Food Gardening

Meyer Lemon, Mexican Lime, and Clementine – When to Bring Them Inside

Q: We have a Meyer lemon, a Mexican lime and a Clementine in pots. When do you recommend bringing them inside. A: I’d bring them in when night temperatures are predicted to go below 50 degrees. They need a lot...

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Sweet Potatoes – When to Harvest

Q: I just dug up my sweet potatoes. They are very small compared to past crops. Did I dig them up too soon? What else could it be? A: Sweet potatoes should be harvested when the leaves all begin to...

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Feeding Ferns – Bananas

Q: A friend says to feed ferns with bananas. Is this true? A: The peels provide no more benefits to ferns than coffee grounds, carrot shreds, apple skins or any other source of easily decomposable organic matter. All of these...

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Persimmon Trees – Male or Female

Q: Are some persimmon trees male and some female? If so, how do you tell them apart? We left ten in our field three years ago for the deer and this year only two produced. A: It is correct that...

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Fennel – Brown Thing on Stem

Q: What is this? I saw it in my garden on a fennel plant. It was coming out of the stem. A: The brown tuft is just new leaves emerging from the top of your bronze fennel plant. Eventually you’ll...

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Fruit Tree for Full Sun

Q: I have a two trees being taken out and I have the option to put a fruit tree in their place. It is quite a small space, but it does get full sun. A: I think a dwarf apple...

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Hard core in Tomatoes

Q: We have a tomato plant that produces tomatoes that have a very hard core. It feels like wood; what causes that? A: It’s usually caused by hot weather but older varieties that are big and juicy may have hard...

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When to Pick Granny Smith Apples

Q: I have a Granny Smith apple tree and a Stayman Winesap. When do I pick them? A: One method is to count the numbers of days since full bloom, if you remember when that occurred. Granny Smith is usually...

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Bumblebees-Honey?

Q: Do bumblebees make honey? They are all over my lavender and I’m sure that would make good honey. A: Bumblebees don’t make honey because they don’t have perennial nests. Like yellowjackets and hornets, all the bumblebee workers die in...

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Mulch for Fruit Trees

Q: I have several fruit trees. What would be the best mulch around the base of the trees? A: Any mulch (bark chips, woodchips, pine straw etc) will be fine. The main thing is to pull it away from the...

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Climbing Watermelon Vines

Q: I have limited space in my garden and plants with long vines like cantaloupe, watermelon and cucumbers take up too much room. Will they do okay climbing or is it best for them to spread across the ground? A:...

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Limes-Different Types

Q: Limes have always been a favorite fruit. When I was growing up, the limes I ate had seeds. They also were not smooth like the limes today. Did the lime of my childhood become extinct? I would love to...

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Weeping Mulberry – Pruning

Q: On one of my weeping mulberries I have thinned out some dead bark and on a second I have not. They are both about 8 feet tall. How should I prune these? There is a lot a dead, “knotty...

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Asian Ambrosia Beetle – On Fig

Q: Earlier this spring I thought my fig tree was budding out. Now it looks dead and has those white things on it. Any idea what is the problem? A: You have an Asian ambrosia beetle infestation. Cut the limb and...

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Cabbage Aphids – Control

Q: I picked cabbage from my garden this morning and the substance is on the underside of the outside leaves. Is it safe to eat? A: I think they’re cabbage aphids. Our winter cold wasn’t enough to kill them this...

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Apple – Saving an Old One

Q: I bought an old farm that has two apple trees left on it from an old orchard. I’m trying to prune both back to health, but discovered a rotting wound at the base of one of them. I dug...

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Effects of Cold on Fruit Trees

Q: My back yard peach trees have already blossomed. They are 4 years old and 6 feet tall. How should I protect them from the upcoming freeze? A: Not much can be done. Your trees are too big to cover....

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Pear – Grafting

Q: I want to save a pear tree belonging to my grandparents on a small farm. I know for sure that it is at least 100 years old. The tree has not received any attention in years, yet it hangs...

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