Frequently Asked Questions
You’ve got questions. We have answers.
Browse our list of commonly-asked gardening questions. If you have a question that isn’t listed here, please let us know.
A: Each soil is different. First do a soil analysis to determine what your soil has in it and what is lacking. Amigo Bob wrote an awesome Know your Soil manual to help you understand soil tests. Take classes at Sweetland with Amigo or with Dar to learn more. Always get compost and humus into your soil…. (see article section for more info)
Q: What do the numbers mean on a fertilizer?
N – Nitrogen, what plants need for the grow period
P – Phosphorus, what plants need for the bloom time
K – Potassium, what plants need for strength
Q: What does OMRI mean?
A: Omri refers to organic certification.
Q: What PH should my soil be to uptake nutrients?
A: Each plant has a different requirement. However a healthy soil should not be acidic or alkaline for most plants, so a PH between 6.5-7.5 is a good range.
Q: What does my plant need for a balanced diet?
A: Half of any plants life is above the soil, half is below the soil. So your plants need sunlight, water and then a healthy ecosystem and nutrients below the soil…
Q: What is the best fertilizer?
A: They are all good, well mostly… We recommend fertilizers that are organic and NOT harmful to the environment. Read labels carefully.
Q: What beneficial insects do you carry?
A: Ladybugs, Greenlace Wings, Trichogramma, Praying Mantis eggs, Predatory Nematodes, Swirskii Mites, Spider mite destroyers, and triple threat.
Q: What will kill spider mites, russet mites, aphids, white flies?
A: With any insect we suggest you identify it first. We are not entomologists here, but do our best to know what the common garden pests are and sometimes we can help. Get a microscope and see really what critters are eating your plants. Then research it, know its life cycle and its conditions for living, and what it eats. Each critter has different controls. Often you can prevent common pests with good practices, innoculants, and beneficial insects.
Q: How do I avoid powdery mildew?
A: Powdery Mildew is a common, old fungus that just needs the right conditions to flourish. So focus on prevention. Apply beneficial bacteria that will not allow mildew to exist all year. Keep your garden clean. Water in the morning, instead of the evening.
Q: How do I make compost tea?
A: Compost tea and Nutrient teas are different. A compost tea is an aerobic solution chockful of good microbes. We can teach you how to make it at one of our classes offered through April and June..
Q: I have Wilt! What do I do?
A: Wilt tends to be fatal. Truly. It might kill your plants. You could just lose a few branches. You can spend a lot of money to get rid of it and then your plants die anyway. Wilt is usually systemic. It can also be airborne. Sometimes it comes with compost. It is a naturally occurring fungi that is just looking for the right conditions to flourish-usually an abundance of water.
Sometimes wilt can be treated with a high percentage Hydrogen Peroxide, as both a soil drench and a foliar spray. Then it is time to introduce aggressive bacteria and fungi that consume pathogens such as Actinomyces and Trichogramma. Plants will have been weakened if they survived, so things to build up strength are needed. Enzymes, chitosan, yucca can help clean up root systems. Then Silica, calcium, broad spectrum innoculants, and nutrients can be added to help it grow again.