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Past Questions and Answers | August 2015

Question #1

Question:  I square foot garden in raised bed my rutgers tomatoes are very small, I fertilize and keep watered, and they do not get any bigger than a golf ball.

  Willis Cross, Janesville, Wisconsin


ANSWER:   When do you fertilize? You should fertilize when planted, at first bloom, and then every two weeks after that. You side dress the fertilizer, placing it beside the tomato plant, then water it in. You keep the soil around the plant moist but not soggy. Use a fertilizer moderate in nitrogen, high in phosphorus, and moderate in potassium. Too much nitrogen and the plant will grow beautiful foliage but no blooms. The phosphorus promotes blooming.

Question #2

Question:  What can I use to rid my lawn of Fairy Rings? Baking soda sometimes works but I'm afraid it may also kill the grass.

  Ted Brydges, North Battleford, SK


ANSWER:   Fairy rings usually come up when there is too much water in the soil. Reduce your watering and they will not come up. Grass only needs an inch of water once a week or possibly twice a week to do well.

Question #3

Question:  I have wireworms infesting everything including garlic. Help, please?

  Joyce Harder, Lillooet, British Columbia


ANSWER:   There are no insecticides that provide help for wireworms once the crops are planted. You must control weeds in the garden as that provides an extra host for the worms. Orthene (acephate) is labeled for tomatoes as a transplant water treatment for soil insects including wireworm. You can use it around your tomatoes. It is not labeled to be used on anything else. You will have to carefully rotate your crops with plants wireworms do not infest one season then ones they do infest the next season.

Question #4

Question:  Late this spring I purchased from a catalog, among other things, what look like little tubers to start Apricot Tart Potentilla and Blue Phlox. The tubers are in small plastic bags. Due to delayed hardscaping I did not get them planted before the heat of summer arrived. Are they a lost cause at this point, or can I plant them indoors until fall? Thanks for any help - KB

  Karen Birchall, Winston-Salem, NC


ANSWER:   You can plant the tubers in potting soil in pots, one tuber to a six inch pot, and they will do fine.

Question #5

Question:  I am growing a row of sweet corn in my garden for the first time. They are already about 12" tall. I just planted one row which is only about 4' long. In the row I have about 7 spots where the corn in coming up. Each spot has between 1-6 stalks growing. Can I try to transplant some of the stalks to thin them out? Can they grow right next to each other?

  Michael Palmer, Bronx, NY


ANSWER:   Corn is planted in rows or blocks rather close together. It does not transplant well. You can try it though and see what happens as you have to thin the stalks that are too close together anyway and you would otherwise just throw the plants you thinned away.

Question #6

Question:  something ate my giant ca zinnias they looked like lace any idea what it may be

  Frances Federico, Mansfield, Massachusetts


ANSWER:   I can't tell for sure with the information you have given me. I suspect leafminers. There really is not treatment for leafminers. Keep your plants vigorous through watering and fertilizing them and they will survive the damage leafminers do. You can cut off the leaves that are effected, too.

Question #7

Question:  Will removing a stump kill the new tree growth shoots coming from the tree? I'm glad there is new growth from the dead tree & don't want to harm the new tree.

  Bernice Rutherly, Knoxville, TN


ANSWER:   Yes, removing the stump will kill the new trees as they are using the stumps roots to supply them with food and water.

Question #8

Question:  Is it possible that hot peppers planted in the same garden with Blue Lake bush beans would make the beans hot? I harvested some beans and they were hot although I did not add any pepper when cooking. I thought cross polenation was limited to within the same species.

  Linda Jane Gresham, Hampton, GA


ANSWER:   Hot peppers and beans cannot cross pollinate. They are not the same species. Dry weather can sometimes make beans have a different flavor.

Question #9

Question:  I have a clematis which the. Leaves on the bottom of the plant are brown & yellow & look like they are drying up, the same thing happened last year?

  Doris Clarke, Thorhild, Alberta


ANSWER:   That is natural. Those leaves are naturally shed and it is fine to prune them off when they start to do this.

Question #10

Question:  We have 11 apple trees. In the spring we had blossoms everywhere, beautiful. Now there are hundreds of apples on each tree but all are small, starting to ripen early and have black marks all over them. All the trees are mature. Can pruning help us to have more edible fruit next year?

  Donald Young, Mayfield, New York


ANSWER:   You have an insect or disease problem and pruning will not effect that. You need to take a sample of the apples to your Extension agent and get the problem identified, then spray for it. That will help you have more edible apples in the future.

Question #11

Question:  i have a 10 feet tall varigated pittisporum that i would like to prune .when would be the best time to do this.

  John T March, Swindon, Wiltshire


ANSWER:   You prune in early spring.

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Use Edgings

Nothing finishes off a flower bed like low, long flowering edging plants.

Alyssum, lobelia, and dianthus are great for just this purpose.

For good continual flowering, also fertilize every few weeks with a balanced fertilizer like a 15-15-15.

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