For the Best Gardeners in the Cardiff Area

   Aug 24

Your Questions About Gardening

Sandy asks…

What are some good home made fertilizers for rice in a backyard.?

I planted rice in my backyard, and i think i should fertilize them.please tell me a homemade thing or ingredient, that is easy to make and quick. this is because i have to travel a lot for a fertilizer shop

GardenersCardiff answers:

Try making something called “compost tea”. Compost is made from decaying grass, leaves, wood chips, and left over organic materials from the garden. Compost is what is left after these materials have completely broken down. Once you have made your compost, it will look and smell like rich top soil found in the woods. Place some compost into a 1 gallon milk jug with holes punched into the bottom. Pour water into the top and catch the drippings that result. Pour the drippings back into the top several times. The result is “compost tea” and can be used as a non-burning organic fertilizer.

Linda asks…

Looking for pretty flowers that bloom all year on a vine?

I am new at this and don’t know too much about gardening so I don’t even know if such a plant exixts. Please let me know if this type of vine exists…I’m wanting it to attach and grow across my back patio. I live in central California. Thank you.
I live in a apartment but have a large back patio so I want to have it grow in a large planter and run across the bars of my patio over time.

GardenersCardiff answers:

“Central California” doesn’t give me enough info. Do you have winter? Does it go below 32 degrees any time during the year? If it does, than no, no such plant. If it stays above 32 degrees, than other answerer gave you a good list.

I am particularly fond of passionflowers, because they are the trifecta of flowering plants – absolutely beautiful, wonderful aroma, easy to maintain. Added bonus, if your temps do go down to only 20 degrees, there are varieties that will die off, but regrow, even in those temps and even in a container. I live in Philly, so it’s too cold to leave out my passionflower all year, but I have a variety that would have made it, if I lived a little further south (zone 7, instead of zone 6.) I bring it in, since it’s in a container, for the winter, and take it back out every summer.

Michael asks…

How can I protect some of my crops for next year?

You’re about to find this question more difficult than you probably thought, coming into this page!…
I made a garden all on my own 2 years ago, and although the weeds did get WAY out of hand (still is, even with extra help this year!), I was able to make a great garden, and last year the pumpkin came back up on their own. For some reason, when the guys whom I am working with on the garden tilled the garden this time (which last time I had no access to one), the weeds grew worse! No one was able to keep up with all the weeds, and it choked-out much of the garden, including OKRA, which I had thought would be easier to grow!
The guys want to till-up and TARP the entire area for the winter, with the idea of preventing some of the obnoxious, noxious weeds we had this year. However, I have a single strawberry plant (birds keep eating the berries before I’ve had a single one!), several types of squash, and — well, perhaps these will die, anyway, but — indeterminate tomato plants and cucumber plants that have grown wilder than the squash plants! LOL!
I’d thought about taking some of the seeds (or maybe the fruit?) and stick them down as deeply as possible in an 18-gallon tote filled with dirt, then putting it in a shed, and hoping they start producing again next year. Is there a better option? Should I simply find a way to keep the seeds?
(Least important question here) And as for the strawberry plant, would it work to purchase going-out-of-date strawberry plants and let them go dormant in a pot, hoping they’ll come back next year?

EDIT – If you think I should delete this question and separate it into several, please tell me and I’ll do that.

GardenersCardiff answers:

Weeds scatter seeds all over the soil. Some weed seeds are very fertile and will germinate for up to ten years after the parent plant dies. When you till the soil, you are in effect sowing all those weed seeds that the weeds produced during the summer.

If you mulch heavily around your plants, the mulch will make the weed seeds rot in the ground instead of growing. I use newspapers and cover the news papers with a thick layer of straw. The mulch and newspapers will compost during the summer, which adds nutrients to the soil, and they keep the weeds from getting a start. Just don’t mulch until your plants are tall enough to stand above the mulch a couple of inches. Until your plants are tall enough, you will have to pull weeds by hand.

Placing a tarp over the ground will prevent weeds from growing under the tarp, but it will kill your strawberry and any other perennial plant you have. You can purchase end of the season Strawberry plants, but you should plant them right away. They need to grow to store nutrients to survive the dormant period during the winter. They need water even while dormant. If they dry out, they will die. Usually winter rain will provide enough moisture to keep them alive while dormant. Come spring they will break dormancy and will start growing again and produce berry’s for you.

Tomato’s, Squash, cucumbers and most other garden vegetables are called annuals, that is because they live only one growing season and then die. You will have to replant them each spring.

If you try to store seeds in the ground, the seeds will rot. If you try to store them inside the vegetable, they will rot. Dry the seeds you collect, and then put them in an envelope and seal it. Write the name of the plant the seed came from and the year collected on the outside of the envelope. Then store the envelope with seeds in a dry place.

Keep in mind, that if two or more types of the same plant grow within a few hundred yards (meters) of each other, bees will carry pollen from one type to the other type. That means the seed you saved may be a cross between two types of plants and not very good tasting or won’t produce at all. It is usually best to buy fresh seeds each fall to insure you get something for all the work you put into a garden.

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