“My basil always is short and flowers. It is in full sun, and I suspect it’s too much sun. I would like lots of succulent leaves, but the leaves are small and thin 🙁 How many hours of direct sun is enough? or maybe I should move it to part shade?” Question from Catherine of Tampa, Florida
Answer: Basil needs just a few things to […]
“Are hybrids better than the real thing?” Question from Dave of Springfield, Massachusetts
Answer: There is a simple and more complex answer to this question. The simple answer is that they often are better. Hybrids exist in the wild, as well as in the nurseries of plant breeders, and they often exhibit something called ‘hybrid vigor, outbreeding enhancement, or heterosis. Plants with hybrid vigor have an edge […]
“What is the best soil to use when planting a container herb garden?” Question from Joanne of Ocala, Florida
Answer: You are in luck! Herbs are some of the easiest plants you can grow, if given the right growing conditions–soil included. Almost all herbs require full sun, fertile soil with good drainage, and average water. Some are perennials (meaning they will survive the winter and […]
“How can you stop dill from taking over your garden?” Question from Sylvia of Belle Plaine, Minnesota
Answer: The answer to this question is in the valuable flowers and seed heads of dill. Keep the seeds from dropping to the ground by eating the fresh flower heads in salads or dips, before they set seed. Of you can allow the dill seed heads to mature, […]
Can I Use Black Walnut Leaves for Compost?
“I have several black walnut trees in my yard. Would it be alright to use the leaves in the compost? Question from Raymond of Holt, Michigan
Answer: I would not recommend it. As you surely know, black walnut trees (Juglans nigra) excrete the toxin, juglone, which is deadly to quite a few ornamental plants. The toxin helps reduce competition, […]
Can I grow vegetables in this sunny room?
“Is it possible to grow any vegetables indoors in a sunny room with a grow light? I live in NE PA and we have long cold winters. I would love to grow veggies over the winter. I have a room that I think would work.” Question from Melanie or Susquehanna, Pennsylvania
Answer: What a nice space! You can certainly […]
What Basil Grows Well in Florida Heat?
“How can I grow basil in South Florida? Every time I try the sun either burns it or I get it in too much shade.” Question from Deborah of Moore Haven, Florida
Answer: If you find that traditional Italian large-leaf basil (Ocimum basilicum) burns and blooms quickly in your Florida heat, there are other basils available that are better adapted […]
How Do You Grow Cilantro Indoors?
“What is the best practice to ensure a window-sill cilantro plant will thrive? I have a green thumb and can grow or rehab practically any plant/flower/herb/garden. However, each time I’ve purchased a cilantro plant, it wilts after a few months. I only water when dry. Thank you!” Question from Ann of Raleigh, North Carolina
Answer: Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum) is a short-lived […]
What Rosemary Varieties Survive in Southern California?
“Will rosemary plants survive a mild winter in Zone 9?” Question from Linda of Fresno, California
Answer: Yes! Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is a drought- and heat-tolerant Mediterranean shrub made for California growing. Here are my top four favorite rosemaries that will grow beautifully where you live. Each is unique in its own way.
Top Four Favorite Rosemary Varieties
Should I Cut My Chives Back in Fall?
“[I] have a question regarding my chives. They have flowered. Should I cut them back now this time of year or leave them be?” Question from Jeanne of Coldwater, Michigan
Answer: The foliage of edible chives (Allium schoenoprasum) will remain attractive and clippable until the first frost causes the strappy leaves to flop. You can cut them back at […]
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