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jaizei

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I wouldn't worry about oak leaves that weren't fully composted; I usually run live oak leaves thru a leaf vacuum/mulcher before adding to compost.
 

SasquatchTortoise

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I wouldn't worry about oak leaves that weren't fully composted; I usually run live oak leaves thru a leaf vacuum/mulcher before adding to compost.
Do your leaves have access to any potential pesticide? I suppose this is something that is hard to control, given their wide root systems
 

jaizei

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Do your leaves have access to any potential pesticide? I suppose this is something that is hard to control, given their wide root systems

Not that I know of, but i don't think they could incidentally take up enough pesticide to be dangerous. I think if there was enough of something toxic in the soil, there would be some other indicator also.
 

SasquatchTortoise

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Not that I know of, but i don't think they could incidentally take up enough pesticide to be dangerous. I think if there was enough of something toxic in the soil, there would be some other indicator also.
I think I'll go ahead and use it, and if it goes wrong, it's only one or two plants that are affected
 

Oxalis

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Okay, this is (definitely) my last question. Is Compost that is somewhat unfinished (tree leaves take quite a while to break down) safe to use? I am mainly concerned about my fruits and vegetables absorbing any potential toxins from different plants that I have composted. I try not to use any poisonous plants, but there are are a few small pieces. Is it even possible for a plant to absorb another plant's poison from the soil?
Leaves from the black walnut or butternut (Juglans spp.) might cause problems too, because of the juglone toxin. This is why some gardeners have trouble growing plants under their walnut trees. I'm playing it safe, so I won't be composting any leaves from my butternut tree. Oak leaves should be fine. If you're worried, I would leave your compost to sit longer to decompose more. Make sure you're composting a good ratio of browns vs. greens.

I definitely recommend starting a leaf mold box. I started one a year or two ago, and it really is gardener's gold. Here are some easy instructions: https://www.thespruce.com/making-and-using-leaf-mold-2539475
 
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EricW

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Leaves from the black walnut or butternut (Juglans spp.) might cause problems too, because of the juglone toxin. This is why some gardeners have trouble growing plants under their walnut trees. I'm playing it safe, so I won't be composting any leaves from my butternut tree. Oak leaves should be fine. If you're worried, I would leave your compost to sit longer to decompose more. Make sure you're composting a good ratio of browns vs. greens.

I definitely recommend starting a leaf mold box. I started one a year or two ago, and it really is gardener's gold. Here are some easy instructions: https://www.thespruce.com/making-and-using-leaf-mold-2539475
There is no real concern for toxin from plants impacting your plants, especially in compost. The toxins break down fast and by the time your compost is ready, there would be no concern. The toxins in things like Black Walnut would not transfer even if you freshly chipped up the tree and spread it out. How Black Walnut impacts plants around them is through the root system. They deliver the toxin via root to root contact.
 

EricW

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Alright, (maybe) the last question for you all. I've been trying some newer plants this year, and decided to get a dwarf banana. I had planed on giving my tortoise a leaf or two every now and then (after waiting a year or so for any nursery chemicals to leave the system) however I understand that bananas are require literal pounds of nutrients to stay healthy. Would a rich compost be enough? If not, then is there such a thing as 'tortoise safe' fertilizer? Obviously, the ones with pesticides mixed in are not good to use, but what about the ones meant for garden plants such as tomatoes?
Best fertilizer for bananas is their selves lol. When you trim up the leaves or extra stalks, you should just chop them up and lay them at the base to let them decompose. Or you can put in your compost and spread the compost over the top. I do not use any fertilizer on my Blue Java bananas and they grow like crazy and produce. I am sure there is a preferred fertilizer ratio, but I do not know what it is. They are heavy potassium feeders, hence the potassium rich bananas.
 

EricW

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I like to follow the Garden Professors. Check them out on Facebook or their online blog. They are garden professors from various Universities that write weekly blogs on gardening. They cover myths, soil chemistry, plant chemistry, fungi, bacteria's, composting, etc. The list goes on and on and they use peer reviewed information and or studies they are working on. I learned a lot reading their information.
 

Oxalis

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Some of our native pretties have started blooming. The wood poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum):

IMG_20230508_163408242.jpg

Bellwort (Uvularia sp.):

IMG_20230506_145646659.jpg

Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica):

IMG_20230506_150532457.jpg
 

Yvonne G

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Best fertilizer for bananas is their selves lol. When you trim up the leaves or extra stalks, you should just chop them up and lay them at the base to let them decompose. Or you can put in your compost and spread the compost over the top. I do not use any fertilizer on my Blue Java bananas and they grow like crazy and produce. I am sure there is a preferred fertilizer ratio, but I do not know what it is. They are heavy potassium feeders, hence the potassium rich bananas.
I watched a youtube video on how to grow a banana plant from a banana. Who knew???
 

Oxalis

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I watched a youtube video on how to grow a banana plant from a banana. Who knew???
I'm trying to regrow a pineapple from the green stalk on top of the fruit. It is starting to root, albeit very slowly.

Pictures of my butterfly and hummingbird garden this year, all weeded with new mulch. To fill it in more, I planted obedient plant (Physostegia virginiana), hoary vervain (Verbena stricta), blue lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica), and more cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis). The cardinal flower I planted last year may stalk and flower this year if it's happy, so that would be fabulous. The golden alexanders (Zizia aurea) are what's in bloom now. It looks like most of last year's plants are back and doing all right. There are lots of little milkweed stalks coming back up, so last year's plants seeded very well, unsurprisingly. Of course, there's always plenty of evening primrose (Oenothera biennis) since its seed gets everywhere. I may have also just planted a hairy beardtongue (Penstemon hirsutus) but I already can't remember now. We've been doing a ton of planting around the yard, as usual for this time of year, so we'll see what blooms!

IMG_20230520_140643478.jpg

IMG_20230520_140657879.jpg

I've only seen the hummingbird visit our new feeder once so far, but they don't stick around long! I've already seen a fair number of butterflies, including the red admiral and the tiger swallowtail. Hoping to see more swallowtails as we keep adding more of their larval hosts to the yard. :D

1684948382830.png
 

Len B

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This may be the first year I have a chance to see what the ripe bananas look like KIMG2219.JPGan early bloom with little banana's back in the shadow already. Never had a bloom this early. Had a forum member come by a couple years ago that was from Thailand to get plants and he said after they get 4 rings of bananas they cut the bloom off to get better bananas.
 

Yvonne G

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This may be the first year I have a chance to see what the ripe bananas look like View attachment 357316an early bloom with little banana's back in the shadow already. Never had a bloom this early. Had a forum member come by a couple years ago that was from Thailand to get plants and he said after they get 4 rings of bananas they cut the bloom off to get better bananas.
Sheesh, Len - I'd be happy to just have my banana plants live, let alone set fruit!
 

EricW

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This may be the first year I have a chance to see what the ripe bananas look like View attachment 357316an early bloom with little banana's back in the shadow already. Never had a bloom this early. Had a forum member come by a couple years ago that was from Thailand to get plants and he said after they get 4 rings of bananas they cut the bloom off to get better bananas.
Thanks for the tip. Last year my bananas didn't mature in time before an unregular freeze. I am going to cut the bloom this time.
 

Oxalis

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@Oxalis - obedient plant down here where I live is pretty aggressive. Is it pretty aggressive there as well?
Sounds like it, but apparently shallow roots make it easy to pull out. I have a lot of space to fill, so I hope it does spread a bit. I have plenty of other places around the yard I can move plants to as well.
 
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