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Novice Gardening

The best advice for the novice gardener is to start small; a well prepared small garden will yield plenty of produce or ornamental beauty. As skills and confidence grow, gradually increase the garden's size to fit your time and energy commitments.
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Beware Backflow

When water flows backward through the water supply system, it is called backsiphonage or backflow. When that water is accidentally mixed with hazardous chemicals or bacteria, it is called dangerous! For this reason, never use spray attachments without a backflow prevention device. The chemicals used on your lawn are toxic and can be fatal if ingested.
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Construction vs. Plants

Several types of injury occur during construction. Those covered under other sections are grade changes and soil compaction. The other type of injury is mechanical injury to trunks. If the injury is minor, the tree will heal the wound with no difficulty. A major bark removal may kill some portion of the tree. Several wounds may girdle and kill a tree.
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Lead in Soil

Lead in soil can be a hazard when children play in bare soil or when people bring soil into the house on their shoes. The following two federal standards have been set for lead hazards in residential soil: 400 parts per million (ppm) and higher in play areas of bare soil; 1,200 ppm (average) and higher in bare soil in the remainder of the yard. The only way to find out if soil lead hazards exist is to test.
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Fertilizing Perennials

Regular fertilizer applications are necessary for good perennial growth. Apply 5-10-5 fertilizer in a ring around each perennial in the spring just as growth starts. Make two additional applications at six week intervals. Late bloomers such as chrysanthemum need an additional application in late summer. Always water the perennial bed after fertilizing.
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Pesticide Alternatives

When used incorrectly, pesticides can pollute water. They also kill beneficial as well as harmful insects. Natural alternatives prevent both of these events from occurring and save you money. Consider using natural alternatives for chemical pesticides: Non-detergent insecticidal soaps, garlic, hot pepper sprays, 1 teaspoon of liquid soap in a gallon of water, used dishwater, or forceful stream of water to dislodge insects.
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House Plant Insects

nsects can live in house plant soil. The most common of these is the fungus gnat. The adult lays eggs that produce small white maggots. The maggots eat fungi growing on the organic matter in the soil but they can feed on the roots. The insect is most likely to be a problem when the soil is kept too moist. The maggots can be seen wriggling on the soil surface when the plant is watered. A malathion drench will control the insects but the pesticide may be more harmful to the plant than the insects.
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