image of gardening tips header
    Past Articles Library  |  Video Tips  |  Gardening-Idea Blog  |  About Us


Past Questions and Answers | October 2012

Question #1

Question:  Why do our Brussels sprouts flower out instead of forming the little cabbages? for the last 3 years they have done this.

  Lauretta Stevens, Garrettsville, Ohio


ANSWER:   Brussels sprouts bolt, or flower, due to heat. You may be planting them too early so that it is still too hot when the Brussels sprouts go to fruit. Try planting them a week or two later in the gardening season.

Question #2

Question:  I have a huge "live oak" in my front yard. I have GREAT trouble getting anything to grow under it, especially grass. What can I plant to keep my yard from being bare earth? Thank you for your time, respectfully, Craig

  Craig Mullenax, Hurst, Texas


ANSWER:   Ivy is traditionally planted under trees that shade the area considerably. Grass won.t grow because it doesn.t get enough sun. You can also go to the Earthkind Plant Selector on the Texas A&M Agrilife website at This database allows you to specify shade loving plants and will return a list of possible plants for your shade bed.

Question #3

Question:  I am growing a long what some call long english cucumber. Because of soil issues I am growing them in a bucket in a green house. The plant is growing fine but and ther have been flowers on it but there does not seem to be any kind of cucumber starting. I planted these back in June and so far nothing. What could be the problem. Thank you

  Cleo Martin, Chiloquin, Oregon


ANSWER:   It sounds like you have a pollination problem. If the greenhouse is closed up tight the pollinating insects cannot reach the plant. You might try hand pollinating the flowers. You can identify the female flowers because there is a tiny fruit at the base of the flower. The male flowers do not have this fruit. Pick a male flower and peel off all the petals. Run the middle of the male flower over the female flower to transfer the pollen to the female. Each male flower will pollinate approximately five female flowers.

Question #4

Question:  I just had a few questions. While researching how to properly plant peonies, I read you can combine two to three roots in a group because they love to be crowded. If so can I combine two different types of peony roots together? I also read that 55 degrees is when I should plant my perennials, does that go for peonies too? I live in the Chicago burbs if that helps.

  Shawnda Szychlinski


ANSWER:   You can combine different kinds of peony roots together. Peonies are planted just like other perennials, so 55 degrees is the right time to plant them.

Question #5

Question:  This year a lot of my Blue Lake Green beans (both from pole and bush) have long pointed ends. I have never seen the points as long as some are this year. What has caused it?

  Janelle Marx, Cove, Oregon


ANSWER:   This is caused by the bean pods not filling with beans. Generally, this is a lack of either water. With the drought that is gripping the nation, many people are having this problem. Make sure you water your crops a couple of times a week and give them one inch of water at a time.

Question #6

Question:  What is the best way to tie-back large grasses? They are too tall to hold themselves up.

  Lynn Ruck, Gladstone, NJ


ANSWER:   Large ornamental grasses can be tied back to a stake in the ground with plant ties, that are made to hold plants without cutting them. They are generally available at garden supply places.

Question #7

Question:  I plant a great deal of spinach in March/April and again in August/September: The late sowing doesn't germinate well. Could it be that the bean seed fly is affecting germination?

  Millard Waltz, Oldenbug, Lower Saxony, Germany


ANSWER:   The bean seed fly does not attack spinach. However, you may be planting your spinach too soon and it isn't germinating in the heat. Try planting it a week or two later than you are now and see if the germination rate does not improve.

Question #8

Question:  I have ground ivy or creeping Charlie all over my back yard. I have tried a few weed killers including 20-Mule Team Borax that claims to kill it, but it isn't working. How do I kill ground ivy without ruining what little grass it hasn't killed?

  Colleen, Anoka, Minnesota


ANSWER:   Ground ivy is a broadleaf plant. Look for herbicides containing 2,4,D to kill this plant. However, if you have St. Augustine, 2,4,D will kill your grass. It does not hurt Bermuda grass. If you have St. Augustine grass, you will have to wick the 2,4,D onto the ivy. The best way to do this is get a bbq mop and dip it in the herbicide. Spread it on the ivy leaves, being careful not to get it on your grass. This is a lot of work but preferable to digging the ivy up by hand.

Ask Your Gardening Questions Here:

If you have a question, fill out the form and hit the "Submit Question" button. Check next month's issue for an answer.

Unfortunately due to question volume not all questions can be answered, but an honest attempt will be made to get to them all.

Click Here to Submit a Question!


Latest Articles on our Blog

Propagating Indigo through Plant Cuttings

How to Care for Pavonia Brazilian Candles

Growing Eugenia Plants Indoors

Forcing Iris Bulbs for Winter Enjoyment

Email page | Print page |

Feature Article - How To Tutorials - Question & Answer

Quick Gardening Tip - Plant Gallery - Gardening Design Ideas

Disease & Pest Control - Monthly To Do Lists

Gardening Resources - Garden Clubs & Events - Climate Zones Maps

Gardening Tips & Ideas Blog

Contact us  |  Site map  |  Privacy policy

© 1993 - 2013 WM Media


Check Light Availability

Most shrubs can grow in both sun and shade to varying degrees.

Many flowering shrubs, however, tend to need some sun to flower.

Be sure to double check the amount of light you have available to the shrubs you are planning to plant so you are happy with the outcome.

Join Our Mailing List

Weekend Gardener Search