Gardening Question of the Day

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How do I take care of a sick spider plant?

Spider plants have a tendency to become pot-bound, and if yours is looking pale and sickly, this may be the reason. Take the plant out of the pot and trim back the roots. Repot with fresh soil, place where it will receive light, and take care not to overwater.

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Last 7 Days

How can I control the thatch in my yard?

The presence of thatch generally indicates a pH imbalance in your soil. It can be particularly persistent if your lawn was previously treated with so many chemicals that the natural balance of things has been destroyed. Your best bet for control would be to test and then raise the soil's pH level. Also, rent a power rake (try your local garden-supply center) to remove existing thatch. The best time to do this is late spring. Molasses diluted with hot water and sprayed onto the lawn can help stimulate natural organisms to eat the thatch layer. Aeration may also help. Healthy soil should be 50 percent solid, 25 percent water, and 25 percent air.

I have tried bringing my Boston ferns inside for the winter, but they dry out too fast. How should I protect them?

Boston ferns need temperatures of 68 to 75 degrees F during the day and 50 to 69 degrees F at night. They also require humidity between 50 and 80 percent, and they don't like drafts. Boston ferns stop growing from fall to winter and should be kept at 50 degrees during this dormant stage, with minimal watering so the soil is barely moist, and no fertilizer. During the dry winter, mist the leaves twice a day. The fern's root system can occupy up to three quarters of the solid space in the pot without harm, and in fact, the plant does not like to be repotted.

Some vegetables do better if planted in cool weather rather than warmer weather. Can you list the suggested cool weather plantings?

Beets/chard, cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, lettuce, onions, parsley, peas, radishes, spinach, and turnips are crops that should go in when it's cool.

How can I grow my onions sweet rather than strong and spicy?

If your onions are too strong and spicy, you haven't watered them enough. Don't be fooled by healthy-looking green stalks. The stalks will be green even if the onions are too dry. The secret to sweeter onions is water, water, water.

What are the best plants to grow to attract butterflies to my garden?

Candytufts, cosmos, nasturtiums, alyssum, zinnias, sunflowers, ageratum, marigolds, and heliotropes are a few.

What can you tell me about an annual with the nickname 'Joseph's Coat'?

With the scientific name amaranthus, this plant is a native of India, the Philippines, and other warm countries. It ranges in height from two to eight feet, with leaves that begin as green or red and become bright yellow, orange, or pink at the tops. The flowers are long-lasting, but the plants with the most-colorful leaves won't produce many flowers. Plant 'Joseph's Coat' in moist, well-drained soil in late May or early June. It should get sun for at least half the day. Seeds can be started indoors with constant temperatures of 70 to 75 degrees F, six to eight weeks before planting outside.

I want to plant roses, but sunlight is scarce in my yard. Can I do it?

Roses really prefer a minimum of five to six hours of full sun per day, and will appreciate even more than that.

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