Archive for the ‘Gardening’ Category

Compost Bin Construction

January 13, 2017 9:30 pm
posted by Martin Boyle

Susan asks…

What is the best compost bin for home?

I want to know how to make a compost bin for my garden. What are the best materials to use for this task?

Martin Boyle answers:

Compost Bin Construction

First of all, Do not use any wooden pallets or any wood materials to make a compost bin. If you do use any wood materials to make your compost pit you will find within two weeks, you will have termites. The first real hot day, around mid July, you will have thousands of termites flying around in your yard. A homeowners night mare. If you don’t believe me, ask a professional termite controller.

Use a plastic or a metal garbage can. A 32 gallon can or larger, depending on the size of your garden. Cut out the bottom and cut holes around the side to vent it. Make sure your bin is away from the house. Compost bins will give off unsavory odors.

Place two inch or four inch thick bricks on the ground, you’ll need enough bricks to create a shape like the letter “U or V” on the ground . Set your can on the top of the bricks. You can shovel compost out of the open end of the bricks when your compost is ready.

Whatever you are composting always compost in layers, your vegetable and grass cuttings, dead plants, egg shells, and coffee grounds. Never meat or cooking oil. I mix my compost with chicken manure. Chicken manure is by far the best. Therefore, add approx. 2 cups of chicken manure every few inches. Keep the mixture lightly moist.

You will never buy soil again. A 1cu. Ft. Bag of chicken fertilizer will cost about $4. It is simple, but this bin will last you 10 years or more. I hope I helped.

For more ideas click on this link…. Make a Recycle Bin from a Trash Can

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Trees Lacking Leaves

7:48 pm
posted by Martin Boyle

Joseph asks…

Trees Lacking leaves

This year, we have 3 trees lacking leaves in our yard, like all the other trees in the neighborhood. Our neighbor hates our trees and while I don’t think he would have done anything to them he does have access to all 3. The leaves fall on his side of the fence and he has complained to us multiple times. Everything else in our yard is fine. This winter was normal… no snow as usual and barely into the freezing zone. The spring has been very rainy… but then again that is typical. I can see birds flying onto our tallest tree and “eating” things. Our spa cover below the tree is full of fallen “things” which look like seeds? Could the birds be to blame? Any ideas? The trees are a Wisteria (which is in bloom with barely any leaves), a weeping pink flowering tree and I don’t know what the big one is.. but looks similar to an elm/oak? Any help is appreciated… I know nothing about trees. Thank you!

Martin Boyle answers:

Trees Lacking Leaves

Chinese Wisteria

Wisteria blooms just before it leafs out. Your Wisteria is probably just fine. In fact, if it is anywhere near the other two trees, your Wisteria is probably strangling them to death and they are going to have to be cut down, or the Wisteria will have to go, if it is not too late.

Exotic wisterias impair and overtake native shrubs and trees through strangling or shading. Climbing wisteria vines can kill sizable trees, opening the forest canopy and increasing sunlight to the forest floor, which in turn favors its aggressive growth. Chinese and Japanese wisterias are hardy and aggressive, capable of forming thickets so dense that little else grows.

For more information click here……

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Neem Oil Application

January 12, 2017 11:38 pm
posted by Martin Boyle

Chris asks…

Will my weeping cherry live after a Neem Oil Application?

I purchased a 3 1/2 foot weeping cherry tree a couple of weeks ago. It transplanted fine and seemed to be showing no signs of stress from the transplant.

While watching the tree very carefully (I live in Port Orange Florida and hope that persistence in maintenance will help it survive slightly outside the recommended growing zone) I noticed spider mites almost immediately and decided that a neem oil application would be the best to apply to the weeping cherry.

I mixed a higher amount of neem oil than what was recommended because I felt that I did not have the time to mess around with mixtures while the spider mites continued to multiply. I specifically remember spraying the foliage heavily and seeing drops of neem oil/water mixture hanging from the bottom of the leaves by the time I was done.

The next day, I noticed brown spots/edges on the bottoms of the leaves where the neem oil collected and ever since then, the leaves have been getting slightly wrinkled. Green leaves that seemed to not have been burned by the neem oil are still falling off.

It has been about 4 days since the application was applied and about 1/4 of the leaves have fallen off.
Will my tree survive this mistake on my part for applying too much of an over concentrated neem oil mixture? Is there anything that I can do besides providing sufficient irrigation? I apologize for the rambling length of this, but I want to do all I can for this tree. I would really appreciate your input!

Martin Boyle answers:

Neem Oil Application

Amazing Benefits of Neem Oil

Neem Oil Application

A hard lesson about a Neem Oil Application and how more is NOT “better”. Or “faster”. You might lose most of the leaves. An established tree can take losing all its leaves without killing it. It should eventually put out a new set of leaves. Whether your tree survives that  is another story, but if it doesn’t make it, it won’t be the Neem Oil application damaging the leaves that did it.

If it loses most of its leaves, you can pull back on the amount of water you give it. It won’t be using as much water if it’s defoliated. Cherries also don’t like “wet feet”, so don’t kill it with love, by watering it too frequently. Watering it about every 5 days should be plenty during hot weather.

For more information click this link….

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Falling Apples Before Ripening

10:07 pm
posted by Martin Boyle

Betty asks…

Falling Apples

The Apples Won’t Ripen On The Tree

I have an apple tree in my yard. The apples fall off the tree while still green. How do I fix this this problem of falling apples?

Martin Boyle answers:

Falling Apples

Falling Apples are normal to fall off the tree, that’s just the tree protecting itself from the extra weight of the apples as they grow larger. This is a natural process, during which the tree reduces its total crop to a level whereby the remaining fruit can be adequately supplied with nutrients until they are mature. the most common cause for premature falling of apples 

Falling Of Apples Prematurely

Falling Apples Prematurely

is a phenomenon known as the June drop (although it can occur in July as well as June)., excess heat, maybe the wind does it, or the trees may be lacking some kind of nutrients to mature the apples, also might be an insect problem that spraying could correct. If the initial fruit set has been poor then the June drop will be reduced. The extent of the drop can also vary according to the cultivar and the age of the tree (young trees are more commonly affected).

Click here for more information…..

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Plans For Decking Planters

October 20, 2015 7:31 pm
posted by Martin Boyle

Mark asks…

Looking for plant/tree ideas for condo deck privacy..?

I just purchased a nice condo, ground level. We are only 1 step off the grass, but I don’t think were allowed to plant anything.

We have a nice large deck, and one side is completely private, the woods in the back is also nice, but the other side is totally exposed to our neighbors decks. We would like to have some more privacy on that one side, and are thinking about small trees or large plants we can keep in pots or large buckets. possibly annuals so we don’t have to drag them inside during the winter.

We have no idea what to get however- that wont require constant maintenance, watering etc. We don’t need huge, towering plants, but also don’t want to worry about plants that might tip over in wind etc. I have never gardened before- so my thumb is not very green (yet) but i do plan on learning more now that i have a small grass area for garden and a nice deck.
Maybe something slow growing so it doesn’t need to be re-potted constantly. However, we do also own a house where we could replant
PS- i am from NY so i do have to worry about freezing temps/snowy conditions…

Martin Boyle answers:

Plans For Decking Planters

If you are in NY you most certainly have to concern yourself with Snow and Freeze.
For a deck situation I would purchase four planter box units.
Place one at each short end (centered) and the other two equal distance from the end and center of deck. Make sure you get a planter that is both deep and wide. The side units can be more narrow in length and width than the fronting units.
The two side units should be mirror images, with the fronting units a contrast.
All the units will need an evergreen in center to provide your requirements and to be a focal point. No need to drag an evergreen inside! I would place an upright Norway Spruce at the side planters and a Topiary plant in the front units. A blue spruce or two eye catching plants would be perfect.
Fill the sides units with annual flowers of mid-size height. After they die-off you won’t be on the deck anyway. Fill the front units with a combination of evergreens and annuals. I would plant Cranberry Cotoneaster in each corner and center along with Heather. Heather will bloom in winter adding another element to your garden. Use seasonal Pansy or annuals to fill in the gaps in the front units.

Hope this helps.

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Martin Boyle
Leadgate,Consett,County Durham,
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