General Garden Info

White roots in dead pine needles

Q: I’ve dug up some strange white organic material while planting a hedge row in my back yard. The ground was neglected for several years and is covered with a thick layer of pine needles and pine cones. Should I...

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How High Can Raised Beds Be?

Q: I am working to create permanent raised beds in my garden. I have been told that raised beds should not exceed twelve inches high because the soil becomes too hot and dry.  A: Raised beds do dry out a...

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When to harvest garlic

Q: Now that my garlic plant has this beautiful bloom will it have a garlic bulb or onion to harvest or do I just leave it? A: By the time the plant flowers, garlic may be a little past optimum...

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Creating A Shade Garden Where Soil Is Clay

Q: I am trying to create a shade garden under several large white oaks where the soil is dense clay. How can I amend it? I have seen something called an air spade that injects compressed air to break up...

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Starting A Vegetable Garden On A Sunny Cow Pasture

Q: We are moving out in the country and I’d like to start a vegetable garden. Our property is on a sunny former cow pasture. I’d like to grow corn, squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, okra, and maybe potatoes. Any suggestions on...

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Roots Growing Through Weed Barrier

Q: Several years ago I put down rolls of weed barrier under my flowering cherry and then covered it with black wood mulch. Since that time the barrier has become covered with black dirt, mulch and weeds. Roots from the...

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Is It Ok To leave Seedlings Outside?

Q: I started a lot of seeds for my garden. I have them planted in small trays. I’m running low on space inside so is it ok to leave them outside for the night? A: I would not leave seedlings...

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Best Time To Fertilize My Shrubs And Trees

Q: Can you tell me when the best time to fertilize my shrubs and trees would be?  A: The rule of thumb is to do it during or just before vigorous growth starts. So now is a great time to...

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After My Daffodils Are Spent, Can I Cut The Existing Foliage?

Q: After my daffodils are spent, can I cut the existing foliage? A: You can cut off the stem that has a flower on it but don’t remove the other green leaves. They will spend the time between now and...

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Is The AJC Biodegradable/Safe To Use In Gardening?

Q: I purchase the AJC every Sunday and am interested in using it in more ways than one. Does the AJC print using soy-based inks? Is the newspaper biodegradable and safe to use in gardening? A: Yes, the newspaper is...

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How Long Can I Keep Grass Seed In My Shed?

Q: If I buy grass seed now, will the seed be good in October? I would keep it dry and off the floor in a shed.  A: Grass seed best retains its germination ability when it is stored in a...

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Planting Seeds In Used K-Cup Pods

Q: I hate the thought of all my K-Cup pods going to the landfill. I planted Blue Lake green bean seeds and poblano pepper seeds in used coffee grounds after removing the aluminum covering. I put them in a plastic...

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How To Prepare Soil For Spring Planting

Q: I have gotten a plot at my town’s community garden. I am wondering what I should be doing to prepare the soil for spring planting. Add compost?  A: Much of your success in the plot will depend on how...

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I Love Mahonia!

Q: I think mahonia is a beautiful, colorful, and interesting plant!  A: The unique foliage and bright yellow flowers in early spring certainly make this a distinctive plant. Spikes of blue berries follow the flowers. Some gardeners don’t like mahonia...

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Developing A Native Plant Hill: Should I Cover Them In Plastic When Cold?

Q: I am developing a native plant hill in our back yard. Last fall I planted beautyberry, viburnum, fothergilla, St. Johns wort, bee balm and butterfly weed. I am diligently covering them with plastic whenever it is going to be...

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Starting A Dunstan Chestnut Orchard

Q: I’m in the planning phase of starting a large Dunstan chestnut orchard. Is there anyone to help me in the process? One issue I need to address is irrigation.  A: Few people alive remember the billions of American chestnut...

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Pine Cone Cluster

Q: While running at Cochran Shoals, I found this pine cone cluster. I thought it was unusual, as I have never seen more than two cones together. A: Wow, you are right, that is pretty unusual! Pine trees have two...

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“Wormy” Things on Driveway

Q: What are these brown wormy things on my driveway? I see them every April. A: They are the spent male flowers of a nearby pine tree. The majority of the yellow pollen we see blowing around Atlanta each spring...

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