Ask me a question!

Please feel free to ask me a question here or at my email addy: [email protected] I’ll try to answer every question and get back to you as quickly as possible.


43 comments on “Ask me a question!

  1. Becky M

    Hello! I’m getting ready to plant a vegetable garden again. It’s been several years since I’ve had a chance to do so. I’m preparing a new area and doing what I can to get rid of Bermuda grass before I plant. I know I’m getting a late start for some things so don’t know how successful I’ll be with lettuce, onions and carrots but hope springs eternal. Anyway, my grandparents were huge gardeners back in the day. I recall that they used to plant some flowers, marigolds I think, around the edge of their garden. Is there a legitimate advantage/reason for doing this or was it probably more for looks? I think it might have served as a form of pest control but really can’t remember.

    Appreciate all your advice!

    1. Dee Nash

      Hi Becky, I was in Italy so I’m just now seeing your question. With Bermuda grass you have two options. You can use the dreaded spray herbicide, or you can use a digging fork to dig out the grass. If you use an herbicide, you’ll need to carefully read the instructions about how to dress for spraying it along with how long to wait after planting. As for marigolds, there was conventional wisdom that marigolds helped deter certain pests. However, that’s been proven as not being entirely accurate. You can search online for the scientific information about marigolds. So, now many people just plant them because they are pretty next to tomatoes in a veggie garden. I find that in our climate marigolds attract spider mites so I’m not a huge fan of them myself. You are getting a late start with cold crops. I usually sow those at the end of February. However, you can start thinking about green beans, tomatoes, basil and other warm weather plants. Just don’t plant them until after April 20. Hope this helps!

  2. Lindsey

    Hi there! I am a newbie gardener living in northwest Oklahoma. I’m looking for a blooming bush or shrub. Something pretty to put beside a new flower bed. Any suggestions? Thank you. I love your page.

    1. Dee Nash

      Hi Lindsey, before I could help you with your shrub I’d need to know which direction the garden bed faces. Also, what kind of sunlight does it get? Is it in shade or sun?

  3. Dee Fisher

    I love your blogs and beautiful flowers. My biggest garden problem is black spot on my roses. Even though i spray them, they lose all their leaves. The flowers bloom on sticks. What can I do?

    1. Dee Nash

      Hi Dee, I used to spray my roses, but I don’t anymore. Instead, I buy very disease resistant varieties, and I underplant their “legs” with other perennials. That way if they do lose some leaves, it’s not that big a deal. I also remove all the blackspotted leaves and throw them in the trash. I know this doesn’t solve your problem, but since I went all natural years ago I’ve found that the roses cope better. However, it was a rough three years while they acclimated getting off their chemical diet. I now use good manure-based fertilizers for my roses, daylilies and other plants that need extra help.

  4. Nancy

    Hi Dee, just wanted to thank you for picking my number for the rainwater urn. I recently moved into a new house and have been looking at rain barrels but the urn is so much better looking. I’m looking forward to trying it out this summer. Thank you again, Nancy

  5. Karen Smidt

    I successfully grew my first Dahlia this year. Not sure what kind it was but the blooms wee deep pink and was about 6 inches across. Oh, the blooms had a flat yellow middle. This last spring I came across a box of various Dahlia bulbs at Sam’s and decided to plant them. One bulb out of 12 grew…lol. But what a huge 4 foot tall plant it made! I had over 30 blooms on it. I want to keep this bulb but I don´t know how to store it over the winter. I live in Owasso Oklahoma which is just north of Tulsa. I babied this plant and really want to grow it again. I planted it in a half whiskey barrel this year not knowing how big it would grow. Next year, it goes in the ground. I want to try growing some other varieties too. Any suggestions? Thanks for helping me.

    1. Dee Nash

      Hi Karen, You can dig it and store it in sand, or if it’s in a protected area, sometimes I leave my dahlia bulbs in the ground. You can also dig it and plant in a container and overwinter it indoors in a sunny window if you keep it growing and watered, or you can put it in a greenhouse. Dahlias are complicated little creatures. I’m thrilled you got one to grow.

      1. Karen Smidt

        Thank you Dee foro answering my question. I leave my geraniums growing in southern sunny window all winter. I believe they would welcome the Dalhia to their room. I love having blooms during the winter.

  6. Dave

    Would love to pick your brain. I am new to Oklahoma, but always grew up with a garden. My space is limited for a garden so I am planning on turning some existing flower beds into a vegetable garden this Fall in preparation for Spring planting. There is about six inches of black dirt on top then a black weed barrier. Under the weed barrier is the red clay that OK is well known for. I am thinking that raised beds is the best/only way to go, but would lover you advise. Also, if I do the raised beds what type of soil should I get? Thank you!

    1. Dee Nash

      Hi Dave, raised beds are the easiest way to go. You can buy soil from several places including Minick Materials. They have a garden ready mix. You can either build boxes or burm up the soil. I’ve done it both ways over the years. You might also join the Oklahoma Horticultural Society, and if you’re organic, there’s an Oklahoma Organic Gardening Association with monthly meetings. Both groups work very hard to get more education out there. Also, I write about vegetable gardening at another blog, The 20-30 Something Garden Guide which is also the name of my book. HTH–Dee

      1. Anonymous

        Thanks for the advise! Any suggestions as to how tall I should build the planter boxes? I would ideally like to plants carrots, potatoes, etc.

  7. mary dressler

    HI, a few years ago I read on line there was a perennial flowering shrub that every garden in Oklahoma should have but doesn’t. It was a delicate flower with green leaves that turned colors in the fall. I believe the plant name started with a “c” but not sure. I had actually found the plant at a Lowes back in 2012 and had it in my flower bed, but then lost all that in the 2013 tornado. So I am trying to place it and my memory is failing me. I would greatly appreciate any suggestion or advice. thank you,
    Mary Dressler

    1. Dee

      Mary, could it possibly be Caryopteris? It’s a beautiful shrub that performs well in the shade or partial shade in Oklahoma. However, while it does have a beautiful and delicate flower, I haven’t noticed it having tremendous fall color. What about flowering quince, Chaenomeles speciosa? Just another idea. I wish I could be more help.~~Dee

  8. john mooney

    Dee – I ran across a lot of discussion regarding Knockout roses and (for lack of the proper name) rose “AIDS”. The discussion occurred in 2012. At that time there was no hope for a plant, once infected. Is there any new news concerning this problem?

    1. Dee Nash

      Hi John! Thanks for asking. Well, the rose AIDS is called Rose Rosette Disease. I’ve written about it several times so if you want to do some further reading, just search Rose Rosette on the main page. As of now, there is still no hope. Some people will tell you that you can cut below the affected area and defeat it this way. By the time the rose shows the disease it is throughout the rose’s entire system. I’m sorry to say that shovel pruning is the only way. And, Knockouts are not the only rose that catches this disease. I just think they show it quicker sometimes. I’ve had a lot of roses with it. I’ve lost eight, but I still soldier on. Hope you don’t have it in your garden. Be sure to clean clippers between shrubs spraying them with alcohol as you can spread the disease. HTH~~Dee

  9. Rhoni T

    Crazy but on this cold day I am thinking garden, pretty sure it had to do with the t- shirt wearing, window down driving in the truck, sunshine day we had yesterday. I can not wait to till in a garden spot! My husband and I bought our dream place the end of May 2013. My husband is an Oklahoma lifer, I am a transplanted late in life Arkie (7 yrs ago). I had vegetable a garden the first few years I lived here – skipped to even attempt the last couple of years- but I also was lucky, that we had some beautiful rich soil. But now that I am in the middle of nowhere (between Maud & St Louis) I have red “glue” dirt. Can you hear me yelling for help!!?? How on earth can I mend in manure and “what??” to even get the dirt worth planting in. If you dig when it’s wet it is glue, to dry it is cement. I am really considering raised beds or containers but would much rather have a real garden. But not sure about the huge cost to bring in good dirt. If a can get Veggies to grow; I hope to attempt flowers, when we moved in there were cactus planted in a nice huge bed, 3 roses and what I think are tiger lilies (?) . I dug for two weeks on the cactus bed, fingers crossed that I got all the roots, moved the roses there as they were planted in the shade of the house and garage, and where taking a beating on my windows. So when spring rolls around I will see what the other plants are. Any suggestions would be more than appreciated.

    1. Dee Nash

      Hi Rhoni, I feel your pain. I’ve tried to garden in clay too. For the already prepared beds with the roses and such, just keep working in more and more compost and manure (from someone you trust because we must be aware of persistent herbicides now.) I’m not sure why you don’t think raised beds or containers are a “real” garden. From the first time you put your hands in the soil, you’re a gardener. So, with that in mind, I think you should plant in raised beds. They’re easier to maintain anyway. As for the cost, I understand. Talk to a local soil company and ask what the cost would be for prepared soil for your raised beds considering them the width of 4′ and a length of 8′ or more. They don’t need to be that deep for vegetable growing. The soil company can figure your soil needs, or you can use one of the Internet calculators for dimensions. I wish you the best of luck, and of course we dream of gardening when it’s cold outside. What else can we do?~~Dee

  10. Terry Buchman

    Considering the purchase of a Japanese Maple for the north side of the house; morning sun, but mostly shade a good part of the day. Sits on a slope. Dirt has a lot of clay in it, as fill was used to build house elevation. Any advice would be helpful. Thanks…

    1. Dee Nash

      Hi Terry, I just saw this. I’m thinking you’re living in the south which is why you’re considering the north side of the house. If you don’t live in the northern states, it should be fine, but look for varieties with increased cold tolerance for winter especially if you live in the upper south like Oklahoma. I hope that helps. As for the clay, it depends upon how much you have. Japanese maples and most plants for that matter like good drainage. Add a lot of organic matter to the soil to help things. You don’t want to create a bowl effect for your tree’s tender roots.

  11. Joy

    My husband and I bought a house that was put in the middle of a lot where nothing grows. Well, not exactly nothing, there are lots of grass colored weeds. We planted 15 trees the first year we were here and they all died. This year at the fair they were giving away crape myrtles so we got one. Is now a good time to plant them?
    Thank you for your time, Joy Kirchubel

    1. Dee Nash

      Yes, you can go ahead and plant them before winter sets in. Make sure they get monthly water throughout winter to survive. In spring, crapemyrtles are one of the last plants to come out of dormancy so don’t think they’re dead too soon. Give them time to leaf out. I’m sorry about your other trees. 2011 and 2012 were hard years to grow.

  12. Pamela

    This year is my first attempt at a vegetable garden (I’m in Southeast Oklahoma). I had bought 8 tomato seedlings in 4″ pots at the beginning of last week but then in was too cold to plant them so they had to stay inside for almost a week before I got a chance to plant them this Monday. Now about half the tomato plants I just planted look awful. The plants and leaves are all still green, but while 4 of them are perky and look nice, the other 4 are extremely wilty and sad looking. From what I’m seen online it looks like it could be from sun shock or something because I didn’t harden them off, but from what I’ve read, they will likely recover. My question is, if they recover will their production be lower because of the shock they went through or should they be okay. I’m wondering if I should replace them or not? Since I only have a handful of tomato plants I want to be sure they all produce well. Thank you!

    1. Dee Nash

      Pamela, try giving all of them a blast of manure tea. It seems to help whatever ails them, and will give them a bit of nitrogen to perk up those leaves. As for production, so many things go into that including how hot it gets and how fast. If these perk up and start growing, they will probably be just as productive as the others. However, if you want to add a couple of extra plants as incentive, go ahead. It won’t hurt. Have fun gardening this year.~~Dee

  13. Jennifer

    I have over 11/2 acres in town (southeast oklahoma McAlester.) and I have several different outdoor areas. My side yard is absolutely the sunniest place and where I like to play fetch with my 70lb poodle and 6 year old son but its not much good for anything else because it gets too hot. I want a privacy break between the road and that yard and was thinking huge tall grasses like pampas with crepe myrtle and other small trees mixed in so as not to interfere with power lines and then a big shad tree or two. It’s a big space and I was wondering what exact big grasses and shade tree (fast growing if possible) would do best here. I saw some beatiful shade trees outside the OK City crystal bridge in the parking lot. Can’t remember the name but I called and it was some kind of oriental Elm. I loved the shape and the Lacey bark. Not sure if you’ve seen there. Also if you could give some good priced contacts for anything you recommend that would be great!

    1. Dee Nash

      Hi Jennifer, I think those trees you are speaking of are either Lacebark Elms or Chinese Pistache. Both are great shade trees for Oklahoma, but the Chinese Pistache will get very large, and I’ve heard that growers are starting to see a lot of seedlings with these. However lacebark elms are very beautiful and do well here. I like your grass idea very much. You might also add in some native grasses like the switchgrasses for example. They don’t get as big as the pampas grass, but they would make for nice color in front of them. They are perennial. You know I love crapemyrtles anywhere. They are our best small tree or shrub for the summer and full sun. As for places to purchase these, I’m not familiar with the nurseries in McAlester although I love your town. Sooner Plants will ship to you though. I’ve bought from them before, and they have excellent plants. Thanks for reading. HTH.~~Dee

  14. Kirsten P.

    I’ve just discovered your lovely blog upon deciding that I would like to build a small raised vegetable garden! Do you have any advice for someone starting up virtually from scratch? I live just north of Guthrie in Stillwater so I was wondering if you knew of any local garden supply stores or compost producers in the area that I could buy some organic soil for a thrifty penny.

    I was thinking I would plant a few different vegetables (i.e., lettuce, okra, squash, cucumbers, snap peas) and a few different flowers for variety and pollination’s sake. Any suggestions?

    Thanks so much and best of luck in the face of ongoing drought!

    1. Dee Nash

      Welcome Kirsten! Thanks for stopping by. I’ve written several posts and articles about vegetable gardens in Oklahoma. I don’t live in Stillwater, but you’ve got an excellent resource in Oklahoma State University. Also, call your local county extension office for the best places to buy compost and other soil amendments. They’re a lot of help, and Master Gardeners are usually in the office, along with extension agents to answer questions. OSU has many pamphlets on vegetable gardening too. Just search google with OSU and vegetable gardening, and you’ll have plenty to read and do. I’m so glad you’re going to garden this year. I can’t wait to trade tips with you.

      1. Kirsten P.

        Thanks for the leads, I will definitely hit up OSU and the county extension office. 🙂

        So looking forward to starting up!

  15. Laura D. Morris

    In regards to you writing more fiction you have done some, I love the day you had all the roses talking to each other. I have gone back to re-read several times it was so enjoyable.

    The book club I am in just read Fahrenheit 451 as the book celebrated a anniversary. While others did not care for it I found that it was enjoyable and made you question things you did not when it was a highschool required reading. Your comments on his other books have me adding them to my “Goodreads to read list”, thanks for suggestions.

    Especially since it is only in winter I have time to read.

  16. mario dalpra

    im looking for petrowski turnip seed could you please tell me where you purchased yours i found it in the uk but they can not ship it to indiana usa thankyou m dalpra

    1. Dee Nash

      Gosh Mario, I don’t know. I bought mine locally from a now defunct source. I hope you find it.

  17. Ann

    Lets talk Echinacea. Do you deadhead yours? A lot of folks leave the heads on for the goldfinches but I have never seen any birds on mine. I try to cut them back to the next bud but don’t have much luck. Maybe I am waiting too late. . .

    Also, do you have salvia farinacea? Do you cut yours back? When? Mine get so leggy but the bees love them so I hate to cut them back. When I don’t they flop all over everything else.

    1. Dee Nash

      Hi Ann, I’m sorry, I just saw this. I do deadhead my echinaceas. Mine have had the aster yellows for a season or two so I’ve been yanking them out of the ground more often than deadheading lately. As for Salvia farinacea, yes, I cut it back to the new growth when it gets leggy. Pretty soon, it’s back up and blooming again.~~Dee

  18. Debbie

    My daughter is planning a wedding and I know she would like real rose petals for the flower girls, our granddaughters, to toss. I love the tradition but bulk rose petals are $200.00 a box. I like the idea of providing those petals from our home. Do you have recommendations for growing roses that will be ready to “harvest” for petals, May 17, 2014?

    1. Dee Nash

      Hi Debbie, nearly any rose you grow will have petals aplenty the following year. However, you would need many roses to create enough petals for a wedding. That’s why they are so expensive I think. With all of mine, I would probably harvest enough, but then, you also need some way to preserve them. Search on the Internet for rose petals/preserve, and you’ll see what I mean. Good luck and congratulations to your daughter.

  19. Teresa / A Garden Diary

    May I use a couple of your pictures of the Rose Rosette Disease. I want to post an article before our show on Saturday and your pictures a very good. Thanks for the consideration!

  20. Sabrina Guarascio

    Hi, I love the picture of the lined up watering cans! I’m looking for these watering can for a party (as a loot gift). Can you please direct me where to get these? thank you

    1. Dee Nash

      Sabrina, I’m not sure which cans you’re referring to, but I find watering cans everywhere from bargain basement stores like T.J. Maxx to antique stores. Junk shops are another place to find the older cans. Hope this helps.~~Dee

I love your comments. Thanks for letting me know what you think.