Mixing Up My Bonsai Soil, The Bonsai Zone, Nov 2021

I’ll need lots of bonsai soil for my tropical work in winter, today I mix up a large batch!
The auction Tiger bark Ficus is moving into the plant room today under the light to get it looking good for December.


Why Do I Need Raised Beds? Do I Need Raised Beds?

There are three primary reasons for building raised beds. 1. For things like vegetable gardening having a raised bed can be take some of the stress off or your back if you have a weak back. But of course, building a raised bed usually requires some work so it’s not something that you want to do if you don’t have to. But if it’s next to impossible for you to get down that low, or not good for you to kneel, then having somebody help you build a raised bed could be the best thing in the world for you. 2. Poor soil! If you have really poor soil in your yard and plants just don’t grow all that well, building a raised bed allows you to fill that bed with rich soil that is loaded with organic matter. If you have really good soil in your raised bed that drains well you can water as needed and not be concerned about things getting too wet, or worse, staying wet for too long. When installing landscapes, and I’ve landscaped well over 500 homes in my career, I always raised the beds for these two reasons.

Plants in Pots Verses Plants in Beds or in the Field

If you have really nice soil plants in the ground will out grow plants in pots most of the time, unless of course your potting soil is perfect. If the potting soil is less than perfect, the plants in pots will be slower growing. For years it has been my contention that plants in beds will out grow plants in pots and I usually say that because most people don’t have their potting soil exactly where it should be when starting out so bed planting makes more sense until you get you potting soil in good shape.

Nikko Blue Hydrangea – Growing, Propagating and Making Them Bloom

Nikko Blue is in the macrophylla family of hydrangeas and therefore most people say to prune it right after it blooms. That’s great advice and you should follow it, but this spring I discovered something that has me a little perplexed. I bought about 50 Nikko Blues this spring. They were in the field and were dug just a tad late. On top of that I think they got tazed by a little frost. That’s a new gardening term, Tazed. In other words, they didn’t look so good, and were pretty much unappealing.

Japanese Maples and Sex

It takes Sexual Reproduction for new plant varieties to be found. These off spring are called “chance seedlings”. It takes Asexual Reproduction to perpetually reproduce those beautiful and unique chance seedlings. Growing plants is a lot like making babies and almost as much fun. (sorry, couldn’t resist). That’s why I always say that Growing and Selling Small Plants is the Most Fun You can have with Your Bibs on! Baby making is obviously sexual reproduction and part of the wonder, joy and excitement of making babies is the anticipation of who this baby will be. Will the baby be male or female? Black hair, or red hair like daddy? What kind of a personality will the baby have? Human beings are unique. Each and every one of us is just a little bit different. Plants are no different. When we grow plants from seed we never know for sure what we are going to get. Plant seedlings, like human beings, are unique. Each and every one is different. This is both good and bad. But that’s how new plants are discovered or developed.

Is It Too Warm Too Soon? How Will It Affect Our Plants?

Frost usually doesn’t affect most hardy shrubs that have started leafing out. But a hard freeze, below 32 degrees F. can be devastating, and if we can make it to mid May without a hard freeze that will be nothing short of a small miracle if you ask me. After all, here in northern Ohio temperatures in the twenties are pretty common in April. So if we some how dodge that, we need to thank our lucky stars. So… how do we protect plants from freeze or frost damage once they have started to leaf out? Some things we can protect, others we cannot. The ground is warm. Ground heat is a handy thing to have and we can take advantage of it to protect flowers, small plants, and low growing shrubs. If you suspect frost or even a hard freeze you should cover any plants that you are concerned with. Don’t use clear plastic at all when the sun is out. The clear plastic will only create more heat. But blankets, tarps and drop cloths work great. So do frost blankets if you happen to have any or can get them.

Tips on Transplanting

Wanna know a secret? Plants are Happiest in the Ground! That’s the secret. When you buy a plant and take it home the absolute best thing you can do for that plant is to get it planted as soon as possible. Plants are happiest in the ground, they are not all that happy sitting on top of the ground, nor are they very happy being grown in a container. Doesn’t matter what time of the year it is, as long as the ground is not frozen solid you can and should install the plant into it’s permanent home.

5 Nutrient-Dense Foods To Grow At Home

Organic home gardeners have a great opportunity to provide their families with nutrient-dense vegetables by selecting those that are naturally high in food value and growing them with the advised amount of organic fertilizer and regular watering. This article suggests some high nutrient vegetables and fruit.

Why Not Grow Your Own Blueberries?

Edible landscape plants are quickly becoming the hottest thing in gardening. We are seeing a real trend with homeowners who are moving away from the traditional ornamental landscaping and opting for plants that provide food as well as beauty. Blueberry bushes, with their antioxidant-rich berries and spectacular fall foliage, are becoming one of the most sought after plants in residential landscapes today.

How to Naturally Dispose of Weeds

It’s almost spring, so the big question is what to do first? Take a look at your perennials. Do they have a lot of dead foliage on them still from last year? If so, cut it or pull it off. Clean up all of last years growth so the new growth will look clean and fresh. Get rid of all the weeds in your gardens. Yeah, yeah, I know, that’s no fun, but if you get all of them out now you can maintain a weed free garden all season long. Well, almost weed free. Weed control is an all summer task, but it shouldn’t be difficult or overwhelming.

Tree Stump Removal

Tree stump removal instructions that make a very difficult, if not an impossible job, manageable. I spent about 20 years re-landscaping homes. We used to re-landscape three homes a week, and we did all of this work on evenings and Saturdays because I worked a full time job. I have no idea how many homes I re-landscaped over the years, but the number is well over 500. Every one of those re-landscaping jobs had overgrown landscaping that needed to be removed before we could even start the actual landscaping job. That meant that dozens and dozens of tree stumps and large stumps from overgrown shrubbery had to be removed. Of course county wisdom says that you just back up Bubba’s pickup truck, wrap a chain around the stump and drive away as fast as you can. I’ll admit, I’ve done that. Does it work? Sort of. But it’s also a great way to really tear up a pick up truck, completely destroy the lawn, and possibly damage the house.

How to Get Rid of Japanese Beetles and Grubs in Your Lawn

Japanese Beetles can severely damage your roses and other plants in your landscape because they feed on the leaves and can almost completely defoliate some plants. First, it’s important to make the connection that the white grubs in your lawn will hatch into Japanese Beetles and if you have Japanese Beetles they will lay eggs in your lawn that turn into white grubs. The white grubs ruin your lawn!

Hydrangeas: When Do I Prune Them? Why Didn’t They Flower?

Hydrangeas like more water than most plants, and at least a smidgen of shade helps them stay healthy and happy. So… with all of that said, if your hydrangea did not bloom then the flower buds might have gotten pruned off, or more likely the flower buds were damaged over the winter.

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