How much do you know about starting a garden?

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Maria Trimarchi

6 Min Quiz

What's it called when you buy a plant only to bring it home, tap it out of its nursery pot and find its roots are compacted into the shape of the pot?

A plant with roots that have taken on the shape of its container is called rootbound, or potbound. It's best to break up the ball before replanting.

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How often you water your plants depends on what?

How often you'll need to water your garden will depend on a few things, including how hot and dry the air has been, and the type of soil mixture you used.

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Which type of soil is heavy, sticky and compacts easily when you try to make a ball with it?

Trying to garden in clay is difficult because it's heavy, sticky and compacts too easily.

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What can you use to protect heat-sensitive plants from being scorched by the sun or damaged by the heat?

Shade netting can help keep both the air and soil temperatures about 10 degrees cooler than if it wasn't there. And that means it keeps damaging sunlight off the foliage, so it won't burn, and also retains soil moisture.

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Spending 45 minutes doing what in your garden burns about 157 calories?

Forty-five minutes of weeding your garden can burn about 157 calories. You're active when you plant your garden, too. Spend 45 minutes planting and you'll burn about 177 calories.

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Which is a benefit of mulching your garden?

Probably one of the best things about mulching is you're helping to keep the soil moist. In fact, mulch can reduce water evaporation from the soil below by as much as 70 percent. It's also good for weed control, and for keeping plants safe from cold winter temperatures. Plus, if it's organic, it will keep your soil healthy as it breaks down.

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What could cause the leaf tips of your newly planted seedlings to burn?

The first thing to consider when your seedlings emerge healthy but then develop leaf tip burn is your fertilizer. This is a classic symptom of excessive fertilization.

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Which of these popular garden plants keeps producing throughout the growing season?

While some plants, including carrots and corn, produce once in a season, tomatoes keep producing the whole season.

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What's the name of the map used to determine which plants will grow best in which area of the country?

Gardeners and growers rely on the USDA Plant Hardiness Zones map to determine what plants will thrive in which of the 11 zones across the U.S.

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Which of these plants prefers warm conditions?

Some plants, including peppers, eggplant and summer squash, need at least a month of summery temperatures between 80 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit to be their best.

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How can you tell if a plant needs watering?

The simplest way is to check with your finger. If the soil feels moist about two to three inches below the surface, the plants have enough water.

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What's the name of the plant's root from which all other roots sprout?

A plant's taproot is the central root from which all other roots sprout. You can expect it to be thick, fairly straight and grows straight down into the ground.

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How would you correctly complete the following sentence? The _____ the environment, the faster your seeds will germinate.

The speed at which seeds germinate depends on the environment they're in. Most seeds will germinate between 1 to 2 weeks (although some, like tomato seeds, can take longer), but allowing them to do so in a warmer environment is optimal.

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How many trees do you need to have in your yard before you see the benefits of the foliage on your heating and cooling costs?

Having a 25-foot tree in your yard -- that's about the same height as the Great Wall of China, and shorter than a standard utility pole, can lower your home's overall heating and cooling costs by as much as 10%. And that's just one.

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How far apart should you space seeds while planting them?

Every plant has different likes and dislikes, so it's best to refer to the seed's package for how far apart -- and how deep -- those seeds should be sowed.

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Which type of soil drains well, but is gritty and doesn't hold nutrients?

Not all gardening soils, potting mixes or soil in your yard are equal. Gritty soil that drains well but doesn't hold onto any nutrients? You're planting in sandy soil.

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Which plants typically do better when planted already sprouted, rather than as a seed?

Basil, eggplant, peppers and tomatoes are all good examples of plants that generally fare better planted as seedlings rather than seeds.

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When it comes to sunlight, which is the best location for your garden?

When it comes to light, a typical vegetable garden will need at least six to eight hours every day.

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Weeding by hand is easier in what type of soil?

Pulling weeds by hand is easier if you do it when the soil is wet. If the soil is dry, it's better to use a hoe than your hands.

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Which type of garden dries out fastest?

You may find your plants need more frequent watering if you choose to grow your plants in containers rather than in the ground or in raised beds.

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What gardening tool is used to work compost into the soil?

Sure, there's more than one way to work compost into your garden's soil, but the best and easiest way is with a rototiller. Bonus: It can also be used for weeding.

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If you plan to use your compost to enrich your garden soil, what shouldn't go into your compost bin?

Between 20 percent to 30 percent of what we throw away are food scraps and yard waste, such as grass clippings and autumn leaves -- things that can be composted. But keep the contents of the vacuum cleaner bag, which has been found to contain harmful pesticide residues among other toxins, out of it.

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Which of these plants prefers cool conditions?

Corn prefers warm conditions, as do melons and tomatoes. Carrots, though, prefer cooler conditions.

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Which vegetable can be harvested a little early, and allowed to mature on your countertop?

Summer squashes, including zucchini, can be picked when they're full-grown, or when they're just a few inches long. Small zucchini will continue to mature even after it's been harvested.

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How much fruit can you expect from one tomato plant?

Just one plant can very easily produce up to 10 pounds of tomatoes throughout one season.

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Which is not something used in hardscaping?

There are two parts to landscaping: softscape and hardscape. Hardscape features include pretty much anything that's, well, hard, like decks and patios, walkways, water features, and other unchanging elements. Softscape features, such as shrubs and all the plants in your garden, on the other hand, are the living elements of your yard.

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If you decide to plant in rows, it's recommended how much space should be between each row?

In order to have room to work, it's recommended you plant rows with at least 18 inches of room between.

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How many seeds from the new seed packet you bought can you expect to sprout?

You can expect a germination rate of about 65 percent to 80 percent from a package of high-quality seeds, which means that the majority of seeds in the package will sprout.

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Which is not one of the essential plant nutrients that should be in your garden soil?

Plants get carbon, hydrogen and oxygen from air and water, but most of their nutrients come from the soil they grow in. Nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium are the three primary macronutrients plants get from soil. If you suspect your soil is sabotaging your gardening efforts, you can have it tested.

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Which is the more efficient way to use the space in your garden?

One good way to maximize your gardening space is to switch from the traditional style of planting in rows to raised beds, either three feet or four feet wide.

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If the pH reading of your soil is greater than 7.5, it's considered what?

On the scale of acidity from 0 to 14 (pH of 7 is neutral), most plants prefer a slightly acidic soil, with pH that falls between 6.0 and 6.8. The higher the number is, such as 7.5, the more alkaline the soil is. Conversely, the lower the number, the more acidic.

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You can expect to need more than how many gallons of water to keep a tomato plant alive through one season?

Tomatoes are heat-loving plants, and an average plant will need more then 30 gallons of water in one season.

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Although it looks like small Styrofoam balls, what is perlite actually made of?

Perlite, which is added to come potting soil mixes to help with soil aeration, isn't made out of Styrofoam. It's made from volcanic glass.

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What's the best location in your garden for plants that grow on vertical supports, such as peas or cucumbers?

Give tall vegetable plants and plants that grow on vertical supports the space and light they need by planting them at the north side of the garden.

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Which is considered a deer-resistant plant?

No plant is guaranteed to be deer-proof. Deer tend to prefer evergreens such as hostas and daylillies. But they tend to avoid any plants that are toxic, as well as plants that are prickly or have strong scents.

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Image: Shutterstock

About This Quiz

Whether you're planning your own backyard garden, or contributing to an urban or community garden, growing your own can be a little more complicated than putting a seed in the ground and hoping for the best. Let's see how green your thumb is.

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