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 Beginner Gardener

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cheywhite
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cheywhite

Female Join date : 2019-03-20
Location : Tyler, Texas

Beginner Gardener Empty
PostSubject: Beginner Gardener   Beginner Gardener EmptyFri Jun 26, 2020 11:11 am

Hey everyone! Hope you're all safe and doing great!

So I have a couple of gardening questions. I have zero experience gardening or keeping plants alive unless you count a stick of bamboo that was super easy. The house is almost done! And I'd like to introduce some plants into my life. So I figured this was the best place to ask since there's such a variety of people and experience!

So far, the two plants I really want are Lavender, specifically Spanish Lavender, and a Venus Fly Trap. I'm in East Texas, about 2 hours east of Dallas. I want Lavender because they're really good for bugs like fleas and ticks and mosquitos and I just think they're pretty. I've read up a little and found that Spanish Lavender does fairly well in Texas. My pups are on Simparica which is good if the bugs bite but not good at repelling the bugs. As evident by the 3 ticks they've brought in the past month. And we have some woods around us so I'd like to keep them out of the yard. I think they're supposed to be planted in the spring so that would give me enough time to get a fence up and figure out where in the yard I want it.

The Venus Fly Trap is something my boyfriend wants and thinks looks cool. I wouldn't mind having one in the house but know nothing about them. So if anyone has any advice on those please let me know!!

Any gardening tips are welcome! And any advice about planters and soil and fertilizer and starting and anything you can think of is very much appreciated!
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TwisterII
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TwisterII

Female Join date : 2013-06-14
Location : Missouri

Beginner Gardener Empty
PostSubject: Re: Beginner Gardener   Beginner Gardener EmptyFri Jun 26, 2020 5:28 pm

Neither plants like water all that well, so make sure they are planted where it drains well and don't kill with kindness. Most lavenders do best if poked in the ground and left alone. Whack the dried growth back at the beginning of spring. Lavender doesn't do well for me up here. Too cold but Russian sage grows like gangbusters.

I've had flytraps before but have found it difficult to keep them alive through winter since they need live food. If you grow them outside then they usually have no issue drawing in food. You kinda have opposing plant desires. Lavender to repel bugs, then a flytrap that will draw them in. Make sure they are separated so they don't compete. They don't like tap water. Get an RO system if you don't already have one.

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cheywhite
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cheywhite

Female Join date : 2019-03-20
Location : Tyler, Texas

Beginner Gardener Empty
PostSubject: Re: Beginner Gardener   Beginner Gardener EmptyFri Jun 26, 2020 7:09 pm

I want to put the lavender in one of the corners of the yard and let it keep stuff out of the yard. The flytrap would be inside. I hadn't thought about the winter aspect for them. Or even the competition between them. The lavender I've wanted for a while, the flytrap was mentioned by my boyfriend last weekend. I want to start a garden eventually and have a place in the yard in mind. This is probably a silly question but, what's an RO system??
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amymeme
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amymeme

Female Join date : 2013-12-20

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PostSubject: Re: Beginner Gardener   Beginner Gardener EmptyFri Jun 26, 2020 8:13 pm

I'm not sure you'll get much of a benefit, tick wise with plants. For ticks on your dog, permethrin topical is highly effective. For your yard, as long as you don't keep bees, hiring someone to spray every 3 weeks does wonders. My son lives in eastern Massachusetts and his property butts up against a conservation area. Tick pressure was horrendous. The kids couldn't use the yard. Gifted someone to spray regularly and no more ticks. Or mosquitoes
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aljones
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aljones

Male Join date : 2014-08-18
Location : Terlingua, Texas

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PostSubject: Re: Beginner Gardener   Beginner Gardener EmptyFri Jun 26, 2020 9:28 pm

Or you could just move a little further west in Texas. It only took me a couple of months to realize that there were no ticks, mosquitoes or roaches out here. A little further north, when you get into the Davis mountains all the creepies exist but down her in the desert it's too dry / too hot for them.
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cheywhite
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Puppy
cheywhite

Female Join date : 2019-03-20
Location : Tyler, Texas

Beginner Gardener Empty
PostSubject: Re: Beginner Gardener   Beginner Gardener EmptySat Jun 27, 2020 8:57 am

Thanks Amy for the advice! I know once the fence goes up we're gonna treat the yard for just about everything we can. Does the permethrin actually repel the ticks? I'll have to look into someone spraying regularly room thanks!

@aljones no mosquitos you say?? If I wasn't so happy here I'd consider it just for that reason! Mosquitos love me. I can be outside for 5 minutes and get almost 30 bites. I've counted before!! New Zealand also doesn't have bugs and that's where my boyfriend is from so I think the desert would be second choice. Sorry Al!! But if I ever start traveling around the US I'll make a point to see the wonderful desert you live in. lol!
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Lostmaniac
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Lostmaniac

Female Join date : 2018-10-22
Location : Colorado

Beginner Gardener Empty
PostSubject: Re: Beginner Gardener   Beginner Gardener EmptySat Jun 27, 2020 1:50 pm

What about citronella plants? I use a mix of eucalyptus oil and peppermint oil in the humidifier and it keeps most things away. Another idea is ceder fencing or ceder shavings because ceder naturally repels bugs. I use ceder shavings mixed in my potting soil as an organic bug and pest repellent. Mint varieties work as an all animal/insect repellent but it will take over like a weed if allowed.

No mosquitoes makes me jealous. Its a good thing mosquito season is short. We have major fly and yellowjacket issues right now. We have never found a tick in our yard but we do know they are around. I have pulled several off squirt after going hiking.
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aljones
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aljones

Male Join date : 2014-08-18
Location : Terlingua, Texas

Beginner Gardener Empty
PostSubject: Re: Beginner Gardener   Beginner Gardener EmptySat Jun 27, 2020 2:03 pm

We do have "fly season" which overlaps "moth season" - I started to look up and see what types of moths these are but after I saw about 15 different varieties (not that they necessarily were, just what I saw) I gave that up as a lost cause.

Since I leave front and back doors open for cross ventilation, if I don't close them around sundown I get invaded by the moths! We all have our trials - just that mine mostly don't bite.
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amymeme
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amymeme

Female Join date : 2013-12-20

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PostSubject: Re: Beginner Gardener   Beginner Gardener EmptySat Jun 27, 2020 2:43 pm

Yes the permethrin repels as well as kills. I've sat in the grass and watched various flies, mosquitoes hover but never actually land on Ami. When we walk on a certain tick infested trail, we can see them scurrying on his fur but don't actually attach. On the very rare occasion one does attach, it's dead and flat.

Permethrin laced clothing, socks, pants, shirts, neckerchiefs are recommended by CDC for people in tick environments.  Unfortunately, human skin neutralizes permethrin in about 15 minutes which is why it has to be applied to fabric.

The permethrin topical for dogs (will kill cats) gives about 6 weeks protection from ticks. It's not a great flea preventive so I intersperse with fipronil. Fipronil is good against fleas for 3 months. Every 4 months I use a permethrin product with pyriproxyfen (Vetguard plus). Pyriproxyfen is an insect growth regulator that prevents flea larvae from developing into adult fleas and lasts 4 months in dogs skin. I set up a rotation based on our weather conditions so that they only get one medication in any 2 week time period, preferably a month but that doesn't always work. Takes a bit of pen and pencil, a calendar and local weather reports. For us, general first dose February/March of Vetguard Plus depending on temperature and snow cover. First fipronil is may June dependencies on heat and dryness.
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Lostmaniac
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Adult
Lostmaniac

Female Join date : 2018-10-22
Location : Colorado

Beginner Gardener Empty
PostSubject: Re: Beginner Gardener   Beginner Gardener EmptySat Jun 27, 2020 10:49 pm

We get some really cool looking moths here, some i thought initially were butterflies. Then there is the giant sphynx moth. Its very interesting and pretty big. We do the doors/windows open because no ac but in the evening we have to make sure the screen doors are closed or little flying things are everywhere.
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cheywhite
Puppy
Puppy
cheywhite

Female Join date : 2019-03-20
Location : Tyler, Texas

Beginner Gardener Empty
PostSubject: Re: Beginner Gardener   Beginner Gardener EmptySun Jun 28, 2020 12:24 pm

I don't mind most bugs. Moths are pretty cool and don't bother me. Flies, wasps, and mosquitos on the other hand... Flies have to be right by my face for some reason, wasps are just jerks, and I physically cannot stop scratching mosquito bites. I've had some that were bigger than a quarter.

My main worry is that my parents little dog isn't on any flea or tick prevention because they're not the type of people to care about that stuff. Once I move out it won't be a problem but I still don't want them to bring them in the house. That schedule sounds very complicated but if it works then it works. I'll definitely look into the topical. I'm sure I can find it at a feed store?

What's a good beginner plant to get started? Maybe something to plant in the fall once we're settled in the house? Even a little house plant to keep in the kitchen window!
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aljones
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aljones

Male Join date : 2014-08-18
Location : Terlingua, Texas

Beginner Gardener Empty
PostSubject: Re: Beginner Gardener   Beginner Gardener EmptySun Jun 28, 2020 3:29 pm

Almost any of the mint family are good house plants - unless you have a really brown thumb, you can't kill it - added benefit for sweet tea.  Most any real ivy will grow well in a hanging pot (didn't realize most ivy's are also not good for dogs - see footnote).  Another 'standard' is one of the pothos variety (commonly called an ivy but it isn't) watch your dogs because, in small bites, it's an irritant; if they decide to go whole hog, it can be fatal - mine have tasted and decided to leave it alone.

Wanted to check to see what the side effects from Pothos are and ran into this link which may help with which ones to avoid.
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Lostmaniac
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Adult
Lostmaniac

Female Join date : 2018-10-22
Location : Colorado

Beginner Gardener Empty
PostSubject: Re: Beginner Gardener   Beginner Gardener EmptySun Jun 28, 2020 6:12 pm

I have "immortal" basil. It bolted i cut it dow it regrew so on and so forth the root system is about 8 months old. I have some that i put outside and got snowed on, then wind, then i stopped watering it and every time it rains it grows new leaves. Seriously wont die.

Mint is more then unkillable, in the ground it can be invasive.
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amymeme
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amymeme

Female Join date : 2013-12-20

Beginner Gardener Empty
PostSubject: Re: Beginner Gardener   Beginner Gardener EmptySun Jun 28, 2020 10:07 pm

Daylilies are almost impossible to kill. And come up yearly.

https://easttexasgardening.tamu.edu/east-texas-home-gardening/plants-for-east-texas/
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TwisterII
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Senior
TwisterII

Female Join date : 2013-06-14
Location : Missouri

Beginner Gardener Empty
PostSubject: Re: Beginner Gardener   Beginner Gardener EmptyMon Jun 29, 2020 12:25 pm

RO System is a reverse osmosis water filtration system. There are two things we do to every house when we first move in if it doesn't already have it and that is add a water softener and a reverse osmosis system.

A lot of your bulbs can be put in during the fall. Tulips and daffodils, daylilies as was mentioned. I put in giant allium and peonies last fall. Just make sure you adhere to the planting depth guide that comes with the plants. If you plant too deep or too shallow they might not bloom and you will have to replant them.

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cheywhite
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cheywhite

Female Join date : 2019-03-20
Location : Tyler, Texas

Beginner Gardener Empty
PostSubject: Re: Beginner Gardener   Beginner Gardener EmptyMon Jun 29, 2020 1:17 pm

Not much of a sweet tea fan but I'll definitely look into mint. And I'll keep it indoors so I don't introduce it into the environment. We have 2 sago palms (sp?) In the front yard that we want to keep. They're in an area where the dogs can't get to them. I'd like to grow some herbs for cooking and hadn't thought of mint or basil so I'll look into those.

Thanks for that link Amy!

Jenn, where do you normally install your RO system? All I drink is filtered water and I had just planned on buying one to keep in the fridge but if I can install a system that would be great! Also thanks for the planting depth tip! I'll keep that in mind!
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TwisterII
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TwisterII

Female Join date : 2013-06-14
Location : Missouri

Beginner Gardener Empty
PostSubject: Re: Beginner Gardener   Beginner Gardener EmptyTue Jun 30, 2020 1:50 pm

Ours taps into the water line under the sink. the pressure tank and filters store under the sink and you drill out a hole in the corner of the sink up top and install a secondary faucet (they are smaller than a normal faucet) that is connected to the pressure tank below that stores the filtered water. If you have a fridge with a water hookup you can also tap the fridge water line into the RO tank so that the fridge dispenses the RO water in addition to or instead of putting a second faucet at your sink. You can buy RO systems to filter what specifically needs to come out of your water if your area water has special needs. At our old house we had a 3 filter system. Here we have a 5. We install ourselves. It's not difficult but some plumbing knowledge does make the job go faster and smoother. We like this over the manual filter systems because we don't have to fill it since it's tapped directly to a water line. we always have filtered water on demand. Our fridge doesn't have a water dispenser. Some fridges have a filter build into their water dispenser but often the filter needs changed more often than the RO filters which only need attending about once every 6 months. If you ever have to deal with cancer the RO water is what you will want. It's stripped over everything including minerals so mineral replacement is something to consider if using an RO system.

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amymeme
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amymeme

Female Join date : 2013-12-20

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PostSubject: Re: Beginner Gardener   Beginner Gardener EmptyTue Jun 30, 2020 5:46 pm

Hah. Jenn, I was reading about you RO system and was wondering if we should get one (we already have a softener system.) But then I got to the party about taking into refrigerator... Then I thought.. but we HAVE a filter on the fridge. Needs replacing ever 6 months...
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TwisterII
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TwisterII

Female Join date : 2013-06-14
Location : Missouri

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PostSubject: Re: Beginner Gardener   Beginner Gardener EmptyWed Jul 01, 2020 10:38 am

@amymeme you need to look into what the fridge filter actually filters and decide from there if adding the RO is worth it with your water. Many fridge filters only filter chlorine. Whereas ROs will filter chlorine, fluoride, arsenic, lead, nitrates, all kinds of things depending on the system that a fridge filter won't even begin to touch.

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amymeme
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amymeme

Female Join date : 2013-12-20

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PostSubject: Re: Beginner Gardener   Beginner Gardener EmptyYesterday at 4:03 pm

We're on private well, have had it tested several times and very clean. Iron and calcium are the problems. We are almost at the top of a hill, only woods above us, south of of us. Also our well is deep. Not much within a couple of miles to pollute us. Fortunately. Minor concern, a very small herd of beef cattle, maybe 10? So nitrates possible but not found.
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