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209 Total Found

Question: 281-5201
My soil is very hard. What can I use to plant bulbs? Gabriela, Cumberland, RI

Mort's Answer:
You can put the hose under pressure into the hole to soften your task. Allow the holes to dry out after the soil has been extricated. Your holes should be two and a half times the size of the bulbs. Fill the holes with a blend of 50% old soil and 50% coarse sand. If you plant in your old soil, there is a strong possibility that the bulbs will not do well.

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Question: 671-5211
What is the optimum amount of tilling for a garden? Todd, Waterford, CT

Mort's Answer:
If possible, you should till as often as you can. Tilling helps incorporate the sub soil into the loam and increase the depth of the humus. If tilling is not possible after the initial turning in the spring and late fall, you can cultivate with a hoe or clam rake to keep the weeds from getting a start. Cultivation of the surface will create a barrier of loose soil over the more compact soil and actually prevent water evaporation from the soil. Besides creating a sense of humus, there are so many benefits to tilling that you need to till until you can not till any more.

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Question: 702-812
How do I use Aloe from my Aloe vera plant? Katie, Marquette, MI

Mort's Answer:
Simply snap off a leaf and rub the leaf onto a cut or rash. Older and thicker leaves will have more jell in each leave. Succulents store fluid inside their leaves and require less water except when they are in bloom.

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Question: 809-3412
Why is Lyme named after Lyme, CT? Steve, Scranton, PA

Mort's Answer:
The disease was named in 1976 after a dramatic increase in reported cases. Some folks thought it was related to the nuclear facility nearby. It was concluded that the deer tick was the carrier of the germ that also affects humans. Lyme disease is now known to have been in humans for at least 5,000 years. The Ice Man that was uncovered in the Austrian ALps was biopsied again in 2010. He was found to have Lyme in his DNA. The disease in now throughout the northern Hemisphere and in Australia. It is carrier by smaller mammals like rodents as well. Gardeners should always wear protective clothing near brush and spray with permethrin.

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Question: 569-2611
My terra-cotta statue has green algae. The Dutch Boy is about two and a half feet tall. I was told to use sodium silicate. Will it work? Bob, Uncasville, CT

Mort's Answer:
Hydrated lime, sour milk or a good alcohol rub will get it off, as well. A more simple solution would be to let the statue face south for a while. Algae grow on shaded surfaces but it is not harmful. It is nitrogen fixing and can be beneficial ion clay pots. Sunshine will dry it up. If it were an Irish Elf, I would be tempted to leave it.

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Question: 826-3912
What else can I use my aloe vera plant for besides burns and how do I use it? Katie, Marquette, MI

Mort's Answer:
It is easy to use this plant for healing burns, cuts and sun burn. Just break a leaf in half. The juice will ooze out. Rub the liquid, using the leaf as the container, on the affected areas. It brings almost immediate relieve. I had often used it for minor cuts and scrapes. It also works well as a skin softener for chapped hands.

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Question: 1075-313
How do I use aloe from my aloe vera plant? Katie, Marquette, MI

Mort's Answer:
Simply snap off a leaf and rub the leaf onto a cut or rash. Older and thicker leaves will have more jell in each leaf. Succulents store fluid inside their leaves and require less water except when they are in bloom. That is our number one buying question.

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Question: 193-5201
I have 165 arborvitae in a hedge row. I was told to use 7 pounds of fertilizer to a plant . That sounds like a lot of fertilizer. Donald, Cranston, RI

Mort's Answer:
That is a half a ton. That is a lot of fertilizer. You can use a tire iron and punch a hole just beyond the leave drop in between each arborvitae on both sides. Each hole goes down about 6 inches. Fill the 328 holes with 10-6-4 fertilizer. This will take about 500 pounds at the most and will take care of your arborvitae for 5 years.

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Question: 1334-4915
Would there be any benefit in putting the ash from my pellet stove into the garden? Michael, Norwich, CT

Mort's Answer:
Back when I sold firewood at my nursery, hardwoods cost more than soft woods like pine and hemlock, Ash is excellent for a source of potassium and carbon. You can bet your ash your lawn will do better for a while. It can be used as a substitute for lime, It will sweeten the soil, Too high a concentration will cause the soil to become acidic. You will need to monitor the pH. If the pH drops to below 7.0, stop applying and start to use lime. It can also be applied to your flower and vegetable beds. Larger doses in broadleaf evergreen beds will begin lowering to 6.5 and below quickly, which the broad leaves love. You are fortunate to have a good source. Cash for ash has been more expensive in the past.

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Question: 194-5201
We have a screened porch that is not heated in the winter. We are building an aviary for finches. What plants can you recommend? Bob, Johnston, RI

Mort's Answer:
You can have a indoor Japanese garden with dwarf shrubs. Hanging fuschias, verbena, lantana and long throated flowering hanging plants will enhance the environment in the spring, summer and fall. They will need to be moved to a heated area for the winter. Dwarf evergreens of Andorra or San Jose Juniper in containers will add color in the winter. Robinšs Nest Spruce is a low compact dwarf that birds love. A dwarf Japanese maple, Acer Palmatum, has red or green finely cut leaves. It will defoliate in the winter. I prefer clay pots in a third sand and two-thirds potting soil mix.

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Question: 195-5201
What is the best way to get rid of Japanese Bamboo? Ann, Skoharry, NY

Mort's Answer:
Japanese Bamboo or Mexican Bamboo is not really bamboo. This reed like plant is the most invasive and persistent weed on the east coast. Many target sprays only knock them down. I have found that I need to be as persistent as the weed itself. Cultivating the area every week will discourage them but not kill them. You have to dig out all the roots. If you cut off one little hair root, the plant will come back to haunt you like Dracula from the grave. Before the leaves unfurl, they look like little red asparagus spears. When the spears pop up, is the best time to attack them and dig out all the root. This means loosening all the soil around them and gently pulling out the root. If it does not come easily, then you have probably broken the root and will have to dig deeper into the bowels of the earth to get all the root. Often times, because of the breaking off of roots, you will find a little stump under the ground.

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