Compendium of gardening questions I’ve researched (in no particular order):

How to layout my garden: beds or rows?

Rows if you have space.

Should I use wood ash on my whole garden?

Wood ash is an old-time standard. Has alkaline effect on soil. Phosphorus 1-2%, potassium 3-7%.

You should only apply these if your soil pH or acidity factor is less that 7 on a soil test…apply ashes to vegetable garden in the winter because they should never come in direct contact with seed or the roots of plants. 10 to 20 pounds of wood ash can be applied per 1000 square feet each year.

P. Allen Smith

Plastic mulch pros/cons?

Pros: Ultimate weed prevention. Economical. Warms up soil (black).
Cons: Unnatural. Aesthetics. Mulching between rows still a problem. Pulls out in wind/hard to keep down.

How to install drip irrigation with plastic mulch?

Hill up rows. Place drip tape off center, bury 1/2 inch (less evaporation. Lay down film and bury ends. Find drip tape hole from one end and approximate distance under film (every 1 foot). Does not have to be exact. Poke holes every X foot down center of mulch and drop seed/transplant.

Fertilize through drip irrigation?


How to maintain walkways?

Cardboard covered with wood chips. Following year till under and heap on top of rows, lay down new cardboard and wood chips.

Garden layout north-south or east-west?

Depends on how flat your garden site is. Flat doesn’t matter much, sloped should be south-facing.

How large should I cut seed potatoes?

Seed potatoes with more eyes will grow to produce a larger quantity of potatoes but the potatoes will generally be smaller. Seed potatoes with fewer eyes will produce fewer potatoes, but those potatoes will tend to be larger.

Univ Nebraska Extension

How long to cure cut potatoes before planting?

2 days

What is a good compost starter?

Dried molasses, substitue can be table sugar:

If you are building or renewing beds, you should add dry molasses at a rate of 1/2 lb. for every 100 square feet. If you can’t find dry molasses locally, you can substitute ordinary sugar. Just sprinkle it evenly by hand over the area you want to cover.

GardenWeb Forums

No-till layering recipe:

  1. Molasses/sugar
  2. Other amendments (if needed)
  3. Compost (most important ingredient, 1-inch min)
  4. (i’ll add the paper here)
  5. Mulch (leaves, straw, wood chips)
  6. Water regularly

What is eating my tulips?

EVERYTHING eats tulips—squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits, deer, groundhogs…the list of malicious masticators is virtually endless! But you don’t need a positive ID—just a good strong deer repellent! Spray it on the emerging greenery as soon as it pokes up next Spring, and reapply weekly.

Gardens Alive Q&A

Do I need to synthetically fertilize my blueberries (or will mulching with pine needles be enough)?

Depends on your soil composition. Blueberries prefer pH between 4.5 and 5.2. Have your soil tested first before determining what kind of fertilizer regimen is needed.

Elemental sulfur is recommended as opposed to the faster acting aluminum sulfate. Fertilize in Spring before the blooming stage.

My specific test results for June 2014 soil sample:  pH 5.3

Fertilizer recommendations for growing blueberries: 33-0-0 (0.15 lbs N per 100 sqft + 1.9 lbs sufur per 100 sqft)


Corn is coming in light green/yellow.

Yellow corn can also be a result of  cool, wet conditions.  Corn plants turn pale green to yellow because they have not been able to absorb enough nitrogen. When soils are cool and wet, the plant cannot efficiently collect nitrogen from the soil.  The good news about yellow corn is that the plant will grow out of it. When warmer conditions arrive, plants will green up and grow normally.  Extra nutrients are not needed.

University of Vermont Extension

When/how to fertilize corn?

Side-dress with nitrogen fertilizer (like blood meal) twice during the growing season: when the corn is knee high and again during tasseling.

YouTube demo: Corn: Fertilizing (Side Dressing)


What is the best tasting (sweetest) strawberry?

Of the varieties I’ve tried (Sparkle, Ft Laramie, All Star), I like Jewel best (take one year to fruit). forums:

I use to have a U-Pick farm. The very best tasting strawberry out there is a June bearing variety called “Darselect”. Oh My, as you sink your teeth in this luscious strawberry, it’s like sinking your teeth into an orange, very juicy and very sweet. (link)

I’ve grown lots of varieties over the years, but Earliglow is by far the sweetest strawberry I’ve ever grown. The birds know it too because those are the ones they go for the most. (link)


Where to buy strawberry starts?

Nourse Farms


Soil composition for strawberries?

We recommend a soil pH level of 6.5 – 6.8 for strawberry plants. 

Nourse Farms

Most (if not all) June bearing varieties say they bear fruit in year 2.


When to harvest cabbage?

When heads are firm all the way through when squeezed, the cabbage is ready for harvest.

Gardening Know How


What to use for treating Cedar Apple Rust (CAR) on Apple Trees?


Apple trees still getting worms, even after spraying.


When to fertilize blueberries with acidic fertilizer?

Only in the Spring, before flowering stage. Use elemental sulfur.


How to store carrots?

Carrots can be harvested whenever they reach maturity (2 1/2 months). Can leave in ground until freeze.

To store freshly harvested carrots, twist off the tops, scrub off the dirt under cold running water, let dry and seal in airtight plastic bags, and refrigerate. If you simply put fresh carrots in the refrigerator, they’ll go limp in a few hours.


Believe it or not, you can actually keep fresh carrots for the winter by burying them in damp sawdust or sand and keeping them in a cold (32-40 degrees) spot.


How long can I leave ripe potatoes in the ground?

Can leave until ground freezes.


When to pick apples?




Prairie Spy:

Golden Crisp: