Gardening Questions #005 – Can You Put Earthworms in the Compost Bin?

In nature, earthworms consume decomposing plant matter, and if a compost pile is constructed, they will often move into it on their own when the plant material is broken down and the compost is completed. When compost materials are piled up, or a compost bin is filled, bacteria will begin the breakdown process, which canContinue reading “Gardening Questions #005 – Can You Put Earthworms in the Compost Bin?”

Gardening Questions #004 – Can You Use Shells for Drainage in Houseplant Pots?

Sea shells should not be used in plant pots because they are made of calcium carbonate (chemical formula CaCO₃), which is exactly the same substance as limestone and garden lime. They will make the potting medium extremely alkaline. Some plants don’t grow well in alkaline soils! Any material that is added to improve drainage shouldContinue reading “Gardening Questions #004 – Can You Use Shells for Drainage in Houseplant Pots?”

Gardening Questions #003 – Are Ornamental Sweet Peas Edible?

Are Ornamental Sweet Peas Edible? Ornamental sweet peas are not edible, they are toxic and should not be eaten! The common sweet pea, Lathyrus odoratus is an ornamental leguminous annual climbing plant which is native to southern Italy, and is grown purely for its very fragrant and colourful flowers. Are Sweet Peas and Edible PeasContinue reading “Gardening Questions #003 – Are Ornamental Sweet Peas Edible?”

Fruit Tree Problems – New Leaves Tightly Curled and Turning Yellow on Cherries and Plums

Tightly curled, yellowing, distorted, and diseased-looking young leaves at the tips of the branches on stone fruit in spring, mainly on cherry and plum trees, is a sign of damage caused by aphids.   What are Aphids? Aphids are small sap-sucking pests insects around 2-4 mm (1/16-1/8”) long, with soft, pear-shaped bodies. There are aroundContinue reading “Fruit Tree Problems – New Leaves Tightly Curled and Turning Yellow on Cherries and Plums”

Gardening Questions #002 – How Many Trays to Use When Starting a Worm Farm?

  When setting up a worm farm vermicomposting system, how many trays should I start with? Most of the worm farms that are sold at garden centres use a stackable tray design, and when first starting, use only a single tray. When the first tray is full, when the contents reach the fill line onContinue reading “Gardening Questions #002 – How Many Trays to Use When Starting a Worm Farm?”

How to Make Borax Ant Bait for Indoor and Outdoor Use

Ants can be a major pest in the garden because they ‘farm’ aphids and scale – they safeguard them in their nests over winter, then bring them out in spring and carry them onto the new plant growth, then collect the honeydew that aphids and scale excrete as they feed off the plant’s sap. ToContinue reading “How to Make Borax Ant Bait for Indoor and Outdoor Use”

Gardening Questions #001 – Grow Nasturtiums from Cuttings?

Can nasturtiums be grown from cuttings? Nasturtiums are usually grown from seeds but can also be propagated from cuttings during the warm growing seasons, the best period being spring or late summer when weather is milder. How to make a nasturtium cutting: Cut a piece around 10cm (4”) long, making the cut below a leaf.Continue reading “Gardening Questions #001 – Grow Nasturtiums from Cuttings?”

Why Are My Cabbages Not Forming Heads?

When cabbages are first planted they initially produce lots of large broad leaves, but in the latter part of their growing season the inner leaves at the centre of the plant begin curling inwards and cupping around a short-thick stem, growing tightly together to form the head of cabbage we are all familiar with. TheContinue reading “Why Are My Cabbages Not Forming Heads?”

The Easiest Way to Dry and Process Turmeric Root to Make Turmeric Powder

  Turmeric (Curcuma longa syn. C. domestica) is a subtropical/tropical plant which is a member of the ginger (Zingiberaceae) family, and is native to Southwest India. It’s grown traditionally as a spice, medicine and as a source of bright yellow dye. Ground turmeric root is an important culinary spice, and curry powder contains up toContinue reading “The Easiest Way to Dry and Process Turmeric Root to Make Turmeric Powder”

How to Improve Drainage in Plant Pots, The Proper Way to Do It!

When growing plants in pots, it’s sometimes necessary to increase drainage because some plants are sensitive to excessive moisture around their root zone, and stagnant water at the bottom of the pot can lead to root rot. The old garden myth of putting a layer of rocks in the bottom of a pot to increaseContinue reading “How to Improve Drainage in Plant Pots, The Proper Way to Do It!”

What Age Wood Do Fruit Trees Flower and Fruit On?

Fruit trees flower and fruit each year, but some of them do so only on new branches, or specific parts of older branches. Why does this matter? If we prune off the wrong branches, we might lose our whole fruit crop for a year! By knowing what age of wood fruit trees producing their fruitContinue reading “What Age Wood Do Fruit Trees Flower and Fruit On?”

The Fastest Way to Transplant Volunteer Seedlings with Minimum Root Disturbance

  It’s always a great idea to let vegetables such as lettuce to go to seed, because a single plant can produce hundreds of seeds, resulting in lettuce seedlings popping up all around the garden. Plants that grow on their own, that weren’t intentionally planted, are known as volunteers, and volunteer vegetable seedlings are basicallyContinue reading “The Fastest Way to Transplant Volunteer Seedlings with Minimum Root Disturbance”

Companion Planting with Land Cress for Natural Caterpillar Control

Land Cress (Barbarea vulgaris) and American Upland Cress (Barbarea verna) are biennial, edible leafy-green vegetables from the Brassicaceae (cabbage) family. The young leaves, which are spicy in flavour, are often used as a substitute for watercress in dishes, and can be cooked, or used fresh in salads and sandwiches. They’re nutritious leaf vegetables that containContinue reading “Companion Planting with Land Cress for Natural Caterpillar Control”

What Are the Small Flies in Compost Bins and Are They a Problem?

  Many gardeners are familiar with the experience of  lifting the lid off a compost bin and seeing a cloud of small flies rise into the air in front of them. These little flies are vinegar flies or drosophila, and the reason why they’re found in the compost bin or worm farm is because theyContinue reading “What Are the Small Flies in Compost Bins and Are They a Problem?”

How to Plant, Grow and Harvest Potatoes

Potatoes (Solanum tuberosum) are a herbaceous, perennial, root-crop plant from the Solanaceae (Nightshade) family that grow to around 60cm (24”) high, and are native to Central and South America. They originated in the Andean highlands almost 10,000 years ago, but have naturalised widely and spread to all continents, growing in climates ranging from temperate toContinue reading “How to Plant, Grow and Harvest Potatoes”

How to Grow the Medicinal Aloe Arborescens

  Aloe arborescens, also know as the tree aloe, torch aloe, candelabra aloe or krantz aloe, is a hardy succulent perennial plant from the Aloe family Asphodelaceae, which is native to the south-eastern coast of Africa (Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, and Zimbabwe). This drought-tolerant succulent prefers to grow in sandy or rocky well-drained soil.Continue reading “How to Grow the Medicinal Aloe Arborescens”

Are Woody Galls on Citrus Tree Trunks Harmful?

  Citrus vein enation (CVEV), also known as woody gall, is a viral disease which affects various lemon and lime trees and citrus rootstocks. This disease is caused by the CVE virus, a luteovirus which is transmitted by aphids, including the black citrus aphid (Toxoptera citricidus), cotton aphid (Aphis gossypii), and green peach aphid (MyzusContinue reading “Are Woody Galls on Citrus Tree Trunks Harmful?”

How to Grow, Prune and Propagate Raspberries

Raspberries (Rubus idaeus) belong to the genus Rubus, along with other cane berries such as blackberries, boysenberries, lawtonberries, loganberries, marionberries, silvanberries and tayberries. What’s quite interesting is that the whole Rubus genus is part of the Rosaceae (Rose) family, to which almonds, apples, apricots, cherries, hawthorns, loquats, peaches, pears, plums, quinces, raspberries and strawberries alsoContinue reading “How to Grow, Prune and Propagate Raspberries”

Three Simple Soil Tests to Determine What Type of Soil You Have

Healthy plants only grow in healthy soils, and if you know what type of soil you’re working with, you’re better able to improve it to get the best results from your garden. In this article, we’ll discuss what soil is composed of, and show you three easy tests that you can perform at home withoutContinue reading “Three Simple Soil Tests to Determine What Type of Soil You Have”

Emergency Survival Prepper Vegetable Gardening – Part 5, How to Plant Seedlings

How to Plant Seedling in Six Easy Steps Once we’ve selected the appropriate seedlings that are in season, it’s seedling planting time! In this article we’ll cover the fundamentals of seedling planting, the procedure is very simple and much easier than sowing seeds. If you’re a beginner to food gardening, I recommend starting off withContinue reading “Emergency Survival Prepper Vegetable Gardening – Part 5, How to Plant Seedlings”