Gardening Questions #1

The Following Gardening Questions and Answers Video and text addresses topics such as composting, leggy seedlings, Bush beans, Sansevierias, tomato plants, and late blight.

Question No. 1

How do I get rid of flies from my compost?

It is very common for compost bins to become infected by single species flies.

This can make going anywhere near the compost heap an unpleasant experience.

One of the main reasons that you may get an infestation of flies is that there are no natural predators in the compost. This is because you may have only been adding materials such as fruit, coffee grinds, and waste vegetables to your compost bin and no brown organic matter.

Unfortunately materials such as these do not contain natural predators.

Therefore the flies can feast on these materials without having any danger of being attacked by other animals that would normally prey upon them.

A fix for this is to deliver natural predators of flies (or whatever the single pest is) to your compost bin. An easy way of doing this is to pick up waste leaf matter and mix it into your compost. Materials such as waste leaf matter and soil rich in organic micro-organisms. If there is no waste leaf matter around then you can also use soil that is rich in organic matter.

Other issues that may be the cause of fly infestations include not getting enough air into the compost (make sure that your compost bin has plenty of aeration holes), and poor drainage (resulting in soggy compost and maybe even an ammonia smell; make sure that your holes are large enough that moisture and air can pass freely).

Staying on the subject of composting, many people have issues with mice and other scavengers that are attracted by waste food. To stop them coming to your bin it is important that you cover any food that you put in the bin with a layer of brown material.

Question No. 2

I grow plants in my windowsill and am having an issue with leggy seedlings; do you have any advice?

There are numerous reasons that can cause leggy seedling, such as excessive nitrate levels.

However, as you are growing your plants in the windowsill I suggest that they are probably not getting enough light. I recommend that you either use a grow light with them or use fluorescent bulbs, as better lighting is very likely to result in stronger seedlings.

Question No. 3

How many Bush beans can I plant into a container?

Ideally you should use a 5 or 7 gallon container if you are growing bush beans.

You should only plant one or two plants into each container. If you try to grow at a greater density than this then the plants are going to be crowded and you will not get good results.

Question No. 4

What is causing my tomato plant leaves to curl upwards?

Many tomato species have leaves that curl upwards naturally so this may not be an issue at all. However, if you feel that the tomato plants that you are growing should not have leaves curl then it may be an issue with heat stress or excess water.

Ideally when watering tomato plants do not water until the top inch or so of soil has dried out.

Question No. 5

Another leggy plant issue —

I am growing herbs and vegetables in my garden and I am finding that my parsley and tomato seedlings are leggy, this is making them very difficult to transplant.

I am planning to bury the stems of the tomatoes in the soil so that they have better support, can I do the same thing with the parsley seedlings?

As mentioned before when I was talking about plants that are grown in a windowsill the issue here is most likely a lack of light. In the future I suggest that you grow your plants under a better source of lighting such as can be provided by growth light.

You are asking is it okay to bury the stems when you are transplanting the seedlings, this is an often used technique and I expect that it will work out fine.

Question No. 6

I am growing Sansevierias and am having problems with fungus, any suggestions?

Fungus gnats and fungal growth in soil are usually caused by too much moisture. These plants can go for a long time without watering so do not water more than once a fortnight. You may also wish to consider investing in a moisture meter and only watering the plants when the soil is completely dried out.

Once the soil dries out the fungus gnats should die off. It may also be worthwhile to remove the top layer of soil and replace it with sand to improve drainage.

Question No. 7

I have a small garden and I would like to give it a Japanese look, any suggestions?

To create a Japanese-style garden I suggest that you try to make use of features such as sand, moss, small pines, bamboo, an odd number of stones (for asymmetry), traditional Japanese lanterns (made from stone).

If you have enough space it can be really nice to add a water feature too, such as a small basin or fountain.

Question No. 8

My tomatoes are ripening but the leaves around the fruits are going yellow and dying, what is going on?

This sounds like it may be late blight, Phytophthora (which means plant destroyer). Your plants have gone into senescence to get every bit of nutrients it can into the tomatoes themselves. It is important not to let this spread to other crops. Although late blight is likely to reduce your harvest it is unlikely to totally destroy everything. Late blight is typically a localized issue, but unfortunately this fungus is highly contagious as it has wind-dispersed spores.

I suggest that in the future you consider growing tomato varieties that have greater resistance to late blight. It is best to grow plants from seeds, as you will know that they are not already infected by fungus, which may be the case if you buy from an untrusted source.

Further to this you should be aware that potatoes also have issues with blight. If you have blight in the garden then it is important not to grow any crops in your garden that are susceptible to it over the winter.

You may also wish to increase the spacing between your tomato plants and do not grow tomatoes and potatoes in the same areas that you grew them in the previous year.

It is also important not to water the tomato plants from above, this will prevent the leaves getting wet and making it more difficult for the late blight to spread.

In the future if you see signs of late blight on your plants then I suggest that you pull them up and seal them in a black plastic bag and place that bikes in direct sunlight so that the sun can destroy the fungal spores.

Thank you for watching and/or reading the first episode of Gardener's HQ FAQs. If you enjoyed this episode / page and would like me to do some more then please comment on the youtube video. As ever you would make me very very happy if you subscribed to my channel and help it grow. Have fun in the Garden. Deano

I hope that you found this garden questions page. You may also enjoy my gardening guides on how to grow Persimmon, Zamia pumila, and Beach Rose plants.