Archive for March, 2011

Questions And Answers On Garden Ideas For Patios

Daniel asks…

Yard/garden/patio decoration ideas for parents who live in Florida?

Parents live in FL. I’d like to order something for their garden. I know that the decor is alot different than here in Chicago. Can you give me a website/store that is in Florida?
I want to send them a gift for their B-day. I live in Chicago.

Home Gardener answers:

You didn’t say what part of florida they are in, so i’m not going to recommend a plant. And you didn’t say how much you are willing to spend, so this is really a shot in the dark, but on they have these garden trellis’ that you attach the garden hose to and the top spins watering the plants. It also has a wind chime and a stabilizer. Really attractive and practical for about $100.

Paul asks…

Garden/patio decor ideas for parents who live in Florida?

I am wanting to buy something for my Mom and Mother-in-law’s Birthday. (both have same b-day) Anyway, they both live in Florida near Clearwater. I know that the decor is different down there than it is here in Chicago. So I need some ideas and/or online shop to order it from.

Home Gardener answers:

I would check with a Home Depot or Lowes down here.. And it depends which way the patio faces… North side doesnt get all the direct sun…. East facing gets morning sun but not during heat of the day…. South and West patios need really hearty plants that can take Sun and Heat beacuse tey get it most of the day in summer.

John asks…

Creating mediteranean Style Garden and Patio – Ideas Please?

We want to create a mediteranean style garden and patio. We have a large low walled Patio area in buff/sandstone colour slabs. Garden rather boring at the moment !

Need some inspirational ideas please on design and colours ?

We have a large square lawn with Shrub borders either side. A largish pond at the end of the garden and beyond that a greenhouse and shed

We want to put a path way in perhaps stepping stones leading from patio to Greenhouse/shed at end of garden.

Perhaps incorporate an Archway somewhere on the lawn but no sure any ideas ? to break up large boring lawn.

We have blue mosaic Patio Furniture. My hubby has built a nice Med style BBQ.

What Colour Pots/containers for Patio Plants should we get ?
Should we keep to same colour blue as Furniture or use different colours of blues/turquoises or ???

Any other suggestions ?

Home Gardener answers:

I’d use whites alot, as this is a frequent building colour in the mediterranean – where it adds a touch of cool and calm. Otherwise brilliant blues, as you suggest, are great.

Many countries have decorative bright tiles, so if you add these, this will enhance the overall impact.

Add terracotta pots, for urns and general potting.

For flowers and plants, consider the Mediterranean Fan Palm – Chamearops humilis. This is hardy in areas as far north as the UK, once more than a couple of years old. Try some succulents too, such as Aloe Striatula – this grows well in my central England garden. Also, some of the Century plants are great, and will live if given a sheltered position, Agave americana: These grow around the med area too, frequently seen on cliffs etc.

Add in some bright coloured flowers too, though the bouganvilleas seen around the med are not that hardy, but can be sheltered during winter. Oleanders are frequently found, with whites, pinks and reds being common around the med:

If you can afford an Olive tree, even better, as this will add a really interesting touch (the larger ones can be pricey). Http:// Otherwise, a grape vine would be great, allowing you to admire the bunches of grapes hanging from its vines – it could be grown over an arch, or pergola.

I’d also add some mediterranean herbs, such as Origanum, which also add a ton of flowers when blooming, for extra interest.

Hope this helps. Good luck! Rob

Richard asks…

How can I create a hanging garden? Ideas needed!?

I really need some help on ideas for a DIY project. My husband and I are usually pretty good at figuring out a way to do anything! Somehow this has us stumped.

We want to grow a small garden this year, but we have no land. We live in an RV park so our options for set up are limited. We have a patio that is 14’x8’ and a small grassy area for a yard. We can’t put any steaks in the ground and the buckets for veggies can only be on the patio area. The RV park mows so anything on the grass is a no-no. We do have a wood picnic table that is on the patio which can be used, but no permanent alterations.

So, with nothing to hang anything from I figure our best option is to rig up something with the picnic table. Something maybe in the way of clamping something onto the tables sides to provide support for a hanging plant basket. But how would be make something like that? We are pretty self-sufficient in the means of making anything, but neither of us can weld so that is about the only thing we cant do.

The tables looks pretty much like the one that is attached to the link below.

I plan to do the following plants: 1 tomato, 1 cherry tomato, 2 or 3 bell peppers, bulb onions (those will have to be non-hanging tho obviously), and maybe an okra and green beans but I have no idea on how I would grow those two in the situation I have.

I already tried looking online after my husband and I couldn’t think of anything, but to no avail. So I am hoping someone on yahoo answers will be able to use creativity and help. If you have a better idea of something I can build to put on the patio area instead, then feel free to give those ideas as well, but all I have been able to come up with is affixing something to the picnic table. Thanks for any ideas or tips you may have.

Home Gardener answers:

You can use planter boxes like this one . I have my small garden in every window in my home. I also place a small mini garden at the corner of my door with this wood planters.

Marie asks…

Any recycling ideas for white bathroom ceramic tile.?

We are about to remodel the bathroom and I will have alot of white ceraminc tile (4 x 4 size) in good condition left over. I would hate to throw it away. I am planning to make a backsplash in the kitchen but there will be alot more left over! I would love ideas for the garden, house or patio. Any websites that have ideas or pictures of ideas would be appreciated too! I am pretty good with crafts and garden work. Thanks!

Home Gardener answers:


Powered by Yahoo! Answers

Questions And Answers On Gardeners Edge

Kylee asks…

Why would a gardener plant Marigolds around the edge of their vegetable garden?

Home Gardener answers:

According to the site listed below: “Some gardeners plant marigolds in their vegetable gardens to repel harmful insects. Studies have concluded they are not effective in reducing insect damage on vegetable crops. French types may be useful for root-knot nematode control in soil.”

Rachel asks…

I would like some help choosing a small tree?

which I could plant on the edge of my lawn in memory of my dog. I would appreciate some suggestions for a small tree which wouldn’t grow higher than about 8/10ft. and would grow well in salt air as I live in the south-west by the sea. The soil isn’t that wonderful, but my garden is fairly sheltered……..Any suggestions all you gardeners out there? :-)

Home Gardener answers:

A nice dwarf flowering tree is avondale redbud. It blooms in early spring a pinkish purple color before it puts on leaves. It can take full or partial sun. I would mend the soil with cow manure however. More choices:
dwarf crape myrtle
japanese maple
tree-form wax leaf privet (ligustrum texanum)
japanese snowbell
deciduous magnolia

Richard asks…

Gardeners??? Is there a hedge that does well in shade?

Just moved into a new house. It has a good sized backyard, but we don’t know what to do with it. There are several mature trees (about 13, not evergreen (I don’t know what they are yet, there are no leaves as it’s still winter)) back there. There are also tons of large rocks (I live in Connecticut, and this is common everywhere here) iceburging out there. I feel like a hedge would make the space more usable. Right now it just feels like a wooded lot between my house and the neighbor’s. It doesn’t feel like MY BACKYARD. Does anybody know of any type of hedge (or something that would work kind of like that (besides a fence)) that would do well in full or nearly full shade? I want to define my property line.

Or would I have better luck doing beds along the edge of my property, filled with plants that do well in the shade?

Any gardeners out there? I’m in hardiness zone 6-7 (06340).
Also, if you have any other recommendations for how to use that space. We love plants and the outdoors. It would be awesome if we could hang out out there.

Also, what can we do with the non-garden area? There are the random trees out there. Is there some kind of ground-cover that would do well with all of those trees that we could walk on that wouldn’t attract too many ticks (since we want to spend time out there).

Any advice is welcome. This is our first home, and therefore our first garden (aside from small container gardens).

Home Gardener answers:

A shaded out door garden room to relax in at an end of a stress full day, what a dream haven! You can have it all as well as developing a property line and enjoy the results every year with little maintenance.
Enjoy Flowering shrubs like the mountain Laural; Perennials like ferns, hosta, english bells; Annuals like begonias and impatience; bulbs like day lilies and lily of the valley; ground covers like thyme carpet , carpet phlox; and vines like old henery clematis. Go to this website for some more ideas-

Bob asks…

How to keep water from running towards the house?

We have a house with a grassy backyard that grows right up to the edge of the house. We keep grass well maintained- short. Sprinkler water & rain water run towards the house and get the walls very wet and is leaving a green water stain on the wall (stucco). Is this something to be concerned about? Will it cause termite problems? mold? What can be done? Get rid of the grass? Put down concrete? Re- level the entire yard to slope away from the house? Who do I contact to evaluate the situation? Landscaper or gardener?

Home Gardener answers:

Try to avoid sprinkler spraying towards the house, this is easy to do, just change some sprinkler heads that shoots away from the house,and also try to install catch drains, it is not difficult to do, I did this years ago same situation like yours…. Make sure to test the drainage pipe water goes to the side yard and out towards the front of the house, you should hire a concrete/cement contractor to drill a hole on the cement curb, that’s where the extra water runs out. I had my gardener installed a drainage system, they installed perforated pipe, it failed because I have clay soil, it is the best you do it yourself.

Susan asks…

why are my plants turning yellow and burning at the edges?

I’m a novice vegetable gardener. some of my plants are turning kinda yellow and some of the leaves look burnt on the edges. I think I’m over watering. What do you think?

Home Gardener answers:

Hold back on the watering. Do not use tap water as it contains chlorine and fluorides which have large molecules and build up in the edges and tips of the leaves causing them to burn and turn yellow. Use rain water or bottled water. If you use tap water let it sit in an open container for a few days

Helena asks…

Can someone please tell me why my Gladioli have reverted to a purple colour?

I am an avid gardener, and had some beautiful tall fat gladioli in various colours, peach, cream with pink tinge on the edge, blood red, yellow. They were those colours for about 4 years. Suddenly this year they have all come out early by about 2 months, and are all a flourescent purple magenta colour.
Whilst they are very pretty. I would have prefered they had stayed the colours that I chose.
Thanks ED SNOW, I live in Devon. I do remember my daughter giving me some gladioli last year that she bought a bulk lot of, perhaps some of them are those. However,I do know I planted some gorgeous bright pink, flame coloured ones by my front gate and no others. I shall just have to wait and see, normally the Gladi’s are out in July here.

Home Gardener answers:

Far too early for Gladiolus, even with global warming – which region do you live in? The Gladiolus you have described sounds like Gladiolus byzantium, a species variety that has just finished flowering in my garden, mauve/purple flowered, it flowers weeks before the hybrid varieties. As corms do not revert, (cross pollinated seed can change original colours, bulbs remain as you planted them), I suggest you keep an eye open for your `original` Gladiolus, as mine have only just broken the surface here (SE England). Gladiolus byzantium `travels`, and appears wherever it fancies, I suspect you have `recieved`some `travellers`, or planted some with your original corms.

Wayne asks…

Why is my blueberry bush’s leaves turning brown on the edges?

I’v had planted this lovely Goldberry blueberry bush a couple of months ago and it’s been growing slowly on the other hand, it’s been growing new baby green branches however, the edges of the new and old leaves are turning brown. It’s planted in the ground, and I have been watering it when needed. Because I’m a new gardener, I don’t have a clue to why this is happening.

Could someone please help me figure out why this is happening?

Home Gardener answers:

It could be drought, or it could be that your soil is too alkaline. Test your soil pH with a soil pH meter. Mix in sphagnum, peat or pine needles to make your soil more acidic. Blueberries like a low pH of about 4-5.

Powered by Yahoo! Answers

Questions And Answers On Retaining Walls Materials

Mark asks…

I need a inexpensive but nice retaining wall, any ideas?

I need retaining walls and terracing done, it is a lot of wall so I need to keep the price down. Any ideas on a retaining wall material that is inexpensive but pleasing to the eye.

Home Gardener answers:

Plant Pompass grass. It’s easily maintained and it has sharp blades that deters invasive people and animals. It’s nice to look at because it grows tall white feathery plooms out of the top. Mine are spaced about 10 feet apart and are now about 6ft by 6ft bushes. If you have to have a “wall” but are low on cash I’d put up a chain link fence and grow a climbing vine all over it.

Paul asks…

How to build a vertical retaining wall?

OK, so this is more of a fish pond question than a retaining wall to hold up a steep hill. but I guess the same applies. I want to build an above ground goldfish pond in front of the house. The area I want to use is between our porch and sidewalk. First I have to pull out the bushes to make room, but that’s another story. Anyway, I want to use 4×4 or 4×6, or the retaining wall material that is flat on top and bottom, but curved on the sides. its going to be a vertical wall approx 2 feet tall. and the length that will be holding back pressure is 10 feet long. It will have to hold back 600 gallons of water. I’m planning on putting rebar through the pieces of wood, and I think I’m going to have to drill the holes before I even put the wood in place. So basically it will be the bottom layer of wood, drill holes, drive the rebar down into the ground, and leave the 2 feet exposed, make my measurements, drill, and place my next piece of wood on top, threading the rebar through. Two of my biggest questions, what size rebar is strong enough without going too thick, and should I drill the hole one size bigger, and fill it in with cement/mortar, or sand as I go along? Also, how deep into the ground should I drive the rebar? I’m thinking 4 foot rebar would be sufficient, since its only going to be 2 feet high, and the other two feet would be underground. Am I even planning this out the right way? I don’t want it to collapse when I go to add the water. I know most of the other stuff about what liner to use, and all that. This question is mainly for building the outer box itself. (10Lx4Wx2D)

Home Gardener answers:

Doug seemed to cover it pretty well , i would add that i would use number 5 rebar(5/8ths in.) and drill it maybe a 1/16th big and use an epoxy to firm the fit…if you dont mind the beating you could drill it 5/8ths and hammer the 4 bys on but that seems like a lot of work…

Elizabeth asks…

who’s responsibility is to repair or replace the retaining wall in a house? Is it both neighbors?

I would like to know who is legaly responsible for maintence of a retaing wall that is holding up my neighbors property. My neighbor does not want to help pay for 50% of the retaining wall since it is in our property. I have tryed speaking with them but they are not willing to spend any money since they said its not their responcibility. That we need to pay completely on our own althought they would benifit from us replacing the retaining wall to something more sturdy. The material currently there is some pressure treated woold that is ready to collaps. Please help…

Home Gardener answers:

I recently had this situation at the house I was renting. There are good-neighbor fences with retaining walls there. The retaining wall and fence to the right side of the house collapsed during the rainy season. The neighbor was responsible for the retaining wall and my landlord was responsible for the actual fence. On the left side of the house, it would be the opposite, the landlord would pay for a retaining wall and the neighbor on the other side would pay for the fence.

If you have a good-neighbor fence with a retaining wall as I described above, your neighbor is legally responsible for 50% of the cost. If it is just a retaining wall shared with you and your neighbor, they should still pay 50% toward the overall cost. If it collapses and causes damage to your property, you could legally sue them for damages. It’s in their best interest to conform and pay half the cost.

Shelley asks…

Raised flower bed?

I haven’t a sufficient amount of soil or dirt before it hits concrete so I wanted to do a raised flower bed. I have no clue what I’m doing. Do I need to lay out rocks along the bottom, or is it fine to put the soil on the ground? Any suggestions for a retaining wall? Materials? Any input would be alot of help & appreciated.
There is about 10 inches before it hits solid concrete. I’ve decided concrete blocks would look nice & be a safer bet than chemical treated wood

Home Gardener answers:

If I am reading your question correctly, you have some soil on top of old concrete. You would be fine to place the new soil on top of the existing dirt. I would till it or at the least, remove any sod before you add the soil. As far as material, I used landscape concrete retaining wall blocks to build mine. Should you ever decide to use your planting bed for some vegetables, there would be no issues with any chemical leaching from the treated timbers. The block also give you a nice ledge to sit on while tilling your soil.

E-mail me if you would be interested in some photos.

Joseph asks…

I have circle 8ft across want to build a retaining wall how do i find out how much material i will need?

Home Gardener answers:

Circumference = 2 x pi x radius. Using 8′ as the diameter, that gives 4′ as the radius.

2 x 3.14159 x 4 = 25.13 feet. Divide that by the size of the material you are using and you are set. Hope this helps.

Alana asks…

Hi I was recommended by a contractor to build a retaining wall made out of FTPO, does somone know what this is

He mentioned via the phone something like FTPO or FTOP I can’t recall correctly. It’s supposed to be some sort of building material I guess? I can’t contact him back to ask him specifically.

Please help.

Home Gardener answers:

It appears to be an artificial and light aggregate which would
be used in lieu of gravel, the more common aggregate, to
make concrete.

The following was obtained from this URL:

Responding to current concerns regarding environmental protection, improved working conditions, energy onservation, and reduced transportation costs, Paris-based Agrégats Artificiels S.A. Has developed new artificial aggregates that produce lighter concrete. The objective in developing a synthetic product is to reduce the weight of foundations and increase the thermal insulation of the building shell.

Agrégats Artificiels S.A. Is seeking industrial partners in both
Canada and the United States for the production and marketing of its product — FTPO, One East Wacker Drive, Suite 3740, Chicago, Ill. 60601; Fax: (312) 222-1237.

I hope this helps.

Wayne asks…

Building a Retaining wall advice needed..?

I am building a conservatory and, although the site is level,there is a 670mm height difference between the ground and the damproof course of the house.
I wish to build a retaining wall (cavity wall of external leaf Bricks,Internal leaf of blockwork)floor level will be at dpc height

The site size is 4.1m wide x 2.8m projection from the house.

My question is will the wall withstand the pressure of the aggregate (8 tonnes) being the infilled material?

What depth and type of wall would be required or what other ways could I use to approach this problem.

solid chalk subsoil

Home Gardener answers:

Firstly, make sure you cast a decent foundation approx 300mm wider each side of the wall x approx 150mm thk.

Place some visqeen (heavy duty plastic) in between the soil & wall,(stops damp penetrating).

I would build a 225mm(1 Brick or 1 block laid flat) retainer wall first, your cavity with tie wires & then your 110mm facing wall.

Good luck.

Powered by Yahoo! Answers

Questions And Answers On Grow Your Own Food In An Apartment

Ken asks…

how can you live self sufficiently in an apartment?

I don’t mean living on your own means but in the meaning of growing own food and such.

But not sure what all can be done in an apartment and what resources are out there. I can grow a couple small plants but can’t supply food realistically.

Any ideas or know of resources?


Home Gardener answers:

If you have access an area with sunlight you can do container gardening some people call it square foot gardening if not you can buy local to be green and get the freshest food you can have. (look at the first link) Energy wise you are ahead of the home owner because you typically have less area to maintain climate control over. You should use weatherstripping and caulk for drafty windows if this is not allowed place rugs up against doors to prevent draft. Get smart strips to prevent phantom loads. (second site) Recycle, if your building doesn’t have bins go to to find out where. And the last site has good tips in general for apartment dwellers. Oh yeah and if you do go for the container gardening you can compost indoor with this last site.

Richard asks…

Can you save money growing your own food?

Although I currently live in an apartment, I’m very interested in the practice of urban homesteading and being more self-reliant. I’m interested in the possibility of renting space in a community garden and growing vegetables. Has anyone on here ever done that? I don’t know anything about gardening and am interested in learning, any suggestions? Any urban homesteaders out there?

Home Gardener answers:

Yep…. But that’s AFTER you pay for the canning equipment… The boiling pans, jars, lids, seals, pitters, coring devices, etc….. Then the next year, that’s not part of the cost….. But that first outlay is a doozie, unless you can find someone with lot of jars to give away!….

The first year or two it might be good for you to just learn to grow things…. And only grow what you will eat in the harvest season… Tomatoes, cukes, beans, lettuce, etc… And not worry about canning for the winter…. Lots of things can be frozen, too, ya know…. Learn all you can from the Extension Office literature on both ways to keep your foods…..

Then, when you’re feeling competent in growing things and know you have good soil and great sunlight and are used to the work that’s involved, THEN get into things like corn, fruits and berrys…. That you will put up for later… You’ll have better success once you’re more sure of your abilities…..and you won’t make dumb mistakes like I did…. Planted nine zuchinni plants!!…. DUH!!!!…. LOL!!!>…

Powered by Yahoo! Answers

Questions And Answers On Garden Pictures Landscape

Joseph asks…

What is a good website to get pictures of quotes?

Like not just the quote but it’s places on a picture like (a garden, landscape, or anything) these are just examples.
Also quotes about love, broken hearts, life.

Home Gardener answers:


“Hatred can be overcome only by love.” – Mahatma Gandhi

“They say true love only comes around once and you have to hold out and be strong until then. I have been waiting. I have been searching. I am a man under the moon, walking the streets of earth until dawn. There’s got to be someone for me. It’s not too much to ask. Just someone to be with. Someone to love. Someone to give everything to. Someone.” – Henry Rollins

“Absence sharpens love, presence strengthens it.” – Benjamin Franklin

“Let the man who does not wish to be idle, fall in love” – Ovid

“That which is loved is always beautiful” – Norwegian Proverb

“Women give nothing to friendship except what they borrow from love.” – Seneca

“Self-love exaggerates our faults as well as our virtues.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


“How else but through a broken heart may Lord Christ enter in?” – Oscar Wilde

“The human heart knows thing the eyes cant see, and feels the things the mind cant understand.. But if love is just a word, then why does it hurt so much when you find it is not there???” – vanessa schiffer

“I didn’t expect to fall for you, but I did. I didn’t expect you to break my heart, but you did. I didn’t expect the wounds to heal, and they didn’t.” – Ani Ovasapyan

“If a man talks bad about all women, it usually means he was burned by one woman” – Coco Chanel

“Great loves too must be endured” – Coco Chanel

“I got along without you before I met you and I’ll get along without you a long time after you’re gone.” – Willie Nelson


“Life, like a child, laughs, shaking its rattle of death as it runs.” – Rabindranath Tagore

“Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself, and know that everything in life has purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings given to us to learn from.” – Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

“I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live.” – George Bernard Shaw

“Win as if you were used to it, lose as if you enjoyed it for a change.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Thy fate is the common fate of all; Into each life some rain must fall.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

“I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.” – William Penn

“The great advantage of a hotel is that it’s a great refuge from home life” – George Bernard Shaw

“Consideration for others is the basic of a good life, a good society.” – Confucius

“When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.” – G. K. Chesterton

Nancy asks…

What are some good tips for garden setting senior pictures?

My good friend’s mom came to me the other day asking if I would take her daughters senior photos. I have a Nikon D-60 and an old external flash. Iv’e never really done portraits before. I’m more of a landscape person, but I’m always up for a challenge. But I could use some tips and help so I y’all could send some at me I would be very appreciative. Thanks! =D

Home Gardener answers:

Start googling – there are many websites around dealing with your question.

You’ll read things like the best time of day to shoot, fill flash, reflectors, etc.


Bob asks…

Where is a park or nature garden in Minnesota (west metro) to take pictures of nature/flowers?

My three month old daughter and I are going to have a picnic tomorrow and need to find a beautiful park. Looking for flowers, nice landscape etc. I would like to take some pictures of her there. I know of the arboretum in Chaska, but I’m looking for something a little less “structured,” and a little more privacy. Any help would be great!!

Home Gardener answers:

Google the address of the Botanical Gardens.

Powered by Yahoo! Answers

Questions And Answers On Home Garden Design

Kirstie asks…

What are the main points i should remember when i design a home garden on my own?

Home Gardener answers:

I hope you mean flower garden…because vegetable gardens are another story altogether.

First, find plants good for your hardiness zone. If they aren’t hardy in your area, they won’ t survive the first winter.

Second, find plants that are appropriate for the amount of sunlight you get in the area you’re planting. Full sun plants will not thrive if they only get one hour of direct sunlight a day. Shade plants may get leaf burn in full sun.

Third, select plants which will mature to the size you want in each area. Don’t pick plants based on the size when
you purchase them. If so, they will become overgrown and look bad.

Fourth, choose colors that go well together and complement each other.

Fifth, choose some evergreen, some perennial, and some annuals. Evergreens keep their leaves all year. Perennials die off in the fall but come back every year. Annuals last only one season and usually are planted to give a large amount of seasonal color–things like petunias and impatiens.

For vegetable gardens, it’s important to improve your soil, make sure the garden gets plenty of sunlight (most vegetables need full sun), keep out the critters who think it’s a salad bar, keep out the bugs who will destroy your plants, plant at the right time, and choose plants and space them appropriately.

I also recommend composting your yard and kitchen waste so that you have a free source of soil improver for next year.

Gardening is really satisfying once you get going. Good luck to you!

Alana asks…

HOME LEARNING COURSES. I want to study garden design from home. Which course is the best?

There seem to be so many to choose from and at different prices. I would like to have a qualification at the end that would be worthy of the work and allow me to earn money.

Home Gardener answers:

Look at Im looking for a course myself but on gardening not design.
Happy Hunting.

Bob asks…

How I adjust my puppy’s home at balcony garden?

I have cute puppy and want a small home at balcony garden.I want my puppy and garden should not affect each other.How should i design home for him as well as maintain my garden?

Home Gardener answers:

U can very well accommodate your puppy in the balcony area. Use some DISINFECTANT occasionally. Some of the plants you can hang it on the top to get spacious area.

Caroline asks…

I need a fresh & creative name I am starting a business combining staging homes for sale and garden design.?

Home Gardener answers:

Choose It! Is decision making software that builds a simple-yet-sophisticated decision matrix while you complete a step-by-step decision tree. This decision making process organizes your thinking. Result? You make correct choices for the most complex, nuanced questions.

Best of all, it’s free! Http://

Or try This is an amazing search program that included a domain name search tool. Also free to use.

Don asks…

Does any one know the cost of a japanise garden?

I have my new home and i am so exited about gardening it. and i’d like to have a small japanese garden designed by some1 professional.

the space is 8ftx4ft

thank you

Home Gardener answers:

I sink dey sirteen dolla!

Chris asks…

Have a choice to have your own home designed and build, what style would you choose?

Whould you like a classic straight lined home painted white with glass and silver;

Mexican style with a large fireplace and lots of oragne colours;

Double story house (mansion) with an indoor swimming pool and garden;

Garden Cottage with a nice vegatable garden and a fish pond?

Come on let us dream for dream can become true.

Enjoy the week-end
take care, Suzanne

Home Gardener answers:

I once drafted the “home of the future” for a science fair. Unfortunately, I was too young, it was not my field of interest at the time, and I got a B. However, I long to revisit the idea, and one day, build (have built?) and live in that house.

Since all the things mentioned, and so many more, appeal to me in some way, I’m inclined to think I would like a large property with an eclectic landscape. The home should probably then take place around that. The colors, materials for the climate, etc. – all would be a function of location.

The building itself would take a lot of thought. I would like the amenities of the “futuristic” home, but really long to live in a stone castle. So, I combine the two concepts, throw in a splash of Japanese gardening, a Greek pillar or two – and viola.

Powered by Yahoo! Answers

Questions And Answers On Better Homes Gardens

Steve asks…

Better Homes&Gardens July 2006?

Barbque Recieps page 196

Home Gardener answers:

Anything here ring a bell?

Thomas asks…

Why are all the pages in my Better Homes & Gardens mag stuck together?

Home Gardener answers:


Rachel asks…

I would like to know the music used for the Chelsea Flower Show ’06 segment on Better Homes & Gardens.?

Home Gardener answers:

Probably something custom. Not available.

Susan asks…

The NAB cup has this comp got more lives than better homes & gardens or what?

I just went to the AFL web site. to see that they have a survey about the NAB cup that you can fill out. i cant put the link up here. but it is on the site. if you wish to fill it out.

As much as most of you wish to see the end of the pre season cup. it would seem that the AFL has other ideas. it does seem that the death of the NAB cup. is a long way of just yet.

For me this just gives new meaning to the Collingwood army members ad on telly at present. Eddie must be ticked off because the ad should say February to October. instead of March ing to October. is this the real reason why he wanted to see the end of the comp?

Home Gardener answers:

Good 1 shifty me old mate
it would really pev NAB that a team sponsored by westpack took their cash

Bob asks…

Athiest, without the Bible’s absolute authority, how do you decide which homes and gardens are better?

Home Gardener answers:

Garden Gnomes.

Richard asks…

I am after a fact sheet on T Shirt folding?

I tried to download it from better homes & Gardens site but had no luck. I have emailed twice to see if you could send me one but have had no answer. Thank you

Home Gardener answers:


Watch it.

Kirstie asks…

I am after a fact sheet on T Shirt folding?

I tried to download it from better homes & Gardens site but had no luck. I have emailed twice to see if you could send me one but have had no answer. Thank you

Home Gardener answers:

Try this site good luck

Powered by Yahoo! Answers

Questions And Answers On Garden Plants And Seeds

Chris asks…

I am starting a garden: should I plant seeds or plants?

I live in Northwest Missouri and the weather is finally starting to warm up. I think the frost date has passed. I decided to start a garden a few days ago. I have dug up and tilled the garden. I need to know- should I buy seeds and plant them directly outside or do I need to buy already started plants. Seeds are cheaper but I want to do whatever will yield veggies. I know I should have started seeds indoors in January, but I didn’t. Is it too late for me and my garden dreams? please provide me with a list of veggies I can buy as seeds and a list that I better buy as plants. I want to grow a little of everything. Any advice will be appreciated! Thanks! Also- we have a lot of cow manure (we own cattle) what does “well rotted” mean and how do I get it that way? How can I prevent weeds from growing? Please note: where we live the wind never stops blowing.

Home Gardener answers:

First–Allanman plainly you have never had a garden. Gardening is exercise. Fresh air and Exercise that brings you fresh veggies–you go to the gym–I’ll garden.

Peter I don’t know where you live but it is clearly in the Southern States.

The last frost date in Missouri is somewhere in the first or second week of May. Plant peas, lettuce,, and radish seed and onion dutch sets now. They like the cooler weather. Plant other seeds the first week of may. It will take a couple of weeks to come through the ground. Plant peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers and melon vines last when the ground is warmer about the third week of May. Tomatoes and peppers must be plants, cucumbers can be plants or seed as can the melon vines if they are early maturing

Davina asks…

To plant an herb garden is it better to get seeds or the plants already started?

I want to do the herbs in containers too. Should I get the plants already started and plant them in the pots, or should I get seeds and plant them in the pots? What about those herb growing kits that come with the seeds that are in these little peat moss pellets? Also, if I want organic herbs does that mean I need to buy organic herb seed or organic herb plant, or will it be organic either way as long as I’m not using chemicals? Thanks! Obviously inexperienced over here…

Home Gardener answers:

That depends upon whether you are good at seed starting. If you enjoy gardening and like to watch the development, seeds are the way to go. If you are rather in a hurry and not too gardening savvy, you will want to go with the starts. I love to plant, and there is only one way to get started: just do it!

If you do not want many herbs, however, you may just want to buy a start or two; depending upon the herb.

Organic means there were no chemicals used on the seed and that they were harvested and grown naturally. You can buy organic seed; most of the ones in the stores are not. Some are, so read the packet.

I would avoid peat pots and peat in general. It is running out and soil and pots are great anyway. We do not want to deplete the earth too quickly!

Seeds of Change has great organic seeds. You pay a bit more for them, but of course it is environmentally desirable to use them.


David asks…

how do I save seeds from my garden?

How do I salvage the seeds from my garden plants that have done well, ie tomatoes and corn etc.

Home Gardener answers:

Corn,  just save a cob. You can re plant it all next year. You can take it off the cob and put it in a jar. Tomato seeds should be dried on a piece of paper towel and stored in a cool dry place until next spring.

Mike asks…

can you use a tanning bed to start flowers/veggies seeds gardening plants?

My dad and I just cleaned out a room to get a bed for my daughter that my mom had tucked away and there was a tanning bed in there. it is just the top of the tanning bed and it works and gets warm. We love to garden and the question came to us:

“Would it work to start seeds and grow plants?”

seems like it would be better than grow lights but not sure what the actual differance is????

So, If you know of an answer for us that would be great!!

we were thinking about using in conjunction with his grow lights ….turn on the tanning bed for like an hour a day for intense direct light and heat?

Home Gardener answers:

Given that people get a bit fried if they stay under a tanning bed too long, I fear your plants would not fare well. Also, I don’t think these things are designed to be left on 24/7 – could be a fire hazzard, not to mention your electricty bill going through the roof. Go to the garden centre & buy a small heated propagator – you’ll get reliable results for a fraction of the cost !

Just seen your additional details. It still wouldn’t be good. Propagators work with a gentle heat underneath, to mildly warm the soil. Intense heat from above will destroy young tender leaves. Sell the tanning thing on ebay & use the cash to buy a heated propagator.

Cindy asks…

can you plant garden seeds for next year in the ground this fall?

meaning…after my plants in the garden die this year would it be possible to plant next years crop this fall? I have raised beds with low tunnels (which have protected my plants this year as low as 23 degrees so far) and we get a lot of snow here. My plan is to cover my beds in early April, it tends to still be pretty cold around here and the ground is usually still frozen. My theory is that if I just cover the beds with the seeds ALREADY frozen in the ground that by the time the regular growing season starts (june 1st here) they already have 6 weeks growth….is this crazy or should it work? I will grow my more tender plants (tomatoes, peppers) under lights until it’s time to plant outside but I am thinking of this idea for things like squash, pumpkins. cucumbers, beets, carrots, onion etc….any thoughts would be helpful, thank you!

Im not planning on growing plants during winter…I guess my real question is…will those aforementioned seeds stay dormant in the winter and sprout in the spring like other seeds chives, cilatro, 4 o’clocks, marigold…etc???

Home Gardener answers:


there are several options for you.

Start them after the first frost. You will have great luck

Caroline asks…

Do I put mulch in the garden before or after planting seeds?

I got some packets of ground-cover type flower seeds, like wildflowers I guess, to plant in a section of garden area in front of my house. I am not too concerned with placement so I’m just going to spread them around and see what happens and hope they grow.

I am figuring mulching over top of seeds or newly grown plants will suffocate them, but I just want to make sure because I’m not too educated with gardening.

Thanks in advance.

Home Gardener answers:

You use mulch last.  Or you can spread the mulch first and then open a small hole in the mulch to plant the seed or seedling in and leave it open so the plant can grow.

Also, when your flowers or plants start to grow, put banana peels around them. Helps them bloom to their fullest.

If you plant bulbs, put hair (dog, cat, yours) around the bulb so other animals don’t dig them up and eat ‘em.

Don asks…

I know nothing about gardening. I planted wildflower seeds directly in my garden. Are they going to grow?

I didn’t know anything about starting them indoors and now I am reading all this stuff on them and I’m worried. My mom passed away this winter and she was the one to do all this stuff and I’ve never really payed attention. Actually she always just bought flowers. Anyways. I planted them well after any chance of frost and I water them everyday. They are in a mostly sunny partly shady area which they called for. I also planted a vine. Should I just count it as a loss and go buy flowers or do you think there is hope?

Home Gardener answers:

I too planted wildflower seeds in a shady/sunny part of my garden, I watered them every morning and I did get some flowers after a while (can’t remember how long) but I didn’t get near what the container said I would get nor did they ever look real healthy. I am sure I did everything right but I think its easier just to buy flowers and plant them. Though saying that there is something about feeling like you actually grew them from seed which is a pretty good feeling.

Powered by Yahoo! Answers

Questions And Answers On Grow Your Own Vegetables

Mike asks…

What is the best way to grow your own vegetables that are organic?

I am trying a organic diet and want to grow my own vegetables without using pesticides. What is the best way I can grow lettuce & spinach without using harsh chemicals?

Also I have alot of clay in my yard, what type of dirt should I use?
Do I have to use a fertilizer? And if so what kind would you reccommend? (Not my own!LOL)

If you know of any great websites that tell you about growinbg your own vegetables (especially organic) I would greatly appreciate it.


Home Gardener answers:

Great questions! You are going to love growing your own vegetables! Let’s start with preparing your beds. So you have clay! Clay has gotten a bad rap and causes a lot of people to not even attempt gardening. Soil is a mixture of three types: sand, silt and clay. These types are just descriptions of tiny rocks. Sand is the biggest of the tiny rocks, silt is much finer and clay is actually the smallest and flattest. Sandy mixtures drain rapidly taking fertilizers away with the water. Clay actually has an electrostatic charge that can really be a problem if it is churned up with a rototiller for instance or walked upon when it is wet. Management of any soil is first knowing what you’ve got to work with and you can send in a sample (s) of your soil for a free analysis or small fee to your local extension service. People have learned so many tedious but erroneous ways to improve their soils, especially clayey ones. What does one make by mixing lime, gypsum, crushed rock, clay and water together? Concrete. No wonder people become disallusioned with gardening.

To make soil better just remember the ONLY WAY to make any soil type better for plants is to add DECOMPOSED ORGANIC MATTER. I just put it on top and let the micro and macroorganisms of the soil come alive and eat it and take it down into the soil and poop it out. Plants thrive when you feed (with decomposed organic matter!) your soil or rather the micro and macro organisms. Plants need a soil that is ‘alive’ to thrive and uptake more readily Nitrogen(N), Phosphorus(P) and Potasium(K) plus micronutrients (Boron, Magnesium…blah blah blah).

PH of your soil (acidic to alkaline) is also an important factor, critical for some plants for survival. Home tests aren’t reliable. You are pretty safe as long as you don’t add anything to change pH without knowing for sure what your soil’s pH is! For example, I see people putting lime on their lawns every year like a ritual. Along with moss killer (usually with ferrous sulfate that lowers pH while lime raises pH) Your garden soil should be close to neutral (7). Don’t mess with it unless you get it tested.

As for fertilizer, remember the following; Fertilizer is not ‘food’, more is not better, and if you want vegetables (flowers first of course) make sure your fertilizer is higher in P and K than N by percentage…at least equal in percentage. If N is higher than P and K you are going to promote VEGETATIVE growth. Don’t become confused here. Vegetative growth means lots of stems and leaves. You want REPRODUCTIVE growth, flowers, seeds, fruit…vegetables!

Next, drainage. I wish I could draw but here goes. Envision beds in your garden that are 2 1/2 feet to 3 feet wide at the top, at least a foot higher than your ‘paths’ so the sides slope towards your paths. The length is whatever you want. The paths are wide enough for a wheel barrow, a lawnmower (yes, you can have lawn for your paths!)or a rototiller. I’ve even had beds that were 4′X4′ square. It will look like a graveyard sort of. You walk on the paths not on your beds just like you don’t walk on your bed in your bedroom, right? I plant my vegetable seeds all over the top of these graves after I lightly tamp the soil firm and smooth. Then, using a rock rake, I flip soil lightly and thinly on top of my seeds. The salad stuff I put in a hot pepper shaker (like Round Table Pizza?) and mix it all up. Seeds like radish (globe and icicle), carrots, beets, spinach (early and late), all the lettuce types I can find and sprinkle them all mixed up on the ‘salad bar’ bed. I cover beds containing root vegetables and those of the cabbage family with ‘row cloth’. It’s a light, white, tightly woven cloth that I keep loose over the new seedlings so they will have room to grow but carefully bury the edges with soil and a few stones. This keeps out a few pests that lay their eggs and ruin root crops, cabbage crops…after the pest’s season for laying eggs is safely past (you can look it up or call your extension service in your area for info). Oh, Water goes right through it so no problem.

I was trying to address drainage. By raising your beds you create great drainage. You don’t have to use wood or stones to shore up the edges. Every winter you plant a ‘cover’ crop like annual rye grass, clover…lots of choices, dig it under when you turn the soil in the beds (fluffing it up) and it adds great organic matter while it kept weeds from setting in over winter! Looks great too. Wood and stone would just give housing for slugs and you wouldn’t get to turn the soil over easily. Paths stay the same each year if they aren’t lawn, you can gravel them with 3/8 minus or sawdust or chips or whatever so you don’t get mired in mud. They get compacted and I love gravel. Finer gravel or crushed granite looks more refined and easier on bare feet.

You never use pesticides unless you’ve got a problem that is LISTED on the label. Also, you HAVE to read the label from top to bottom FIVE TIMES and keep it with the bottle. I rarely use pesticides, don’t need to. I know how not to make mistakes and if I do I know simple ways of manual pesticide. Scissors! I go out and start chopping all slugs, big and small. I love to find cutworms! They are even worse than slugs. I also know that most insects HELP you with the bad pests. Non selective pesticides/herbicides I NEVER use…especially because of bees.
Another story. I hope this helps. I’m a Master Gardener, Pesticide Operator, Landscape Architect and have been a gardener since a child. My fingernails I have given up on.

The more you understand the easier it is to get out there and enjoy being part of the natural world. In this way you are Organic! I just won’t get on my soap box about the misconceptions of words like ‘Natural’, ‘Synthetic’, ‘Chemicals are bad’, ‘Drugs are bad’, ‘Organic’…sigh, just become Garden Savvy and learn how to become a good cook using frest stuffr and spices, stay away from canned, boxed and frozen foods as much as you can. That is all you need to do to eat well. Another soap box of mine I dearly love to talk about.

Oh! My favorite mulch is ‘Gro-Co’ but not for the garden, I use a cover crop during the winter for my vegetable garden. I swear by ‘Gro-Co’ on all planting beds, it is the ONLY product that is tested and you know what you are using. I’ve installed topsoils and other ‘organic’ mulches only to find they were ladden with weed seeds or worse pesticide residues. A few times I found to my horror everything I had planted died because of this. Don’t have to worry about that with ‘Gro-Co’… I added this because I had to snicker at your comment ‘not my own’…It is called something else whereever you are but look it up…I NEVER USE BARK. IF A CLIENT WANTS BARK I TELL THEM TO FIND SOMEONE ELSE.

Whatever you use it just needs to be DECOMPOSED. Never, never use plastic either. Drives me nuts. Undecomposed material used as mulch( anything that blocks out light stops weed growth, plant growth and is termed a ‘mulch’) causes the decomposer organisms to come alive, multiply to do the work of decomposing something that used to be alive, is now dead but not decomposed. Fact of life. Until the bark or whatever needs decomposing there isn’t enough food (decomposed stuff) for the rest of the soil organisms and they go to sleep (become dormant). Meanwhile the decomposers need lots of NITROGEN for energy and the plants suffer greatly. Use of Bark is literally causing deserts in our urban areas. Nothing for the birds to eat…either. If I were king I’d order bark to be ILLEGAL to use on gardens. OK …I could write books and make money….? Grin. Happiness is Gardening…

Davina asks…

Can seeds from store bought fruits and vegetables be planted to grow your own vegetables or fruits?

Can seeds from store bought fruits and vegetables be planted to grow your own vegetables or fruits?
I have wondered this for the longest time. If so, how do you do it, are there any websites that show you how to do it?


Home Gardener answers:

The trouble with saving seeds from store bought fruit and veggies is that most of them these days are hybrids, or from grafts. And of course, all vegetables don’t have seeds. The seeds will grow a plant/tree, but the plant probably won’t produce, or if it does the fruit will be inferior. If you want to give it a try, make sure the product is thoroughly ripe. If not, the seeds won’t be mature enough to be viable. Different methods of recovering the seeds from different fruits have been devised, but in most cases you can simply hand pick seeds, dry them in a cool, low humidity location and store them in paper bags, again in a cool dry place, until you are ready to plant them. There are dozens of online articles and sites specific to seed saving for about any fruit and veggie you can think of.

Jim asks…

Do you grow your own vegetables?

What vegetables do you grow (if any)?

Later on this year when the weather’s warmer I want to grow some cherry tomatoes in the greenhouse.

I posted this in V&V because of the correltation between ‘vegetarians/vegans’ and ‘vegetables‘. LOL. And I’m curious to know if any of you grow your own organic, homegrown veg.

Home Gardener answers:

Hey dude…….I grow what I can in my small city backyard. Tomatoes, habaneros, jalapenos, cayennes, green bells, banana peppers (Hungarian Wax peppers), oregano, cilantro, dill, and basil. A group of friends readily trades what they grow too so I have access to olther fresh grown produce as well.

Good luck with your garden! Freshly picked produce is so good it will spoil you away from store bought :-)

I use a product called “Miracle-Gro” and I doubt it’s organic. I don’t spray any pesticides organic or otherwise. Inner city pests of that variety are few and far between.

Charlie asks…

How easy is it to grow your own vegetables?

i am a complete novice but love the idea but wouldn’t know where to start! how do i prepare the soil if i even need to?

Home Gardener answers:

The easiest and most successful method is: but it can be costly up front. Be sure you till the soil deep and that the garden patch gets at least 8 hours of sunlight daily. Starting from seed it difficult for certain crops, plants are stronger and hold up better to transplanting. I would suggest going to the library and checking a couple of book on the subject. Good luck!

John asks…

Do you grow your own vegetables and stuff and eat them?


Home Gardener answers:

Always. Healthier that way.

Bob asks…

Do you grow your own vegetables, fruit and herbs?

We grow oranges, strawberry’s, mandarines, tomato’s and various herbs in my garden when the season is right.

Home Gardener answers:

Of course. I grow:
Irish potatoes
Purple Hull beans
seedless grapes
passion fruit
naval oranges
onion tops
garlic chives
paw paws
& jujubis

Nancy asks…

Is it a good thing to grow your own fruit/vegetables?

My dad stopped growing our vegetable garden when I was young and never explained why. I’d like to see if anybody out there can give some suggestions on how to get started and if it would be reasonable to do.

Home Gardener answers:

Of course it’s a good thing! Just a bit of work. Till the land with a good compost to prepare the soil before planting. Start out with things like tomatoes, green peppers, potatoes, carrots, green beans,lettuce, cucumbers – anything that you like to eat really. I find corn to be hard to grow, since I am limited on space and you need it to be several rows thick.

Powered by Yahoo! Answers

Questions And Answers On Gardening Tools For Kids

Helena asks…

What are some good beach tools for kids?

My boys are too old for the plastic handle stuff. They like to dig in the wet sand and build sand castle and moats, just to wash the tide wash their work away. I’m looking for some unique and relatively inexpensive options to basic garden tools. The tools need to be light and easy for a 6-year old to handle.

Home Gardener answers:

Wooden spoons, frisbees, plastic cups of different sizes, cookie cutters to make designs. Legos are lots of fun.. Just don’t bring the good legos.. (they make some seriously interesting castles built with sand and legos.. ) straws to make posts, bring a plastic container. You can cut a milk gallon bottle in half, it helps bring the sand faster. And the cap lets out for pouring.

When I go to the beach sometimes I have pirate treasure hunts with mine. I make a map and hide stuff (maybe the tools) and have them find it..

Susan asks…

Garden tools for kids?

Does anyone know where I can find garden accessories for kids? I’m looking for a planter, watering can, and maybe a shovel in a disney princess theme. I live in the Toronto area, so I can’t order online from the USA.


Home Gardener answers:

You might have to collect these items. Shop around your local stores, I have seen childerens’ garden tools before that are “pink”.

Powered by Yahoo! Answers