Gardener's Corner

Join us for tips, helps, questions and answers about the gardening world. Monitored by a Certified Master Gardener but wisdom is shared by ALL.

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Gardener's Corner

Chief Walks In Shadows is a Florida State Master Gardener.
He will post information that he feels will benefit everyone as a whole. But basically this will be a question and answer group.
Chief Walks will answer all questions asked to him directly. He has over 40 years of experience. And a sizable personal research library.

We are here to meet ALL of your gardening questions and/or related subjects.



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The USDA Hardiness Zone Map divides North America into 11 separate zones; each zone is 10°F warmer (or colder) in an average winter than the adjacent zone. If you see a hardiness zone in a catalog or plant description, chances are it refers to the USDA map. To find your USDA Hardiness Zone or use the map below. 



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Comment by Chief Walks on March 27, 2019 at 6:55am
Comment by Chief Walks on March 21, 2019 at 6:47am

How Do I Attract Earthworms to My Garden?

Practical ways to increase the earthworm population in your soil.

Organic amendments earthworms 
Organic amendments and regular watering go a long way toward encouraging earthworms to take up residence in your gardens.

Organic amendments earthworms 
Q: How can I encourage more earthworms in my soil? — Tracy Musicc

A: Any and all natural, organic amendments and fertilizers will encourage earthworms. Well-made compost may be the most efficient way to go, especially if made with pumpkin, which worms love. Rock minerals, such as lava sand, basalt, and Azomite, are also important for encouraging worms.
While adding good stuff to the soil, stop using toxic pesticides and high-nitrogen synthetic fertilizers, which are damaging to soil microbes and other life, including earthworms.
Watering properly and keeping the bare soil around plants covered with a mulch of shredded native tree trimmings is the final step to encourage beneficial soil life. I also have good results drenching my soil monthly with a mixture of 1 cup of concentrated compost tea and 1 ounce each of apple cider vinegar, liquid seaweed, and liquid molasses per gallon of water.

Comment by Chief Walks on March 7, 2019 at 6:14am

Homegrown Herbal Bug Spray Recipe
1 tablespoon each herb, finely chopped
4 to 6 ounces almond or olive oil
2 ounces neem oil or cedar-infused oil (recommended)
4 ounces witch hazel
Make sure everything is dry because water increases the chance of mold. Combine chopped herbs in a glass half-pint jar; add oil.
Use a spoon to push herbs down. Add extra oil if needed to submerge.
Label jar, and infuse 1 to 3 weeks in a cool place.
Strain oil, pressing as much oil out of the herbs as possible.
Add neem or cedar oil and witch hazel, then shake until well combined.
Fill a spray bottle or perfume roller, and shake well before each use.
Store leftovers in a cool, dark place. To store for more than a few months, place the bug spray in a refrigerator.
Note on Consistency: If you prefer a thinner spray, add more witch hazel; for a thicker, lotion-like texture, use vegetable glycerine instead of witch hazel.

Comment by Chief Walks on March 5, 2019 at 5:52pm

Comment by PITA SIKSIKA WARRIOR on February 5, 2019 at 2:17pm

thank you my dear brother

Comment by Chief Walks on February 3, 2019 at 12:54pm

Starting seeds in sponges is a neat trick that is not difficult to do. Small seeds that germinate and sprout quickly work best for this technique, and once they’re ready, you can transplant them to pots or garden beds. Try starting plants with small seeds on a simple kitchen sponge as a fun project with the kids or just to try something new.

Why Start Seeds on Sponges?
While the traditional way to start seeds is to use soil, there are some good reasons to use sponges for seed growing:

You don’t need messy soil.
You can watch the seeds grow and roots develop.
Sponge seed germination happens rapidly.
It’s easy to sprout a lot of seeds in a small space.
The sponges can be reused if seeds turn out to be unviable.
It makes a great experiment for children.
Here are some great plant choices for seed rowing on sponges:

How to Plant Seeds in a Sponge
First, start with sponges that have not been treated with anything, like detergent or antibacterial compounds. You may want to treat the sponges with diluted bleach to prevent mold growth but rinse them thoroughly if you do. Use the sponges whole or cut them into smaller squares. Soak the sponges in water and place them in a shallow tray.

There are a couple of strategies for putting the seeds in the sponges: you can either press small seeds into the many nooks and crannies, or you can cut a larger hole in the center of each sponge for a single seed. Cover the tray in plastic wrap and put it in a warm location.

Check under the plastic wrap occasionally to be sure there is no mold growing and that the sponges have not dried out. Give the sponges a regular mist of water to keep them moist but not soaking wet.

To transplant your sprouted seedlings, either remove them entirely and place in a pot or outdoor bed when ready or trim the sponge down and plant the roots with the remaining sponge still attached to them. The latter is useful if the roots are too delicate and can’t be easily removed from the sponge.

Once they’re big enough, you can use sponge-grown seedlings as you would any seeds you started in soil.

Comment by Chief Walks on December 23, 2018 at 2:48pm

Thanks Chris. I didn't know that about Brabbles.

Comment by Chris Durbin on December 1, 2018 at 10:01am

I thought this was an interesting take on brambles.

Comment by Chief Walks on November 29, 2018 at 8:21am

Dear Chief Walks,
I overheard two master gardeners talking about winter seeding. Ever heard of it? I could use a gardening fix.

Ben from Indiana

Ben, it’s one of my favorite things to do during the winter. In my case, I’ve already prepared some beds by covering them with several inches of compost, but you could do the same thing during a thaw.

My favorite vegetables to winter sow are radishes, lettuce and spinach. Towards the end of winter I’ll throw a packet of seeds over the compost and scratch them in. The seeds will sit there until they are ready to sprout, emulating nature. They will usually germinate early in the season, providing lots of tender, sweet thinning to enjoy in the first garden salad of the season.

Comment by Chief Walks on November 25, 2018 at 12:51pm

How To Make A Garden Room – Tips For Enclosing A Garden

When you’re designing an outdoor living space, there aren’t too many hard and fast rules you have to follow. It’s your space, after all, and it should reflect your style and wants. One thing you’ll almost definitely want, however, is some sense of enclosure, especially if you live in a more densely populated area. Having an outdoor space that’s all your own is practically essential. Keep reading to learn more about designing a small garden space and how to make a garden room.

Designing a Small Garden Space

Enclosed residential gardens are more than just backyards. They should feel like outdoor extensions of your house, a place you can appreciate the sounds and smells of nature while still enjoying the comforts of home.

One of the simplest ways to achieve this is to create a sense of enclosure, effectively carving out your own little piece of the outdoors and turning it into a living space. There are several very easy ways to go about this.

How to Make a Garden Room

The most important and basic thing to do when enclosing a garden is to put up walls. These can be solid, physical walls, such as a fence, or they can be a bit more fluid. Some other options include shrubs, small trees, trellises with vining plants, or even hanging fabric. You can, of course, combine several of these elements to create a more eclectic look.

Another important element is cover. Since you’re mostly going to be using your outdoor space in warm weather, it’s important to have at least some shade. You can achieve this with an arbor or pergola, an awning or if you already have one, a big tree.

Lights are a good idea too after the sun has set, they add to the illusion that your home is flowing outside. These can double as defining walls or, if strung across the space, like a canopy.

Whatever else you add to your outdoor living space is up to you. Depending on your space, you may want a full dining table or just a couple of chairs. Of course, you’ll want at least some flowers or greenery, and a little art never hurt.

As long as you have a sense of enclosure, a little outdoor space that’s all your own, the world is your oyster.


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