SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Lifestyle

May 10, 2013

Broken pots, raised beds and hydrangeas

Q: Should I put a piece of broken pottery or stones in the bottom of every pot or container I’m planting? What about in window boxes?

A: Yes! There are several reasons you need something to cover the drainage hole in the bottom of any container. One is to keep the soil from running out every time you water, which is unattractive on your deck and wastes the soil, as well. Another is to assure drainage and make sure the soil doesn’t clog the drainage hole. Pot shards are fine, or use gravel or stone if available. Or borrow an old trick from the people who grow bonsai, those little trees that must have proper drainage: Use a piece of wire window screen — save the pieces of torn screen that you are replacing, or ask your repairman to save you some screen scraps. Unlike added stone, screen is weightless and can be easily cut to fit the bottom of odd-sized pots and window boxes. Another option is using a disposable drip coffee pot filter over the drain hole. Filters are relatively inexpensive, and they’ll last through a season or two. The porous paper filter allows water to slowly drip out of the pot, keeps soil in the pot where it belongs, keeps bugs from crawling into the pot, weighs nothing and is biodegradable.

Q: I think I want to try building a raised bed this year, because I’ve read they are warmer and I can plant earlier. But I rent my house and don’t want it be a big expense, and I might not want it to be permanent — so I don’t want to spend a lot in case I don’t like it! Any suggestions?

A: No matter where you live, the climate presents challenges for gardeners who grow their own food. In the North, cold is a limiting factor for some crops. A raised bed will warm up faster in the spring and can be planted sooner. In the fall, the reverse is true — it holds heat longer, so you buy another week or so of growing time. But there are other reasons to make raised beds:

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Lifestyle
  • North Shore religion calendar Saturday, April 19 Easter Bunny Breakfast & Egg Hunt, 10 a.m. to noon, Northshore Unitarian Universalist Church, 323 Locust St., Danvers. The youth groups of Northshore and Beverly Unitarian Universalist churches will hold an Easter breakfast and egg

    April 19, 2014

  • North Shore religion news in brief The Rev. Marya DeCarlen has been named the new, full-time priest in charge at All Saints Episcopal Church of the North Shore in Danvers. DeCarlen's ministry with the parish begins Sunday, April 27. Her appointment comes after the church's yearlong in

    April 19, 2014

  • Dear Abby: Teenage girl’s boyish figure is often deceiving to others Dear Abby: I'm a 14-year-old girl with a problem. Because of my buzzed short hair, slim hips and flat chest, I frequently get mistaken for a boy. It really bothers me because, despite my haircut and body shape, I have a feminine face and I wear women

    April 19, 2014

  • This weekend's Best Bets Best Bets for Saturday and Sunday, April 19 and 20

    Looking for something to do this weekend? Here are The Salem News' Best Bets:

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Vet Connection: Is it OK to give a dog a bone? We have all seen the cartoons and commercials depicting dogs burying bones and stashing them away for later. Unfortunately, most pet owners are completely unaware of the significant risks and problems that are associated with feeding dogs these treat

    April 18, 2014

  • Ask Dog Lady: Why is my dog fascinated with burying things? Dear Dog Lady, My dog came across a dead cat at the park and proceeded to bury the cat with surrounding leaves by using her nose and pushing the leaves over the dead cat. Two days later, we went back to the park, and she found the dead cat again and

    April 18, 2014

  • ed Ipswich author to share drawing techniques Most of Ed Emberley's 80 children's books, 20 of which are still in print, have one goal in mind. "Showing the kids you can draw; everybody can draw something," he said. "They get encouragement from working with the simplest thing." Emberley will giv

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • holtenhouse Quick pick 'Voices From the Back Stairs' Jennifer Pustz of Historic New England presents "Voices From the Back Stairs" tomorrow at 2, at the Judge Samuel Holten House, 171 Holten St., Danvers. In her presentation, Pustz explores domestic service in 19th- and 20

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dear Abby: Assistant’s gruff attitude needs to be smoothed out Dear Abby: How do I deal with an assistant who keeps calling me a "brown-noser"? She did it again yesterday at a staff meeting in front of my boss and another assistant. It was the third time she has said it. She is gruff and rude, and several people

    April 18, 2014

  • Friday's Best Bets Best Bets for Friday, April 18

    Looking for something to do today? Here are The Salem News' Best Bets:

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

NDN Video
Comments Tracker