Carter’s Garden Blog


Lets get started Composting!
November 21, 2015, 9:06 pm
Filed under: Landscaping & Gardening | Tags: ,

We had a few calls on the show Friday about HOW- TO start a compost pile. Here is a little info to help get you started –

FALL is one of my Favorite seasons! Cooler weather, Fall planting and gardening and all the great family gatherings and food are wonderful. Fall is also a GREAT time to start a compost pile. All those leaves, plants and grasses to cut back and all of the upcoming holiday food scraps add up too a great supply of usable components in a compost pile!
Starting a Compost pile is quick , easy and won’t cost you anything to get started! Compost is one of nature’s best mulches and soil amendments and you can use it instead of chemical fertilizers. Compost improves soil structure, texture and increases the soil’s water-holding capacity. Compost loosens clay soils and helps sandy soils to retain water. The organic matter in compost provides food for microorganisms, which in turn keeps the soil in a healthy, balanced condition. Nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus are produced naturally by the feeding of microorganisms, so few if any soil amendments will need to be added.

Use your leaves, grass clippings and kitchen scraps to make compost that can be used as soil amendment and mulch!

Use your leaves, grass clippings and kitchen scraps to make compost that can be used as soil amendment and mulch!


It’s easy to get started .

-Bag your grass clippings and mulch up all those leaves for the compost pile!

-Save those kitchen scraps and add them to the compost pile. Kitchen scraps are typically high in nitrogen, which helps heat up the compost pile and speed up the composting process. Egg shells, coffee grounds, fruit and vegetable peels and scraps are good candidates for the compost pie. But DON’T add meat, grease or other animal products!

– With a compost pile, bigger is often better. Heat builds up with a bigger pile, but you don’t want to get much bigger than about 3 feet by 3 feet, if it’s too big it can be hard to work around. Multiple piles may be in order .

– Aerate your compost! If you are composting with a pile, or in a static (non-tumbling) compost bin, be sure to mix up the contents so that the pile gets oxygen and can break down effectively. Insert a few pvc pipes to get oxygen to the core and Turn it with a pitch fork from time to time .

– Don’t let the compost completely dry out. A compost pile needs moisture to keep the composting process active , BUT , don’t keep it too wet.

– Too much of any one material will slow down the composting process. If you have all leaves, all grass clippings or an overload of any other single type of material, it can throw off the balance of the pile. It’s best to keep a balanced mix of green (nitrogen) and brown (carbon) materials.

When ready, this compost will be wonderful for the whole garden!

Good Luck and HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

– Mark Carter



Plant bulbs in Fall for Spring beauty! Carters Nursery | Jackson , Tn.
November 7, 2015, 3:17 pm
Filed under: Landscaping & Gardening | Tags: , , ,

Do you love to see those yellow “Buttercups” (daffodils) that come up early and bring in the Spring season. I still have some daffodils, crocus and grape hyacinths that my grandma planted and it really feels good to see them blooming every Spring! I was asked a question the other day about when and how to plant some Spring Flowering Bulbs while I was on the radio with Bill Way. It was toward the end of the show and we didn’t have a lot of time to go into any detail, so here is a better explanation…

Spring Flowering Bulbs must be planted in the Fall.

Spring Flowering Bulbs must be planted in the Fall.

The most popular Spring flowering bulbs are daffodils, tulips, crocus and hyacinths. They are the easiest to grow and find, and the least expensive to buy. You can find them at many Local Nurseries and Garden Centers this time of year (Fall). Here are a few more to check out : alliums, anemones, aconites, dog-tooth violets, fritillaries, grape hyacinths, reticulated iris, glory-of-the-snow, snowdrops, snowflakes, star of Bethlehem.

The best time to plant your bulbs is coming up right now ( In the Fall between Thanksgiving and Christmas), at least it is here in West Tennessee. The bulbs need a lot of cold temp. time to really bloom well, so get them in asap…

Buttercups (Daffodils)  come back year after year! These were planted by my grandmother.

Buttercups (Daffodils) come back year after year! These were planted by my grandmother.

First things first… Like I always say, Come up with a Design Idea! Where are you going to plant these bulbs? How many will you need? Are you going to over plant your new bed with annuals like pansy’s or violas? Get out the pencil and paper and come up with a basic design…Once you have a general idea that you like, get your supplies together and get started!

Make sure too …

#1 – Get good quality, firm, heavy bulbs. NO soft, moldy or stunted ones! The bigger the better.

#2 – Get soil amendments to prepare your holes or beds. Organic is the way to go in my opinion! Blood Meal, Bone meal, Compost and chicken manure have always worked well for me. Work the soil well and as deeply as possible; rich soil and good drainage are key. If its heavy clay, work in some sand to improve drainage.

#3 – Plant you bulbs! Most bulbs get planted 2 to 3 times their diameter in depth except for the smaller ones (less that 1 1/2″), plant them 3 to 4 times their dia. deep. REMEMBER – The point goes up! You can use a bulb planter or garden trowel to install them one at a time or you can excavate an area to the proper depth and do a mass planting of your bulbs and back fill with the soil once they are all put into place. I love the effect that a big mass planting of spring color can make! Even a dozen bulbs around the mailbox can make Spring seem more abundant.

After you get them installed remember to mulch! The mulch will help hold moisture, detour weeds, stabilize the ground temperature and it looks great.

I hope this helps and I hope you plant a bunch of beautiful Spring Flowering Bulbs!

– Mark Carter