Compost Surface

If the microorganisms have more surface area to feed on, the materials will break down faster. Chopping your garden debris with a machete, or using a chipper, shredder, or lawnmower to shred materials will help them decompose faster.
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Annuals vs. Perennials

Annuals complete their life cycle in one growing season. Seed germinates in the spring, the plant grows, flowers, produces seed and then dies. Perennials live for more than one growing season. There are two types of perennials. Herbaceous perennials generally die to the ground at the end of the growing season but send up new shoots the following spring. Woody perennials, such as trees and shrubs, do not die back to the ground but get larger each year.
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Make Mulch

Chippers are a valuable addition to the yard power tool arsenal. They can turn brush piles, branches, woody debris and other yard refuse into valuable mulch and wood chips. As you feed the debris through varying size hoppers, powerful blades instantly shred it into smaller chips. You can then spread this mulch around bushes and shrubs to help inhibit weed growth and retain moisture.
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Disappearing Bulbs

Moles don't usually eat plant matter, focusing instead on insects. However, rodents such as mice and voles use their tunnels like a subway, and they do eat roots and bulbs. As you plant, mix products made from crushed oyster shells into the soil surrounding the bulb. This makes for tough digging for the rodents, and they might be induced to look elsewhere for a meal. Some gardeners resort to planting bulbs in little cages made of hardware cloth (wire mesh) to keep critters from munching on the bulbs.
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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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Compost Aeration

The microorganisms in the compost pile function best when the materials are as damp as a wrung-out sponge and have many air passages. Extremes of sun or rain can adversely affect the balance of air and moisture in your pile. The air in the pile is usually used up faster than the moisture, so the materials must be turned or mixed up occasionallly to add air that will sustain high temperatures and control odor. Materials can be turned with a pitchfork, rake, or other garden tool.
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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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