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Dealing with fruit from female ginkgo trees.

QUESTION: How can I tell whether I am looking at a male ginkgo tree or a less desirable female ginkgo tree if the nursery where I am shopping is unsure? J.M., Watauga

ANSWER: You can’t. I don’t worry about it. My large ginkgo is female, but it was supposed to be male. I gather the fruit each year and use it to propagate more trees.

QUESTION: I need to relocate a vegetable garden because a large tree is shading the area. Unfortunately, my neighbor’s zoysia grass is invading the area where I plan to put a new raised bed.I don’t want to dig grass out of the vegetable garden for the rest of my life. How can I keep his grass out of my veggie bed? C.G., Kingwood

ANSWER: If the grass is zoysia, it shouldn’t be a problem. Zoysia is very slow-growing. Metal garden edging should be the only barrier you need to keep it out of the garden.  You can occasionally spray a vinegar herbicide near the edging to further control encroaching grass. Zoysia is easy to control.

QUESTION: Which gardenias do you recommend for Dallas? Should I plant gardenias in raised beds for proper drainage? And should I use peat moss in the planting mix? J.A., Dallas

ANSWER: The best gardenias for North Texas are full-size varieties, not dwarfs, and they should be planted in full sun. I don’t recommend the use of peat moss in planting mixes because biologically rich soil is crucial for healthy plants. Peat moss is anti-microbial. Gardenias and roses need compost, sugars and rock minerals in the soil. They also benefit from growing in slightly raised beds and from the use of shredded mulch around the plants. You can read more about bed preparation on my website.  To control diseases and pest insects on roses and gardenias, spray monthly, starting this month, with Garrett Juice, Thrive and Bio-Wash. You can make Garrett Juice by using a formula on my website or buy it ready-to-use. Other good mixtures sold in stores include John’s Recipe Liquid Fertilizer and Maestro-Gro Source One Sea Spray. Apple cider vinegar is missing from some products, so you should add 1 ounce of vinegar per gallon of spray. Thrive and Bio-Wash are available at many stores that sell organic garden products.

QUESTION: I would like a larger vegetable harvest next year. How much compost and molasses should I use when planting vegetables in a 55-gallon barrel? J.O., Denton

ANSWER: Use a couple of 5-gallon buckets of high-quality compost and at least 1 cup of liquid molasses. Add a cup of liquid seaweed, a cup of vinegar and a cup of liquid fish (also labeled fish hydrolysate) and you should achieve even better results.  These are minimum amounts. You could use up to twice as much compost and up to 1 quart each of the other ingredients in a 55-gallon barrel. You also could make a large batch of Garrett Juice using most of the ingredients noted above.

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