Celebrity Raised Garden Tips

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What soil mix does Paul James use for raised beds?

Paul James on....Soil Mixes

Into the mix! You love remixes of your favorite songs...but when it comes to gardening organic and choosing soil with raised beds, you need to be precise. Rebecca Kolls of "Rebecca's Garden" on HGTV and Paul James have the celebrity gardener advantage:

They make remixing look easy. What Paul James does when organic gardening in raised beds is to plant black-eyed peas and filet beans as well as perennials to attract beneficial insects and bug-eating birds, he prefers a precise soil mix.

He starts with 12 cubic yards of soil (you can vary this if you have a raised garden kit) and mixes this formula:

  • 2 parts black topsoil
  • 1 part mushroom compost
  • 1 part composted cotton burrs
  • 1 part builder's sand

Complete with shredded leaves for compost--if none are available, wait until you're raking leaves. Then mix and remix! Everyone loves a remix, and with Paul James' celebrity gardener wisdom, you can mix and remix your soil so your raised garden beds thrive.

Does Rebecca have any tips for gardening organic in raised beds?

Rebecca On...Gardening Organic in Raised Beds

Garden looking a bit messy? Even a raised bed garden needs cleaning, especially if you're gardening organic. Small beds may require less maintenance, as celebrity gardener Paul James can attest, but you still need to care for them, as celebrity gardener Rebecca Kolls of HGTV's "Rebecca's Garden" will tell you.

So how does Rebecca care for raised gardens in the fall? Some hints:

  • Save heirloom annual seeds, which sprout more easily in succeeding years.
  • Cut back perennials and mulch to defend against the coming winter.
  • Rip apart veggies--those you don't eat are great for the compost heap, a key in raised bed organic gardening.
  • If your soil is damp and you can't amend right away, try a cover crop such as winter rye, which is a supercharged fertilizer if you're gardening organic.

Raised bed gardens simplify these tasks. Now if you could just get Rebecca to tackle your small-space closet, which is also messy and impossible to maintain! Better keep watching HGTV.

Does Rebecca have any tips for working with mushroom compost?

Rebecca On...Mushroom Compost

You stayed away from mushrooms ever since that incident in college. But Portobello won't make you see dancing pink elephants. Neither will mushroom compost. Mushroom compost is a raised bed garden's best friend and a container garden's best best friend. You started a raised bed garden for organic gardening. But you've heard mushroom compost is high maintenance. Better talk to a celebrity gardener such as Paul James or Rebecca Kolls of "Rebecca's Garden" on HGTV.

Rebecca says that mushroom compost is wonderful and 100% organic, since it comes from the soil that's used to grow mushrooms. It includes gyspum and that gardener's friend, peat moss (sphagnum), which 'shroom growers often root their mushrooms in. Mushroom compost is also a readily available organic gardening amendment for raised gardens because you can only grow one mushroom crop before you have to toss out the soil.

So mushroom compost isn't high-maintenance, which makes it perfect for gardening organic in raised beds. Also, you won't have to worry about a repeat of the time you redecorated your room in soda cans.

Does Paul James have any tips for keeping raised beds safe?

Paul James On...Demolition-Free Raised Beds

Your fifteen-year-old has a learner's permit. You want to do organic gardening and have just planted a raised bed along the driveway after you watched "Rebecca's Garden." Now, to protect your investment and keep gardening organic, you need to watch celebrity gardener Paul James.

A raised garden bed is hard to miss...except if you're a teenager or a frustrated salesman. Paul James has planted a minigarden with a stone border and a limestone boulder to anchor his front yard. He plants a Japanese maple at the boulder base and a dwarf conifer--both will festoon the rock borders with tranches. Around the edges, Japanese-painted ferns will act as a "Stop" sign for any reckless driver. But then, your teenager just ran the stop sign at the end of the block, so you may want to surround your raised garden with police barricades and charge a $50 fine for accidents.

Does Rebecca have any advice for creating a kids' garden?

Rebecca On...Fairy Gardens

Kids love minigardens, but how do you create your own fairy garden or dollhouse garden that's easy to care for if you're gardening organic? Rebecca Kolls, celebrity gardener host of "Rebecca's Garden," likes minigardens as much as fellow celebrity gardener Paul James does. Some hints from "Rebecca's Garden" for creating a fairy minigarden:

  • Use a dollhouse for charm.
  • Plant several miniature herbaceous wonders such as bonsai trees and sego palms. Adults and kids will benefit from raised garden beds for easy care.
  • Plant miniature vegetables. Add organic gardening compost first, plant, and mulch!
  • Create winding paths to give kids and adults convenient access.
  • Plant container gardens in the ground, then dig them up again in winter if you live in a cold climate. Return container gardens to the soil when winter's over.
  • Place a raised bed in a readily visible location to mark the start of the fairy garden.
  • Add whimsical accessories from garden centers and miniature shops, and you're done!

The challenge? Keeping the adults out of the garden so the kids can play!

I bought plants on sale and can't plant them, can Paul James help?

Paul James On...Planting Mistakes

Celebrities make mistakes, otherwise tabloids wouldn't exist. You;ve made the mistake of buying autumn ferns and Siberian iris at the grocery store during the winter. You were distracted by the whole Paris Hilton thing. We understand. Actually, we don't, which is why we prefer to watch celebrity gardener Rebecca Kolls tend "Rebecca's Garden" and learn about "Gardening By the Yard" with celebrity gardener Paul James.

Actually, in his zeal for gardening organic, Paul James often brings one too many plants home--as opposed to other celebrities, who bring one too many lovers or illegal substances home. Paul James can just use his organic gardening skills to create several temporary minigardens, or nursery beds, to house his impulse buys until they mature or the season changes.

His autumn fern, for example, is almost an evergreen, so winter won't bother it when it's in its nursery bed. And if friends give him plants out of season, he can always give them space in nursery beds. You may eventually want to build raised garden beds using tools Paul James favors: the corner connector and the inline connector.

These two tools prevent corners from collapsing and boards from warping, so you don't have to dig up your plants again and place them in nursery beds. But while you're building a raised bed, nursery beds are excellent temporary homes. Now if someone could only cover up Tom Cruise's mistakes so efficiently.

How do I garden on a small scale?

Paul James on...Small-Scale Organic Gardening

Think a grand garden such as celebrity gardener Peter Strauss' Ojai Eden is ideal? Ah, but you don't have a vast supply of Miracle-Gro. And even celebrity gardener Paul James had to downsize. Who says celebrities don't live in the real world? Rebecca Kolls from Rebecca's Garden also plans manageable prrojects if you're intent on gardening organic.

Paul James chose to compost and plants several minigardens for organic gardening. In his organic veggie garden, he only tackles one section at a time, and the same goes for his perennial garden: pruning and weeding the upper portion today, finishing the lower portion tomorrow. He also plants low-maintenance green stuff, and adds mulch for easy care.

To live like a celebrity gardener, you don't have to be big or extravagant...just give your plants a lot of love and you'll have a sense of accomplishment. And as we've said, don't forget the Miracle-Gro!

Does Rebecca have tips on container gardening?

Rebecca On...Container Gardening

You've boxed yourself into a corner with limited yard space. Until you can move and have a home on the range, celebrity gardener Rebecca Kolls of "Rebecca's Garden" extols the benefits of window boxes and container gardening. If you want raised bed gardens, take celebrity gardener Paul James' hints for gardening on a small scale. But Paul James uses pots and contaienr gardens too.

Rebecca likes windowboxes for organic gardening with color. When gardening organic, remember that soil and plants need to be well-drained. Rebecca favors boxes with drainage holes and screens or broken pottery to cover the holes and prevent soil from clogging the drain.

Speaking of soil, if you're gardening organic on a budget and holding over old soil, Rebecca recommends adding new soil so that the box is nearly full, and then incorporating amendments. To hydrate soil, Rebecca mixes in polymer crystals. Once the soil is prepared, Rebecca plants a mixture of three types of flowers and veggies:

  • Plants that give you height
  • Plants that cascade over the side
  • Plants to fill in the box

While you're waiting to move, you can use the advice of a celebrity gardener to add curb appeal to a small space, so you won't be boxed in when it comes time to sell that house!

What shape garden does Paul James like?

Paul James On...The Shape of Things

You shape your garden and your garden shapes you. Preferably not with a curved spine--that's why celebrity gardener Paul James and his cohort celebrity gardener Rebecca Kolls of "Rebecca's Garden" like raised garden beds for organic gardening. Paul James prefers the raised hill for gardening organic so that water doesn't run off and doesn't puddle to the point of stagnation.

A raised-bed builder makes raised hill gardens simple. Of course, the shape of your bed will depend on your plants and the growing season. A flat-top bed will combat dry spells by holding in water thanks to a lip on both sides of the bed. A shallow furrow in the center of the bed adds definition and helps retain moisture.

The other alternative is the recessed-pan garden, in which Paul James creates furrows that he then sows seeds or plants transplants in. The furrows themselves are water reservoirs! You've formed your garden, but your garden will help you grow.

Does Rebecca have advice on stones for raised gardens?

Rebecca On...Raised Stone Gardens

You're a good friend and you want to help when you see your galpal gardening organic and wanting to protect her soil and plants with stone borders. What do you do? Call Rebecca Kolls, celebrity gardener host of HGTV's "Rebecca's Garden"! She and celebrity gardener Paul James have several answers for the gardening-challenged and the people who love them.

Rebecca advises that if you're doing organic gardening and want to transform a flat, unappealing space, a stone raised bed garden is an attractive choice. She recommends tumbled concrete, anchor Windsor block, 6- to 18-inch field stone boulders, or if you're willing to spend extra to help your friend, solid granite.

She cautions that you need to use a layer of crushed limestone for the base. Oh, and a qualified hardscaper from a stone yard works too. Besides, that qualified hardscaper is cute, and your friend's been wanting love in her life. Just call you Cupid. With a little help from Rebecca's Garden.

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