Get your tomato plants off to a healthy start with these smart suggestions.
Plant deep.
Bury a tomato plant's stem and the stem will sprout a slew of new roots that help the plant grow sturdy and tall quickly. You can bury just about all of stem--pluck off the branches below the top flush of leaves. 
Early in the season, when the soil is still cool, dig a trench 4 or 5 inches deep in the soil and set the transplant into it, again burying the stem up to the top leaves. 
If you're transplanting later in the season, when the soil has warmed or in dry climates, bury the transplant in a straight, deep hole. Cooler, moister soil below 6 inches deep helps tomatoes survive in hot, dry summers. 
Feed the soil first.
Avoid the common mistake of overfeeding your tomatoes. They thrive in soil that's rich in humus for extensive, well-nourished root systems and potassium (K) for strong stems. Add too much nitrogen (N) and you'll have a big, lush plant with very little fruit. 
"A lot of organic gardeners overload their soil with manure and get fewer tomatoes for it," notes Will Brinton, Ph.D., president of Woods End Research Laboratory in Mount Vernon, Maine. "I save my best compost for tomatoes and supplement it only with seaweed powder, which is a quick-acting source of potassium. We get incredible fruits." 
Homemade compost typically supplies all the phosphorus (P) your tomatoes need for good flowering and fruiting. If a soil test indicates a serious phosphorus deficiency, add rock phosphate to your tomato-growing beds next fall. 
Keep them warm, keep them cool.
Chilly spring temperatures (nights cooler than 50 degrees F) slow tomato plants' growth. Sizzling summer temps (days hotter than 95 degrees) cause the flowers to drop off. You can moderate both extremes with Wall O' Waters, which are plastic "teepees" with individual tubes filled with water. They also help keep the plants upright and shelter the plants from high winds. 
Red plastic, maybe.
Many organic gardeners rely on plastic mulch to warm the soil in spring and prevent weeds from sprouting up. Plastic mulch isn't part of our ideal organic garden, but study after study has found that beds covered in black plastic in spring produce tomatoes earlier and more of them all season long. Where the growing season is short, plastic mulch may be essential if you want to harvest tomatoes at all. Even more effective, researchers have found, is infra-red transmitting plastic mulch, which reflects just the kind of light plants need up onto the foliage. 
Mulch for sure.
While plastic mulch has proved its worth, all-natural mulches also help tomatoes grow well. Surround your plants with a layer of straw, leaves, dried grass clippings or pine needles and it will keep the plants' roots cool, prevent weeds from sprouting around them and retain moisture in the soil. Because these mulches keep the soil cool, don't apply them until after the soil warms to 65 degrees F. 
Pluck the first flowers.
Growing deep, extensive roots and a full leaf canopy will help establish newly transplanted tomatoes. Many experienced tomato growers pull off the first flowers, so the plant does not devote energy to forming fruit before its roots and foliage have filled out. Amy Goldman, who grows hundreds of heirloom tomatoes in her Rhinebeck, New York, garden each season, reports, "I pull off all the flowers until the plants reach at least 1 foot tall." She also pulls off all the suckers (shoots that emerge from the main stem below the first fruiting branch). 
Grow them up.
Tomato vines left to sprawl on the soil are more susceptible to attacks by pests and diseases. Sprawling vines take up a lot of room in your garden and the fruit they bear is more difficult to harvest. So stake or cage the vines for your healthiest, most productive tomato crop ever. 
You can revive damaged plants.
If cutworms, mice, slugs, the neighbor's dog or other hazards hack into your transplants, don't despair. If you get to the plant before the sun has baked the life out of it, cut an inch or so off the bottom of the stem and place the rest in a container of water out of direct sun for a week or so. It will sprout roots along the stem. Then transplant it back into garden and watch it grow. 

Source: http://www.organicgardening.com/learn-and-grow/tomato-growing-tips

Hollies easily weather pruning but not necessarily in deep winter.

Q. We have some hollies near our deck that have grown too big for their location. Is it okay to cut them back in December? We live in Zone 5a.

A. Hollies are very tolerant of pruning, a characteristic that makes them good candidates for topiaries. And theoretically, most will recover from a hard cutback at almost any time of year. But recovery of a particular limb that's important for the look of the plant isn't guaranteed. So for best outcome and to ensure your hollies aren't unduly stressed, wait until late winter or early spring — just as the plant breaks dormancy — before you do any major downsizing. By waiting till your hollies are about to begin active growth, you'll also avoid several months of a skeleton appearance. 

Light to moderate pruning, of course, is perfectly fine, and you can use the trimmings in holiday decorations.

Source: http://www.hgtv.com/gardening/how-and-when-to-prune-hollies/index.html

If growing blueberries has you singing the blues, find out about new delicious varieties bred to bloom despite southern and coastal climate challenges.


One of the biggest nutritional powerhouses that you can eat comes in a very small package. Blueberries are packed with more cancer-fighting, anti-aging, eyesight-saving and disease-fighting antioxidants than foods like spinach and salmon. New plant varieties make growing blueberries even easier than before. Sure, they're the pie-inspiring, cereal-topping, muffin-mixing treat that can make your mouth water, but beloved blueberries are becoming a tasteful choice in another arena — the landscape.

Blueberries are typically grown in humid, northern climates that have winter chills, mild summers and low-pH or acidic soils, conditions that limit their range. But many new varieties are available for lower chill areas, very warm areas, as well as coastal areas. The blueberry now has an enormous range.

There are three main types of blueberries — low-bush, high-bush and rabbit-eye — all with fairly specific growing requirements. But thanks to the work of hybridizers, new crosses are much more forgiving.

"Southern high-bush are the new varieties," says expert Ed Laivo. These classic varieties are being introduced to the lower chill areas as well as the coastal areas and are also able to better tolerate heat. Many southern high-bushes are compact, meaning they're perfect for smaller yards or patios.

The trick to growing blueberries under less-than-desirable conditions (such as alkaline soils or warmer climates) is container planting. Pots give you a lot more control over the soil. Acidity is critical. "The nutrient uptake comes out of the soil, and a mix of peat, bark and an acid soil mix will help to provide everything the blueberry plant needs immediately after you plant it," Ed says.

His special blend for a low-pH soil is one part peat moss for acidity, one part bark (it's porous for good drainage, and as it breaks down, it adds organic matter to the soi,l which lowers the pH), one part acidic potting soil and a handful of soil sulfur. This is Ed's standard mix and it has a pH of about 5.5, which is right at the outside limit of what blueberries like for vigorous growth.

"If you're lucky enough to have a pH of between 4.5 and 5.5, then you can grow blueberries all day long," he says. "But most don't, so you really need to add an amendment that acidifies the soil." To do that, he suggests cottonseed meal or bloodmeal. To plant in containers, he transplants a two-gallon nursery plant into an 18-inch pot.

Blueberries like moisture because they're shallow-rooted, so the bigger the pot, the bigger the drink of water. Speaking of water, did you know the pH of water can vary enormously and affect the acidity and alkalinity of soil? Meters to measure pH levels as well as test soil kits are widely available to help with any necessary adjustments during the growing season.

Planting blueberries in the ground is different. The best way to plant a blueberry in the ground is to dig a hole about 2-1/2 feet wide and 1 foot deep. Ed also recommends removing the native soil. Use the same soil blend Ed used for the containers, but mix in native soil from the hole.

Many blueberries are self-fruiting, but for a bigger yield and a longer season, plant several varieties. Even in containers, high-density planting is the way to go. "The best way to get more blueberries is to plant a number of varieties so they cross-pollinate," Ed says. "More varieties means that you'll have an extended ripening period, which is always wonderful."

A healthy blueberry plant will fruit for 15 to 20 years before slowing down. Every five days or so, harvest the berries that are deep blue. "I always look for good dark color in the berry, and I think the darker the better," he says.

For the first three years, you won't need to prune young plants. After that, cutting the plant back once a year will increase vigor. Every winter, remove canes that are older than six years old and cut back all the other healthy canes by about a third. Remove any canes that have really tremendous amounts of discoloration, and remove all the lower, small, wimpy growth.

To protect your blueberries, drape a large piece of netting over some sort of framework such as bamboo sticks or an extra-large tomato cage.


Ed suggests planting blueberries as a shrub or as a screen. "You can use them as accent plants or as edible ornamentals." You can even plant them in containers and use them as patio decoration.



What To Compost



In contrast to those who worry about having enough materials, some folks want to put almost any type of organic material into their pile. While anything organic will eventually decompose, it may not belong in a backyard composting pile. It is important to be aware of these materials and the reasons they should be avoided. New and potential composters often have questions about what materials can be composted. A list of some commonly available materials is included in Table 2. Compostable materials that need special handling are mentioned in Table 3. Materials that should be avoided are named in Table 4.

Commonly Used Compostable Materials

As you are collecting materials around your yard and home, it may not be easy to determine if materials are higher in carbon or nitrogen. Tables showing carbon to nitrogen ratios for particular materials are helpful, but they usually only show a limited number of materials. A simple method (also described earlier in Lesson 2) for differentiating between materials is to remember that fresh, juicy materials are usually higher in nitrogen. In addition, materials of animal origin (such as feathers, manure, blood meal) are typically higher in nitrogen. Drier, older, or woody vegetable and plant tissues are usually higher in carbon. The following table helps to illustrate this point. The presence of a carbon, nitrogen, or oxygen in the C/N column indicates whether a material’s effect on compost would be carbonaceous (C), nitrogenous (N), or other (O). Materials designated as other (O) do not affect the C:N ratio.
Before adding food scraps and lake weeds to your composting pile, check with your municipality to make sure that there are no restrictions on their use.

TABLE 2.Partial Listing of Compostable Materials

MATERIAL
C/N
MATERIAL
C/N
Bedding,herbivorous
C & N
Hair
N
Blood meal
N
Hay
C
Bone meal
N
Lake weeds
N
Coffee grounds
N
Leaves
C
Crushed egg shellsO,alkalizerLint
N
Feathers
N
Manure
N
Fruit
N
Paper(non-recyclable)
C
Fruit peels and rinds
N
Peanut shells
C
Garden debris, dried
C
Straw
C
Garden debris, fresh
C & N
Pumpkins
N
Grass clippings, dried
C
Vegetable scraps
N
Grass clippings, fresh
N
Tea grounds and leaves
N

Compostable Materials That Require Special Handling


There are a number of compostable materials that require special handling before they are put into a backyard pile. Some of the materials listed below may require extra preparation or they may need to be added in layers or small quantities. Other materials listed may cause difficulties with the composting process or negatively affect the final product. The comments are intended to help you decide whether to include these particular materials in your own pile.

TABLE 3. Compostable Materials Requiring Special Handling

MATERIAL
C/N
COMMENT
Cardboard (non-recyclable)
C
Slow to decompose. Shred into small pieces. If desired, put in water and add a drop of detergent to further speed decomposition.
Corn cobs and stalks
C
Slow to decompose. Run through shredder or chop into very small pieces, mix with nitrogen rich material.
Diseased plants
C
Diseases may be hard to eliminate. Sun-bake plants in plastic bag until thoroughly dried, or leave in hot pile (131°-140°F) at least one week, or burn and put ashes in pile, or omit from pile.
Grass clippings with chemicals
C
Pesticides and herbicides are a concern, degradability ranges from one to twelve months. Leave grass clippings on the lawn (best) or add to pile if material composts for at least 12 months or wait 2-3 weeks before using clippings from lawn after chemicals applied. Do not use clippings as a garden mulch for at least 2-3 weeks (or after 2 mowings) after chemical application.
Hedge trimmings
C or N
Slow to decompose. Thin layers of hedge trimmings can be used occasionally for roughage; chop twigs and branches into small pieces.
Lime
O,
Alkalizer
Changes pile chemistry, causes nitrogen loss, and too much lime hurts bacteria and other microorganisms. Omit from pile or use very sparingly in thin layers if pile is going anaerobic (do not mix with manure).
Nut shells
- walnut, pecan
C
Slow to decompose. Pulverize with shredder.
Peat mossO, low in nutrientsHighly moisture absorbent, slow to decompose. Mix thoroughly with other materials, add in small quantities. If possible, soak peat moss in warm water before adding to pile.
Pine Cones
C
Slow to decompose. Shred or chop into very small pieces.
Pine needles
C
Slow to decompose. Mix thoroughly with other materials, add in small quantities.
Rhubarb leaves
N
Contains oxalic acid which lowers pH and inhibits microbial activity. Add in very small quantities, mix thoroughly with other materials or omit from pile.
Sawdust
C
Slow to decompose, can negatively affect aeration. Work into pile in thin sprinklings, mix with nitrogen rich material.
Sod
N
Slow to decompose. Break into small clumps, mix thoroughly with other materials or cover top of the pile with roots up, grass down (better in fall), or compost separately with roots side up, water thoroughly, cover with a dark tarp.
Soil
O,
Activator source
Can make finished compost heavy. Add small quantities in thin layers as soil activator or omit from pile (finished compost produces the same results and typically weighs less).
Walnut leaves
C
Contain juglone which can be toxic to plants. Add in small quantities, mix thoroughly; toxin will biodegrade in 30 to 40 days.
Weeds, pernicious
C
Rhizomatous root system hard to kill. Sun-bake in plastic bag until thoroughly dried or omit from pile.
Weeds, other
N
Weed seeds hard to kill. Best to use when green and no seed heads present or leave in hot pile (131-140°F) at least one week.
Wood ashes
O,
Alkalizer, potash
Changes pile chemistry, can cause nutrient imbalance. Use very sparingly in thin layers; do not use on top of pile or omit from pile.
Wood chips
C
Slow to decompose. Shred or chop into very small pieces; mix with nitrogen rich material.

Organic Materials To Avoid

Someday when your compost pile has shrunk and looks disappointedly small, you may scour your yard and home for organics to add to it. Some of those materials do not belong in your backyard compost pile. Table 4 lists materials to avoid along with the reasons for omitting them.

TABLE 4.Materials To Avoid Putting In A Home Compost Pile

MATERIALCOMMENT
BonesVery slow to decompose; can attract pests.
Cat litterMay contain pathogens harmful to humans; may also contain chemicals to perfume litter.
Charcoal and briquettesContain sulfur oxides and other chemicals that are toxic to soil and plants.
Cooked food wasteMay contain fats which attract animals; slow to decompose.
Dairy productsMay smell, take a long time to decompose, and attract pests (butter, cheese, mayonnaise, salad dressing, milk, yogurt, sour cream).
DishwaterMay contain grease, perfume, and sodium.
Fatty, oily, greasy foodsSlow to decompose; will putrefy and smell bad; can attract pests.
Fish scrapsCan attract pests; smells bad during decomposition.
MeatCan attract pests; smells bad during decomposition.
Paper, glossy coloredMay contain inks that could contribute toxins to the pile.
Peanut butterCan attract pests; slow to decompose.
Pet wastes, human excrementMay contain pathogenic bacteria, viruses, and parasites that require prolonged high temperatures to be destroyed.
Sludge (biosolids)Requires special handling and high temperatures to kill disease organisms and get rid of toxic metals; do not use unless product is sold in compliance with government regulations.

Compost Additives

There are a wide array of compost inoculants, starters, and activators sold in stores and mail order catalogs. Fortunately, compost additives are not required for successful composting. In some situations, certain additives can be helpful.
Inoculants contain special cultures of dormant bacteria and fungi. The theory behind using them is that they are supposed to introduce microorganisms, hasten the breakdown of materials in a compost pile and produce a better product. They are rarely needed because leaves, kitchen scraps, finished compost, and other organic materials already contain ample bacteria that work readily on their own.
Commercial "starters" or accelerators are supposed to help the decomposition process by adding nitrogen, enzymes, and bacteria to a pile. Some people feel better putting these products in their piles, but independent tests conducted to date have not shown significant benefits. Tests conducted at universities and private research stations showed that the best compost additives are finished compost or topsoil from your yard. (Store bought soil is sometimes sterilized so it does not always add microorganisms.)

TABLE 5. Amounts of Various Nitrogen Sources Needed To Apply 0.15 Pounds (2.4 oz) Nitrogen

NITROGEN SOURCE% NITROGENOUNCES TO APPLY
Ammonium nitrate
33
7.0
Calcium nitrate
15
16.0
Urea
46
5.2
Dried Blood
12
20.0
Fish meal
10
24.0
Source: Dickson, et. al. 1991
If additional nitrogen is needed, apply approximately 0.15 pounds actual nitrogen per 3 bushels (3 3/4 cubic feet) of carbon rich materials such as leaves. Table 5 lists estimated amounts of various nitrogen sources to add. For example, 7 ounces (about 1 cup) of ammonium nitrate is equivalent to 0.15 pounds. Authors of The Rodale Book of Composting recommend adding 2 to 3 pounds of organic nitrogen supplement (blood meal, manure, bonemeal, alfalfa meal) per 100 pounds of low nitrogen materials (for example, straw or sawdust).

The materials you put into your compost pile have a major impact on how well the composting process works and the quality of the final compost. The key to good composting is to have a variety of materials and a balanced carbon to nitrogen ratio. Variety increases the types of microorganisms at work in your pile and your chances of obtaining a nutrient rich compost. Some folks think they don’t have enough organic material to build and maintain a compost pile. In addition to the leaves and grass clippings that we usually think of composting, there are numerous other suitable organic materials. Most of these materials are easy to find at home. Occasionally, it may be helpful to find free or cheap local sources of organics to add to a pile.


Activators contain a nitrogen source. Activators include organic types (manure, blood meal, finished compost, soil) and artificial types (chemically synthesized compounds such as commercial nitrogen fertilizers). While activators are not necessary for successful composting, they can sometimes help if a pile is made from materials low in nitrogen. Nitrogen is usually the limiting nutrient in a pile that doesn't heat up or decay quickly enough. Some purists do not recommend using commercial nitrogen fertilizers as an activator, but if you have some readily available, it may be helpful. Avoid using ammonium sulfate as it may be toxic to earthworms. Keep in mind that chemical fertilizers are not as effective as organic sources because they contain no protein (which microorganisms use). Organic sources are better sources of nitrogen if you need to add an activator.



Wheelbarrow Flower Planter

Use inexpensive solutions in the garden for discarded odds and ends.

Having a productive garden isn't cheap, but look at these cool tips to keep both your landscape and wallet green:
"In my yard, old things have new uses," says "Farmer Fred" Hoffman, a radio show host in Herald, Calif. For example, an ordinary plastic bucket is a dungeon of doom for the squash bugs devouring Hoffman's pumpkin plants. Squash bugs rob plants of their nutrients by sucking the juices from their leaves. Using chemicals to exterminate squash bugs may also harm beneficial bugs. To alleviate the problem, Hoffman fills half the bucket with water. Then, early in the morning when the squash bugs are most active, he shakes the leaves over the bucket, capturing the bugs in the water. The total cost of this pest control project is zero because he rescued the bucket from the trash can.
Hoffman has a similar method for dealing with fruit beetles, using an old jar, a discarded piece of window screen, and duct tape. To assemble the fruit beetle trap, secure the screen in a funnel shape with a piece of duct tape. Dilute fig juice with water in the jar, and place the screen in the mouth of the jar so that the bottom of the funnel rests just above the mixture. The beetles get in but can't get out. And the cost of this homemade trap is next to nothing.
Another cost-effective tip is to start your garden using cuttings from easy-to-grow plants like roses, salvia or geraniums. Hoffman suggests saving those old plant identifications tabs, too. Use a marker to cross out the former plant name, and label the new plant.
To get your plants growing right, create your own protective structure with some plastic containers, a large window screen and a few medium-sized rocks placed in the corners.
Hoffman recommends saving old PVC pipes to create an inexpensive drip irrigation system. You need an on/off valve, a couple of pieces of garden hose with the female ends attached, a joiner, a male PVC adapter with a female 1/2-inch slip thread, a length of 1/2-inch PVC pipe, and a screw-on end cap to make the system. Drill holes halfway through the PVC pipe about 12 to 18 inches apart for clay soil, and 9 to 12 inches apart for sandy soil.
Connect the hose parts to the source of water. Next, join the PVC male adapter to the slip thread end of the 1/2 inch pipe, and screw on the end cap. Hoffman says there's no need to glue anything because this is a low-pressure system. Turn on the water just a little bit, and adjust the stream of the pipe as desired. The total cost of this project is around $5.
Also, don't throw away those old nursery planter pots. Some nurseries pay you to return the 1-, 5- and 10-gallon plastic containers. With the money you receive, Hoffman suggests purchasing some concrete wire to make your own tomato cages. Pre-made tomato cages are typically four feet tall, which is insufficient for most tomato plants. And you're lucky if they last one season.
Build your own tomato cage that will last a lifetime from a sheet of 12-gauge, 6-inch mesh wire. Secure the exposed wires into the soil, and use wire cutters to trim off the top edge. "There are a lot of good cutting tools available, but I like my barbed wire cutters the best," Hoffman says. Expose one side of the tomato cage by removing the joining wires, and secure the two sides together by bending the wires over the other side. Place the cage on its side and push down gently to create a cylindrical shape. This inexpensive, custom-made cage is the perfect size for reaching in and grabbing ripe tomatoes.
Other practical uses for discarded odds and ends include using a window screen over a bed of onions to reduce sun scalding. An old pitchfork serves as a rustic trellis for climbing vines, and a broken wheelbarrow makes a handy planter. In addition, chopped up branches and leaves make free mulch.
"So before you throw anything away," suggests Hoffman, "consider a use for it in the garden."

Source: http://www.hgtv.com/gardening/gardening-on-the-cheap/index.html

Solve gardening problems and make your gardening experience easier.

Organic Vegetable Patch
Little tips and tricks here and there can make gardening easier. Master gardener Paul James offers suggestions to help solve some of your gardening problems:
  • Shoveling is hard work, but it's often even harder when clay soil sticks to the shovel, forcing you to stop and scrape off the clay. The solution? Rub a light coat of floor or car wax over the metal surface with a cloth and buff lightly. Waxing also prevents rust from forming and even prevents snow from sticking to snow shovels.
  • Apply a light coat of wax to your mower's metal and plastic surfaces and buff well with a clean, dry cloth. The wax will protect the mower from the elements and prevent grass clippings and dirt from sticking to it, which makes cleanup a breeze.
  • To keep track of your long-handled tools when working in the garden, cut a 4- to 6-inch wide piece of PVC pipe to a length of about four feet. In an out-of-the-way spot in or near your garden, dig a hole with a post-hole digger about a foot deep. Place the pipe in the hole and pack soil around it. Put your tools in the pipe, and you'll always know where they are. You can also paint the pipe brown or green to blend in with its surroundings. To keep leaves out of the pipe when you're not working in the garden, top off the pipe with a PVC cap.
  • Use an old golf bag to carry long-handled tools to and from the garden. Some golf bags have a built-in stand, which makes grabbing tools a breeze. You can use the pockets on the bag to hold all sorts of gardening items as well as various refreshments.
  • Use a bucket or basket to carry hand tools.
  • To make an old rain gauge easy to read from a distance, just add a few drops of food coloring. Each time you empty the gauge, add a few fresh drops and occasionally change the color.
  • To remember where you want to plant spring-flowering bulbs in the fall or early winter, first determine exactly where you want the bulbs to go. Then dig individual planting holes at the proper spacing for the bulb you have in mind. Place four-inch plastic pots in the holes up to their rims, and fill each with the excavated soil. Next fall, planting will be as simple as removing each pot, placing a bulb in the hole, and covering the hole with soil in the pot. Make sure you plant the pots so that they are barely above soil level so you won't run over them with the lawnmower. This is a great way to ensure that next year you will get those bulbs in the ground on time.

    Source: http://www.hgtv.com/gardening/gardening-improvisation-tips/index.html


 Mossy Woodland Landscape

Once established, moss requires no watering, no mowing, no fertilizing and no weeding.

Besides providing a tranquil and lush environment, moss highlights even the smallest of plants. Plus there's a lot of variety. Of the more than 15,000 different species of moss worldwide, there are four types that are available commercially:
  • Haircap moss or Polytrichum, is the tallest of the four types.
  • Cushion moss derives its name from its round, cushionlike growth pattern. It can tolerate partial sun but prefers shade.
  • Rockcap moss is usually found growing atop boulders.
  • Fern moss is the most versatile of the mosses, and this low-growing type has the highest success rate when transferred.

As far as maintenance goes, all you have to do is keep your moss stand clear of leaves and debris. "One thing that works great is quarter-inch black mesh netting," says moss enthusiast Dave Benner. "Lay it down before the leaves start to fall, and then once the leaves have fallen, you simply roll it up."
Use moss anywhere you want to create a tranquil and serene setting. You can put it between flagstones, in patios, under a tree, in walkways leading to a garden.
You can also use moss to dress up garden art, even birdhouses. Plus it gives water features an enchanted air. In moist and heavily wooded areas, use moss in place of a lawn.
You can buy moss, but be prepared to pay dearly for nature's carpet. "The price ranges from $4 to $10 per square foot, depending on the variety of moss," says Dave. When you receive the moss, it typically comes dry. (It's stored and shipped dry, so it doesn't mold.) After it's been watered, it becomes lush and green in a couple of days.
To transplant your prepared moss, location is key.
  • Choose a site with adequate shade.
  • Then make sure you have a clear soil surface and remove all leaf litter. The soil should have low pH, ideally between 4.5 and 5.5. If your soil is a little too alkaline, use sulfur powder to acidify it.
  • Thoroughly water the soil.
  • Press the clump firmly into the soil.
  • Water the moss well.

A more cost-efficient way to plant moss is to break it up into pieces. It will take more time to fill in, but you'll ultimately save money and have a larger area covered by moss.
"If you decide to encourage moss to take over naturally, the most important thing is to keep any debris off the moss," Dave says. "And you do that basically with a broom or by hand and remove leaves and debris. Bare soil areas will actually encourage small moss plants to spread."
So the next time moss starts collecting on your steps or walkways, don't use bleach to get rid of it. Instead, find a spot to beautify with it. Even if you live in an arid part of the country, as long as you have shade on your landscape, you can trick moss into growing by using a sprinkler or irrigation system.