Be the first to show off your produce this year


    When growing time arrives, which fruit will be the first to appear? Mike Mcgrath names three sweet treats that produce their produce in the merry month of… well, June.

    Question of the Week

    “I’m planning a garden and would like to get fresh fruit for as much of the year as possible. What’s the earliest fruiting plant I could grow here? I have full sun, and would be willing to start things indoors or put up a hoop house if it wasn’t too huge (5′ would be about as high as I could do).”

    Jim “in Zone 5 near Chicago”

    Learn which fruits produce the earliest »

    • Photo by Flickr user Caroline.32

    Highlights from show for January 3, 2015:

    Reclaiming contaminated compost

    Robin in Texarkana, Texas had a little misunderstanding with her spouse (although she doesn’t want to play the blame game) when “someone” dumped cooking oil all over the compost pile. Now she is wondering what she can do to remediate any damage this may have done. Robin puts leaves and kitchen scraps in her compost and Mike reminds her that kitchen scraps really aren’t always the best ingredient for rich compost. Especially since they attract vermin and other animals to the pile. That’s why he moved to an indoor worm bin to utilize his kitchen waste. The basic answer to her problem is for Robin to look for any congealed chunks in her compost pile of where the oil may have gathered and get rid of that. He recommends turning it a couple of times and Robin should be on her way to great compost!

    How to encourage more produce from your fig trees

    Phil in the South Philly section of Philadelphia, PA has a fig tree that didn’t seem to do very well after our harsh winter last year. He thought it was a goner, but it came back and fruited. However, the fruits never matured and just stuck to the tree. He is wondering what he should do now. Mike tells Phil not to prune the plant at this point. “Your basic choices are: take the figs off, bring them inside and see if anything happens. If not just compost them.” Mike assures Phil that no matter, what the Fig tree should be fine as long as we don’t get hit the way we did last year with a terrible winter.

    Building raised beds

    Melissa in Ardmore, PA is looking to build a planter box for flowers and wants to know what to fill it with. She is getting a pre-made box of Cedar wood, which Mike says is great, because it’s rot and insect resistant. Mike suggests checking out Garden on Wheelz, which is a great portable system for raised beds. Listen to Mikes interview with the inventor of Garden on Wheelz here. The easiest thing would be to use window boxes, but if Melissa doesn’t want to do this she should find good potting soil that has perlite in it and some good compost. Mike says that she can create a false bottom with good drainage or fill the bottom with some rocks so she doesn’t have to waste a few feet of good soil if she’s only growing flowers.

    Adding coffee grounds to your compost

    Jim in Sewell, NJ has an open compost pile that he would like to add coffee grounds to. He can gain access to 10-15 cups of coffee grounds a week from a neighbor. He mentions that in the center the pile was up to 94 degrees, but Mike says that really it should be closer to 140 and the kitchen scraps might be the limiting factor. Jim is worried that he is adding too much acid, but Mike assures him that you need the acid to create the chemical reaction that is breaking down the ingredients in the compost.

    Perking up your peonies

    Marsha outside Phoenixville, PA has a twenty year old peony garden that seems to be getting a little tired. The blooms were not that great this passed year. Marsha has a lot of wood ash and she’d like to use it on her Peony garden. Mike warns her ” just because you have a lot of something doesn’t mean you should put it on your garden.” Mike recommends that Marsha get a big bag of Rock Phosphate that has an element that promotes blooming. Mike says she should spread no more than a 1/4-1/2 cup per plant right now and then cover it with compost. If she can’t do it right now that right away in the Spring. This should help her blooms come back!

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