For the Best Gardeners in the Cardiff Area

   Dec 25

Your Questions About Gardening

Sandy asks…

Can I still plant veggies if my soil stinks?

I’m pretty sure my backyard’s soil has been contaminated by urine and feces by my dog for about 5 years… is there anyway I could make the soil healthy again so I can start planting things? I would really like to grow my own herbs.

GardenersCardiff answers:

Take an area that you would like to start in..then sprinkle with lime, this kills bacteria…and I would also soak it in with a fungicide in case there is some mold or so developing from the feces..then You will need to put a small fence up to keep your dog out..You need to either rent a rotiller then and turn the soil at leasst 1 foot and a half deep… You should be safe to go…When I was raised we did not have running water inside and utilized a “outhouse” ..a shed put over a very deep hole in the ground with cut out seats in it..we had to sprinkle lime on it weekly to kill bacteria and keep the odor down..this also gives the soil a calcium fix from the lime…However ..veggies are great directly in the ground like this..but I would grow herbs in containers nearest the kitchen with a sunny side on it..I will show you a picture of my herbs and garden here..Notice most my herbs are growing in containers on my handrail instead of in my main garden…

basil and cherries

vining cherry tomatoes

snap dragons and herb bed

chives herbs and flowers

Linda asks…

How to best grow herbs from seeds?

What is the best way to plant and grow herbs from seeds I cultivated last year? Should I plant them directly into the garden or let it germinate indoors first in a pot? What time of year is the best to do this? I have basil, parsley, oregano, shiso, dill, mint and even arugula.

GardenersCardiff answers:

You need to plant after the last frost date for your area.

Parsley takes a LOOONG time to sprout (28 days). So I would recommend that you plant it from a 4″ seedling or a 6 pack. The old wives tale is that parsley seeds have to go to hell and back before they can sprout!!

Mint is VERY invasive. You should plant it in a pot or in a planter box where you can control it!!!

Oregano is a perennial — be sure that you plant it where you want it to come back next year (and every year!!!)– because it will!!

Sorry, I don’t know what shiso is!!

Now here is my suggestion for planting basil, dill and arugula (and other annuals): Make your own “planting tape”. Cut newspaper into 2″ or 3″ strips. Make flour paste (flour and water mixed to a syrupy mix). Spread the flour paste down the center of the newspaper strips — then drop the seeds the appropriate distance apart onto the paste. After it dries (like the next day), you can plant the strips into your garden and cover them to the appropriate depth. It is much easier to make sure that the seeds are planted the required depth and distance this way!!

I plant basil in waves (plant some, wait two weeks and plant some more, etc). I LOVE basil, especially with my tomatoes!! I pick my basil as it is growing. If I can not use it all, I put the leaves in a colander. I “stir” the leaves every day so that they will dry. Don’t worry if they turn dark – it is what they do — it is not “spoiled”. Put the leaves whole into a spice jar after they are dry. If you crush them they will lose some of their flavor. Crush them when you want to use them.
Toward the end of the season, I let some of my basil plants go “to seed”. I put the seed pods in a paper bag to let them dry. Then I shake them or rub them to release the seeds (which fall to the bottom of the bag). Then I am ready for next spring!!

Good Luck!!!

Mary asks…

I want a bug free herb garden?

I want to grow and herb garden, but whenever I’ve had indoor or outdoor plants, they’ve always acquired some sort of bugs. I hate bugs. I would like to grow my herbs in the kitchen indoors, and cannot have bugs in my kitchen.

The rest of my house is bug free and I have a regular exterminator visits to keep it that way.

Does anyone have experience with growing their own (extensive) herb garden and know ways (preferrably natural) to keep them bug free?

GardenersCardiff answers:

I grow garlic between my plants to keep bugs away and it seems to work. It doesn’t even smell like garlic.

The Muse

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