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Sowing Seeds and Reaching Out To a Reader With Ailing Leyland Cypresses
By Amanda Whatley Owen

web posted February 5, 2018

GARDENING –   With spring approaching, now is the time to start sowing the seeds for your summer garden.  There are so many different things out there to help accommodate seed growing.  I want to share a few with you, as well as a few of my favorite veggie and herb seeds planting processes.

The first thing I do when getting ready to sow my veggie and herb seeds, is to make a list.  Having an organized list of what veggies you want to grow and the number of plants you will need definitely helps when you get ready to purchase your seeds.  I personally use, and always recommend, Burpee Seed website.  Most garden centers carry Burpee brand seeds, and the website has many varieties, tips, tools, and lots of discounts and promo codes. On each packet, and in each online description, the company will have how many days till the seed germinates and how long you will need to grow your seedlings until they are ready to be put out in the garden.   For example, most peppers and tomatoes start to sprout in two weeks and are ready for replanting.  They'll be producing within 30 days. 

In addition to the Burpees website, most garden centers carry mini greenhouses, which I find helpful.  These mini greenhouses are useful and great to have on your porch or even in your home for seeds to grow in a perfect environment.
They also have self watering systems which perfect for seed-sowing beginners.  This helps eliminate over watering your seeds, keeping them moist, but not soppy wet. There are seed pellets, to keep down the mess, and help with the cost of seed starting soil. Then there are growing lights, and misters that also help with a miniature greenhouse effect if you do not use the mini greenhouse that we talked about earlier.  Don't forget the labels to help identify seeds.  These will be very handy when trying to identify very similar looking seedlings.
You'll also find tools to help shake the seeds out for those who plant straight into the earth, but beware.  Seeds planted in this fashion have a smaller chance to survive. I always suggest seed starting soil, which comes in small bags, and can be found at any garden center.  You can make your own by taking normal potting mix and adding vermiculite in with the soil.  The vermiculite helps with drainage to ensure the seed with not get too wet and rot.
I do not fertilize my seeds when they are young, I simply plant, keep moist, and ensure they stay in a warm, humid, and light environment.  After around the second to third week in April, when we are done with the last frost, it's okay to plant in the earth or transplant to a large patio container for a container garden. 

I have gotten on a fresh herb kick lately, and highly enjoy growing rosemary, basil, parsley, oregano, and mint...this year I am trying spearmint.  I highly suggest keeping the herbs in a controlled planter or a small pot in your kitchen windsill.  Mint, especially, can become quite invasive.  Another added plus to growing in your kitchen is that bthey are right where they need to be for easy access when cooking up some delicious meals or making tasty beverages.
Veggie-wise, I like Roma  and Better Boy tomatoes.  I also enjoy pickling cucumbers, crookneck squash, and rattlesnake watermelon. These are a few of my garden favorites. What are your garden favorites?

To the reader with the Leyland Cypress tree question…
One reader has some mature Leyland Cypress trees which have been browning.  They have tried clipping the brown off the tree to maintain cleanliness of the plant, but can not seem to figure out what is causing the problem.  Well, there are a number of very common problems that could be causing this.
Larvae of bagworms like to weave their bags to the needles of these trees.  The needles camouflage them and while living in their bags, they feed off the chlorophyll in the needles.  The chlorophyll is what provides the tree with it's lush green color, so without it, the needles start to turn brown.
Mites can also be a cause, if the needles start to turn yellow first then go brown.  The yellow is the beginning to a mite infestation and the brown is a heavy one.
There can also be cankers, or fungal disease, which is a disease that a lot of cypress trees.  This disease can basically cut off the circulation to the limbs causing them to turn brown and drop needles.  Depending how far gone the trees are, I would suggest treating with a product called Bayer Advanced 3 in 1 Insect, Disease and Mite control.  It costs about $16 and you can get from any garden center.  It's a concentrated solution so you will need a sprayer to mix it.  I would treat the trees and the earth around it every other week.
Make sure the trees are not getting too wet in the area they are in, and ensure they are getting enough sun.  Continue to keep the trees clean.
Once April arrives, I would suggest using another product called Bayer Advanced Tree and Shrub Protect and Feed Dual Action Formula.  This will help provide nutrients to the trees as well as protect them from any future invaders.  This product will also need to be mixed and soaked into the earth around the trees, not on the limbs.  This product cost about $18.  I hope this was some help to you.
Please let me know how this works out for you.
I look forward to reader questions so if anyone has something they'd like to ask, feel free to drop me a line at edgefielddaily@att.net.

Swing by next week when Cupid pays a visit to Mandy's Friendly Garden.

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