Archive for the ‘Gardening Tips’ Category

Garden Plants For Beginners

October 27, 2012 11:19 am
posted by Martin Boyle

Linda asks…

Garden plants; Growing Impatiens x Hybrida ?

I’m completely new to gardening and bought myself a small pot of “impatiens x hybrida”. It says “moderate watering”, but what does that supposed to mean? I remember my grandpa used to tell me when watering garden plants, always water them thoroughly. So does “moderate watering” mean fewer times a day (like once or twice?). I would highly appreciate it, if you could provide me some generic basic tips on watering garden plants for gardening beginners. 🙂 And maybe you can suggest some indoor (I live in an apartment) plants that are good for beginners. I would love to see more life all year around! Many thanks! 🙂

Martin Boyle answers:Watering Garden Plants

Garden plants like Impatiens are great plants for beginners because they will “talk” to you when they are thirsty. Make sure your pot has a drain hole and water until water comes out of the pot. They prefer morning sun and afternoon shade and will actually begin to wilt when they are thirsty. Since their stems are mainly comprised of water, it is very easy to over-water and rot them, so let them tell you when they need a drink. When their leaves and flower heads begin to droop, water until your pot drains and then don’t water again until they let you know! Also, peace lilies are EASY house plants that will do the same – bow their heads and droop their leaves when they are thirsty. I put mine in the kitchen sink or bathtub in the morning before I go to work and water until water comes out of their pot. By the time I get home from work, then they are dry enough to set back out on the floor in their tray.

Practice and patience will make you an expert gardener before you know it! Good Luck and Happy Planting!

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Your Questions About Repeling Spiders

September 10, 2012 10:47 am
posted by Martin Boyle

Mary asks…

Our garden backs on to an allotment and we are plagued with do i get rid of the webs outside?

The webs are permanently over all outside walls and windows and as soon as i clean them off they soon return HELP any answers

Martin Boyle answers:

Canny things, are spiders.
They are attracted to building their webs on your windows because it is a light source at night which is irresistible to night-flying insects, such as moths.
You can buy sonic devices for installation in boats, etc., which deter from spiders moving in, but haven’t come across anything to keep them at the bottom of the garden, except a distant light source which you will have to clean off, too!
Our most efficient spider remover in the house is a chubby, tabby cat whom we have named “Tabby Bunter – Spider Hunter” – instant death on 4 paws to anything on 8 legs.

How to repel spiders outdoors.


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Your Questions About Gardening Tips In Minnesota

July 24, 2012 3:16 pm
posted by Martin Boyle

John asks…

What kind of flowers should i put in my garden?

I live in Minnesota and i want a variety of flowers. but i can’t have really tall ones. my garden is in half. the top half is 23 1/2″ x 65″ and the bottom is 45″ by 65″. and i could use any other tips for gardening also.

Martin Boyle answers:

My favorites are impatiens, petunias and pansies which I think would all grow well in Minnesota. It depends on how much maintenance you want to do on your garden. If you want to just plant and forget, then don’t use ones that need deadheading. Also, be sure to get a variety of sizes – taller in the back, mid height in the middle and shorter in the front. Planting some ornamental grasses can also add interest.

Jenny asks…

Indoor Herb Garden Tips?

I have started growing oregano, thyme, parsley, rosemary, and basil in small terra-cotta pots on my dresser. They are right by a west-facing window, and the room also has a window facing north, both of which I keep the blinds open on all day. I live in Minnesota, and I generally keep the room between 60 and 75 degrees. I would like to know ho much water I should give them and any other tips you might have to help them thrive. Thanks!

Martin Boyle answers:

You say, “I would like to know how much water I should give them and any other tips you might have to help them thrive.”

1. Unless you have large pots with good conditioned soil, a good south facing window that gets the most sun, and control over the kinds of pests that herbs have to deal with (spider mites are particularly tough in indoor climates) you won’t get the plants to “thrive” indoors. Most herbs in containers do the best outside in spots that don’t get to freezing temperatures (i.e., after danger of frost) where they get full sun. The only herb you mention that can do okay in part shade is basil.

2. Most herbs want porous, well drained soil. If you use a product like Miracle Gro soil you need to add some grit (you can use small amounts of sand, but perlite is not as heavy–something you need to consider when growing in containers). Be sure each pot has about 1/2 inch of gravel in the bottom for drainage and so that roots that make it to the bottom don’t sit in wet soil and rot. Use clay pots to protect from over watering (which is what most people do). Most herbs like the soil to dry out before you water again, especially the perennials (thyme, oregano, and rosemary).

3. If you use a spray mister with water indoors or raise the humidity of the room you’ll make it less likely that spider mites can make your plants their home. As long as you’re keeping the room above 55 F or so, the temp of the room is not as important as the amount of sunlight and humidity.

4. If all you have is a west facing window that gets sunlight at the end of the day, you should consider using artificial lights for the morning hours or moving the plants from a different spot that gets sunlight in the AM to the west facing window in the afternoon. I generally do this with a Spanish lavender plant that doesn’t get enough sun facing east where I live. I move it in the afternoon to a west facing spot, increasing the amount of full sun by about 5 hours. It blooms every year (and it’s already started this year).

5. Fertilizers like Miracle Gro can easily be overused when it comes to indoor plants, which won’t use nutrients as fast as plants growing outdoors. This can lead to toxic soil conditions and the plant will die. If you feel the need to use it, mix it in the amount of about half a teaspoon per gallon of water and use it each time you water instead of mixing the more concentrated one tablespoon to a gallon and watering with it every two weeks, which can burn roots.

6. I can’t stress enough: If you really want the plants to “thrive” move them outside as soon as you can in the sunniest location you have. Protect them from too much rain and wind.

Susan asks…

What can I plant in Zone 4 in July?

I would like to start a little garden, but unfortunately I am not able to start it until early July. I believe I’ve in zone 4 (Northern Minnesota). I would like to have some vegetables like carrots, broccoli, and radishes. And also some flowers. What can I plant in early July that would survive and bloom the same summer? When would I see results? any tips on anything would be great, and any suggestions on what to plant would be great too. Thank you so much!

Martin Boyle answers:

From seeds

Bush beans


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