- Hi, thanks for joining us for The Family Plot: Gardening in the Mid-South.
I'm Chris Cooper.
Mint will quickly take over your garden.
Today, we're going to learn how to contain it.
Also, we will talk about avoiding some common landscape mistakes.
That's just ahead on The Family Plot: Gardening in the Mid-South.
- (female announcer) Production funding for The Family Plot: Gardening in the Mid-South is provided by the WKNO Production Fund, the WKNO Endowment Fund, and by viewers like you, thank you.
[upbeat country music] - Welcome to The Family Plot.
I'm Chris Cooper.
Joining me today is Mr. John Peterson.
Mr. John is of Memphis-area master gardener, and Joellen Dimond will be joining me later.
All right, Mr. John, welcome back to our Family Plot Garden.
- Hey, good to be here.
- Beautiful herb garden it is.
- So now we're gonna talk about containing mint.
- All right.
- Are you ready to tackle that?
Can we get it contained?
- Well, good luck, but-- - Okay, good luck.
- There are some things we can do that, well make it less than it might be.
- So this started life as a pot that a shrub came in, but I have altered it.
- So it doesn't have a bottom, because if we sunk this in the ground and put the plant in it, there would be a real drainage problem.
- So, yeah.
The way I describe this is, you sink this in the ground.
Realistically, you dig a hole, you put this in the ground- - Right.
- And you fill the dirt back in.
And this keeps the mint stolons from going all over the garden.
Now, stolons are underground stems.
And you know, they- - They just run, yeah.
- They will take off and then they'll root.
And so, you can wind up with just a mess of mint.
And, and I mean, they do.
There's basically two kinds of mint.
There's peppermint and spearmint.
- And then there are other hybrids, lemon mint and pineapple mint and so on.
But I think, you know, they mostly come from one or the other.
And I don't know, I have read somewhere that there wasn't that distinction until around 1700.
- Oh gosh.
[laughs] - I never knew.
- It was slightly before my childhood.
[Chris laughs] - Right.
- But anyway, so, shall we dig a hole?
- Let's do it.
- Let's do it.
- Are you volunteering?
- I am volunteering.
- Oh, all right then.
- Sure, I got the gloves here, Mr. John.
We can do that.
Just gonna move that to the side, right?
- Oregano is another plant that can be invasive.
- Oh, really?
- Yeah, sometimes I... have done the same thing, now let's see.
I think maybe we need to go a little deeper.
- A little deeper?
- Yeah, be careful there.
Some of it right there.
- Ah, ready?
- Ah, look at there.
- How about that?
- Look at there.
- Okay, we're happy with that?
We'll have a little bit of a lip above the soil, that's fine.
- Okay, that's fine?
- All right.
- All right.
Well, some of this, we can just fill in the outside, maybe use the shovel to get that inside the pot again.
- Like that?
- Grab a little bit of that.
- All right, can I borrow your trowel?
- Thank you.
The stolons will not go down and come up from under that barrier.
They may go over the top, and if they do, they may root.
But you've eliminated a lot of possibilities where they can do that.
I'll just push up some more of that.
- All right Mr. Jones, so what happens if a stolon escapes?
What do we do then?
- You pull it up by the root.
- Wash it off and eat it.
[Chris chuckles] - Wash it off and eat it.
- I mean, it's a mint, right?
- It's a mint.
- Any other special attention, watering or anything we need to be concerned about?
- No, mints tend to like a little more water than some herbs.
Sometimes they're happy with some afternoon shade.
Sometimes they don't care.
- And you know, as many times as you cut it, it will come back.
- Oh, okay.
- I know people who cut it off at the ground, that always makes me nervous, but it always comes back, but it still makes me nervous.
It just looks so violent.
[both laugh] - Just looks violent.
- All right, well it's gonna be in full sun here, so- - Yes.
- Hopefully it doesn't care.
- It'll be happy.
- It'll be happy.
Thank you Mr. Jones.
We appreciate that.
- Thank you.
[upbeat country music] - Sometime people ask about fertilizing herbs, and I have heard it said that if the herbs grow in too fertile a soil, they don't have as good flavor.
I've also heard from very good sources that that doesn't make any difference, but herbs are very forgiving.
They're frequently just, they're happy.
You don't need to fertilize them.
Certainly don't fertilize them heavily.
Adding compost is always a good idea.
Keep the soil light, even if it's not heavily fertilized.
[upbeat country music] - All right, Joellen, let's talk about avoiding those common landscape mistakes.
And I'm pretty sure I have a lot of mistakes in my landscape.
- Oh, and I'm sure that I have done them over the years too, which is how, you know, you're supposed to learn from your mistakes.
- That's right, and you're gonna teach us.
- And we're gonna talk about some of 'em.
- All right, okay.
- Planting trees, shrubs, annuals, perennials, too deep.
- I've been there, okay.
- This is a very common mistake that a lot of people make.
What they don't understand is in a container, the soil level in the container should be the same soil level that is there when they plant it.
So you really don't put dirt up over the top of the soil that is existing in the container.
So you are gonna plant up to it because then when you mulch, you'll be mulching over the top of it so it will get covered.
- But you really don't wanna bury the top of the root balls or any of the containers that you're planting.
Now, balled and burlapped trees are probably the worst because you really, sometimes you cannot tell where the actual soil level is on those, because by the process of them making the root ball, they will pull up the soil sometimes over the top and of course it's covered and you can't always see it.
So just be aware of that.
That's why I tend to plant them a little bit high.
So when I open it up, the root ball, I'll can see where the soil level is and most likely it is either equal or slightly above the existing soil level and that's perfect.
- So that's that one.
- And then of course, correct watering.
- Oh boy.
- Oh my goodness.
[laughs] - We get all the- A lot of questions we get here are because of somebody over watering or under watering, you know, a particular plant.
So you need to research your plants and find out what kind of environment that they like.
And it's gonna be different for every season of the year.
The sunlight's different, the temperature is different.
And when you plant a plant, it's different.
So it depends on how long ago you planted that plant.
If you haven't planted it very long, it doesn't have roots in the existing soil, so it may need to be watered a little bit more than something that is already established.
- So you just gotta kind of have to pay attention.
And the best way I can tell is to research what kind of plants you're planting, put 'em in the right place, and then monitor with your moisture meter, which is your hand.
- Which is this.
[laughs] - Yes, I mean, you stick your finger in the ground.
Don't just look at it and say, oh, it looks like it needs water.
Put your hand in the ground.
Is the soil moist?
- Does it really need to be watered?
So that's how you do correct watering.
- And I'll tell you something else for that, too.
I usually tell people to group plants by water requirements.
- So you don't wanna put a drought-tolerant plant, you know, in the same position where you have, you know, a plant that needs a lot of water.
- That's correct.
- Yeah, I agree.
That's, and that's part of the research.
- Right, it's part of the research, right.
- And then the second one is the right plant in the right place, which is exactly what you were just saying.
- If you, if you've got the right plants, you know, you research them, you know the kind of water requirements that they need, the environment that they need, the sun, the shade, whatever it is, then you can plant them in the correct place.
The other thing is, this is, mature size of the tree.
- The tree, the shrub, whatever you're planting, think, find out what the mature size of it is so that you don't crowd it.
Because then if it's crowded, you're not gonna get airflow.
You're gonna get diseases and then maybe bugs popping up with them.
- So that all is a factor in where it's planted in the right place.
- Makes sense.
- Power lines.
- Yes, good one.
- I have just watched somebody in a new planting, plant a little whole row of trees.
And if you look up, they're right under power lines, I mean, seriously.
- What a mistake.
- Could you not have planted them 10 or 20 feet, you know, further back and gotten the same effect?
- Oh boy.
- But then they wouldn't be in the power lines, so- - Yeah, 'cause we know what's gonna happen when it yeah, starts to grow up into the power lines.
- So just watch the power lines and the mature size of your trees.
That's the important part about that.
Oh, pruning mistakes.
- Now I love to prune, one of my favorite horticulture practices is pruning.
- You like pruning like that?
- I love pruning.
But some people plant, prune at the wrong time of the year.
- And the biggest problem is the shrubs and trees that bloom.
- Right, I would agree.
- And the biggest way I can say, the best rule is after it finishes blooming, prune it.
- Prune it, okay.
- That way you're more apt to not get into the time of year that it's trying to set blooms for the next year.
But a lot of times people will cut off the blooms for next year, but prune it as soon as it finishes blooming, you won't have that problem.
- We get that question a lot at the Extension Office.
When should I prune this, right?
Yeah, it's a good point, okay.
- Yeah, like research your plants.
- How about girdling?
Oh my goodness, trees and branches.
There's so many things that can girdle a tree.
You know, if you put it too close to a fence, you'll note if you've ever seen trees and plants growing into fences.
- I have, I have.
- Even the plastic tags that identify the plants, that, the tree can't make 'em go away.
- That's right, right.
- They kind of include them in there and, but that restricts the water and air movement around that.
So you don't want that.
- And you're, it's just, it's just not gonna work very well.
- The other thing that girdles a tree is weed eating around it or- - Yes.
- Actually mowing and hitting the trunk of a tree, that can, you know- Every time you you have a callous on your finger from writing, you know, you get a callous on certain parts of your finger.
That's what happens when you're weed eating around the trunk of a tree.
You don't see it, but there's a callous there and it's affecting the water flow and uptake of the tree.
And essentially it girdles the tree.
- Right, wow, ol' weed eater blight.
- How about staking trees too tightly?
- Staking trees, which I've seen all around the landscape here.
- You know?
It's nice to have staked trees 'cause you know, I understand you don't want it to move and you don't want it to fall over 'cause you've taken a lot of time, especially on large trees.
And I agree they should be staked if it's a large tree and they don't want it to blow over.
- But they shouldn't be taut, they should be loose.
So that you want to see the tree in the wind be able to move- - Right.
- Just a little bit because that's gonna create, the tree is going to produce what they call reaction wood.
- Okay, I've heard that.
- And that will help the tree learn to stand up on its own.
- Because if you don't- If you tie it tightly and don't let it move- - You restrict the movement.
- It's never gonna learn to have reaction wood to be able to stand up.
- Okay, that's good.
- Scalping grass.
- Scalping the grass, oh-oh.
I mean everybody has that one place that, you know, they keep going, oh-oh, well it, oh, it looks a little brown.
Well, I guess I scalped that little section, that's okay.
Well just fix it, either raise it or lower it, whatever you need to do.
And then you won't have that scalped place anymore.
And it's usually the level of the soil- - Right.
- That's affecting that.
- And it will brown out, so yeah, it doesn't look good.
- So that's another one, common mistake.
Knowing the difference between an annual and perennial.
How many times do we get a question?
Is this an annual or is this a perennial?
And you know, the majority of plants end up being perennials.
Because trees, shrubs, you know, all are perennials.
They stay around all the time.
And that's the difference between an annual and a perennial.
An annual completes its entire life cycle in one growing season.
- And then it doesn't live anymore.
- Except if in the tropics.
[laughs] - Huh, yeah.
- You know, when it gets to be warm outside, doesn't freeze and it's gonna continue to live.
But everywhere else it will complete its season of living in one year- - Okay.
- And then it will die.
Perennials stay around year after year.
- I like perennials.
- Bulbs, planting the right side up.
I mean, you know, if you do make a mistake and plant one upside down, it will grow.
- It will?
Okay, I always wondered that.
- But it will take longer and take more energy to turn itself around, 'cause it will try to right itself.
- But it, just watch, and usually- - You can tell, right?
- The point, and sometimes this is what people get confused with.
- All right.
- Sometimes bulbs are starting to, the stalk is starting to come out, not the roots but the stalk.
- I gotcha.
- And they think that's a root.
- Okay, I gotcha, I see.
- And so you know, just try to look on the bottoms, around on the bulbs and if you see a wider area that looks like there's small little holes and a circle around it, that usually is a key that it's going to be roots.
So you put that side down in the, and the other side up.
But usually there's a point that, you know, there'll be some sheathing around the bulbs and they'll come up to a little bit of a point and that's the top to face up.
- The worst thing- [Chris laughs] - I like this one.
- Everybody is guilty of this, myself included.
- Include me in that as well.
- Impulse buying.
Not having the plan, not knowing what the plan is.
Just going out and say, oh, I really like this plant.
And then they're gonna come get it and plant it.
And this is the problem, you know, you may not know a place to put it right away.
So what do you do, you let it sit out.
- To sit, yeah, garage or outside, yeah.
- And then you forget to water it or you to water it too much.
And if you're gonna do a lot of impulse buying, I suggest to have an area that you would plant it in the ground and so it'll be in the ground while you're trying to figure out where to put it.
- All right, I like that though.
I'll see if I can do that, but yeah, impulse buying, yeah- - Impulse buying.
- I think we all are guilty.
If you're a plant person, you're guilty of that.
- Definitely guilty of that, yes.
- All right, appreciate that Joellen.
Good stuff, avoiding those landscape mistakes.
Let's see if we can get better with that next time.
- Yeah, myself included.
[upbeat country music] - After you've had your tank sprayer for a few years, the valve right here on the sprayer might start to stick.
So this is what would happen.
If you notice I'm spraying, but as I let go of the valve, it still sprays.
It takes a while for that valve to close and that's because it's starting to get gummy in there.
So I'm gonna show you how to fix that.
So the first thing I'm gonna do is let the pressure outta my tank sprayer.
And I just have water in here right now.
And then you unscrew this little piece right here, that's on the underside of your valve.
And inside, be careful when you do this, inside there can be some small pieces.
So there's usually gonna be a spring of some sort, which I'm gonna take out.
And you're gonna kind of have to screw it out.
And down inside here is where the actual valve is.
And so what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna lubricate the valve using some petroleum jelly.
Now if you notice I don't have a big container of petroleum jelly here because this is pesticides and I don't want to get pesticides into the petroleum jelly I might use for something else.
So I transferred some of it into this bag so that I wouldn't waste the whole container.
So I'm gonna take it, put it on my finger and just go ahead.
I'm going to depress this trigger and go ahead and try and just get some in there.
And then I'm going to go ahead and put the spring back in and that'll kind of push it all back into the- Push it in there, put this- Put the cap back on.
And now I'm just gonna go ahead and exercise the valve a little bit 'cause I have to get the petroleum jelly into, it has to work itself in.
So now that we're done exercising this valve and kind of pulling the petroleum jelly into the working parts so that it lubricates it, let's go ahead and re-pressurize our sprayer.
[sprayer squeaks] And now it turns off as I let go of the trigger.
So you might have to do that every couple of years as the petroleum jelly wears out or gets sprayed out the end.
But that's how you can revitalize your sprayer valves.
[upbeat country music] - Mr. John, here's our Q & A segment, are you ready?
- These are good questions.
Here's our first viewer email.
"Hi, can I use alcohol soaked Q-tips "to manually clean off mealybugs instead of using systemic insecticides?"
And this is Lisa.
So I actually like this question, right?
She doesn't want to use the systemic insecticides.
I mean, could you understand that?
I could definitely understand that.
- But she wants to use the alcohol soaked Q-tips.
She can actually do that and it actually works pretty well when you have light infestations, okay.
- If you have a lot of those mealybugs there, then yeah, you have to consider using the soaps, insecticidal soaps and the oils.
- Like neem oil.
- Neem oil would be one.
Read and follow the label on that, Ms. Lisa.
So that's what I would do.
And this is probably, I'm wondering if this is a indoor plant.
So you have any thoughts about, you know, using- - When I read the question, I wondered if it was an indoor plant.
- Yeah, I wondered if it, yeah indoor.
Yeah 'cause I don't think I would use a systemic insecticide, you know, period.
You know, whether it was indoor or outdoor, you know.
You can see them, very pronounced these mealybugs.
Yeah, and if you have a light infestation, again, you could use the Q-tips that are soaked in alcohol.
Be careful not to dab the leaves, you know, with the alcohol 'cause you don't wanna damage the leaves.
- But that's what I would do.
I would use that in instead of the systemic insecticides.
So there you go, Ms. Lisa, good for you.
All right, be careful.
Read and follow the label, all right?
Here's our next viewer email.
"I have yellow and black ca terpillars eating my parsley.
What are they and how do I control them?"
And this is Steve from Memphis, Tennessee.
So Mr. Jones, what are those yellow and black caterpillars?
- Those are the larvae of the swallowtail butterfly, almost certainly.
- Almost certainly.
And they can defoliate your plant in a couple of days, but the plant will come back and, 'cause they'll move on to another one, and they will attack just about an y member of that family, parsley, cilantro, fennel.
And I know people that deliberately plant plants of that family just to attract the swallowtail.
And then, you know, they go through, they chew everything in sight, they move on to the next plant and you know, you need to be patient.
- Be patient.
- That word's coming up again today.
- Right, mm-hm.
- But the plant should recover.
- The plant should recover.
- And then you've you've fed those beautiful butterflies.
- That's right.
It's a good thing, it's a good thing.
Yeah, so those plants are in the carrot family, right?
- Black swallowtail butterfly.
- It's the state butterfly.
- Is it?
- I didn't know that.
- So it's a beautiful butterfly.
Plant more, you know, if you're concerned.
And as far as controlling them, you don't really have to.
- Just again, just plant more.
If you want to just pick 'em off, you know, put 'em somewhere else.
- You can do that, but outside of that- - Yeah.
- Think it'll be fine.
- But don't kill 'em, just put 'em someplace.
- Put 'em somewhere else.
That's what I would do, just put 'em somewhere else.
So thank you for that question, Mr. Steve.
Here's our next viewer email.
"Can you grow herbs and vegetables together?"
And this is Kathy.
I think that's an interesting question.
So what do you think about that, ca n you grow 'em together?
- Absolutely, he says, okay, all right.
- Yeah, I mean the herbs that are perennials that are going to spread, you know, they may not be convenient in a vegetable garden where you've got things in rows, but you can put them in their own row on the side.
You can put them in pots.
The ones that are really invasive, like the mints and the oreganos, I would certainly put in pots or put in something that will keep those stolons from branching out.
I know people who really believe that herbs can be companion plants and- - Ah, that's the term.
- Prevent or discourage diseases or discourage insect pests.
And I don't know that everybody agrees about that- - Yeah.
- But on the other hand, they look good.
- They look good, right?
- And you're growing them so- - And they make for better flavor and things like that.
So you have any examples for us of herbs that grow well with certain vegetables?
- The one I remember because it works in the kitchen too, is grow basil with your tomatoes.
- Ah, yeah.
- You know, and so that's the one I remember.
- Yeah, basil, tomatoes, I've heard basil, peppers, right.
And I've also heard lettuce and mint, believe it or not, to confuse snails.
- That's what some of the old timers would tell me.
- There you go.
But you can grow 'em together.
- So Ms. Kathy, you can grow those together.
If anything, and Mr. John said it looks good, right?
- It looks good, and it will help out flavor too as well, all right?
So thank you for that question, Ms. Kathy.
We appreciate that.
All right, here's our next viewer email.
"Why are my spinach, lettuce "and other cool-season crops flowering?
Can I still eat them?"
And this is Angela.
It's an interesting question.
So it has gotten a little warm, you know, here in Memphis, right?
I bet you I know what's happening, right?
So when it starts to warm up, it's a signal to the plant to start- - Going to seed.
- Go to seed.
So it goes to flower, it goes to seed.
Have you had that experience before?
- Oh, sure.
- And can you still eat them?
Do they taste okay?
I mean that's the question.
- That's the question, right.
- Because when lettuce goes to seed, it can start to taste really bitter.
- Oh yeah.
- But you know, pick a leaf and eat it, and if it tastes bitter, then don't do it.
And if it tastes fine, then use it.
There's not a problem with, you know, it's not anything toxic in the plant.
- Right, right.
- It's just- - It's just bitter.
- You're going through the series, the cycle.
- Just bitter.
Yeah, so again, it's just warming up.
Again, these are cool-season crops and it just starts to warm up, yeah.
I mean they're thinking, okay, yeah, it's time to produce a flower, it's time to, you know, get those seeds going, you know, and that's it.
So of course it's gonna be bitter.
Some of those plants you can plant in fall, too.
- Yes you can.
- And you get a little bit of a crop if the winter isn't too bad.
- That's right.
- You may last through the whole time.
So yeah, get out what you can now, come back in the fall.
Plant in the fall and you don't have to worry about that bitter taste.
So thank you Angela, we appreciate that question.
All right, Mr. John, that was fun.
Thank you much.
- Thank you.
- All right.
- Remember we love to hear from you.
Send us a email or letter.
The email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, and the mailing address is Family Plot, 7151 Cherry Farms Road, Cordova, Tennessee, 38016.
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That's all we have time for today.
Thanks for watching.
If you want to learn more about anything we talked about today, head on over to familyplotgarden.com.
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Be sure to join us next week for The Family Plot: Gardening in the Mid-South.
[upbeat country music] [acoustic guitar chords]