Here are a few common gardening questions with some advice from online sources:
1. Why haven’t my seeds sprouted?
All a seed needs to germinate is ideal conditions regarding water, light and temperature. Some seeds sprout faster than others and they need to be fresh and alive to sprout. Seeds also vary as to how long they last in storage conditions. Carrots and parsnip seeds are known for losing viability quickly so they need to be purchased fresh for planting each year.
Some seeds sprout readily within a week, others may take longer having turned dormant to avoid harsh conditions. Others may need soaking to soften the seed coat and others just need more time.
It all just depends on what you are waiting to sprout.
2. How should I handle invasive weeds?
The priority is to stop the weed roots from spreading into your plot. You need to build a perimeter trench around the plot and line it with thick sheet plastic. The perimeter should be deep and wide and then you can kill the weeds in the sealed area by, turning it over to grass and mowing it weekly, blocking out the light in late winter buy covering the ground with layers of newspapers. By the next winter, they should be ready to fork over. Another method is to cut off every weed to ground level using a sharpened hoe repeating the process till they stop coming over.
3. Why aren’t my hydrangeas blooming?
The Blue mophead or Hyndrangea macrophylla is the most common and most popular variety of hyndrangea. The quickest answer as to why is it not blooming is probably because it is being pruned too much. Pruning should not take place until after the new growth commences in the spring and then prune only the dead wood. Full sun is best for profuse blooms, use organic fertilizers and mulch to retain moisture.
4. When is the best time to transplant my deciduous shrub?
The best time to transplant lilacs and other deciduous shrubs is when they are dormant. That would be when the leaves have fallen or before new ones emerge in the spring. Rule of thumb though is to wait until early spring to transplant.
5. How can I make sure my indoor tropical plant gets enough light in the winter?
The best way to ensure enough light indoors is to make use of artificial lighting. A standard florescent tube light will suffice, just hung it 5 feet above the plant and turn it on for 16 hours a day (put a timer on it).
6. Can I grow vegetables in containers?
There are a lot of vegetables that adapt readily to growing in containers such as tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers. Use commercial soil and place containers in full sunshine; also punch holes at the bottom of the container to provide drainage for the water as to avoid root rot.
Peppers don’t need support but tomatoes and cucumbers do, you can use a tomato cage just place the wire cage over the plan as you transplant it into your container.
7. How late in the year can I plant a tree, shrub or perennial?
Any plant that is grown in a container can be planted as long as the ground is workable and you can properly dig a hole in it. You’ll want to dig a hole that is twice as wide as and just as deep as the container. If the roots of the plant seem very compacted after removal from the container, gently wash off as much soil. Fill the hole with water halfway, put the plant and then fill it with existing soil.
8. How do I stop black spots on my roses?
You can minimize the impact of the black spots by applying fungicide weekly at first sign of the disease. Another solution is to replace your roses with one of the newer varieties resistant to black spot. In the fall, you can rake and destroy the fallen rosebush leaves this will reduce the source of the disease.
9. When should I prune my lilac and roses?
Many shrubs require little to no pruning and the necessity to prune excessively is mainly because the plant was planted in the wrong place. The general rule is to prune flowering shrubs after they flower. Incorrect pruning doesn’t kill the plant necessarily it just means that it won’t be blooming in the next season for the buds have been cut off.
10. How do I identify my soil type?
There are six basic kinds of soil: clay, chalk, loamy, peaty, silt, stony.
Clay soil is the heaviest and will stick to your boots when wet or moist.
Chalk is thick with white particles and bits. Sticks to your boots when wet but dries quickly when hot.
Loamy soil is easy to dig and only sticks when wet and is considered to be a gardener’s dream soil.
Peaty soil, is dark with lots of floating bits when mixed with water and is usually acidic.
Stony soil is any of the above types of soil that contains stones which may slow down cultivation but doesn’t harm the plants.
11. How often are plants in containers watered?
Since plants in containers have limited access to soil and moisture to tap into they need to be watered more frequently compared to plants growing in the ground. During the hot and dry summer months, they might need to be watered daily.
12. Which vegetables should a beginner gardener try to grow?
This actually depends on what you want to grow considering factors such as what’s easy to grow, costs or varieties available. If you only have about an hour a week to work on your garden then you might want to look into growing salad greens. They don’t require a lot of time, doesn’t need much space and they mature quickly so you can make plenty of harvest throughout the season.
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