Category Archives: Garden Doctor by Dr. Kris

The Intestines of the Soil

‘Dear Garden Doctor, I have no worms in my garden soil. I just started my first compost pile, my friend tells me it won’t work as I don’t have worms in my garden. I have lived here for 2 years and have rarely seen any. My husband says there won’t be any worms to get into my bin and I should buy some. Do I need worms to start composting and why do people associate worms with good soil? Totti, Bali.’   Aristotle described worms as ‘the intestines of the soil’ which is essentially what they are. Earthworms slither through the soil, ... [ Read More ]

Growing Papaya from Seed

‘Dear Dr. Kris, I have seen papaya trees growing all over the place and am questioning how easy would it be to grow my own from the seeds taken from a fruit. How many years would it take to produce my own fruit, and what sort of growing conditions does it need. Should I start off in pots or the ground. I really love papaya juice and would like to grow my own. Any helpful advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance. Tony, Kerobokan Bali.’   Papaya originated in the tropics of South America, but today you can find them growing ... [ Read More ]

Fundamentals for Growing Grass

‘Dear Garden Doctor, We built our house 18 months ago and I’m only just getting my lawn looking decent as the builders took away most of my top soil and grass that was left after excavating my block.  I’ve been buying compost soil and transplanting runners and finally it’s getting there but I’m wondering if you have any tips on aeration or basic advice on how to grow a beautiful lush green lawn to make the neighbours jealous? Rafael, Sanur’ Growing a beautiful lawn is a pleasing way to cover a large unused area of the garden.  A lawn can be easy ... [ Read More ]

Natural Fertiliser

‘Dear Garden Doctor, I have a small plot with a lawn, frangipani, bromeliads, a lot of leafy border plants. I have a few pot plants and trying to grow tomatoes. What is the best fertiliser to use to give everything a kick along because I don’t think I have the best soil, and obviously I can’t replace it all in one hit. Thanks for the informative articles, keep them coming. Regards, Michael, Sanur.’   The best thing to do would be to improve the state of your soil by composting and incorporating natural organic fertilisers along the way. The health of the soil ... [ Read More ]

The Apulkat Doesn’t Fall Far From the Tree!

‘Dear Dr. Kris, Saw an article by you. Thanks for sharing that. Would it be possible for you to share as to what is the best time/ month to start germination of avocado seeds in Indonesia? Thanks in anticipation. Dr Karan Singh, Jakarta.’   Avocado = Apulkat in Bahasa Indonesia. The avocado tree is a plant that will usually do well without too much human intervention. It can easily be grown from the large seed that comes with the fruit. Deciding on when to plant depends on how much care you are willing to give your plant, and the conditions ... [ Read More ]

What a Thoughtful Little Snake

Hi Kris, Just today I found this snake skin close by my pool when i was swimming with my 3 year old daughter. I am a bit concerned that we might have a resident snake in our garden even though we hardly have one and it is very well kept. We live in Sanur. I have attached a few photos of the snake skin. It looks a bit like a Cobra to me or am I wrong? What can we do to avoid such problems? I Look forward hearing from you. Best regards, Rilke.’   Just this morning I showed my 7 year old son the pictures from Rilke’s yard, ... [ Read More ]

Water Conservation in the Garden

‘We have just bought a block of land up in the hills at Jimbaran where we plan to build our own little piece of paradise. Because the land has been cleared we have a blank canvas to work with but from the outset I would like to maintain a low-maintenance garden if that makes any sense? Do you have any ideas for saving water or which plants or planting techniques that I can use to ensure that I am not out there watering or wasting scarce water all of the time. Thanking you in advance for your suggestions. Regards Roger. ... [ Read More ]


‘Dear Garden Dr., I see that you mentioned dandelions in the last article, it sparked some old time childhood memories of blowing the seeds off and watching them float away in the wind – thanks for that! It also revived another memory of mine from my long departed dear grandfather. He said that many moons ago some people used to pull grass out of their own lawns to make room for dandelions, chickweed, chamomile and other useful so-called weeds (that I have now forgotten the names of) and I don’t doubt it. While I know that dandelion root ‘coffee’ has become somewhat ... [ Read More ]

Beautiful Trees and Flowers Seen around Bali

Hi Dr Kris, I hope you don’t mind me asking, but I read your Bali Advertiser articles and love them…..I thought you might be able to help me identify a tree. We have a property up in the hills northeast of Ubud but were down in Nusa Dua and saw this tree we really liked. I asked the gardeners there what it was and they said it was a ‘Panisium’ (not exactly sure on how they should spell it) but when I try and search on this name nothing comes up. Would you by chance happen to know what it is ... [ Read More ]

Plants to Purify the Air

‘Hi Dr. Kris, Love the information that you deliver. Just a quick question -have heard about using pot plants indoors to purify the air to reduce toxic contaminants. How effective do you think plants would be for removing toxins from the air, or freshening it up a bit, and are there any plants that you could specifically recommend. Thanking you in advance. Regards – Bali Ben.’ It has been said that the air inside our homes can sometimes be more polluted than the air outside….this would obviously depend on where you live and what you keep in your home of ... [ Read More ]