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Tag Archives: learning to garden

Currently Googling: Garden Edition

21 Jul
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From last year’s Dallas Botanical Garden Trip

I have a confession. I “Google” in the garden.  It’s not that I don’t have a library’s worth of books and garden magazines I can reference, but I’m impatient. My mom and the organic gardening group I belong to are invaluable resources too, of course, but when I need immediate answers, I turn to the web.

Since I’ve been learning so many new things lately, I thought it might be fun to track and share some of the questions + answers I’ve been researching, since some of you may also be novice gardeners like me.

Here’s what I’ve had on deck for July 2019:

Why isn’t my bougainvillea flowering?

Don’t overwater! Blossoms happen on NEW growth and the dirt should be dry before you give water. Water is often withheld in order to force blossoming. I can report that after about two weeks of consistent water neglect, my baby bougainvillea is finally flowering and she looks beautiful.

How do you plant potatoes? Is there anything I can plant with them to deter potato beetles and other pests?

Sift soil so it’s not rocky, then bury seed potato with eyes about 4-6″ deep. The more eyes = the more potatoes, however, they will be smaller whereas a potato with fewer eyes will yield fewer larger ones.

Mound soil into hills over the seed potato so it is completely covered. As the blossom end grows, continue to mound soil so the potatoes are NOT EXPOSED TO LIGHT. If they are, they develop a poisonous chemical and turn green. You would have to eat quite a few green potatoes to get sick, but why risk it. Just hill that dirt up.

The best defense against potato beetles is being proactive. Check plants for signs of damage or the pests themselves. Remove and squish (or however you wish to dispose of.) I also read that diatomaceous earth sprinkled over plants can help deter pests because it is made from the fossilized remains of tiny, aquatic organisms called diatoms. Their skeletons are made of a natural substance called silica which causes insects to dry out and die by absorbing the oils and fats from the cuticle of the insect’s exoskeleton. Its sharp edges are abrasive, speeding up the process. It remains effective as long as it is kept dry and undisturbed.

Is stump removal better than stump grinding? 

Stump removal is costly but it effectively takes up not just the tree stump but the roots as well. This can make it easier to plant another tree in its spot, if desired. Generally, wait about a year though. Grinding is a great option if you don’t plan to replant and the stump is an eyesore.

What is eating gently curved munch marks in my plants — specifically, my zinnias.

This sounds like a leafcutter bee or slugs and snails. There are a lot of organic methods to control slugs. This was a great guide to some basic ones. My attitude towards bees however, especially native ones, is to let them be. No pun intended.

What are the earliest spring-blooming tulips?

This guide by Longfield Garden was very handy.

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Hope you enjoyed that. Let me know in the comments and stay tuned for the August edition. And while you’re waiting, feast your eyes on this absolutely gorgeous planter I spotted at a local outdoor mall. Stunning, right? I’m looking for inspiration for my fall planters and window boxes and love the combination of evergreen and ivy. It would make swapping in some annuals a bit easier if I had a base, season to season. More on that later thought.

 

 

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