I've been following this board for the last few weeks, along with other
sites but can't seem to find basic solutions to apply when you realize you
either neglected or somehow harmed a plant. I have books, brochures and
websites saved that explain how to do things correctly from the first time
but what could a newbie do when things don't go as planned?
For the first time I have a place with yard on all 4 sides of the house
the house, a couple of miles from the water in the panhandle of Florida.
Depending on where I look I'm either in zone 9 or 8. When I moved in (mid
October) everything looked pretty well established. Green lawn, a few rose
bushes, different palms and a couple other plants.
I'm looking forward to dedicate time in the yard but haven't set a good
routine yet. For example: I knew I had to put some stuff in the lawn
before the winter but things happened and before I had the chance, we had
to endure a couple of frozen spells. So what now? I have the spreader and
the bag of the product but not sure if is a good idea to apply it this
late. The grass is looking very brown, some areas have a bit of green but
other are basically light brown. Not only that, what about the water? I
realize it doesn't need as much when is cold, but what if there are 5 or 6
days in a row with temps in the high 60's even low 70's?
With the roses. They stopped making flowers for a bit but it looks like
some branches may be ready to make some. I couldn't figure out if I
should've pruned them very short or not. Now they have some branches close
to 4 feet long.
Containers from the back patio I placed either in the garage or inside.
But what about the good sunny days? So far I'm moving them back and forth
but not sure if that is the proper thing to do. What would be the deciding
temperature to keep them out, no doubts when they warn us of a freeze or
a hard freeze like this past week, but what if the low for the night is
going to be 50? I realize it depends of what is in each container, so
that is why I'm wondering if there is a site or a book that can help with
Other question that comes to mind is about introducing new plants. Bulbs
seem to be easy to figure out but let's say an eucalyptus plant. I know my
area is good for them because other houses in the street have them and
some appear to be many years old, with trunks as big as a couple of feet
diameter. Doing some research I learned that the best way to have
eucalyptus is to start with a very small plant. I couldn't find one until
mid December. Just my luck the day I bought the plant, it was 24 hours
before a hard freeze warning. Well I didn't put the plant in the ground
that day... or the next. It has been in the garage at nights and outside
close to his future location during the day. When would it be a good time
to put it in the ground?
I could go one but I suppose you are sick of this post by now... I just
hope to find some sort of "Gardening troubleshooting 101"
For specific troubleshooting you can often get good advice in this ng (&
sometimes bad advice) but for something as broad as "how do I go about
gardening," I recommend reading through a couple basic gardening books
from the library so that you'll know what's required in a general way,
paying particular attention to organic techniques since these are almost
always the best methods whether or not you adhere to organic principles
for all things. If you've lots of roses, read up on those separately,
paying special attention to pruning techniques & how to avoid rose
diseases, as the needs of hybrid roses can be distinct from the majority
But book-learning is never the end-all for good gardening techniques; you
can feel like you followed all the right advice & still fail, or you can
do it bass-ackwards & have a super-great outcome. To large extent it takes
"the knack" & the margin between good & bad methods is not always a broad
margin. It's rare anyone has the knack immediately. You can start with
notoriously easy plants, or inexpensive plants you can afford to fail
with. Things already well-established in the garden are probably pretty
hardy by now & won't soon suffer from imperfect care. Meet the general
needs of the garden broadly, plus the specific needs of individual species
of plants, assisted by a many-species guide such as the Sunset regionial
guides to appropriate species & their care.
When it works our or doesn't work out to the best, try figure out what
made the success versus the failure, learning by trial & error. A shade
plant might not be able to thrive in THAT much shade, or it may need
something larger planted near it so it has more shade -- something that
supposedly needed lots of sun but then dried out probably needed more
careful watering until the roots spread out. And so on, trial & error.
It'll probably be only a couple seasons before you begin to get the knack.
Then by your second spring it will seem so easy that you will no longer
quite remember why it felt mysterious or complicated in the beginning.
-paghat the ratgirl
"Of what are you afraid, my child?" inquired the kindly teacher.
"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
With respect to the lawn grass, you may have a Bermuda grass lawn.
They go brown/white in the winter, recover nicely when the weather
warms. The only thing I know of useful to do to it this time of year
is to cut it back severely if it is overgrown, too much grass above
the ground. Probably best to leave it alone until you determine what
kind it is.
Eucalyptus can be a problem if they get root bound, too much root
growth while in the pot. I don't know about planting them in the
cold, but it might be well to put it into a bigger pot until it gets a
chance to go into the ground.
A local nursery would be a good place to get specific information.
-"...overqualified for a life of leisure."
Don't worry too much. Long-experienced gardeners still make mistakes
and kill things, it's just an opportunity for another experimental
Your best source of advice for your area, is a nearby gardener, and
most gardeners are very happy to offer advice, plants etc. Try joining
a local gardening club..they aren't just for experts and welcome new
To you and to the responses.
So far I identified the grass in the yard as "mostly" St. Augustine. I'm
planning to leave the winterizing product for next year and just keep it
short pulling weeds by hand as I see them.
Assuming the forecast for the next 10 days or so is correct, the
temperatures won't go below the mid 50's. Based on that I planted the
eucalyptus making sure it has close to 6" of mulch all around it. I have a
big enough framed plastic to protect it during the night for the next drop
About my question. I've seen in catalogs and stores different
moisture/humidity probe sensors. Are they a reasonable tool to have or
just another gadget? if yes, is it worth to get a $20 and up or do the $5
at Home Depot do the job the same.
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