As you begin this season’s gardening, we thought you’d like to know the questions fellow gardeners are asking, with practical answers. Here are four garden questions and answers to ponder.
1. How can I get rid of moles that are ruining my lawn?
Moles are like many things in life – a few are good (they aerate the soil) but more than a few is not so good (they ruin the lawn). Experts have many techniques for ridding gardens of moles, some more successful than others. Here’s a simple one to start with:
- Bait a regular mousetrap with a wedge of salami. Put it on the lawn at the opening of a mole tunnel. Moles won’t come out into daylight (even for a piece of salami), so cover the trap with an inverted box – a shoebox is the perfect size. Leave the trap for a few hours, then check to see if it worked.
- If that doesn’t work, you might try making a repellent to encourage the moles to move someplace more hospitable. Mix up equal parts cooking oil, castor oil, and dishwashing soap. Add a dash of cayenne pepper. Spray the mixture over the mole tunnels and inside the holes.
2. How should I prune trees and shrubs damaged in a storm?
Ice storms, snowstorms, and heavy wind and rain can damage trees and shrubs, sometimes badly. Conservative pruning right after a storm is the best way to help your plants survive.
Remove any branches that are causing hazards. Contact your utility company before touching branches that are leaning on wires. Make clean cuts where branches are broken roughly.
Leave major decisions about whether or not to save the plant or how to prune it to restore its shape until it goes through a growing season.
3. Is there an easy way to find out what kind of soil I have?
Most plants have soil preferences; they grow better in one type of soil than in another. If you know what type of soil you have you can choose plants that will thrive in the conditions you have.
Here’s a simple test to discover that type of soil you have. Add half a handful of your soil to a large glass container. Fill the container with water and stir well. After two hours, check to see what happen.
Here’s how to tell your soil type:
- Your soil is sandy or gravelly if most of the particles sink to the bottom, leaving the water looking pretty clear.
- Your soil is clay or silty if you see a thin layer of particles on the bottom.
- If you find the soil is a little cloudy and bits of soil are floating on the surface with a small amount on the bottom, you have peaty soil.
- A layer of white, gritty fragments on the bottom and pale gray coloured water means chalky soil.
- Your soil is loamy – the soil favoured by many garden plants – if the water is fairly clear and there’s sediment on the bottom and fine particles on the top of the container.
4. I want to garden, but don’t have much time. How can I have a garden?
Low maintenance plants and container gardening are the keys to gardening for people without much time. Ornamental grasses, succulents, and cacti are good plant choices because they don’t need much care.
One or two tastefully placed containers filled with colourful flowers can create a garden that takes almost no time to care for.
What about you?
Do you have other answers to our gardener’s questions? Leave a comment on this blog post!
Do you have other questions about your garden? Ask me on Twitter @SarahW_Ldn or use #GardenChat!
We’d like to hear from you; let us know what’s up in your garden this month.