QUESTIONS ASKED IN THE GARDEN
I was given a compost tumbler but I know very little
about composting. How can I get started?
It’s pretty simple—eventually, everything will turn
into compost. To speed the process you need 4 ingredients: carbon
(leaves and woody pruning from the landscape), nitrogen (grass
clippings, kitchen fruit and vegetable scraps), water and oxygen.
Start by mixing the carbon and nitrogen products in equal amounts.
After placing your materials in the tumbler, add a shovelful of
soil, which contains beneficial micro-organisms. Turn the barrel
every other day to mix the materials and add fresh material as
you collect it so it will develop into compost as early as 4–6
weeks. I'm a beginner. Can you plant a perennial in a pot and
will it come up each year?
The problem with planting in containers is that the roots of your
perennials can freeze solid during the winter months unless you
protect them by burying the pot in the ground or wrapping bubble
wrap or a garden insulation blanket around the outside of the
pot to keep the roots from freezing. If you can't do this, you
might want to just plant annuals with the expectation that you'll
have to replant every spring.
Can I use outdoor soil for indoor plants?
Place indoor plants in potting soil, not garden soil, which can
be heavy and cause poor drainage in a small container. Check the
package before buying soil to ensure that the product can be used
in containers. If it says it’s safe for houseplants, go
ahead and use it indoors. Potting soils from Watters, available
in-store, are great for container plants.
Do I have to repot houseplants after I take them home or can I
leave them in the nursery container?
Houseplants should be transplanted when they’re pot bound.
How long that will take depends on the plant and the size of its
pot. Wait until the roots begin to escape through the drainage
holes, then place in a pot 1 size larger. You’ll find planters
here at Watters Garden Center in a variety of colors, styles and
sizes. My kalanchoe plant was flowering when I bought it but now,
2 years later, the flowers won’t come back.
I recently transplanted it to a bigger pot but it hasn’t
helped. I keep it by a window with lots of light but no direct
sun. What can I do?
Set it in a very sunny window and water it moderately. To force
it to bloom indoors during winter, you need to manipulate the
amount of light it receives. In the fall, place it where it will
receive total darkness for about 15 hours every night. (Cover
it with a box, put it in a closet or leave it in a room without
artificial light so it experiences the decreasing daylight hours.)
Do this every night for 6–8 weeks. This will encourage it
to set buds and bloom. When growth slows after blooming, cut back
on water. When growth resumes in spring, increase watering again
and fertilize lightly with a water-soluble fertilizer from Watters
All Purpose Plant Food available in-store. In summer, place your
kalanchoe plant outdoors as soon as temperatures rise above the
My backyard only get the afternoon sun (Light Shade) Though things
will grow, they grow slowly and will not produce fruit or flowers
or flower. What plants would you recommend for this area?
Here are some fairly tolerant plants to try in your part sun/part
shade garden: shorter varieties of daylily (hemerocallis), perennial
geranium, purple coneflower, heuchera (coral bells), variegated
liriope, bleeding heart, various types of sedum and the annual,
fibrous rooted bedding begonias.
Q: Do you sell a blueberry bush that will do well in Chino
Valley ? I know the PH is all wrong, how often will we need to
add amendment to change the PH? Thanks.
A: Yes we do sell blueberry bushes that will grow well in
Chino Valley . The best way to grow blueberries is in a pot with
potting soil. If you are going to grow them in the ground you
will need to add soil sulfur to correct the ph level. Be sure
to use my Watters All Purpose Plant Food 4 times a year on your
Blueberry Bush to help maintain the ph level in the soil. Stop
into the garden center and we would be happy to help you get everything
you need to be sure your blueberry bush is a huge success.
Q: We have a greenhouse made from recycled dual pane windows
and doors. I have been using Neem oil weekly but still have insects
eating the peppers and strawberries. In addition I have mildew
growing on the wood ceiling and walls. Any suggestions?
A: What you need to do is switch to my fruit tree spray. It
is neem oil with promethium which should have a better knock down
on your insects. Come on in and have any of my garden experts
explain to you how to use it. Thank you for your question.
Q: I didn't get my Autumn sage and Russian sage pruned
in the fall. When can I prune them now? I'm in the Dewey area.
A: No worries, now is a great time to prune all sages before
march. Be sure to fertilize your sages and all you plants and
trees with my Watters All Purpose Plant Food in March. If you
do your plants will thank you with amazing blooms and color in
Q: My houseplants always seem to have small flies (fruit flies?)
that live in the soil. I repotted them all and the same problem
persists. I have sprayed them several times also. What do you
A: It sounds like you have fungus gnats. What you need to
do is use two products to get rid of them. Stop in to the garden
center and pick up some of my systemic granular to kill the insects
in the soil. And then you will need to use a yellow sticky trap
to control the adult stage fungus gnats. Both products are sold
as a kit in garden center.
Q: What is the soil ph levelly like in the general Prescott
area and are coffee grounds a good adjuster?
A: The Ph level in Yavapai County runs from 8 to 9 which is
high. Coffee grounds will help but not enough. If you use my Watters
All Purpose Plant Food that will adjust the Ph and then add an
application of soil sulfur in March to keep the Ph corrected.
Thank you for your question.
Q: What time of year is best to transplant a Blue Spruce? The
previous owners of my house planted this tree in a space of less
than two feet between the front of the garage and the sidewalk
leading to the front door and right beside the driveway. I trim
the branches away from the house and part of the walkway but it
has reached the height of the eaves and I am concerned about the
roots under the sidewalk and the driveway. I would like to move
it to my back yard. I don't know if it is even possible to
safely transplant it given the limited space in which to dig.
Thank you, Vickie
A: The best time to transplant your Blue Spruce is now during
the winter months while it is dormant. Just be sure to do it when
the soil isn t frozen. Planting in the winter will allow your
tree plenty of time to root out before spring. Stop into the garden
center and let us help you get some root stimulator, all purpose
plant food and mulch that you will need when you transplant to
give your tree the best chance possible.
I live in Chino Valley . The front house faces west, back faces
east, which gets sun all day long. We have gophers so plan to
grow vegetable garden in wine half barrels in back of house. What
vegetables grow well here in this area? When should I start to
plant vegetable garden?
A: It depends on if you are going to grow your veggies by
seeds or plants. If planting seeds a lot of them need to be started
right now. Just go by the dates on the seed packets and be aware
that the last frost date for our area is Mother s Day. Also, we
will be getting the first veggies of the season at the garden
center in February. Stop in and let us show you what grows well
here and help you get started. Also, be sure to pick up a garden
calendar handout at the garden center. This has a lot of information
that will help you get your garden growing. Thank you for your
How often do I water in the winter for roses?
A: I recommend that you give them a slow deep watering twice
a month throughout the winter. Also, if you enjoy roses, be sure
to join us at the garden center for our free gardening class on
roses on February 13th. The class starts at 9:30 am. Hope to see
you there! Q: I have had an amaryllis for several years, it goes
thru it''s die back cycle, but now is green, green, green...but...it
has never bloomed. It is in bright indirect light indoors and
is kept moist as you suggested in a previous tip article you wrote.
Any more tips??? Thanks, Mary