Choosing Your Plants
If you would like some guidance when planning your gardens, we have created lists of many of our popular plant categories to make your planning & purchasing easier. Note that these are general guides of plants typically grown by Painters, but you'll want to check our current availability list to be sure we offer them this season.
Planting native plants is very important for local wildlife, and attracting bees and other beneficial insects will in turn provide enhanced pollination and improved garden health. Regional insects and wildlife have co-evolved with native plants; many of these plants provide needed food and shelter for these species (you will also find that many native plants are more resistant than non-natives to mammal pests as a result of this co-evolution). Insects have specific dietary needs which require those plants with which they have co-evolved. You can help support wildlife and the productivity of your gardens if you incorporate natives into your landscape.
Supporting Pollinators & Wildlife
You’ve probably heard about the decline of our native bee populations – there is concern that some of our agricultural practices (use of pesticides, genetically modified crops, etc) are partly at fault. Bees play a critical role in our own food production, so even if you aren’t a big bee fan, helping bees helps us all!
Guide to a Bird-Friendly Backyard
Supporting native birds and creating habitat corridors for them is very important. Audubon is committing to growing Bird-Friendly Communities across North Carolina. You can be part of the movement by growing native plants in your yard.
How to Grow a Thriving Herb Garden
Pest ID and Treatment
This is a guide to common pests as well as beneficial insects and includes some eco-friendly treatment options.
Shrubs & Trees
Tree & Shrubs Planting Guidelines
For those of you who haven't done much landscaping with larger perennials, or if you are uncertain of the specific needs for your new purchase, click below for a handout covering the basics of how to plant shrubs and trees as well as our plant guarantee for such items.
Guide to Mulching
Mulching can save a lot of work in the long run – choose natural mulch without chemical treatments (finely ground cedar or pine bark is good), and insulate the surface of the soil with about 2-3 inches of mulch. Mulching can literally reduce weed problems by up to 90% and watering needs by up to 50% if done properly and maintained. Visit the link below for detailed information to ensure you are properly mulching.
Gardening with Water Conservation in Mind
an excellent guide to gardening with water conservation in mind, including ideas for low-maintenance plantings, easy ways to set up automatic watering, and ways to save water on your lawns.
Learn How to Compost
A really handy website that covers everything from what composting is, to how to do it and what can be composted, to commonly asked questions. This site is a great tool if you are teaching your kids about composting, as it is very user friendly and has a colorful, visual layout.
Backyard Composting of Yard, Garden, and Food Discards
A detailed handout from the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service. Don’t get too worried about understanding/maintaining the exact ratios discussed here – basically, if something has a high C:N ratio (like sawdust), then it will take longer to break down in your compost. If you add more nitrogen (a great source is a little bit of 10-10-10 or a similar fertilizer), then you can achieve the C:N balance needed to speed up the decomposition. As nitrogen is typically lacking, it is best to always include a little fertilizer.
Guide to Apartment Composting
A person doesn't need to live in a house or have a yard to compost. People who live in condos or apartments can also make compost for their potted plants, and they can even do it right from their kitchen. Vermicomposting is a popular composting method for people who live in condos. It is discreet, is odor-free when properly maintained, and can be done in a small bin. Learn how!
Worms Can Recycle Your Garbage
Step-by-step directions on how to use worms for composting. Vermiculture is very easy, can be done in small spaces and even inside, the worms expedite the composting process, and your final product is even more nutrient-rich and beneficial in your gardens! To read more about the benefits of using worm castings as a fertilizer, soil ammendment and pest control, click the link below. We sometimes have worm castings available at the greenhouse, but if not, there are several local suppliers.
Compost is organic material that can be used to improve soil and create a better medium for gardening. Mature compost contains a substance called humus that is dark brown or black and has a soil-like smell. It is created by combining organic wastes (yard trimmings, food wastes, manures) in proper ratios into a composting container/pile, then adding bulking agents (wood chips) as needed to accelerate the breakdown of organic materials, and finally allowing the finished material to fully stabilize and mature through a curing process. Learn how!
How to Reuse Coffee & Tea
Coffee grounds and tea both have excellent uses in the garden, particularly as compost and wonderful pest repellants. If you’re getting your garden started early in the season, it is always a great idea to make sure your soil is providing the best possible nutrients directly to your plants.
The Benefits of Worm Castings
Over 100 years ago, Charles Darwin observed the action of earthworms and the benefit of the castings they produced. Worm castings are not actually compost. Composting worms eat animal manures, newspaper, green waste, household scraps, bio-solids (human sewage), etc.- anything that has previously been living. Their digestive process kills pathogens (without the need for heat like traditional composting), and adds a complete array of beneficial biological organisms to the castings. Up to 10,000 different biological species are added! These beneficial organisms then provide conversion mechanisms so plants can more easily access needed nutrients.