A Few Reader Questions

In the past week, we’ve received several comments from readers who have questions. If any of you have any insights on these topics, we’d greatly appreciate you sharing them!

Ann Sickinger asked: “I was hoping I might find some suggestions to help me with a problem I have. I am trying to put in a Patriot Red, White and Blue) in our arboretum and although one side of the path 200 ft long) is doing great, the other side is under large water oaks and I can get NOTHING to grow. Does anyone have a suggestion for some alternative to planting in the ground? How could we arrange containers for that length without it looking tacky?”

Jo Anne asked: “Do you or any of your readers have experience with the AeroGarden? It is an indoor gardening system, hydroponic. It is expensive so I’d like to not be the first to try and it find I don’t like it.”

And Don Calman asked: “Has anyone followed the Ruth Stout method of gardening for 3 years? What success?”

Anyone?

About Nancy J. Ondra

Nan gardens on 4 acres in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. In the firm belief that every garden ought to have a pretentious-sounding (or at least pretentious-looking) name, she refers to her home grounds as "Hayefield." There, she experiments with a wide variety of plants and planting styles, from cottage gardens and color-based borders to managed meadows, naturalistic plantings, and veggies--all under the watchful eyes of her two pet alpacas, Daniel and Duncan.

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5 Responses to A Few Reader Questions

  1. Valerie December 2, 2007 at 4:15 pm #

    The “Ruth Stout Method” is really a no-brainer if you don’t have to follow some HOA rules about what kind of yard you must have.

    I grew up with tons of pine straw that we had to rake every week. It all ended up under the shrubs, one layer after another and we never had to weed ever, ever, ever (or water the shrubs for that matter).

    Now I live in a semi-arid place and scrounge for all the leaves/grass/straw I can get for free. The topsoil layer is so thin that the earth just eats it up.

    Thanks for your input, Valerie. I agree that it can be a great technique, but getting the necessary amount of mulch material is often a real challenge. I can only sigh when I hear other gardeners complaining about having to rake leaves. Most of my trees are shorter than I am, so I’ll be retirement age by the time I have enough leaves to rake. For now, I’m limited to what I can beg from my parents or snitch from the neighbors on trash day.
    -Nan

  2. Kathy December 3, 2007 at 7:01 am #

    Anne Brygger of Tundra Garden (http://tundragarden.blogspot.com/) is using the Aero Garden. Perhaps Jo Anne can get in touch with her.

    Thanks for the link, Kathy.
    -Nan

  3. Donna December 3, 2007 at 1:23 pm #

    Dilemma:
    Blueberries are acid loving plants. So how do you sweeten the berries without poisoning the plant?

    Hi Donna. I’m rather new to blueberry growing myself, so maybe I’m missing something in your question. I’m not sure what you’d be poisoning the plants with; do you mean by possibly over-acidifying the soil with aluminum sulfate or some other amendment?
    -Nan

  4. Dave December 3, 2007 at 4:57 pm #

    Here’s an odd thought of sorts for Ann’s problem with planting under water oaks: Mulch it with multiple types of mulch to create either patterns or pathways. For a garden area I designed for my in-laws I suggested using the red mulch set apart by edging stones to line the rose area. The red color accents the red roses. Also in the same area there is a stone pathway and several garden beds of mulch. Then go and line the pathways with containers of colorful shade loving plants, caladiums and astilbe come to mind. It might be a good spot for a mossy rock or two. I hope this helps!

    Hey there, Dave–good to see you here again. Thanks for your suggestion for Anne!
    -Nan

  5. Carol December 3, 2007 at 8:25 pm #

    I have the AeroGarden. It just went in my basement empty. I tried to grow patio tomatoes this summer inside-no tomatoes. Wish I could get my money back.

    We appreciate you sharing your experience with it, Carol. I’ve been reading mixed reviews over at GardenWeb.
    -Nan