I have been given an African Violet and it is dying the leaves had big brown spots and it is a bit withered looking. Can it be revived?
Jessie Ratledge, Mt. Barker, South Australia
I suspect you have been watering your African Violet from the top and giving it too much water. This causes crown rot, which will cause brown leaves and withering. This plant will not recover once the leaves are brown and it is withered. You need to put it in the trash and start over. Be sure to disinfect your pot with one part bleach and nine parts water, and let it soak in the solution overnight before reusing it or your next plant will have a similar fate. The African Violet Society of America has a very good primer in growing African violets.
What kind of herbs and vegetables can I plant in winter time? I want to be ready for next winter.
Mwila, Grahamstown, Eastern Cape
Your winter gets pretty cold. Most herbs and vegetables do not grow when it is below 32 degrees F. You can plant cold hardy crops in the fall such as lettuce, collards,spinach, turnips, carrots, parsnips, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and beets. If you have a mild winter, your greens will continue to grow throughout the winter. Your root crops will grow until first frost. They may be left in the ground to sweeten until just before the first hard freeze. If you use a coldframe, you will lengthen the time yo will have fresh greens and root crops.
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