For the Best Gardeners in the Cardiff Area

   Jan 28

Your Questions About Gardening

Jenny asks…

What kind of dirt to use in elevated planter for vegetable garden?

My wife wants a couple of elevated planters for a garden. These things are going to be about 3×3 with legs, so they will sit 2 or 3 feet off the ground. I am wondering if I can mix regular dirt with some sort of potting mix so that it is not so heavy.

I would appreciate help with this, I don’t really know much about gardening. How deep should the dirt be? should I line the box with something? Should there be gaps in the bottom for drainage?

I think she wants to plant things like carrots, green peppers, lettuce, etc.

Thanks for the help, I know this was a lot of questions.

GardenersCardiff answers:

Dirt: Yes you should mix regular soil but not heavy clay soil, with planting mix purchased from the store. Don’t be tempted to put too much manure in, it will burn young roots. Be certain to support the beds in the center. Wood rot will be a problem so use pressure treated wood for the frame.

Manure makes a great fertilizer if you use it to make “manure tea”. Soak some manure in a bucket of water overnight and irrigate the plants with the brown water.

Depth: 9″ minimum which means you can purchase pressure treated 2×12 for the sides. Come to think of it you could use those for the bottom and the space between the boards will provide drainage

Lettuce needs cool weather so you may need to wait until fall and next spring [depending on your climate zone.

If you plant French carrots which are stubby you will be ok, others are too long.

Sandra asks…

What are good flowers to plant in a New England garden?

I’ve decided to take up gardening in our new home and would like to spruce up the curb appeal. What kinds of plants should I incorporate into my New England garden that would withstand the climate? I would also like input on a pretty flowering bush that would be relatively low-maintenance. (I’m fine with trimming, but prefer a bush that doesn’t need constant trimming!) Also I would appreciate input on a bush/tree that might work well for privacy? Our yard is not very private, and I would prefer plants instead of a fence for privacy.

Right now, I have one lilac bush and a few daffodils, however I’m trying to get rid of the daffodils (I have infant triplets and two dogs who are in the yard often, and I’m afraid they will injest them – the triplets may come in contact with them as they get older). Does anyone have any suggestions? Thanks!

GardenersCardiff answers:


It will depend on the zone in which you live. You will need to research that first. I listed a good site to help you do that.

Once you know the zone, then decide what you want. Flowering bushes are great, and are showy in spring or early summer (azaleas etc.) Lillies are amazing, when planted in bunches along the fence or walkways. Vinca (perrywinkle) is an awesome ground-cover and is pretty hardy, but so is phlox. Butterfly bushes and sage are beautiful as well. The longer you have any of these plants in your garden, the more lush they become. And of course,t here are the roses.

The best advice though will come from your local nursery (Lowes or Home Depot tend to be very general and therefore may not be your best option). Your local nursery can show you what to grow as well as when, where, and how.

Good luck!!

John asks…

What soil is best for a natural, organic vegetable garden?

What soil mixture is best for a natural, organic vegetable garden?
I want to grow:

Should I use a mixture of peat moss and composted sheep manure?

GardenersCardiff answers:

Do you plan to put the peat moss and sheep manure in a bucket and plant the veggies in there? Or did you wish to mix in the p.m. And sh. Manure INTO YOUR EXISTING soil??

Big difference.

If you will be doing the latter, I suggest that you use a rather small amount first off – manure is HOT STUFF and too strong for a garden in its infancy. Peat moss is not toxic to plants.

Depending on where you live, you may be too late for peas. Get a gardening book and find out what “Garden Zone” you are in and follow the advice they give. The books are SO helpful.

And start a compost pile. I have four compost piles that are in different stages of decomposition and over the years i have amended my soil with compost, until I tell people you could EAT my garden’s soil, it is so good and rich.

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