The Top 10 Fascinating Facts About Soil Mites

A close-up photograph of a soil mite crawling on the ground. Fascinating Facts About Soil Mites: Discover the tiny world beneath our feet!

Learn about the essential role of soil mites in soil and plant health. Discover the different types of soil mites and their functions, as well as how to manage them. Soil mites are beneficial to the soil ecosystem and killing them would require killing the soil.

Strong Winds? No Problem! Secure Your Polytunnel

Tony O'Neill confidently secures his polytunnel against strong winds, using sturdy straps and anchors.

The fight to keep Polytunnels grounded in the face of storms is continuous – until it is solved. Here we explore how to keep your Polytunnel, with its low size-to-weight ratio, from being blown away by the powerful and often destructive force – wind. We take a brief look at the science behind it and then look at how to mitigate the risk factors.

How to Grow Giant Marrows: An Ultimate Guide

Tony O'Neill proudly displays his giant marrows, demonstrating his expertise in growing massive vegetables with his proven method on "How To Grow Giant Marrows."

Giant Marrow preparation starts during the winter months. I prepare the soil in readiness for growing these Giants. These plants grow large and depending on how many you wish to grow will determine the size of the area required.

Compost 101: How to Get it Right for Your Plants

Two hands holding compost with unbroken down compost in the background, showcasing Composting 101.

Compost fosters bacteria that are used for breaking down organic matter. However, excessive amounts will cause it to be anaerobic. Applying too much compost to plants will cause them to be more prone to diseases, making it necessary to apply only one inch of compost per year on top of your plants.

How to Keep Bamboo in Check and Enjoy Its Beauty

A lush garden with bamboo plants surrounded by colorful flowers and green foliage. How to Keep Bamboo in Check.

Bamboo is a highly aggressive, invasive exotic plant species. It owes its reputation to the fact that it is the fastest-growing class of grass on earth. Bamboo can choke natural vegetation in a brief period, effectively crowding out native flora. It is imperative to realize that it is challenging to get rid of bamboo once it has taken root.

Does Miracle-Gro Go Bad? The Facts

ony O'Neill planting flowers in a planter with Miracle-Gro Organic compost, wondering, "Does Miracle-Gro Go Bad?

Miracle-Gro has a relatively long shelf life but will eventually go bad. Usually, at around the three-year mark, it will not be at its best original state anymore. Its vitality as a fertilizer is also affected by certain other factors such as how the Miracle-Gro is stored and external factors.

Potting Mix vs Soil: Which is Better for Your Plants?

Hands holding potting soil vs. potting mix: A pair of hands holding two types of soil in separate containers, showcasing the difference between potting soil and potting mix.

There is a difference between potting soil and potting mix, even though these two terms are used interchangeably. Potting mix is a strictly soilless medium, whereas potting soil may or may not have soil. Because it does not include soil, it cannot harbor fungus or other diseases; for this reason, potting mix is safer for plants.

The Truth About Seed Starting Mix Shelf Life

A table showcasing various sowing tools and a tray of seed starting mix, with a focus on Seed Starting Mix Shelf Life.

Seeding mixes, when stored properly and in low humidity and low-temperature regions, will not go bad. Its lifespan also depends on its ingredients. If peat moss is one of the main ingredients of your seed starting mix, do consider that this has a life span of about 1 to 2 years.

Top Benefits of Compost Tea Gardening

A person pours compost tea into a new vessel, highlighting the benefits of compost tea.

Compost tea is a biological fertilizer for the garden. Gardeners all around the world are screaming about the top benefits of compost tea. So, what is compost tea? Compost tea is a liquid fertilizer otherwise known as liquid gold or black gold.

Spring Gardening Made Easy: How to Grow Peas Indoors

A close-up image of plump, green peas growing in heavy pods inside a greenhouse. Learn how to grow peas indoors with this step-by-step guide.

Taking into account the exceptional cold and damp conditions this year, it’s crucial for gardeners to devise strategies to maintain an upper hand. Particularly for pea cultivation, starting their growth inside could be a consideration to halt them from being significantly delayed.

Building a strong frame is a perfect way to support climbing veg like peas. This frame is then netted with netting or wire mesh. Getting the peas to a suitable size to be put outside is important. This is OK later in the year when temperatures warm, as we can direct sow. In the late winter and early spring, direct-sown seeds would rot, sow one way to get a head start is to sow seeds indoors.

How to grow peas? This is where I show you how to sow peas indoors to get an early start. With the weather being very cold and wet this year, gardeners must consider ways to keep ahead of the game. When it comes to peas, there are ways to start growing them indoors to prevent you from falling too far behind.

Supporting peas is very important to prevent damaging the crop.
A perfect way to support climbing veg like peas.

Building a strong frame is a perfect way to support climbing veg like peas. Peas should be a suitable size before being placed outside. This is OK later in the year when temperatures warm, as we can direct sow. In the late winter and early spring, direct-sown seeds would rot, sow one way to get a head start is to sow seeds indoors.

There are many ways in which to sow peas indoors. You could sow them in pots, old toilet rolls, seed trays and root trainers. My favorite way to sow them indoors to get an early start is in old rain guttering.

planting peas in drain pipes
The quickest and easiest way to sow peas is to transplant them later into the garden.

Sowing peas in rainwater guttering is fast to sow the peas and when transplanting outside. Once they have started to grow, reduce the chance of root disruption. Therefore, transplanting plants gives them the best start.

Water and feed your peas weekly, wait for them to flower and start setting their little pods. You can tell when they are ready to pick as the pod will feel full to the touch. You may also be able to see the peas bulging through the pods. I have created a video showing you how to sow peas indoors for an early start. You can view this below. 

Supporting peas is very important to prevent damaging the crop.
A perfect way to support climbing veg like peas.
peas support structure
Supporting peas can be very simple and effective.

Consider visiting our YouTube channel and subscribing. You will find what you’re looking for with two scheduled weekly uploads covering various gardening-related topics.  Look at the link below and become part of the YouTube family.

How to Grow Strawberries at Home

A man holding a large pot of strawberry plants with ripe red strawberries. Learn how to grow strawberries at home.

A comprehensive guide on how to grow strawberries at home, including tips on choosing the right variety of strawberry plant, planting and caring for them, and ensuring a bountiful harvest. The article also covers the three main categories of strawberry plants, including day-neutral, June-bearing, and everbearing.

Philodendron “Rojo Congo” Care Guide

A vibrant Philodendron "Rojo Congo" plant with large, glossy leaves in shades of deep green and burgundy. Learn the care guide now.

Despite its impressive visual attractiveness, growing the Philodendron “Rojo Congo” – a hybrid plant of the Imperial Red and P. tatei subsp. Melanochlorum – is notably straightforward. The Rojo Congo is more prominent and broader than other red varieties, has deeper red leaves, and develops far more quickly. This tropical Philodendron may grow up to … Read more

Why is my Monstera Drooping?

An image showing a Monstera plant with drooping leaves, indicating potential issues. Discover why your Monstera might be drooping.

A decreased water supply may cause plants to shrivel up due to the decrease in cell pressure, or turgidity. This reduction in pressure inside the cell could be triggered by a drought or a plant disease. Plants become flaccid when the pressure in the plant cell drop. Turgor is the distension of a plant cell’s … Read more

How to Make a Succulent Garden

A beautiful succulent garden arrangement featuring a variety of succulent plants in different colors, shapes, and sizes.

Soil quality, light provision, and watering practices are the keys to successful low-maintenance succulent gardening. Gardeners can create fabulous landscapes indoors and out by choosing complementing plants. Most succulents need little watering and a lot of light.

How to Compost in a Tumbler

A tumbler compost bin filled with organic waste and being turned, promoting the decomposition process.

Tumblers are an alternative to open hot composting piles, following a similar process and needing the same materials and elements. By adding a balance of brown (carbon) and green (nitrogen) materials at a 30:1 ratio and keeping the mix damp and aerated, tumblers can make quality compost.

How Often To Turn Compost

A person turning a compost pile with a pitchfork, mixing the organic materials to facilitate decomposition.

The amount of effort you invest in composting is entirely up to you. However, it’s important to comprehend that consistently managed and turned compost piles usually yield high-quality humus, devoid of pathogens and weed seeds. Composting that follows turning routines based on internal temperatures, humidity levels, and times can ensure a uniform, quality decomposition process. … Read more

How Much Light Does a Monstera Need?

A Monstera plant with large, fenestrated leaves basking in bright, indirect sunlight, illustrating the ideal light needs for Monstera plants.

Different plants need varying degrees of available light to produce the food they require. The Monstera has adapted to optimize light when young by keeping its leaves free of fenestration. As the plant matures and, having climbed a host tree to brighter light, fenestration increases.

How To Take Care of a Succulent Indoors

A well-maintained succulent plant positioned indoors, with healthy and vibrant leaves in various shapes and sizes.

Succulents and cacti, which are native to semi-arid regions with sporadic rainfall, have adapted to effectively use the limited water resources in these locations. Succulents are typically sun-loving plants that require lots of light. Some species may survive in lower light conditions, but most need six to eight hours of intense light to thrive. In … Read more

How Long Do Parsnips Take To Grow At Home

A cluster of mature parsnip plants with leafy tops, representing the growth of parsnips at home.

Parsnips require similar care to their sister carrots, including deep, sandy loam oil. Their quality improves when harvested after a hard, killing frost. This same process of starch to sugar conversion caused by frost can be achieved if roots are refrigerated for a month before being consumed.

What is in Mushroom Compost?

Pile of mushroom compost, a nutrient-rich soil amendment.

Mushroom Compost could refer to one of several forms of anaerobic compost specifically formulated for mushroom cultivation. Mushroom compost could also refer to compost previously used for mushroom growing, a residuary product still loaded with plant-beneficial microbes and nutrients.

How Often To Water Philodendron

A lush green Philodendron plant in a ceramic pot, surrounded by droplets of water, highlighting the importance of proper watering for Philodendron care.

The genus Philodendrons belong to the aroid (Araceae) family and are typically found flourishing in the understory of tropical forests. This environment, known for its minimal light and high humidity, is predominantly located in Central and South America. Philodendrons prefer to stay evenly moist but not wet, so they need well-draining soil to retain some … Read more

How to Compost Chicken Manure

A compost pile containing chicken manure, vegetable scraps, and leaves, showcasing the process of composting chicken manure.

Due to its high nitrogen content, chicken manure composts faster than traditional plant-based piles. Chicken manure compost piles must be well managed to ensure high temperatures are achieved, need to kill the pathogens associated with chicken manure.

How Does a Compost Toilet Work? PROS & CONS

A diagram illustrating the functioning of a compost toilet, depicting the flow of waste, decomposition process, and resulting compost.

The main tenet of composting toilets is ecological responsibility, a behavior option fast becoming non-negotiable. Ecological sanitation (eco-san) is a strategy that tries to conserve water, reduce pollution, and return consumed nutrients to the soil.

How to Revive a Succulent

A withered succulent plant being nurtured with water, sunlight, and care, symbolizing the process of reviving a succulent.

Succulents are tolerant plants, and though they are durable and tough, they still need some attention once or twice a year. Remember, they don’t grow in deserts; their natural habitats are semi-arid regions with irregular rainfall. Even succulents need help in the hard times.

How Long Does it Take to Make Compost

A compost pile in various stages of decomposition, showcasing the process of making compost.

Composting, the managed decomposition of organic matter, depends on the availability or the right proportions of carbon, nitrogen, water, and air. The speed of composting depends on how optimal the environment is for microorganism activity (bacteria, fungi, and actinomyces).   

Succulent Turning Brown? Causes, And How to Fix

A close-up of a succulent plant with brown leaves, illustrating the issue of succulents turning brown.

Edema, a condition that causes swellings on the petioles and lower leaf surfaces, is the primary cause of succulents turning brown. Corking is caused by excessive soil moisture, insufficient light, or cold. Other causes for browning may include salt buildup, water purity, or a need for repotting.

Wiring Bonsai for Better Shape Outcomes

Bonsai tree with carefully applied wiring to shape its branches.

Good wiring takes lots of practice to do effectively. Work towards using as little wire as possible to achieve your goal. Selecting the right wire balances cost and function, with the copper wire being stronger (but more expensive) than anodized aluminum wire.

How to Compost in an Apartment

A compact indoor composting setup in an apartment, featuring a small compost bin with vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, and shredded paper.

Apartment composting can be done using natural, sanitary methods to reconstitute organic waste into humus loaded with plant nutrients and diverse microorganism populations. Increasingly science is discovering the importance of these components – something everybody can create.

How To Make Succulent Soil

A close-up of a hand holding a mixture of succulent soil, composed of well-draining materials like coarse sand, perlite, and potting mix.

Most plants, including succulents, need soils that effectively balance moisture and air availability. Sand (inorganic) drains fast but is ineffective at retaining water, while clay tends to be anaerobic (airless). The best succulent soil is a mixture of organic and inorganic materials.

How Fast Does Monstera Grow?

A Monstera plant with large, lush leaves and visible growth nodes, symbolizing the speed of Monstera growth.

Grown for its unique fruit, Monstera is a cultivated crop in warmer climates such as Florida. It is a fast-growing hemiepiphyte that can reach up to 40 feet or more (~12m plus). Indoors, Monstera will generally grow to about 4 feet, depending on the support structure provided and pot size.

6 Bonsai Styles or Forms For the Perfect Tree

Different bonsai trees showcasing various bonsai styles or forms. Bonsai Styles or Forms.

Starting a tree in a raised bed and systematically reducing its container size, roots, and foliage is a common starting process for styling a bonsai tree. Combine this with growing a sacrificial branch to thicken the trunk girth while using a tourniquet to add taper.

Anthurium Crystallinum – The Complete Care Guide

Close-up of Anthurium Crystallinum leaves showcasing its distinctive velvety texture and dark green color. Anthurium Crystallinum Care.

Anthurium plants are some of the most spectacular houseplants you’ll find. Most gardeners know the popular flamingo flower, with its vivid spathe and contrasting spadix. The A. crystallinum, also known as the Ace of Spades, has large, heart-shaped leaves with striking veined patterns.

How and When to Fertilize Bonsai Trees

Hand sprinkling granular bonsai fertilizer onto the soil surface around a bonsai tree. How and When to Fertilize Bonsai Trees.

Simplify Gardening is devoted to providing accurate and definitive information about nutritional plans, vital for the thriving development of Bonsai. We need to consider several variables to optimize fertilizer applications. Application timing must coincide with growth phases, soil temperatures, plant hardening needs, nutrient requirements, and local climates. Nutritional elements need to be specific in addressing … Read more

Where to Place Bonsai Trees For Optimal Growth?

Bonsai tree placed near a window with filtered sunlight, highlighting the importance of proper placement for optimal growth. Where to place bonsai tree.

Bonsai trees manifest a plant’s survival ability in dramatically altered but managed environments. The tree, now removed from its natural environment, depends on the gardener’s skills to ensure its continued survival. That includes where it is placed.

How To Repot Monstera Using A Moss Pole

Step-by-step guide to repotting Monstera using a moss pole, showcasing the process of supporting the plant's growth. Monstera Moss Pole.

In indoor horticulture, gardeners use structures like a moss pole for monstera support as it grows. The monstera moss pole mimics the tree in its natural habitat, and as the aerial roots attach to the moss pole, monsteras can reach heights of up to 50 feet.

How to Prune Bonsai for Shape & Structure

A pair of bonsai pruning shears carefully trimming the branches of a bonsai tree, demonstrating how to prune bonsai for shape and structure. How to Prune Bonsai.

The development of a Bonsai tree is inextricably linked to pruning or pinching, the removal of roots and shoots to create a work of art. The objective of pruning is three-fold: shaping the stock, directing growth to underdeveloped areas, and boosting ramifications.

Philodendron Verrucosum – Best Care Guide  

A close-up image of a Philodendron Verrucosum leaf, showcasing its velvety texture and striking patterns. Philodendron Verrucosum Care: Essential tips for nurturing this unique and stunning plant.

Philodendron verrucosum has pubescent (velvety) medium green leaves with lime green veining and maroon reverse coloring. As an epiphyte, verrucosums prosper if vined as early as possible. As light conditions improve, leaf size and colors improve, as does vein variegation.

Monstera pinnatipartita The Ultimate Care Guide

A captivating image showcasing the unique foliage of Monstera pinnatipartita, with its distinct fenestrations and lush green leaves. Monstera pinnatipartita Care: Essential tips for nurturing this extraordinary and rare plant.

Monstera pinnatipartita:- Pinnatipartite, in botany, refers to leaves having lobes with fenestrations that extend more than halfway toward the midrib. Less deep fenestrations are called pinnatifid, while leaves with fenestrations to the midrib are pinnatisect.

Philodendron Birkin The Ultimate Care Guide

Philodendron Birkin plant with dark green leaves and white pinstripes, showcasing its unique pattern. Philodendron Birkin Care.

The Philodendron Birkin is a hybrid of the Rojo Congo and Imperial Green cultivars, hybrids of Philodendron erubescens. One of its most distinguishing features is the dark-colored leaves with bright yellow pattern lines. It may revert to its Rojo Congo parentage, a dark red plant.

Monstera Albo – The Ultimate Care Guide

A beautiful image showcasing the distinct white-variegated leaves of a Monstera Albo plant. Monstera Albo care: Essential tips for nurturing this unique and stunning variegated plant.

The claim that Monstera Albo is a mutation of the Monstera deliciosa var. borsigiana, presenting different petiole shapes and leaf spread, is contested by Plants of the World Online (POWA) – the global plant name index. The M. borsigiana is recognized only as a synonym of the M. deliciosa.

Japanese Beetles Stop Them in Their Tracks

A close-up image of Japanese beetles on a leaf, highlighting the need to stop Japanese beetles from causing damage. Stop Japanese Beetles: Effective strategies to protect your plants.

The Japanese beetle has become a significant plant pest hazard to American agriculture and turf. Adults skeletonize the leaves and consume the fruit of several types of fruit trees, ornamental trees, shrubs, vines, and vegetable crops, while larvae feed mainly on turf roots.

Alocasia Zebrina The Ultimate Care Guide

The Alocasia genus, like the Philodendrons and Monsteras, is from the Arum family (Araceae), generally referred to as the Aroids. These plants all prefer high light levels, don’t like direct sun, and need well-draining, organically rich soil.

Do Jade Plants Purify The Air In Your Home?

An image of a Jade Plant in a well-lit indoor setting, emphasizing the topic of Jade Plants purifying the air. Do Jade Plants Purify the Air: Unveiling the truth.

Jade plants purify the air in your home by absorbing certain airborne chemical compounds. Compared to other plants shown to improve air quality in homes, like Dracaena and pothos, jade plants have proven to be one of the most effective.

Variegated Monstera – Is Their Price Justified?

An image of a Variegated Monstera leaf, showcasing its unique variegation with white and green patterns. Variegated Monstera pricing: Is it worth the investment?

The perceived worth of a variegated Monstera is measured by the price the market is willing to pay. Its actual value is escalated by emphasizing limited supply, aesthetic appeal, individual uniqueness, and the status awarded to those able to grow them successfully.

N’Joy Pothos: Care & Propagation Guide

N’Joy Pothos (Epipremnum aureum aka E. pinnatum) is characterized by very compact growth and bright, distinctive green and white variegation. As a sub-cultivar of the ‘Marble Queen,’ it was patented in the United States, patent PP19,065, in 2009 after cultivation in Mumbai, India.

Jade Plant Pest and Disease. Keep it Beautiful

Close-up of a jade plant leaf with visible signs of pest infestation and disease. Learn how to protect your jade plant from pests and diseases.

Jade plant leaves are sensitive to chemicals contained in pesticides. Fungal infections and pests are easily treated using neem oil, among other homemade remedies. Diseases are difficult to control, and you will need to dispose of the entire plant.

Jade Plants, Are They Poisoning You?

A jade plant on a table with caution sign symbolizing potential poisoning. Examining the question, "Are Jade Plants Poisoning You?"

Jade plants have toxicity levels, but they are only poisonous to humans and cause diarrhea and vomiting when ingested with a hefty dose. On the other hand, house pets such as dogs and cats are the most susceptible to its poisonous effects.

Do Snake Plants (Dracaena) Keep Bugs Away?

A close-up of a snake plant leaf with a ladybug crawling on it. Exploring the question, "Do Snake Plants Keep Bugs Away?"

Snake plants have a chemical called Saponin that keeps mosquitoes away but NOT spider mites and mealybugs. Without proper care, bugs like aphids can attack your Sansevieria plant, and this plant will protect you from insects and the diseases they carry.

Watering Jade Plants: A Complete Guide

A jade plant being watered with care, demonstrating the proper watering technique for optimal growth.

You can water your Jade plants once every two to three weeks if you keep them indoors, more often if kept outdoors or in the summer season. Since they are succulents, they can keep water from their leaves for quite a while.

How To Propagate Tillandsia (Air Plants)?

Propagate Air Plants - Step-by-step guide on how to propagate Tillandsia (Air Plants).

There are ways to propagate tillandsias, such as Offsets or Pups, which take less time and effort and have higher success rates. Seeds a great but take long periods to grow, They are is recommended when you don’t have an existing tillandsia.

How Long Can Air Plants Live Without Water?

A healthy air plant exhibiting its resilience, surviving without water for an extended period.

Air plants can live for two weeks without water. And even though the plant is still alive, its health is affected. You should soak your air plants in water at least once in two weeks and mist them once a week regarding the proper watering schedule.

Will Mushrooms Grow in Winter? The facts!

A cluster of mushrooms emerging from the forest floor in the winter season.

You can grow common edible mushroom varieties indoors with controlled growing conditions using grow kits, mushroom logs or spawn. The mushrooms can also be overwintered in the cold months to have an early crop as the weather gets warm.

How To Know What Monstera Variety You Have?

A variety of Monstera plants showcasing distinct leaf shapes and patterns, aiding in identifying Monstera varieties.

Monstera is distinguished by how the leaves are attached to the stem. Also, the size and shape of their holes. It is difficult to tell the un-variegated plants apart. However, as they gain fenestrations, you can see the variety and identify them.

15 Best Wheelbarrows to Save Your Back

Best Wheelbarrows - Explore 15 top wheelbarrows to save your back during heavy lifting.

Wheelbarrows are indispensable tools for outdoor labor, facilitating the movement of heavy objects from place to place with greater simplicity. They prove particularly useful for activities pertaining to gardening, construction, or landscaping tasks. Regardless of the load you need to move, a wheelbarrow enables this with significantly less energy expended. You will agree that garden … Read more