On our Facebook page we asked what is your greatest gardening challenge. Below are the challenges our fans shared with us, and answers from some of our gardening experts!
Challenge: "Growing flowers beneath my cedar tree." - Tonya K.
Growing under a cedar, spruce, pine or other evergreens is definitely challenging. The soil under conifers is usually dry, acidic, and shaded to various degrees. You will want to research annuals or perennials to trial that will tolerate these conditions in your growing zone and geographical location. Soil improvement (additional organic material), along with adding a material like Soil Moist in the planting hole will assist with keeping your plants healthy. Supplemental watering during drought months will aid in their survival. Planting towards the outer perimeter of the tree's shade area will also help.
Plants that do well under cedar trees (may vary by your growing zone): Daffodils, Japanese iris, wishbone flower, New Guinea impatiens, lily of the valley, Lenten rose, columbine, Japanese anemone, periwinkle, wood fern, big root geranium and bugleweed.
Challenge: "My beautiful zucchini plant rotting within three days." - Judy Y.
Fungal diseases caused by excessive irrigation and rainy weather can cause zucchini to rot. Soil drainage should be checked and possibly improved for next season. You can try spraying a fungicide on plants with mildew.
Squash borer may be the culprit, making it look like rotting when the stem collapses and leaves yellow and wither away. Common squash borers pierce the stem and lay their eggs in the stems causing them to wilt, and after a while the stem becomes mushy. You can try to prevent this by wrapping young stems in aluminum foil to protect from borers. When you see wilting, slice open the stem to check for and remove larvae. You can then cover the damaged stem with good soil and keep watering it. New roots will develop. It helps to keep floating row covers over your plants until the flowers start to open. Usually by this time the stem will be hard enough that it cannot be penetrated by insects.
Challenge: Weeds, weeds, weeds! We had multiple responses about having problems with weeds...
"Trying to get the weeds off my hill and get steps up it." - Karen R.
"Keeping the weeds out of the vegetable garden, currently trying the mulch method." - Joe S.
"Weeds...this year is so wet the weeds are growing faster than I can pull them!" - Judy S.
Many areas are receiving above average rainfall this summer and the weeds are definitely hard to keep up with! For weeds growing in your yard, we recommend trying Crab-E-Rad weed control spray. This kills crabgrass and over 100 major broadleaf weeds. Weed Impede is great for landscape plantings, on gravel areas, along edges of lawn and fence lines, crevices, cracks, driveways, sidewalks and patios. Applying a 2-4 inch layer of mulch to your garden, flower beds and around trees will also help inhibit weed growth.
For weeds growing in the garden, sometimes just pulling them is your best solution. We have many great weeding tools to make the job easier. To read more about weed control solutions, check out our Weed Control Tips article.
Challenge: "Rabbits, deer, chipmunks, and squirrels!" - Jeannette T.