gardenerscardiff.co.uk

For the Best Gardeners in the Cardiff Area

   Feb 20

Your Questions About Gardening

Michael asks…

How can I make my own chia growing sponges?

I am talking about the growing sponges that come with the Chia Herb Garden, not regular sponges. I know they are made from peat moss and ground tree bark, but I don’t know how they get the sponge texture. I need a lot of these, so something similar would be great!

GardenersCardiff answers:

I hope you leam Loofah Sponges, this article will show you how

I hope this helps! :)

How to Grow Loofah Sponges

By eHow Home & Garden Editor

The loofah is a versatile sponge that can be used for bathing yourself or cleaning the house. Actually a type of gourd, the loofah is simple to grow if you have some room in your garden or a smaller space and a trellis.

Instructions
Difficulty: Moderately Easy
Things You’ll Need:

* Growing medium
* Pot
* Paper towel
* Trellis, wall or tree
* Knife
* Water and container
* Liquid soap
* Bleach

Step1
Purchase the seeds in the winter. Find them listed as sponge gourds, loofah gourds or dishrag gourds at websites like The Banana Tree, Luffa Info and Virtual Seeds.
Step2
Check your zone. Loofah sponge gourds like warm weather. They are perennials that require a long growing season. If you’re north of the Mason-Dixon line, start the plant indoors a month before the last frost. Place the seed between 2 paper towels that are warm and damp to germinate.
Step3
Use a commercial growing medium as the soil and plant to a depth that is twice that of the seed size. Keep warm and moist. Once the plant has popped through the soil, make certain that it has plenty of light. A window can work, but a grow light is better.
Step4
Transplant outside after all danger of frost has passed. Put the plant in a sunny location with a trellis, tree or fence to climb. Make certain that the location has plenty of sun and objects to climb.
Step5
Train the vines to go where you want. The plant first gets yellow or orange flowers, and the long fruit appears when the flowers die. Let the fruit mature.
Step6
Pick the fruit and take it in when it turns a yellow-brown and feels much lighter. The gourd has a dried leathery skin when it’s ready. If the gourds are sufficiently dry, you can shake them and hear the seeds move.
Step7
Cut off the blossom end of the sponge and allow the seeds to drop out. Soak in water several times, changing the water frequently. Wash in soapy water, and then soak in hot water for about 2 to 3 hours.
Step8
Bleach in a mild bleach and water solution for 15 minutes. This removes any brown spots on the sponge. Rinse thoroughly in clean cool water, making certain the bleach is removed. Sun dry or air dry and store.

Tips & Warnings

* Save some of the seeds that you removed to restock your seed supply.
* Loofah may also be spelled as “luffa” or “lufah.”
* Don’t plant this near cucumbers, pumpkins, other gourds or squash. They will crossbreed.

Mary asks…

How do I add a basic exterior faucet to my home?

I want to add a faucet to the back of my house. (For garden hose) My basement is unfinished and all of the pipes are exposed, so everything is easy to get to. Is there an easy way to go about doing this? I’m no plumber, but I am pretty handy, so if it’s not too difficult, I should be able to tackle the job.

GardenersCardiff answers:

An unfinished basement with exposed pipes is ideal for this project. You’ll need basic tool skills (to drill through your house walls) as well as basic pipe cutting and soldering skills. You’ll also have to know where to turn off the water supply to your house.

If you live in a climate where exterior faucets can freeze, purchase a freeze-proof faucet. This looks pretty much like a standard faucet (called a hose bib) from the outside, but the device is made so that it drains every time you turn it off so no water is trapped to freeze and burst pipes in cold weather.

Here’s a step-by-step article from This Old House showing how to install a freeze-proof faucet, but a installing a standard faucet is much the same.

Http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/how-to/intro/0,,480863,00.html?xid=yahoo-answers&partner=yes

And if you need a quick lesson on how to solder (sweat) copper pipes, this should do the trick:

http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/video/0,,1632426,00.html?xid=yahoo-answers&partner=yes

William asks…

How does composting work?

How do the microorganisms in the compost break down the material in there? Do the microogranisms just appear in the compost if the environment of the compost is correct? What temperature should the compost be? How can I make my own compost? Would it work if I had like a small box or something and I add whatever I need to add in there. I’m doing a science fair experiment on it and I want an easy and inexpensive way to create some sort of mini compost bin/tumbler. Thanks so much if you have ANY information on composting and please help on telling me any information on MAKING a mini compost bin/tumbler.

GardenersCardiff answers:

Make two wooden structures, size depends on how much ground you have and how much material you will have to compost. If you can get horse manure or cow dung, put a small amount at the base, add almost anything to the second layer, then a layer of soil. Do not disturb it. Continue until it reaches the top of the structure you made. Leave that one and start on the second. It will take you probably a year before you can use the first by which time the second will be ‘cooked’ and ready. Do not use rhubarb leaves. Do not use rose cuttings. Use paper, cardboard, old cabbages including roots, all garden waste, kitchen waste but not including meats. Beware of silver paper and the tape on cardboard. Everything else goes in. It will generate heat but do not worry, it will not cause fire. Don’t forget the layers, each about six inches high. It will seem that the structure never fills but that’s the break down taking effect. Hope it helps, good luck. Ps. If you have snakes in your area, they like to nest in compost heaps and curiously enough, depending on whether the female snake wants males or females, depends on where she lays her eggs!

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