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Past Questions and Answers | November 2017

Question #1

Question:  Have a large African Violet, lately looking not well. Has some yellow leaves, I want to put some plant food 11-35-15 that I use for my orchids. Is this okay to use?

  Howard, Boynton Beach Fl 33436


ANSWER:   First yellowing of African violet leaves can be caused by improper watering, incorrect lighting and/or fertilizer. It is better to use a fertilizer designed for African violets, you can use this fertilizer just make sure to dilute it to avoid over fertilizing but only do this during the growing season. Personally, I would not fertilize but instead move the plant to a southwest or east window but do not put on the windowsill. Instead, place about three feet away. Also only water when the soil is dry and only from the bottom.

Question #2

Question:  Darlene, Talent, Oregon

  My Christmas Cactus fell off a 6 foot shelf and crashed. How do I propagate this plant from the broken pieces.


ANSWER:   A Christmas cactus is easy to propagate. First, take a look at the broken pieces. What you are looking for are pieces that include the whole "leaf." A whole "leaf" is one that tapers down at the end. Once you have these, simply place the tapered end in soil Repeat until you have all the appropriate pieces in the soil and then water. Place on a sunny windowsill and keep moist. Another approach is to place the broken pieces in a shallow glass of water but this should only be done if the pieces are long. Please note: remove any of the buds or blooms from the pieces you are trying to root. Not doing this will take energy from the "cutting."

Question #3

Question:  I have Pine Cones that have "growth" at one end of the cone. Can I plant the cones, leaving the new growth exposed? If so, When can I do so?

  Penny, Lansing, MI


ANSWER:   Pine cones require some type of manipulation to germinate, such as heart or gnawing by rodents. If this has happened and the growth does look like pine, yes you can plant your pine cone in a well draining soil. Typically the "pine cone seed" is inside the cone so the best approach is to plant the whole cone so that you do not damage the seedling. As far as when and how, this should be done now since you see a seedling. Planting it is simple and only requires one to plant it only to the depth of the pine cone and not any deeper. Plant it deeper with suffocate the roots of the seedling.

Question #4

Question:  What vegetables can be planted for fall? When should they be planted? Love your website.

  Sally, Pueblo West, Colorado


ANSWER:   Crops that are planted in the Fall are referred to as Cole crops, which includes lettuce(s), spinach, kale, and (snow) peas. These types of plants normally mature in a month to 6 weeks. As far as planting time goes, August to September is a wonderful time but since you are in Colorado this date may be a little sooner due to snow and/or temperatures at freezing. A gauge is to find out when your local first freeze is going to be. From this information you can count back four to six weeks.

Question #5

Question:  Can you transplant muskedime grape vines after they have started growing. When it is the 2nd year of growing. And how would do the transplanting?

  Eddie, Gardendale


ANSWER:   I assume that your grape vines are in pots right now. Yes, you can transplant them but this should only occur in the spring. This will prevent a cold snap from killing the new growth. To plant your grapes in the ground, make the hole twice to three times the width of the container but the same depth. While you can tip the plant upside down to remove it from the container, I would recommend that you slit the container down the sides to remove the plant. Next, loosen the soil around the roots (teasing) and place in the hole. Adjust the hole as needed. Fill in only to the level by which the plant was in the pot. At this point, go ahead and sit up your support system for your vines. Once all the plants have been planted, give them a good watering. Check the soil moisture often until your plants have taken hold.

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