soil and container gardening

I do all of my vegetable gardening in containers. I have always put all new potting soil in my containers each year but that is too expensive now. I wonder if the soil in the containers will "wear out" after a season or two of growing vegetables? Can I mix some new soil in with the used soil to freshen it up? I am uncertain about fertilizing the old soil because I am baffled about what fertilizers are the dreaded chemicals or otherwise bad for the environment and what are safe to let wash into the ground so I am not sure what I can add to the old soil. I don't have a compost pile but I could put some old leaves into it. Would it be better to buy some compost to mix in than to use new potting soil? I am trying to come up with ideas but I guess I should just ask how can I have fertile soil in containers year after year? Thank you.


Jefferson County Colorado 22 days ago

Gentle swatm of honey bees

I have a beautiful swarm of honey bees working on a flowering shrub and recently bloomed hyacinth right out my front door on Letsch Rd in Waterloo. I do not want to injure them. I'd like them safely relocated, but do not have funds to do so. Who to contact is the question. Or is this just something i need to get used to here in Iowa?


Black Hawk County Iowa 22 days ago


I am having a dispute with my former hay supplier regarding foxtail in my hay. I am positive it is foxtail (and was confirmed by the local extension office as well as by my vet and equine dentist. I am looking to have someone certified be able to identify and confirm in writing that what I am claiming is foxtail, is indeed foxtail


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Franklin County Pennsylvania pastures and forages 22 days ago

Steam canning pickles

Recently purchased a glass top range and needing to purchase new canning equipment. Hearing about steam canning and wondering your opinion on this process. We primarily only do pickles and occasionally green beans. Also wondering about crispness of final product of using steam.


Lane County Oregon home food preservation food safety 22 days ago

Soil Testing - Solomons

We grow a medium sized home vegetable garden and have had nice crops in the past. This year we are expecting a baby and would like to use the veggies to make baby food. Recently a neighbor mentioned to me that part of the land here in Solomons on the Back Creek (by the Calvert Marine Museum) was provided by fill soil many years ago and I should have my soil tested for heavy metals and/or contaminants before feeding my baby with the produce. Do you have a recommendation for a soil testing lab from the list you provide that would be best to test the safety of our soil? I noticed UMass seemed to test the most including Pb but I don't see Ni, Cr or Cm on any of the lists. Thank you for your time and assistance!


Calvert County Maryland vegetables soil test lead 22 days ago

Neighbor's chemical use - how will it effect my plants?

Hi, I have a neighbor who use LOTS of fertilizers, sprays and insecticides on his lawn, trees, shrubs and plants. I will be planting a pollinator garden, and my concern is that the chemical he uses on his yard will get into the plants and flowers in my yard – killing the bees, butterflies, and beneficial insects. Do you have any advice on how far from the property line might be a safe distance to ensure the poisons don’t get into my plants (via ground or wind drift)? Any other information you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your help,


Harford County Maryland pesticides safety 22 days ago

lilac tree grafting

Hi, Maryland Extension. I'm wondering if you can offer some advice in potentially grafting some branches from one area of a lilac tree to another area of the same tree? I've attached a photo of the tree. Several years ago, quite a bit of snow slid off my roof and sheared off the branches on the right side of the tree. I let the tree go for a few years to see if small branches might sprout on the side of the tree that was sheared off. Thusfar, there has not been much growth on the bare side. Might it be possible for me to take some branches from the left side and somehow graft them onto the right side to eventually give the tree a more balanced appearance? It seems like spring would be the time to attempt this grafting approach.



Prince George's County Maryland lilac shrub propagation 22 days ago

Nematode and weevils

I just read an article on your site that said to apply Nematodes upon the first rains in the fall. Yet Nematodes only seem to be available to purchase in the spring. I have potted plants that have and are being killed from root loss from winter through spring. It seems that this natural method to get rid of weevils will always keep me a step behind having to lose my plants then treat soil. Ideas? I am in Victoria, BC and am totally frustrated but in Canada this seems to be the only route for weevil control as there are no allowable pesticides that I can purchase. I need help now. Short of bagging up entire 20gallon pots and starting over.


Outside United States nematodes 22 days ago

Is it possible to save a dying lodgepole pine tree?

I have a magnificent pine tree in my front yard near downtown Salem. It is probably about 50 years old. I noticed needles dropping and brown branches these past months. There are still some green needles on the top branches. I had an arborist look at it and he said it's too late to save it, nothing to be done. He said one cause of its demise would be the elevated ring of rock and soil at the base. I don't know how long that has been there. Is it worth getting a second opinion? If I remove the soil from the base now, would that help?


Marion County Oregon 22 days ago

Peony care

When should I uncover peonies in Niorthern Beltrami County MN ?


Beltrami County Minnesota frost dates 22 days ago

Dead Crabapple removal

I unfortunately lost 2 crab apple trees to the flash freeze last year. I am looking to replace with apple trees. Roots of the trees are sending out shoots all over. Question: when/how is the best way to remove the trees?
Secondly, we live in Parker, CO where it feels like the season is several weeks behind the warmer Denver Metro area. Is there a cold hardy apple tree that can withstand the variable weather patterns here? We were considering Honey Crisp.

Thank you,


Douglas County Colorado trees and shrubs 22 days ago

Wild garlic

Good afternoon
I live in Ravenna MI, and have wild garlic/onion growing in my flower beds
What can I use to kill it but not hurt my plants?
Thank you for your help


Muskegon County Michigan weeds noxious weeds weed control 22 days ago

deer resistence

is there a list of which water miser plants that deer do not eat?


Boulder County Colorado 22 days ago

Good Shrub to hide view of neighbor's junk

Hi-we are on a 1 acre lot and would like to plant something along one of our fencelines to hide our neighbor's messy yard from view. We have a lot of deer, so as deer resistant as possible. We can get water there, if possible, but would prefer something native/natural. (If watering it will make it grow faster, then we'll do it.) Thanks for your help!


Deschutes County Oregon trees and shrubs 22 days ago

How to I keep my vinegar mother alive between batches of vinegar? I have some...

How to I keep my vinegar mother alive between batches of vinegar? I have some lovely layers of mother sitting in a ceramic shuffle type dish covered with cheesecloth. I can't find any additional helpful info online.


Campbell County Kentucky 22 days ago

about flood

sir how to do foundation treatment against flood.


Vigo County Indiana 22 days ago

Getting lawn tested?

Hello Since we moved into our house in '08, we've had a couple kinds of grass growing. The grass we like the best is very fine, grows VERY thick, and is very plush and soft. We've had different "experts" tell us different things as to what it is. Is there a way to send in a sample so we can get a definitive answer as to what it is so I know what seed to buy? Thanks


Prince George's County Maryland lawn grass varieties 22 days ago

deer repellant

Deer love to eat my hostas! How can I prevent this?


Prince George's County Maryland wildlife deer hostas 22 days ago

Fertlizer for flower beds

My perennial flower bed needs a little facelift! do you have any suggestions for a fertilizer, or any help for it?? thank you!


Potter County South Dakota 22 days ago

anthracthnose in mature Sycamore trees

We live in the country near East Berlin and have 4 beautiful mature sycamore trees around our house. For the past 8 years we have had them sprayed for anthracnose and they are doing well...we see few branches breaking off, leaves look good. Do we need to continue having them sprayed each year or can we do it every two or three years, or whatever. Thanks


York County Pennsylvania 22 days ago


Why are my cedars trees dying from the bottom limbs up?


Horry County South Carolina 22 days ago

Filing for Farm exempt status

I recently moved into Grant County. I purchased a 56 acre horse farm but don't have horses. Am I able to still file for farm exempt status for tax purposes and what are the qualifications for the property to do so? If so, how do I go about filing for farm exemption?


Grant County Kentucky grant county kentucky farm tax preparation horse farm 22 days ago

Boxwood or holly

I need to purchase an evergreen for a narrow space. Which would you recommend: green tower boxwood or a sky pencil holly? It will be in front of my house which faces southwest and no shade.


Calvert County Maryland plant selection sky pencil holly 22 days ago

Soil Amendment question

I was in a class that Ben Beale did in Charles County a couple of weeks ago. I have the garden and lawn amendments figured out, but can't quite figure out the orchard. It's a small, multi-type trees - apples, peaches, pears, nectarines, and brambles. I have attached the soil report - can someone make some recommendations.



Charles County Maryland soil test orchard 22 days ago

germanation of tomato seeds

I have some older tomato seeds. They have been in water for two days. How long will it take for them to germinate (if they do)?


Hennepin County Minnesota tomato seeds 22 days ago

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