Archive for March, 2011

Questions And Answers On Home Garden Tips

Kylee asks…

Tips for someone wanting to start a garden?

My husband and I just moved in our new home. We would like very much to start a garden of veggies and flowers. We have never really planted before and I was wondering when to start, and what is best to start out with. I would like to plant as many veggies as possible. What would I have the best luck at?

Home Gardener answers:

Cool weather crops can be planted 2-3 weeks before the last frost. They include lettuce, spinach, and onions. You can also plant a second harvest of them in late summer for a fall harvest. Other crops have to wait to be planted until all danger of frost has passed. They include beans, tomatoes, peppers, squash, and so on. For tomatoes and peppers, you buy seedlings instead of putting seeds in the ground. If you plant them, and a week later it gets down to 33 degrees one night, then you have to throw a tarp or blanket over them, or they will be totally dead by morning. So be careful about that.

Find a place in the yard. Cool weather crops would be alright with a little shade, especially afternoon shade when it gets really hot during the day. Tomatoes and whatnot like full sun. Take a shovel and scrape off the grass/ top 2-3 inches of sod. You can use it to transplant in a bare spot in your yard if you have any. Then, take a shovel and turn over the plot one shovel full at a time. It’s a lot of work so don’t plan on too big of a plot, or plan on a big workout and LOTS of exercise. You will then have to till the area with a rototiller, or you can chop it up with a shovel and hoe. That’s a lot of work, but that’s how I do my small garden. Using a rototiller is much easier, but avoid buying a doinky little rototiller because they are cheaper. Then, smooth the surface with a steel rake.

Next, stake out rows. Some plants need rows every 12″ and some need rows every 24″. To maximize space, I plant lettuce and spinach every 10″ or so. The back of the seed packet says 12″ or 18″. You need to make wooden stakes or buy whatever they are selling, and pull a white string tight between them to mark the row. (Twice as thick as kite string. Sold at hardware stores.) That way you can plant the seeds in a straight line. So stake out a row, plant the seeds, stakje out the next row, plant the seeds, stake out the next row, plant the seeds. It takes half a day or longer. When the seeds sprout, you pull up the stakes/string. You plant a seed every 2 or 3 inches or so, and then thin the seedlings to every six inches or so. Gardens like to be watered. I water mine almost every evening in the hot summer. It’s better wet than dry. The plants really respond to the water.

When you plant tomatoes seedlings, you add a small stake and loosely tie the plant to the stake with twine. When the plant overgrows the stake, you pull the stake and add a larger support. With both tomatoes and beans, you need to tie them up. For tomatoes, I buy a wire cage shaped like a cone from WalMart or somewhere else. They used to be $1-2, but some places charge $4-5 even though it’s just a few thick wires. You can support them any way you want. You can use a 6′ stake, or you can use several stakes and string between them. You tie off the plant to the support system. With beans that gown as vines, you put two stakes at each end of the garden and maybe a stake in the middle. You use string or wire horizontally at the bottom and top of the stakes. Then, you add strings vertically every 6″. The vines grow up the strings. Lots of people buy bush beans to avoid this process.

Don’t refigerate tomatoes after you pick them. They lose some of their flavor. Just let them sit on the kitchen counter. I use them in salads, and people love them as a side dish at supper salted and peppered. It is great having them every day during the summer.

Here’s a picture of a tomato cage:

Cage Baby

I got it from here. You can see different supports for tomatoes:;_ylt=A0geu7fLgspJE0YAGihXNyoA?ei=UTF-8&p=tomato%20cage&fr2=tab-web&fr=b2ie7

However you trellis beans is fine. Here is a string trellis. You can use whatever. The tomato cages also in this picture are from a roll of wire fencing (6″ gap farm fence). The fencing is cut to length and wrapped in a circle making a nice support:

Here they used wire instead of string for peas (vines like beans):

Pic of a garden:

Good luck.

Daniel asks…

Starting a home garden?

I’m basically interested in growing some of my own food-indoors or outdoors. I don’t know too much about hydroponics but would be willing to learn.

The climate is Northern Ohio.

I’ve noticed that seeds are relatively cheap assuming you can keep insects and disease away from the plants to get a decent crop.

Most Fruit/vegitable seeds: $1.50 a bag
Fruit bearing yearling trees: $35.00 a tree

Any tips?

Home Gardener answers:

Green beans are very easy to grow and generally produce a good crop. They don’t get many pests or disease. If you plant them now, you will have green beans by the middle of July – maybe sooner. I find bush beans are easier than pole beans, but both are productive.

Lettuce is an easy crop and pretty quick to produce.

Asparagus are a good home garden crop as they come back every year on their own. Strawberries are also a good home garden fruit because they also come back every year.

Ask at your local garden center what grows well in your area.

Fruit trees takes a lot of care and require spraying. That would not be a good choice for a beginning garderner.

Wayne asks…

How to start your first home vegetable garden?

Me and my wife just finished moving in to our first home and we want to have a vegetable garden next Summer. Problem is we both know absolutely NOTHING about gardening. Neither of us ever did any growing up, nor did our parents really do much either.I was hoping the community here could give some good tips to help us get started. We a do not have a ton of space, probably from a rough estimate I did a minute ago 12×50 at the max and that would need to include walking space since most of it is our side yard. We also live in Ohio so winter will need to be accounted for. If possible we would really like to do tomatoes and I have heard we may be able to grow them off the side of our garage saving us some space, and zucchinis would also be nice! Outside those we are open to any suggestions.

Anyways if anyone has helpful websites, step by step guides, general tips, advice on fertilizers or pesticides to use/not use all of it is appreciated, since as I said we are completely ignorant on this subject!

Home Gardener answers:

Good evening MSI Magus,

Let me be the first to say “congratulation” on your new house. I know you are excited about your house and your first garden. You will get better with (not a joke) age. Keep good records in your computer about each vegetable.

I love to help new gardeners. My best advice: Start with a small garden. 12×50 feet is too big for one person who is new at gardening especially with a new house. I would suggest 10×10 feet maximum to start. A garden is work. You need to discontinue your membership (smile) to your gym.

First: Head for Home Depot. Buy a Ph Soil Testing Meter. The meter cost is around $7. Soil ph is the secret/key to a healthy garden. The meter is easy to use, and it will last you for years. With good soil, you get twice the yields and fewer insects. Good soil also draws earthworms. Earthworms continuously help your plants and improve your soil. They also work for low wages (smile again).


Therefore test your soil. If your soil is too acidic add lime. If your soil is too alkaline add pine needles. Changing soil ph can take two years. Do this now. Read web site below. The web sites explain WHY ph levels are so important.


Next, buy some bags of chicken manure, compost/mulch, and a box of Epsom salt. I hope you know about compost and fertilizers. I use chicken manure.

Next till/turn your soil. You should be able to do this with a good hand pick or shovel. I use a hand pick because of the exercise. Try to till/turn at least 3 to 6 inches deep. Lightly hand sprinkle the whole area with Epsom Salt. Apply your chicken manure and compost now in the tilled area. Since you live in Ohio, let it rain on the area about two or three times. Cover the whole area with a big (paint dept.) plastic sheet. The sheets cost about $4 each. The plastic sheets will kill all the weed seeds. Place heavy rocks on the edges. Your garden will be ready to plant in the spring.


In the spring uncover your garden area. Till again and rake. You will have rich and beautiful weed free soil. Do this about ten days before you plant. You can grow any vegetable you like. Just follow the instructions on the package. Bell peppers and tomatoes do very well for all beginners. Start with small/starter plants from Home Depot. Very important you keep them damp and mulched, especially when the plants are young. Grow a yellow tomato. They fight off birds, mice and insects better than the red tomatoes. You will love to grow yellow tomatoes. They are easy. Again less work. They will come out great. They will be a great conversation piece around your house.

My freezer always has some stuffed bell peppers inside. Whenever my wife (or myself) doesn’t feel like cooking, unexpected guest, after a late night of partying/dancing, or listening to jazz at a locate club, in goes some stuffed bell peppers. She stuffs them with shrimp, sausage, hamburger, or ham/potato.

I grow a Japanese eggplant. They are very easy to grow. They have a beautiful purple flower. You can get some great recipes for eggplant. They also do very well for beginners.

I do not use pesticides or chemicals. Chemicals kill helpful insects. I go out at night with a flashlight, and I hand pick or cut the few worms and insects with scissors. I only have to do this once a month. Between the good insects and my own work, my plants stay healthy. You will also notice a good healthy garden has wasp flying from plant to plant. These are good insects which hunt the leaves for harmful worms and caterpillars. Wasps really fight for you and your plants.

Also plant a herb to attract more wasps. I plant Dill. Dill will grow about three feet tall. The plant will have nice looking flowers. Fresh dill is very good on fish. We use a lot of dill seeds for canning. Try these two things before using chemicals. They do work.

In my opinion, a raised garden is nothing but a way for Home Depot to advertise, push, and make money. Add up the materials for yourself. I find that the soils in raised gardens becomes weak and accumulates chemicals, fungi, viruses, and mildew.

I hope these were the tips you needed. You received these tips from an organic gardener with sixty (60) years experience. I started learning at the age of three (smile) from my uncle in the hills of Kentucky. I have a 20×20 feet garden and nine (9) rare fruit trees. Last year we canned over sixty quart jars of vegetables and fruits. Each year we give them out in a basket as Christmas gifts to family and friends.

Good luck new little beginner (smile). You and your family have a great week. Peace, from Los Angeles.

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Questions And Answers On Retaining Wall Systems

Marie asks…

Landscape retaining wall around a sand mound of an on-site septic system? Possible?

I have a septic sand mound close to the house. I would like to make some more room in the yard by cutting back some of the slope on the mound and installing a landscape retaining wall. I know where the pipes are located along with the sand. Is it possible? Are their photos anywhere on the internet of someone who did this? Thanks.

Home Gardener answers:

Caution! Will the retaining wall be permanent? How will the septic repair people access the pipes? If you can answer that, than a regular brick or cement person can make your wall. Try the Yellow Pages and ask the experts.

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Questions And Answers On Home Gardening Trends

Paul asks…

What has happened to the Garden PART OF THE HOME AND GARDEN QUESTIONS?

I have enjoyed this site now for a few weeks. The catigories were in the past pretty specific. Over the last couple of days I have noticed JUNK, stuff that doesn’t belong in a specific catigory implanted in the site, some of it is not what I want to read or hear about, Can any one tell me if they know how to critic this site and let YAHOO know of the current trend to generalization of all the sub sites?

Home Gardener answers:

Yea, click on the yahoo part of the page, like the “help” thing or “blog” or “forum” up in the right hand corner of the screen.

And not to excuse the other posters, but sometimes it’s hard to find the categories. Real estate is really hard to find, I had to keep clicking in different categories and diet and fitness is also hard to find.

Marie asks…

Home and Garden Question?

What are the decorating trends this year/or season for a home? What room scents are the most popular, candles, incense, etc. What flowers are popular for Fall and Winter(store bought of course)? What colors are in as far as wall color and general room color of the furniture to the decorations? I am oblivious when it comes to designing and decorating I could use a little bit of help please. Thanks! =)

Home Gardener answers:

Freaks who invent ‘trends’ don’t have to live in your house. Design it to how you like it, to hell with anyone else

Mandy asks…

Are you fed up with how quickly decoating fads come and go?

Years ago there were no home and garden shows to spark our interest to keep on top of the latest decor trends. This and manufactures/retailers that want us to keep buying must be creating the decor buying frenzy to always be IN STYLE. Now it seems the styles and trends change every year. One year wallpaper is out, the next it’s back in but now in big bold patterns and colours. One year very neutral and beige is in, the next year beige and neutral is passe. Now everything has to be GRAY!!! IN Ceramic tiles are now 12″ X 36″ or 48″. So now my tiles are old fashioned. I’m fed up and wonder if I’m the only one? Please tell me your views.

I’m tired of painting rooms frequently to be IN…..and now you have to paint or paper a feature wall to be IN. I’d rather save my money for retirement instead of becoming DECOR Poor. And all the stuff that used to be in style goes out the door to Salvation Army, Goodwill or it’s scooped up for free on Craiglist.
Years ago people didn’t change their funiture until is was worn out and then many just reupholstered what they had. Rooms were only repainted when they needed to be. And no body judged us as being out of style. Manufacturers and Retailers are forcing us to buy, buy, buy, are there others out there who would rather save, save, save? Should we say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH to retailers and boycott buying the current trends?

Home Gardener answers:

Some people are just more style conscious than others. Home Furnishings is part of the fashion industry. Even car makers follow style & color trends. Usually a trend will wax & wane over a period of 10 years. For instance – chocolate & blue. Now gray is replacing chocolate. Once a trend is seen in the mass merchandisers, such as Target & WalMart, it’s actually in the waning stage of the trend. Most people do not majorly redecorate more often than 5 years, & most wait 10 years if they’ve invested wisely. Just like our wardrobes, most of us can’t afford to follow every little trend with major overhauls, but we may add a few small accessories to our classic wardrobes to keep updated. And so it goes with our homes. I’ve always advocated for classic styling with a new twist here & there. For those who are ready for a major overhaul, (due to need & not want) they will most likely to be wise to invest in classic styling & accessorize budget friendly to be able to exchange for updates in 5 years or so.

I would no more boycott the furniture industry any more than I would the clothing industry – it’s a free market society & we, as free thinking individuals should have the discipline & good sense to avoid the trappings of an over indulgent society & remember to be simple in our needs & prudent in our wants.

I continue to have a very strong business in Interior Design even though I am known to tell clients not to buy something & we come up with another, more logical solution that doesn’t cost a lot of money. I got fed up with the free spending mindset in the 80′s when I was doing famous people’s houses & had no budget limitations. In fact, I was encouraged to spend as much money as possible. It was no fun. No challenge. I was not treated well. I made a clear decision to leave the jet set clients & concentrate my career on “everyday” people after I did a design project for a woman with a small budget living in the projects. That woman changed my life. I have since been happier, more fulfilled, more challenged, & definitely more respected. I am very successful though I am certainly not even close to rich, which is the way I like it.

In summary…find your unique style & don’t try to copy anyone or anything. Be happy with yourself & don’t have a short attention span. Have confidence & don’t follow trends.

Mark asks…

What will be the question and the category for the answer given below?

One Art of Humanities is the Beauty&Style of achieving success in Business of Cars&Transportation,Computers&Internet on line business or Consumer Electronics with a reliable back up Finance which is not so easy as Dining Out but it needs a lot of Education&Reference to run it casually like an Entertainment&Music Environment,cordial like Family&Relationship enjoying a good Food&Drink or passing time in Games&Recreations leading to a proper Health,possessing a beautiful Home&Garden with no Local Business.Once reaching the peak in business it becomes News and further Events will bring Pets,Politics and Government nearer and one can enjoy the fruition of all his hard work and efforts which is equal to a woman attaining Pregnancy&Parenting feeling.
Running a business requires a little bit Science and Mathematics but a vast knowledge of Social Science,Society&Culture will help one to know the trend of the market.If one becomes expert in it then he may play it casually like any Sports and Travel to other countries to know the know-how of modernizing the business to sell his product like Yahoo Products.

Home Gardener answers:

You can always default and place it in Y!Answers, as that is a catch-all basin

Nancy asks…

What should I say for my opening statement to a stranger? How much should I ask for in cash for my services?

Well… My playstation 3 system broke and I really want to get it fixed so I need to get some cash to fix it. So I have decided to go around doing yard work for people around my neigborhood to get some cash.
This was one of my encounters with a stranger whilst I was riding my bike home from a friend. I saw this man tossing soil or something like that.
Me – Excuse me, I could help you with that for some cash(I say that in a normal voice)
The Man – No thanks buddy(says that in a good way)
So what should I say?
How much money should I ask for for a small sized yard?
A medium sized yard?
A large sized yard?
How much should I ask for to HELP the person with a small sized yard?
How much should I ask for to HELP the person with a medium sized yard?
How much should I ask for to HELP the person with a large sized yard?

IMPORTANT INFORMATION! – It is spring where I live ( Massacheusetts-New England ) and the trend for yardwork is – racking leaves, soon to be gardening, and in the summer lots of stuff. My goal is to get 400$ before september 1st when battlefield 3 comes out.
I’m in good shape.I’m skinny, 14 years old, 5’11 135 pounds

Should I charge more for certain things like gardening?
Should I charge per hour? per visit? initial charge then per hour?

So I have 7 months before deadline so I would need to make 60 dollars each month. But my Goal is August so I can go on the Beta because I have a beta invite. Then I would need 66$ a month. I am goint to let my stepdad sell my PS3 as is. It has the Yello Light of Death. If your intrested I urge you to messege me. I am also going to get my friends xbox 360 and try to sell it on ebay, it has the red light of death, again, I urge you to messege me.

I’ve know this guy across the street from my other friend since I was like 6 or 7 and I talked to him and he said he does yard work also in the summer so he said he’ll be on the lookout for work for me.

Please answer with a well thaught out answer. It took me more than an hour to do this.

Home Gardener answers:

Opening line:
You: Hello sir, may I help you that that task?
Man: No I’m quite alright.
You: Alright, I was going to throw my young untouched body into the equation for a little extra cash.

It’ll work.

John asks…

Why is the stadium empty during the India-Australia test match going on?

The attendance at the stadium is horrible. We are a country of 1.2 billion people, most of them being cricket fans, and still we can’t find 30000 people to fill up the stadium…

We played well yesterday plus its a national holiday today; don’t know what the people are doing sitting at home… Such venues should be banned from hosting international cricket…

Australia has a lesser population than the entire population of Mumbai Metropolitan region, yet every test match in Australia has a fullhouse, but no venue in India ever has fullhouse for any test match(except Eden Gardens)

This just proves that we are fake fans…. blown away by the T20 trend. I’ve been to a T20 game before and all the fans were c*nts who knew nothing about the game….
Why does everyone hate the Australians??
This section is pathetic….

All the Australians hate the Indians, and the Indians hate the Australians, and as usual Indians are giving pathetic excuses….

There is no price issue… The price of a test match ticket is never more than Rs 100…. If people can afford prices rangung from Rs 500 to Rs 5000 for a T20 match and there’s a sellout every time, then why not for Test cricket…

And why would an Indian fan watch the Australian batting….he should be in the crowd watching the Indian bowling……

Home Gardener answers:

Crowd would start building up once India start batting. Their batting is more exciting than the one dished out by the gutless Aussies.

Shelley asks…

What should I say for my opening statement to a stranger? How much should I ask for in cash for my services?

Well… My playstation 3 system broke and I really want to get it fixed so I need to get some cash to fix it. So I have decided to go around doing yard work for people around my neigborhood to get some cash.
This was one of my encounters with a stranger whilst I was riding my bike home from a friend. I saw this man tossing soil or something like that.
Me – Excuse me, I could help you with that for some cash(I say that in a normal voice)
The Man – No thanks buddy(says that in a good way)
So what should I say?
How much money should I ask for for a small sized yard?
A medium sized yard?
A large sized yard?
How much should I ask for to HELP the person with a small sized yard?
How much should I ask for to HELP the person with a medium sized yard?
How much should I ask for to HELP the person with a large sized yard?

IMPORTANT INFORMATION! – It is spring where I live ( Massacheusetts-New England ) and the trend for yardwork is – racking leaves, soon to be gardening, and in the summer lots of stuff. My goal is to get 400$ before september 1st when battlefield 3 comes out.
I’m in good shape.I’m skinny, 14 years old, 5’11 135 pounds

Should I charge more for certain things like gardening?
Should I charge per hour? per visit? initial charge then per hour?

So I have 7 months before deadline so I would need to make 60 dollars each month. But my Goal is August so I can go on the Beta because I have a beta invite. Then I would need 66$ a month. I am goint to let my stepdad sell my PS3 as is. It has the Yello Light of Death. If your intrested I urge you to messege me. I am also going to get my friends xbox 360 and try to sell it on ebay, it has the red light of death, again, I urge you to messege me.

I’ve know this guy across the street from my other friend since I was like 6 or 7 and I talked to him and he said he does yard work also in the summer so he said he’ll be on the lookout for work for me.

Please answer with a well thaught out answer. It took me more than an hour to do this.

Home Gardener answers:

Why not just say something like, “I’m earning money for a new bike. Do you have anything with which I could help you? I’m reliable and a hard worker.” If they say no, which most will, give them a card or small piece of paper with your phone number on it – not your address, and say that if they do need some help with garden chores or general cleanup, car washing, etc., they can call you. If they say yes, either decide on an hourly rate or agree a fixed rate depending on the job they want done. A good starting point is $5-10 dollars an hour.

Be very, very careful about going into strangers’ homes, even those who are neighbors by yourself. Always let your parents know for whom you will be working, their address and when you should finish. Make sure that you are reliable, on time, honest and hardworking or your dreams of earning cash are over.

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Questions And Answers On Home And Garden Tv Kitchens

Kirstie asks…

Garden Grass Snakes also known as Garter Snakes (Thamnophissirtalis) can be dangerous???

Here’s why.
A couple in Morro Bay, California, had a lot of potted plants. During a recent chilly spell, the wife was bringing a lot of them indoors to protect them from a possible freeze.
It turned out that a little green garden grass snake was hidden in one of the plants and when it had warmed up, it slithered out and the wife saw it go under the sofa.
She let out a very loud scream.
The husband (who was taking a shower) ran out into the living room naked to see what the problem was. She told him there was a snake under the sofa.
He got down on the floor on his hands and knees to look for it. About that time the family dog came and cold-nosed him on the behind. He thought the snake had bitten him, so he screamed and fell over on the floor.
His wife thought he had a heart attack, so she covered him up, told him to lie still and called an ambulance.
The attendants rushed in, wouldn’t listen to his protests and loaded him on the stretcher and started carrying him out.
About that time the snake came out from under the sofa and the Emergency Medical Technician saw it and dropped his end of the stretcher.
That’s when the man broke his leg and why he is still in the hospital.
The wife still had the problem of the snake in the house, so she called on a neighbor man.
He volunteered to capture the snake. He armed himself with a rolled-up newspaper and began poking under the couch. Soon he decided it was gone and told the woman, who sat down on the sofa in relief.
But while relaxing, her hand dangled in between the cushions, where she felt the snake wriggling around She screamed and fainted, the snake rushed back under the sofa.
The neighbor man, seeing her lying there passed out, tried to use CPR to revive her.
The neighbor’s wife, who had just returned from shopping at the grocery store, saw her husband’s mouth on the woman’s mouth and slammed her husband in the back of the head with a bag of canned goods, knocking him out and cutting his scalp to a point where it needed stitches.
The noise woke the woman from her dead faint and she saw her neighbor lying on the floor with his wife bending over him, so she assumed that he had been bitten by the snake. She went to the kitchen and got a small bottle of whiskey, and began pouring it down the man’s throat.
By now the police had arrived.
They saw the unconscious man, smelled the whiskey, and assumed that a drunken fight had occurred. They were about to arrest them all, when the women tried to explain how it all happened over a little green snake.
The police called an ambulance, which took away the neighbor and his sobbing wife.
The little snake again crawled out from under the sofa.
One of the policemen drew his gun and fired at it.
He missed the snake and hit the leg of the end table. The table fell over and the lamp on it shattered and as the bulb broke it started a fire in the drapes.
The other policeman tried to beat out the flames and fell through the window into the yard on top of the family dog who, startled, jumped up and raced into the street, where an oncoming car swerved to avoid it and smashed into the parked police car.
Meanwhile, the burning drapes, were seen by the neighbors who called the fire department.
The firemen had started raising the fire truck ladder when they were halfway down the street.
The rising ladder tore out the overhead wires and put out the electricity and disconnected the telephones in a ten-square city block area
(but they did get the house fire out).
Time passed! Both men were discharged from the hospital, the house was repaired, the dog came home, the police acquired a new car, and all was right with their world.
A while later they were watching TV and the weatherman announced a cold snap for that night. The wife asked her husband if he thought they should bring in their plants for the night.
That’s when he shot her.

Home Gardener answers:

All that over a poor, harmless NONPOISONOUS snake. (shaking head in disbelief)


I remember a woman I worked with years back. She came to work one weekend so pleased with herself she was wagging from nose to tail !

The evening before she, and her Husband had been walking on their property by the Neuse River, and she saw a,”Humongous Snake” in the path. She sent her Husband all the way back to the house to get their shovel, while she stayed and watched where the snake might go. When he got backed, she said he,”Bashed that thing so hard another Snake came out of it’s mouth !”

That stupid woman, and her stupider Husband killed a King Snake,(Rare in NC), that had just eaten a Cotton Mouth. That King Snake in it’s life time, had it lived, would of killed more Poisonous Snakes than that retarded couple would ever of even seen !

Nancy asks…

Do you want to buy a nice price house in Mayan Riviera, Mexico?

The house is located in Puerto Morelos Quintana Roo Mexico between Cancun & Playa del Carmen and a 2 miles from de beach; it can be a big house or 2 independent departments. It’s a 2 floors house with : 3 Bedrooms,2Bathroms, 2 living rooms(2 TVs. with cable service), 2 complete kitchens, laundry area (with digital washing machine), Garage, Garden,Terrace( 60 square meters with barbecue & table ) , 5 Air Conditioning (58000 BTU’s), 2 telephone lines( with Internet Prodigy Infinitum), home PC , home theater, 110 & 220 volts ac,7 ceiling fans, 950 gallons water tank(with water pump ), 300 liters gas tank, fence wall ,With or wwithout furniture , All Services . Brand new. Ready to be lived (only bring your cloths , Unfortunately I must go back to Italy . If you are interested leave your E-mail , I’ll send you back some pictures and more info. All the documents are ok. The price: 115 000 USD.

Home Gardener answers:

I do not have that much money !

Graham asks…

My Mum’s discusting behavior?

From when I was 13 and younger (this was 4- years ago), My mum was always happy and did everything at christmas because my dad couldn’t cook and she was a sahm. He always picked out my brother and sisters and my presents but my mum always was left to pick out everyone elses. She seemed to like it this was and when I (or anyone else) offered to help she told us to just enjoy the season and leave it to her.
When I was 14, we had our first christmas away from home, (we were at my uncles). For the first time in 16 years, she hadn’t had to do anything xmas day and we all loved it because she was so relaxed and happy. That year was fine because everyone got their presents and was very happy and it was a great year.
The next year when I was 15 we did the same. We’d had a bad year where I had gotten pregnant and my grandad had died. We were all just enjoying what we had left of the year. My uncle and aunt did everything and my mum did nothing. No-one got presents that she had gone out and bought and thought of herself. My dad and my nan had to go out and buy everyone’s presents including mine and my brothers and sisters. At 59 years old, my nan had already gone through that stage of her life and didn’t need to go through that stress again did she?, especially since she had lost her husband. That year we assumed my mum was just low because her dad had died.
When I was 16, my mum ‘skipped xmas’. There is nothing wrong with this considering lot’s of people go on holiday. However, the bit that bugs me is that she took her friend with her, left her husband behind and so we ended up at my uncles again. She chose to miss her first grandaughters, first xmas. I know that Kayleigh couldn’t understand what was going on but it was important to me that my mum was there.
This year I am 17 and she is even worse. She sat in the corner by the door to the back garden (or yard or whatever people want to call it), watching the kitchen tv and wouldn’t join in toasts or drink or do anything. Anyone who tried to get her to join in simply got a ‘fuck off, i aint doing that’ or ‘no’. She and my dad got into a huge argument and me and Kayleigh’s dad were trying to calm Kayleigh down. I don’t know what to do! My mum seems to be very hormonal at the moment and she’s put on some weight. Her ‘place of calm’ is the bathroom at the moment. She’s only 35 and already a grandmother and I do feel sorry for her and try to help her out as much as I can by making sure Kayleigh’s not in her way and cleaning the house up but there’s only so much I can do since I go to college everyday and my dad brings Kayleigh home before I get there. The doctor says its not depression and these past few weeks have been the worst ever, the only other time she acted this bad was when she was pregnant with my little sister and that was when I was 4 so I don’t remember, this is just from what my dads telling me. The doctor says its not depression when I was there and my mum booked another appointment with him just before xmas. I’m getting desperate!! Is there anyone who can try and work out why my mums been acting all strange for the past six weeks? I asked her if she was pregnant (it’s possible since I know my mum and dad are active since they are still young parents and the walls are thin!), but she denied it. I’m still wondering if she is however, she did claim she had ‘the bug’ that was going around and so she didn’t feel like being christmassy but no-one else I know has had it, just a cold, but she was throwing up. I don’t want to doubt what she’s saying but, we need to know why she’s acting this way.

Home Gardener answers:

She could be pregnant or starting to go through the change of life or she could have other things wrong besides depression. She needs to see a Doctor for a full physical to rule out any kind of health issues. Then she should seek a counselor for mood swings and to have someone to talk to, there are other emotional problems besides depression that could account for the changes in her personality, some may even be chemical imbalances in the brain

Davina asks…

What should I do regarding my friend “Laura”?

I have been friends with Laura for about 3 1/2 years. She was a frequent customer at a previous job that I had worked at. We eventually started hanging out and quickly became friends. Laura always came to my house or we went out to eat etc. She never invited me over to her house. I am 31 and married with a small child while Laura is 33 and unmarried with no children.

After being friends for about a year and a half, the place that I had been working at was going out of business. Laura knew that I wanted some kind of part time job so she asked me if I wanted to clean for her elderly parents. I had never met them nor had I been to their home at this point in time. The state pays for someone to come in and clean for a few hours a week. Since Laura and I were such good friends, I decided to take the job. Not only was I doing them a favor, but they were doing me a favor. Now I hate cleaning and wouldn’t choose this kind of job ever again. But I thought that since we were friends that it would be a better atmosphere, I guess.

Now Laura lives with her parents because after finishing college she thought it would be best if she moved back in to help with the finances of the house etc.

Anyhow, I have been cleaning their house for 2 years now, but I am really thinking about quitting. While I still consider Laura my friend and have come to think of her mother as a friend of sorts too, I am just to stressed out about cleaning their home. For starters, they have 2 big dogs that are a year old. Because Laura is at work for most of the day, her parents are in charge of taking care of the dogs. Her father uses a walker to walk and moves really slow. Her mother is a very overweight woman (at last 400 pounds). Neither of them can get the dogs out to the bathroom in time so the dogs will poop and pee in the house at times on piddle pads. Because they also have a few cats, the house smells of animal urine every single day. It’s permanently in the floorboards or something. So I need to literally hold my breath when I am there. When I come home, my husband has to hold his breath because I smell like the house. I shower right away, of course. Not only does their house smell, but they have a ton of clutter. I am paid to technically clean after Laura’s dad, however, her mother makes the list and I usually just follow them. I clean the kitchen and bathrooms, then I vacuum and dust. Typical cleaning things. The thing is, I really don’t think anyone else cleans besides me. When I am there, Laura is just coming home from work. She sits down on the couch or plays with her dogs. The most I’ve seen her do is clean up dog poo, make dinner or garden for her mother. If you saw Laura’s bedroom, you’d die. You can not see the floor. She has piles upon piles of clothing and stuff everywhere. There are cobwebs on her shelves and things on the wall. Her mother and I tried cleaning her room for her while she was away one time, but it went back to how it was before within the year. The spare room is a place to throw misc. things. Their front room has xmas gifts still in it. They haven’t found a home for them apparently. Laura has a dog crate along with 2 of those plastic dresser type things (that can be found at Walmart) full of dog stuff in the kitchen.

I’ve been asked by Laura if I could get a cobweb that she noticed or pick up this or that from the floor. I feel that if she noticed a cobweb then why didn’t she knock it down or if she needs something off the floor then why doesn’t she pick it up. I have come to the conclusion that the entire family is lazy and doesn’t want to clean a darn thing. It really frustrates me because I am supposed to be there to help an elderly person clean house. I am not there to clean the entire house while everyone else sits around and watches TV. It has come to the point where if they need something done they just ask me instead of having Laura do it. That’s how I feel at least.

Because of everything I have put up in the past 2 years, Laura and I barely hang out anymore or chit chat on the phone even. I would like our friendship to be like it was before, but the only way that can happen is if I quit this job. However, when I do quit, what should I say my reason is. I don’t want to go into this with her parents. I would rather wait until I have quit and then sit down and talk to Laura about how I feel. What do you think? If you need more info on anything, lmk.
Thank you all for your comments. Should I tell Laura eventually how I truly felt working for them (i.e. how she never does anything around the house herself and how if she had her own place she’d have to) or should I not bother?
I should also mention that the past few times I had stayed at least 10 minutes over my time limit. This means in those 10 minutes I did not get paid. The last time I was there I said I was leaving on time that day. So her mom asks me if I could clean the entire front hall. I said I had time to only mop the floor quickly where the puddle pads normally go (because I wasn’t staying later than what I got paid). She says can’t I do it out of the goodness of my heart. Ok I just gave them like 20 minutes of free cleaning last week. Plus they never tell me that I can leave early or when I’m sick to collect pay anyhow so why should I clean for free. They have Laura to do it, if they need something done, but everyone acts like Laura is soooooo busy with other things (work, church stuff, her dogs, running around doing errands). Isn’t that what adults do?
Oh and her mom will always say that we shouldn’t chit chat so I can get everything done, but then she’ll talk to me. Or she’ll give me way more things to do than the time I have to do it in.

Home Gardener answers:

Well my dear… All i can say firstly, is that i have never heard of such a ‘disgusting’ workplace before and I feel sorry that you took the job. Leave that alone for now. You have to think about yourself and your family and your well being. When they dont need you anymore, they will tell you without thinking about your feelings etc. So now its time to make the choice ….are you serious about wanting to quit?
Then it is this easy….write a letter and hand in your resignation on ground of the fact that you dont need to do this anymore, for anyone!!!
Then when Laura ask you about your decision – you explain how you feel. Do you think she cares about your feelings if she is sitting there and you are cleaning their disgusting mess? No, i dont think so.
No more – dont ‘chase them’ – replace them… Thats my advise.

Rachel asks…

Please give me some advice?

Ok so I post here quite a lot, and apart from ShineOn, everyone thinks I am a troll (I don’t know what that is btw) and is rude to me… but this is all true.

I’ve been with my husband for 4 years and married for 2. We had a tough time conceiving our baby, and we’ve had problems in the past, but for the past year or so things have been great, apart from the odd argument.

I had a real problem trusting him – from day 1 I would accuse him of porn and cheating, even when there was no reason to. Sometimes, I had reason to suspect him (finding porn on PC for example) and we’d have a massive argument, but he would always have a believable explanation.

Anyway, I got therapy and she suggested that he was stonewalling and I had an obsessional fear of him cheating. She told me that not all men are interested in porn or other women and that this is very normal, but my perception of men tells me different. I learned to stop obessing and started to trust him. I will admit I didn’t trust him 100%, but it is a complex issue and like the famous setting “trust takes years to build, but only seconds to destroy”.

Anyway, all was going swimmingly until Saturday. I’d found a text message on his phone (no I was not snooping, I was borrowing his phone). He told me he didn’t know who it was, and I thought nothing of it because the text was blank. Until I rang it out of curiosity and a woman answered. And then I checked his phone records (not just to snoop, I do this regularly as part of our accounts) and found he’d called it. Until then, I hadn’t bothered confronting him. But after I found he’d called it, I casually asked if he knew who it was and if he’d called it. He said no, which is a downright lie. So I accused him of lying (well, he was!) and he flipped.

He smashed up his phone, stormed out, slamming the door repeatedly so that the lock even broke and our baby woke up. He came back, and every time I tried to talk to him, he got angry and threatened to wake the baby up by shouting/smashing stuff if I didn’t leave him alone. How sick is that? Using her as a weapon! I threw my ring at him, he threw it out the wndow, then threw his out too. Childish I know. But I was angry.

Anyway, Sunday he ignored me and the baby all day, stayed upstairs on the computer and only came down to grab some food. He didn’t talk to me at all, didn’t even look at us. Ironically he did make me some food but I’m not sure if that’s cos he wanted to avoid more arguments or if it was a peace offering. I stayed in the kitchen whilst he watched tv, then he slept on the sofa and I went to bed.

Yesterday he went to work, came back and played with the baby a bit but still ignored me. We both watched tv but he didn’t speak to me at all. I went to bed and he slept on the sofa again.

He didn’t put the bins out this morning – I don’t know if this is incase his ring fell in? (The bins were open so it could have fell in when he threw it out the window). Either way, he knows I can’t put them out as they’re heavy and I have a bad back.

I found my ring yesterday so I put it on today. I couldn’t find his, but I think he was looking for it on sunday as he kept going in the garden. He’s not wearing it, but he wouldn’t be – he’d wear it to work so no-one asked questions, then take it off when he came home. He knows how hurt I am that he took his ring off, let alone threw them out the window.

I just don’t know what to do – if I ignore him, he ignores me back. If I talk to him, he either storms out, ignores me, turns the tv up so I worry he’ll wake the baby etc. If I’m normal and act like nothing happened, he ignores me… If I just try to cuddle him, he’ll push me away and storm off etc.

What should I do?

By the way, I am an excellent mother. I spend all day with her. She never sees or hears anything. I don’t act any different, wont even cry in front of her. I keep the house immaculate, clean whilst she naps (and I mean immaculate!), do all the cooking and laundry… I’m like Bree from desperate housewives lol.

My only problem is my lack of trust in him, which I am working on, and it is a whole lot better than it was. We don’t argue often, and the last time we argued this badly was 2 years ago. Normally he will ignore me for days, until I go on at him and apologise and make him not ignore me.

And before you think about being rude – no I am not a troll.

I cannot leave him (and do not want to) because I have no money and do not work. I can’t work, as I have SPD and my daughter needs 24-hr care (she is very ill, she was premature and has reflux so severely she needs an op). I live 1 hour away from family and physically couldn’t drive there. Plus, my dad does not have the space, and could not have a baby disrupting his sleep as he is very very ill himself. I have no-one else to go to, my on
edit: just to add, this number turned out to be just a wrong number.

Home Gardener answers:

1. Inability to trust is something that goes back to your childhood – so you need to deal with that with a shrink.

2. Your life is FULL of care for your child and your partner is just trying to find a break. It probably means nothing. Turn a blind eye and you’ll keep him. Confront him with your jealousy and your suspicions, and you’ll lose him.

3. Put yourself in his place and really THINK about how he must feel. He just wants a bit of adventure.

4. The choice is yours.

Richard asks…

Mummy, where did I come from?

“Tomorrow we will discuss human reproduction so I’d like you to go home tonight and find out as much as you can about the subject,” said the class teacher.
Young Tommy went home and found his mother in the kitchen.
“Mummy where did I come from?” he asked. Too busy to sit down and tell him the truth, she replied, “A stork brought you, darling, and put you under the rose bush.”
Tommy went into the dining room where his grandma was watching TV…”Where did my mum come from,?” he asked her.
Now Grandma didn’t discuss such things so she replied, “A stork left her under a bush in the garden.
Great Grandma,” he said softly “where did my Grandma come from?”
“Not now darling,” she replied, “I’m a bit tired, but you must have heard of the stork?”
The next day in school, the teacher asked the children what they had learned…..
“Please Miss,” said little Tommy putting up his hand, “as far as I can see, our family hasn’t had sexual realations for three generations.”

Home Gardener answers:

ROFLMAO!!!! That was hilarious!! Mainly because its based in reality…. Our kids know more than we give them credit for… I went to explain “wet dreams” to my 10 year old son the other day and it ended up with him explaining them to me (sometimes the stuff they talk about on the schoolyard can be not only correct but educational!!lol)

Mandy asks…

Should I talk to social services about my neighbour?

I think she is endangering her children through her filthy cluttered house. Her husband has a hoarding problem and there is a path through shoulder high piles of stuff from the front door to the sofa and the piles are lower just in front of the tv. Another narrow path goes to the kitchen. It is all very dirty. They have takeaway several times a week and she has told me the children have crisps for breakfast. Her oldest child (8) is dangerously obese and has frequent asthma attacks and unexplained skin rashes and the little one (4) has what she calls ‘tummy bugs’ a couple of times a month. They get no exercise and can’t get into the garden cos there is stuff piled in front of the back door.

The reason I wouldn’t is because she is a lovely lady who spends every minute with her kids and has fought to get her autistic oldest child a good education – they are clearly her priority. No expense is spared and she is very patient and loving. Her son’s autism makes him hard work at times but she never flags. She lost a baby and has struggled with depression since and an operation on her knee has left her walking with a stick.

The reason I would is because she does not seem to relate her children’s illnesses to their lifestyle and gets very annoyed if I hint at improving their diet or exercise or cleaning the house. My husband and I offered to clear their garden so the kids could play outside but she says she will get to it (not this summer tho) and when they have come to mine they run mad with the space – they have to sit most of the time at home – no space. She keeps the 4 year old on reins cos she will just run if not. I have diplomatically suggested she may need more exercise and she snapped at me ‘I’m a terrible mother cos I can’t run after them I suppose.’ I said no, but the school is next to a park which has a seat and is all enclosed and safe. She walks further to the shops. She jokes that her 8 year old is in age 13 trousers and they’re tight but then says she has to take them up loads and does not see the significance. :-( She does not see that her little one’s ‘tummy bugs’ have continued all through the school holidays when she has not been near children.

It will do no good talking to her – my experience of that has been unpleasant. If I told social services about the problem they would not take the children but educate her about hygeine and diet etc? Do you think? I used to offer to help have a clear up but she never accepted. Her husband cannot help as he has the hoarding problem and when their son was diagnosed autistic it was found that he is mildy as well – he does not see a problem.

Home Gardener answers:

I know so many people who grew up in bad situations because people thought their parents were “lovely” and didn’t deserve to have social services called on them. This woman may be lovely, but she is failing in her duty as a parent.

Call social services. The kids need someone to look after their interests. They can’t do it for themselves and since you’re the only adult who seems to care, I think it is your duty to report what you’ve seen.

It is not your job to guess how social services would react… It is unlikely they would remove the kids permanently. If they did remove the kids, then at least the kids would be taken care of and the mother would have an opportunity to change her ways and get educated about parenting, then get them back. But don’t be afraid… There are REVOLTING people and houses out there. It is very likely that this woman is not that bad in comparison to the people whose kids get removed. Unless there is physical abuse and major filth, she will probably not have anything drastic happen because social services doesn’t have the resources to deal with more minor cases in a drastic way.

There have been a lot of horror stories about social services in the news over the past few years. But in my experience, although social services isn’t perfect, it’s a heck of a lot better than a lot of the parents out there. You need to remember that social services can educate this woman, look after the kids, and get them medical help if they need it. Unless YOU can do all this, you need to involve social services. Good luck.

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Questions And Answers On Landscape Architecture

Thomas asks…

landscape architecture?

What are three elements of landscape architecture?

Home Gardener answers:

Well, you need to have knowledge of all kinds of plants – trees & shrubs, herbaceous perennials, etc., including what conditions they all need and thrive in, and their disease and pest weaknesses, and maintenance requirements.

You need a knowledge of general design, using buildings, hardscaping elements (including decks, patios, waterfeatures, and more), and plants.

You’ll need some minimal drafting and business knowledge, which includes customer relations.

A Landscape “Designer” usually has a 2 to 4 year degree, and usually deal with residential and small business situations.

A Landscape “Artchitect” is a desinger, that has been through an apprenticeship for a number of years, and has passed a state exam for licensing. They usually work in large public and commercial situations.

Kirstie asks…

Landscape Architecture?

I’m currently a student in a rather prestigious university (Purdue), majoring in Landscape Architecture. I’m only a freshman, but I like it a lot. The undergraduate program in LA is well recognized (ranked in the top 10 in LA by Design Intelligence). The only problem is that I don’t know if the profession is all that it is hyped up to be. Any insight on this would be helpful.
I’m also thinking about Business Construction Management, which is another program here that I am considering.

My current academic GPA is a 3.0, if this helps.

Home Gardener answers:

Actually, i think it is a pretty bad a$$ job. If you like to be outside…if you like to be creative…if you like drawing both by hand and on the computer…its a great job!! I have a great friend that does LA, he owns his own company and is doing great and he love it.
Personally i am a creative person, and love the creative aspects of my job (sorta similar to LA). You just have to figure out what is important to you about your future career.

Joseph asks…

How is architecture and landscape architecture different?

I know architects work with buildings/structures and landscape architects focus more on landscape and ecological rehabilitation, but in terms of design and education, how different are they? I am looking to do an MLA (masters – landscape architecture) and was wondering if you work with sketches and models like you do in architecture. Any help and information would be greatly appreciated!

Home Gardener answers:

Both need the same core education for drafting, but specialization in there field requires different classes and experiences. I.E. Landscaping architect should only need a cursory understanding of building code for say kitchens but must understand how pitch and grade of a lot will effect runoff of water.

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Questions And Answers On Home Gardening Vegetables And Flowers

John asks…

What do you love most about your home state?

I love the change of seasons and it’s a great sports state.
Tigers, Pistons, Red Wings, Lions, U of M and MSU!
I also love the fairs and festivals. Gardening in our state
produces the most beautiful fruits, vegetables & flowers!

Yep, I’m from Michigan!

Serious answers only!

Home Gardener answers:

Im from michigan too, and i have to say, the sports teams are my favorite, and the weather. I mostly love the weather because so many people, espically people who wernt born here complain about it. You gotta love that. You can basically go on vacation to any part of the state and be amazed, west coast, the thumb, detroit, and you cant forget Up North. Omfg i love going Up North. Espically as a kid.

Kylee asks…

How to start a flower pot garden?

I am looking to plant a garden using only flower pots this spring/summer. I am a college student who will be home for the summer and I don’t have a yard suitable for planting in. I have heard that you can grow many different types of fruits and vegetables in large flowers pots. What fruits and veggies will grow well in limited space? PS- I live in Iowa. Also, how do I go about preparing the soil and planting the seeds for these plants? When can I plant them? Thanks!

Home Gardener answers:

First what I did was go to Google and google to find out what zone your in. Iowa probably has many different zones. Example I am in zone 10 here is Southern California. Once you find out what zone your in look online at what types of plants grow good in that zone. You can also start by going to your local nursery. Usuually they only sell types of plants that grow in your area. March and April are usually good times to start planting so there ready by summer. Happy gardening.

Jemima asks…

Please help me to my ENGLISH paragraph?

I am going to take a oral exam. The topic is “Describe something you do that is good for your health.”

Here is my preparation. Is it good enough? Is it proper for an ORAL exam? Is it far more likely to be a written English rather tan an oral one? Could you help me to correct it? Thank you!

Many people think of gardening as a chore, but I take up gardening as a hobby and a healthy habit. Yes, I have an own secret garden. Every weekend I spend about a half day on gardening. I plant flowers and vegetables in it.

Gardening is very satisfying and offer me many health related benefits.
First of all, when I tend to my garden I am working outside in the fresh air and getting gentle exercise. Every muscle in my body can be exercised.
Furthermore, gardening is also a very good relaxing pastime, to both mind and body. If gardens are beautiful to look at, imagine the pride and sense of accomplishment that the creator of such beauty can feel. Besides that, gardening is a great way to reduce stress, get a bit of exercise, be creative, and develop patience.
Meanwhile, I grow and eat all my own vegetables. They are truly organic, and I never use pesticides or sprays of any sort – nor artificial fertilizers. They are pure natural green food. Also, eating more vegetables, and especially home-grown vegetables, is a simple way to ensure that a body is getting a proper balance of vitamins and nutrients.

Overall, gardening brings about sufficient exercise, relax mood and healthy diet. I really in to it and believe it is a magic weapon to keep fit.

Home Gardener answers:

Many people think of gardening as a chore, but I like it as a hobby and a healthy habit. Yes, I have my own secret garden. Every weekend I spend about a half day gardening. I grow flowers and vegetables.

Gardening is very satisfying and brings many health benefits.

First, when I tend to my garden I am working outside in the fresh air and getting gentle exercise. Every muscle in my body can be exercised through digging, stretching, bending, and turning.

Second, gardening is also a very good relaxing pastime, for both mind and body. If gardens are beautiful to look at, imagine the pride and sense of accomplishment that the creator of such beauty can feel. Besides that, gardening is a good way to reduce stress and frustration, to be creative, and to develop patience.

Third, I grow and eat all my own vegetables. They are truly organic, and I never use pesticides or artificial fertilizers of any sort. My produce is pure, natural green food. Also, eating more vegetables, and especially home-grown vegetables, is a simple way to to get a proper balance of vitamins and nutrients.

Overall, gardening offers exercise, a relaxed mood and a healthy diet. I really enjoy it and believe it is a great strategy for keeping fit.

[The metaphor of gardening as a weapon, even a magic one, doesn't really work here.]

Paul asks…

Suggestions for vegetables in my 4′x 3′ garden?

I have a PUD home, like a town house. Anyhow, I have a small patch or dirt to plant something. Last year I did well with cherry tomatoes, and grape tomatoes. I’d like to try something else worth while this year. No to flowers, just vegetables please.

Home Gardener answers:

Quite a challenge planting in a small space, but definitely do-able. At the northernmost end, I’d erect a small trellis and plant pole beans ~ these are climbing beans that put out a great yield in a tiny space. Fresh beans are expensive any time of year, and you’ll save some real money here :) If you don’t like beans, other trellis plants might include peas, cucumbers, or some type of summer squash.

For the rest of the plot, I’d considering rotating my crop by planting an early crop and a late one. For example, spinach, green onions, radishes, lettuce, and carrots can all be planted earlier in the spring for an early summer harvest. After harvest, you yank out those plants and replace with a late harvest such as bell pepper and tomatoes. You can tuck radishes, green onions, & parsley around these plants as well.

Joseph asks…

What are some good areas to live in North or South Carolina?

My family is considering relocating to N or S Carolina.

What city(ies)/areas do you think we would do well in?

My fiance’ and I are 32
We have a 2 year old daughter
We would like for her to attend a good preschool and encourage her in the arts.
We would like to move to an area supporting Irish culture-particularly step dancing-for our daughter
We plan on having another child in about 2 years….I will stay home and he will support our family until our youngest is old enough to attend preschool.

I have a bachelor’s degree in accounting and 6 years of tax preparation experience.
My fiance’ has the experience but is not licensed as a journeyman or electrician. He wants to obtain a license in one or both trades asap after relocation.

Our interests/hobbies include: gardening-flowers and vegetables, model trains, military history-particularly the Air Force

Which areas do you think offer the best quality of living, that supports our cultural background/preferences/education and lifestyle?

We are also open to other suggestions in the states that surround, Tennessee, Kentucky, even Georgia.

Home Gardener answers:

You should check out Raleigh, NC!!! It sounds perfect for your family. Raleigh was just named number 1 in the nation for business and careers. Although the job market has slowed down and there are many people out of work, there is still much more out there. My husband has a drywall/painting/etc. Business and has more work than ever!

The other activities that you mentioned are in abundance here too. It really is a great place to live and raise a family.

Feel free to e-mail me if you have any other questions.

Bob asks…

What kinds of plants are best for planting in July?

At the beginning of July, I will be moving into my first home. I live in South Texas, so it is very hot and often humid. I would like to start a garden of some type, but I know July isn’t the best time to do so. What plants, flowers, vegetables, etc. would be good to plant in July-August? Do I need to wait until September when it cools off? If so, what should I do to my backyard during the summer to prepare for my garden?

Home Gardener answers:

When you get settled in just go to a local greenhouse or garden center. There will be plants that are for the area to plant and experts to recommend all you want.

Nothing. You will not have time to settle in, get unpacked, and deal with the stress, without adding the care and maintenance of a garden

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Questions And Answers On Topsoil Bags

Shelley asks…

How many bags of topsoil?

I’m looking to plant grass in a small patch of land near my condo’s deck. It is currently a lot of gravel. I would like to remove some of the gravel, but also just put down new topsoil. How many bags will I need for my 62 square foot piece of land?
I would like approx 3″ of topsoil… and I guess the average bag is about 40 pounds…

Home Gardener answers:

You are going to need 15 1/2 Cu. Ft. Of soil to spread out 3′ thick by 62 Sq Ft which is about 21-22 40lbs bags. If you have a truck, it would probably be cheaper if you picked it up from a landscape yard. You could probably get a cubic yard (27 Cu Ft) for close to the same price which will give you 5″ thick on 62 Sq Ft. I suggest you shop around for the best deal. Hope this helps.

Horticulture student.

Rachel asks…

Do purchased bags of topsoil normally smell like road tar?

I bought a few bags of top soil at a home improvement store today. Some of the bags reek of asphalt and others smell like normal dirt. Has anyone else experienced this and, if so, will this smell go away? I am using this dirt in my flower bed right under my windows so I can’t leave the dirt there if it will stink otherwise we won’t be able to open our windows.


Home Gardener answers:

No they shouldn’t as they should normally smell like a lawn after rain.If you try washing the soil through, it should be ok, as it sounds like the bags could be old.

David asks…

i got rid of clay soil after a single dig can i use compost bags instead of topsoil?

I had too much soil and had to level out the garden, we have heavy clay soil and instead of breaking large clumps we threw them away, how can i improve the soil without adding more soil or topsoil

Home Gardener answers:

Compost, in my opinion, is the greatest soil amendment ever. So that would be a yes. Also use some pelletized gypsum. It is great for loosening heavy clay soil.

Bob asks…

How many bags of topsoil is needed to fill an area of 40ft 5in by 13ft 7in and I want it to be 3″ thick?

Home Gardener answers:

Hi – to figure this out, first use the dimensions you gave to find the total volume you want to fill (volume = length x width x height):

40ft 5in = 487 in. (need the same units on all dimensions)
13ft 7in = 163 in.
Height = 3 in (given)

Volume = [487 x 163 x 3] cubic inches
= 238,143 cubic inches

Now we need to convert this cubic feet – since there are [12x12x12] cubic inches in 1 cubic foot, and 12x12x12 = 1728, we divide our volume by 1728:

238,143 / 1728 = 137.81 (approximately)

So you need 137.81 cubic feet of topsoil. (Since topsoil is often sold by the cubic yard, we could even go one step farther and say that there are [3x3x3], or 27, cubic feet in 1 cubic yard, and 137.81 / 27 = about 5.1 cubic yards of topsoil.

How many bags is this? That depends on how much comes in a bag!

Hope this helps!

Kylee asks…

Want to buy big bag of topsoil. How many equivalent bags of 25 litres are the big one ton bags.?

Home Gardener answers:

Do you mean 25kg bags? If you do then the answer is 40, based on 1000kg equalling a ton. I think litres and kg work out roughly the same anyhow so it should be around 40 bags.

I used to use one ton bags of soil at work to conduct soil experiments and they’re pretty huge – I think they’re about 1.20metres (4ft) in each direction. I don’t know if this helps but a single one ton bag would cover 18sq metres (approx 194 sq ft) with a depth of about 5 cm.

Hope you have some help moving and shoveling – it’s heavy, gruelling work!!

Susan asks…

How many 40 pound bags of topsoil equal 1 cubic yard?

Home Gardener answers:

One cubic yard is about as much as 14 40-pound bags from the store.

Alana asks…

how many bags of topsoil is needed to fill an area of 40ft 5in by 13ft 7in?

Home Gardener answers:

It depends how thick you are spreading it and how big the bags are. Bags are the most expensive way to buy topsoil. I would look into having a dump truck deliver it in bulk.

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Questions And Answers On Indoor Gardens

Joseph asks…

I want to plant an indoor garden?

Okay so spring is here and every year i want to have my own garden. But, here’s the problem. I live in an apartment building with no balcony. I do have a sun room which has large windows so my plants will get the same amount of sunlight they would if they were outside. In the past i have had a couple of plants but they were just in regular plant pots. One day i was watching Ellen and she was doing a show about planting a home garden.

If you watched the video in the link you can see she has a really big container (box type thing) where she can plant a small garden.
Now here are my questions:
1.Where can i get a container like her’s (maybe a little smaller) to put in my sun room to plant the plants in?
2. What type of plants would be suitable for it? (I was thinking about small flowers maybe some mint)
3. What type of soil would be best suited for this? Just regular potting soil?
4, What other thing would I need to setup my small garden?
5. What would I need to do to maintain and grow a healthy, blooming indoor garden?
I know I’m asking for alot of information but, I’m really excited to start this. I just need to know how. Thank you in advance. I’ll really appreciate your advice.

Home Gardener answers:

I’d go to a few home gardening stores I’m sure they should have something like that box. And just get potting soil with Miracle grow. And maybe get a few plant lights in case it turns out that they need more light. I hope you have a fan in that room or have good circulation in your house cause that’s important. Some good flowers are pansy’s and begonia’s, I have trouble with daisy’s but they might grow better inside. Do some tomatoes like in the video they really taste good when you grow them your self and they are very easy. Peace Lillie’s are good and cacti are awesome not all have little points I have some succulents that look just like flowers they are beautiful!

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Questions And Answers On Flower Beds For Shade

Lynn asks…

Simple Planting for flower beds?

two ugly lookin flower beds that came with property we rent i would like to beutify our porch a little by planting some pretty low maintenance flowers that are cheap and come in a variety of colors, this is my first time planting so i dont even know what the first step is…. i do know that the 2 flower beds receive shade in the morning hours and it gets a lot of sun during the afternoon to late evening and then the shade returns to them at nite ; ) the beds have dirt in them also for all the green thumbers what are some cool 1st time gardening websites if you know of any
thank you for your help!!
the flower beds measure out to be10′ x 2′ each
live in sunny CALIFORNIA

Home Gardener answers:

Annuals are the easiest plants to grow.
Petunias for summer annuals are easy to care for, wildly colorful and some are very fragrant. Older ones require pinching to branch and dead heading to continue blooming but the modern hybrids do not. Dead heading is removing the olld blooms as they finish to prevent seeds growing. Remember the plants just want to get some seeds, while you just want the flowers to continue, so some help is required with some plants. Easiest are the plants that say they require no pinching, no dead heading, or are ‘self cleaning’.
The Madness Series of petunias or ‘Purple Wave’ (an All-America Selections winner) blooms all summer without being pinched back. Purple was the first color of the series, but now there are pink, lavender, lilac, and blue versions as well.
Easy Wave Series; they grow 8 to 10 inches tall and about 3 feet wide. But it’s the new Tidal Wave Series that I like. Their 2″ blooms just shrug off summer showers instead of folding up.,28012,1037326,00.html

Hybrid Millifloras, a new class of dwarf petunia looking flowers, form mounds 6 to 8″ high & wide, they need no pinching to keep blooming. Small flowers come in every color except yellow. Fantasy Series are perfect for containers and hanging baskets.


Supertunia and Surfinia Series are best used in beds as they grow practically flat; they’re wonderful cascaders when planted in containers or in rockeries. Both come in a full range of colors and never require pinching.

Other Annuals For Sun
Lantana, I particularly like little ‘Patriot Rainbow’.


Coleus- The foliage is as colorful as any flower but please note some prefer shade, others sun so be sure to check which you are getting. Even the sun happy ones like dappled shade in very hot afternoon sun.


Star Hybrid zinnias grow into mounds of blooms to soften border edges.


Salvia, especially the older blue ‘Victoria’ salvia.
Larkspur is a delphinium but not touchy like the big hybrid doubles.
Self-seeding annuals are particularly attractive: They sow themselves by dropping seeds, giving a terrific return on their price.
Shirley poppies (Papaver rhoeas) come in pale shell pinks, deep flushed roses and chiffon-thin whites, bloom for about a month and leave decorative little seed heads that pepper beds with next year’s crop. If you sow Danish Flag poppies (they have clear red flowers) and interplant both types with blue bachelor’s buttons, you’ll have everything you need for patriotic Fourth of July bouquets.

Other self-seeders that extend the season until frost: love-in-a-mist (Nigella), which has pale blue flowers followed by ornate seed pods.


Three-foot-tall pink or white cleomes, spider flowers, which have weirdly wonderful flying-green-bean seed pods.


White-flowering tobacco (both Nicotiana alata and Nicotiana sylvestris) releases an intoxicating fragrance into the night. Plant plenty (Nicotiana alata grows about three feet tall, Nicotiana sylvestris about four) in beds and in the back borders and especially under a bedroom window.


Sweet peas (Lathyrus odoratus), an old-fashioned perfumer make lovely house bouquets. These will get ratty after spring but produce wonderful cut flowers with a sweet smell until it gets to hot.


Alyssum, Lobularia maritime that smells of new mown hay is one of my favorite reseeding plants. Only the white is very fragrant.


Oriental lilies like the Madonna lily, or Lilium henryi are very fragrant, blooming in mid summer in many pale colors. These do best in lots of afternoon light.
Daylily ‘Kathy Rood’ from Dan Trimmer is by far the most fragrant daylily. Daylilies come in single or double bloom forms with many warm colors. Some have very long bloom periods others bloom at night to welcome you home.


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Questions And Answers On Landscape Design

John asks…

Landscape Design?

I just started landscaping design for my first client. I live in Silicon Valley, CA. I charge $35 per hour to my client. My friend who is a also landscaping designer, charges $85-120 per hour after 1 year experience. I am wondering how much would you pay for your garden design? I know it depends on how much you make money and how big your garden is.
Please advise.

Home Gardener answers:

Landscape is a hard job so you can call around and see what everyone else is charging. Dont feel bad for asking for what you are worth. Landscaping is a hard job and so are some of the customers. You will find out that some want to have things changed in the middle of a project that should be extra for all the extra time and additional plants or if you have to cancel an order. Best of luck. Good studing

Shelley asks…

Can I find out about College`s that teach Landscape design near Preston ,Lancashire for my son?

As he is only 16 years old and would love learn more about Landscape design .

Home Gardener answers:

Only a thought – and I’m not trying it for you – but look at “Reaseheath” – they might be of some help or interest to you ! ! !

Jim asks…

What is the definition of repetition in landscape design?

I am in a Design class for Landscape Architecture.

Home Gardener answers:

The most efficient, functional, and aesthetically pleasing home landscape should be developed to satisfy the needs of
the people who will use and maintain it. The planting design should be compatible with the existing environmental
conditions or restrictions. But most important, the design should enhance the quality of life for the users. Good
landscape design and the arrangement and placement of plants are all based on certain plant characteristics and
time-tested design principles. The visual characteristics of plant size, form, texture, and color contribute to the
functional and aesthetic qualities of a planting design.

Plant size should be the primary consideration. Large plants, such as shade trees, should be located first; the smaller
trees, shrubs, and finally the ground covers should be arranged to provide a sense of support or framework to the
overall design. Shade and evergreen trees, such as maples or spruce, are the most dominant plants in the landscape
design. They provide background, visual weight and structural framework. Ornamental trees, such as flowering
crabapples and birches, are used as focal points or dominant elements because of their seasonal and often picturesque
branching characteristics.

Tall shrubs, such as viburnum and lilac, help establish vertical edges to an outdoor space, create screens, enhance
privacy, or provide a neutral background. Small shrubs, such as junipers and cotoneasters, are also used to define
edges and spaces without blocking views; they can connect and link unrelated or separate plants, and define areas and
space on the ground.

Form or shape is a second important consideration in a planting composition. The most common plant shapes are the
spreading (cotoneaster, Hetz Juniper) and rounded (lilac, Norway maple) forms. These two basic plant forms have the
most application in planting design; they create neutral patterns in contrast with more unusual forms of plants.
Columnar and pyramidal-shaped plants, such as tall-hedge or Hicks yew, have visual characteristics that suggest
vertical edges in an outdoor space. They create a major contrast with the more common rounded or spreading plants.
The picturesque and weeping forms of plants, such as weeping birch or willow, are useful as accents or focal points in
the planting design when used sparingly.

Plant texture refers to the visual roughness or smoothness of a plant. The texture of the foliage, twigs, and branches is
either coarse, medium, or fine. Texture effects are most visible at close range and in smaller landscape plantings.
Coarse-textured plants, such as rhododendron or viburnum, tend to be dominant and attract attention. They usually
have dense foliage or broad leaves. Fine-textured plants, such as shrubby dogwood or birch, appear delicate and tend
to recede from view. They usually have fine foliage or needle leaves. In planting composition, medium-textured plants,
such as crabapple, yew, or lilac, should dominate and contrast with either the coarse or fine textures.

Color is one of the most visual plant characteristics. It includes the color of leaves, flowers, fruit, branches, and bark.
Green is the predominant plant color, but has seasonal variations. With evergreens, the same color is present year
round. The color of the summer foliage has the longest seasonal effect and the most importance in design composition.
A variety of greens has more visual appeal when displayed against a uniform neutral green background. A common
mistake is to use too many different colors. Plant color can be used as an attractor, to call attention to some area in the
landscape. Dark-colored plants contrasted with light-colored plants create focal points in a planting composition.

Plants should be arranged for summer foliage effects first, and the color characteristics of flowers, fall foliage, fruit, or
branching second. Foliage color varies with texture. Fine-textured leaves are more reflective and tend to be weaker in
overall visual effect. Plant colors can also be used to suggest certain emotional or psychological feelings. Dark greens
give a somber, gloomy feeling. Lighter greens suggest gaiety and cheerfulness.

Order is the design principle used to create unity in the planting composition. Unity is achieved when all parts of the
design, plants, and materials have a harmonious relationship to each other.

Unity in design can also be achieved by reducing the number of different elements such as plant species, sizes, forms,
colors, or textures. A basic principle in planting design is to group plants together in groups of three, five, or seven,
rather than scattering them about. Young plants may first appear as small individuals, but as they grow and mature they
should be viewed as a group unless they are designed as individual specimens. Scattered plants or groups of plants can
be connected with beds of ground covers (bugleweed, Japanese spurge) or low shrubs (junipers, cotoneasters).

Dominance suggests that one element in the composition has authority over other subordinate parts. Dominance may
be created by size alone, such as a shade tree, or by form, texture, color, or location of the elements within a design.
The dominant element may also become the focal point. Major contrast is a similar design principle where one element
is so different that other parts of the composition are subordinated to that element, such as a bed of red salvia flowers
against a background of green yews.

Repetition and rhythm are planting design principles achieved when similar plant characteristics are introduced and
repeated to help create the feeling of recall or unity in the composition. Interconnection is a principle similar to
repetition whereby different plants are linked together by overlapping or touching similar plants. Fences, walls, or beds
of ground cover are frequently used to link elements together in the landscape.

The theme of a planting composition may be informal, curved, or natural. The style may give a formal, linear, or
symmetrical theme. By following a definite order or style, the design does not have a fragmented or uncoordinated
appearance. The most visually pleasing designs are not created by chance, but follow a specific order, theme, or style
that carries throughout the landscape.

(Adapted from a publication by Fred K. Buscher, Ohio State University)

Joseph asks…

What would you like to ask? how do I persue landscape design?

Im just curious on how to pursue landscape designing as a career?

Home Gardener answers:

The best thing would be a degree in Landscape architecture. It gives you a solid base in design, engineering and all things landscaping.

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