GardenSmart :: EPISODES :: 2002 show4
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Show #4

Burning Your Lawn

Some people this time of year will burn their turf, especially Bermuda
or Zoysa, believing it rids the lawn of bugs, weeds or thatch. Research
shows this is not a good idea. Although it does get rid of organic
matter on the top.

A better idea is to scalp the grass with a lawn mower. Don't remove the
clippings because they're full of Nitrogen. Then use a top dressing, a
fine textured, well composted organic matter and spread 1/4 to 1/2 inch
over the entire surface. Rake it into the soil, filling any furrows. You
want to see a few grass blades sticking up through the organic matter.
The best time to do this is early in the season when just a little green
is starting to emerge. Then, water the soil. It's a great way to create
a beautiful lawn and it requires very little work.

Hay Bale Vegetable Gardening

If you want a vegetable garden, but have poor soil you should consider
hay bale vegetable gardening. We used spoiled hay bales, the hay has turned brownish black, yet it doesn't smell bad. We create a gap or hole in the hay with a trowel. We then fill the hole with a premium garden soil. The type we used has manure, pine bark and liquid fertilizer. It provides a perfect place for our plants to thrive. We will plant tomatoes, squash or other

Making a Pot

To make a pot with character, something different try this recipe. Use
two thirds mortar and one third potting soil. You'll need 2 containers
one about 2 inches larger than the other. We used a 10 inch pot and a 12 inch pot. We line the inside of the larger pot with plastic, a garbage
bag works. then line the outside of the smaller pot with something
plastic, like a shopping bag. This keeps the concrete from adhering to
the plastic containers. Mix the mortar and potting mix to a milk shake
like consistency. Pour the mix into the larger pot filling it about half
full. Take the smaller pot and fit it into the larger pot. The mix will
start coming up the sides, keep pushing until the mix reaches the top.
When it reaches the top put a large rock in the smaller pot to hold it
down. Let the pots sit for 2 or 3 days in a warm, dry place. Then move the inner pot back and forth and remove it. Make a couple cuts in the larger container, it should then be easily removed. Put a drain hole or two in the bottom of the pot with a drill. You'll have something unique and attractive to fill with interesting plants.

Selecting a Container with the Proper Shape

Our containers dry out quickly in the hot summertime. The shape of your container will make a difference. Containers that are taller than they are wide drain faster, they don't hold water as well as containers that are wider. If you have a particularly hot spot consider a lower

Another thing to consider is the type of soil used in our containers.
Use a premium soil mix, we use one with Sphagnum Peat, it also has COIR, a coconut fiber that holds water twice as long as other soil mixes. It also releases the moisture over a longer period of time. Look for something with a wetting agent, it allows the water to be more uniformly distributed throughout the soil mix. Ours also has composted bark and perlite. If you're using containers in full sun, in the south, consider a premium potting mix, it will make a difference.

Clay Soil

Soil is broken into three categories. Clay, means particles are very
small, Silt is medium sized and sand is much larger. Clay has such small particles that there is very little space between them, creating an
anaerobic environment. This is a situation with very little oxygen. To
resolve this issue organic matter needs to be added. As the organic
matter breaks down, bacteria digests it, that bacteria releases a glue
like substance causing the clay particles to bind together and that
creates space between particles. This allows air to be a part of the mix
creating pore spaces. Small spore spaces are known as micro pores and
are about 100 microns in size. A pen by comparison is 600 microns
across. Ideally we would like to see about half the pore spaces to be
100 microns or less and half larger.

Growing Flowers Your Kids Can Eat

Day Lilly buds, Nasturtium Blossoms, buttered and battered Squash
blossoms, fried Okra even Pansies all are edible. In this segment we take Pansies add a mixture of 5 parts sugar, 1 part water, microwave until the solution is syrup like, then dip the Pansies. Swirl them in the mixture, lay them on a piece of wax paper and let them dry. After a couple of hours they will crystallize and harden. Use them to decorate cakes, put them in cereal or put them on a salad. It's a great way to get kids interested in gardening and it's delicious.

Top soil

Finding good top soil in nature is a difficult job. It is usually easier
to buy a premium top soil to make sure it has all the necessary

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GardenSMART Featured Article

By Delilah Onofrey, Suntory Flowers
Photos courtesy of Suntory Flowers

As summer heats up, the garden party is just beginning for gorgeous, tropical mandevillas. To learn more click here for an interesting article.

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