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How Do You Fertilize Grapevines?

How Do You Fertilize Grapevines?
“What is the best fertilizer for a grapevine?” Question from Deb at Lynbrook, New York
Answer: The truth is that grapes don’t require too much fertilizer if the soil is right. In fact, excess fertilization of vines encourages stem and foliar growth and discourages flowering and fruiting. Just picture an established vineyard in Europe. The grapes are old, stunted, and often growing […]

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What is the Best Time of Day to Water a Garden?

What is the Best Time of Day to Water a Garden?
“What time of the day is best to water your garden?” Question from Joy of Delta, Ohio
Answer: Timing is everything when it comes to good irrigation. In areas with regular rain and higher humidity, the best summer watering time is in the cool early morning when soil-water retention is highest. Early moisture prepares plants for […]

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What Is the Best Black Gold Soil for Raised Beds?

Best Black Gold Soil for Raised Beds
“I have several raised garden beds (6’x3′ and 2’x2′) both 18+ inches deep for vegetables.  I am debating between the “natural and organic potting mix”, “organic flower and vegetable soil”, and “natural and organic raised beds and potting mix”.  Is there a clear choice here or would I be good with any?” Question from Lars of Chicago, Illinois
Answer: All […]

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How Long Does Compost Feed Plants?

How Long Does Compost Feed Plants?
“How long does compost feed plants? And if you have compost in the ground, do the plants still need fertilizer? I use plant-based food scraps, grass clippings, and shredded paper for trench composting. It breaks down very quickly here in the Sonoran Desert.” Question from Jacqueline of Casa Grande, Arizona
Answer: The value of compost to plants depends on how long […]

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Why Aren’t My Roses Growing?

Why Aren’t My Roses Growing?
“Why aren’t my roses growing? My rose bushes do not grow, and I fertilize them once a month, but they don’t grow.  Soil is clay-like.  They are semi-shade, I have a lot of big trees. They do flower.  What else can I do?” Question from April of Dresden, Tennesee
Answer: There are three key factors that are likely keeping your roses from […]

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What Makes a Good Raised Bed Site?

What Makes a Good Raised Bed Site?
“How does one determine the best location for a raised bed in one’s yard?” Question from Joanne of Cary, North Carolina
Answer: What Makes a Good Raised Bed Site? There are several criteria for siting a raised bed. Here are the top five to consider.

Sun: Choose a location with at least eight hours of sunlight. Twelve is even better.
Topography: The […]

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What Soil and Pot Should I Choose for My Miniature Weeping Pussywillow?

Miniature weeping pussywillows can be grown in pots or gardens and stay quite compact.
“I bought a Salix caprea ‘Pendula’ (or a miniature weeping pussywillow) on March 20th. I was wondering if the Black Gold All Purpose Potting Mix would work to transplant the tree in? I am repotting it into a larger container. I am also wondering how large of a container I may need. […]

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How Do I Stop Birds From Eating the Garden Seeds I Sow?

Protective screen will stop birds from eating the garden seeds.
“How do I stop birds from eating the garden seeds? We have 16 raised beds in our community garden, and we are trying to use 1-2 of them to grow from seeds only. Our problem is that birds keep picking at the seeds almost as soon as we sow the seeds. Do you have any suggestions […]

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Is There a Simple Way to Test Soil pH and Nutrient Levels?


“I have paid twice, and can’t get my local university extension to perform a soil test and return my results.  Is there a simple way I can determine the most common concerns like PH, potassium, phosphorus and such?” Question from Douglas of Greer, South Carolina
Answer: Well, that’s not right. Extension service soil tests are the best. Try reaching out to the administrative staff in […]

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Is It a Problem to Mix Different Potting Soils?

Can I mix different potting soils? Sure!
“Can I mix different potting soils? I plan to repot a couple of spider plants (Chlorophytum comosum) to larger containers. They are doing good and are currently in Black Gold Natural & Organic Potting Soil. I have some of this potting soil left in the bag, but it’s not going to be enough. Should I buy more of the […]

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