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How Should I Store Peat Moss?


“I have purchased peat moss for the first time and will have some left over for the winter, how should it be stored? Question from Victor of Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Answer: Store your bags in a covered, dry place, and be sure your bags are secured at the top. You want to keep bags closed and dry to reduce the chance of attracting fungus gnats […]

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Should You Start by Tilling a No-Till Vegetable Garden?

Here’s a shot of my no-till garden three years after its creation.
“When creating no-till garden beds, do you think it’s best to till once and never again, or just use a never till method?” Question from Anthony of Bentonville, Arkansas
Answer: There are lots of benefits to going no-till with vegetable beds, especially when it comes to weed and weed seed control and the encouragement of […]

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Help Me Understand Cacti and Succulent Mix Components and Characteristics


I belong to the Michigan Cactus and Succulent Society, and I like to create my own mixes. To perfect my blends, I am always trying to figure out what materials will provide the characteristics I need for drainage, aeration, water-holding capacity and so on. I also want to understand how particle size impacts the performance of primary mix materials. Does the blend of ingredients […]

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Should Potting Mix Be Added to Ground Soil?


“When planting, is it good to mix potting soil with earth soil?” Question from Pamela of Richmond, Indiana.
Answer: Don’t waste potting mix on in-ground plantings. Add products created to be garden amendments instead. These contain the ingredients that gardens need, while leaving out unecessary components, like perlite, vermiculite, and other additives, that don’t benefit garden soils. Potting mixes are also typically more expensive when […]

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How Can I Prevent Damping Off When I Sow Seeds?


“How can I prevent damping off when I sow seeds?  That is my problem.” Question from Bev of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Answer: This is a problem that I have faced many times starting seeds in university greenhouses, professional greenhouses, and at home. Thankfully, the solution is pretty simple, and it all involves keeping everything clean. Let’s start by covering the sources of damping off disease.
What is […]

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My Gardenias Have Root Mealybugs. Help!


“I have tried growing gardenias, but they always die. When I pull them up there are white bugs all over the roots. What are these and how do I get rid of them?” Question from Sheila of Tampa, Florida.
Answer: There are several pests and diseases that will attack gardenia roots. I am glad that we narrowed yours down to root or ground mealybugs (Rhizoecus […]

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Can I Use 2, 4-D to Remove Weeds In My Ornamental Grasses?


“I have a pampas grass – it grows in our ditches in Iowa. Unfortunately, I have had creeping jenny find it’s way into one area of it. Can you spray the grasses with 2/4D to kill the jenny without killing the grass?” Question from Brenda of Peterson, Iowa
Answer: Pampas grass (Cortaderia selloana) survives in USDA Hardiness Zones 8 to 10, so it is not […]

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What Soil Do You Recommend for Avocado Seedlings?


“What type of Black Gold soil is recommended for potting avocado seedlings?” Question from Rusty of San Diego, California
Answer: Excellent drainage is one of the most important attributes of soil for avocado growing. They cannot endure wet soil for any period of time without being subjected to root rot. This means planting them in very well-draining pots as well as planting them in a […]

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Do I Have To Worry About Your Soils While Pregnant?


“I am pregnant and was watering my plants when I got Black Gold potting soil on my hands. I am concerned about toxoplasmosis and have questions. Is your soil made in areas where cats are present?” Question from Katie
Answer: Feline waste is not an ingredient present in our mixes! As you probably know, toxoplasmosis may be present in fresh or old cat feces. Any […]

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How Do I Calculate How Much Peat to Add to My Garden?


“I purchased 3.0 CF bags of Black Gold Peat Moss. What is the expanded volume of this bag? I need 3.5 cubic yards of peat for my raised bed garden mix, so was going to buy 32 of these bales…but realized it’s going to expand. How do I calculate how much to buy?” Question from Dave of Utah
Answer: To determine the expansion of 3.0 […]

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