Gardening Q and A

Vegetable Seeds – Time Frame for Starting Seeds Indoors

Q: What is the time frame for starting vegetable seeds for spring planting? Is there any rule of thumb as to when seeds are started indoors for Southern gardeners? A: Starting seed indoors is a great way to save money...

READ MORE

Plum Trees – Planted On Septic Drain Field

Q: I’ve just found out our plum trees may be planted in a septic system drain field. Will the plums still be safe to eat? A: I don’t think there’s any way that water absorbed by the plum roots could...

READ MORE

Soil – Reusing From Container

Q: I have many containers on my deck. I have recently read that you should dispose of last season’s soil and sterilize the pots before planting for a new season. Is that really necessary? Some of my pots are huge!...

READ MORE

Mulch – Part of Planting Depth

Q: Various seeds and bulbs require being planted at a certain depth; when you plant at a specific depth, does the addition of mulch add to the depth? Or should the gardener consider the layer of mulch “as part of”...

READ MORE

Herbicides – Vinegar and Water

Q: A year and a half ago I had a yard man dig up the old shrubs around my house and plant new ones. He assured me that no weeds would come back, but the newly landscaped area is full...

READ MORE

Ferns – Information

Q: Could you recommend some books on ferns? I am very interested in using as many different kinds as possible. I live near a garden which is growing peacock fern. I would love some information on growing it in my...

READ MORE

Ponytail Palm – Propagating

Q: I have a ponytail palm that has a couple of “pups” at the bottom. There’s one on the bulb and one shooting off of the main stem of the plant. How do I propagate these into new plants? A:...

READ MORE

Redbud – Rotten Roots

Q: This eight year-old red bud tree developed a few dead branches over the last month but bloomed beautifully in March. I came home yesterday and found this! Let me know what you think. A: I think something went wrong...

READ MORE

Umbrella Tree – Pruning Roots

Q: I have an umbrella tree that is beginning to send roots out of the bottom of a 15 inch pot. Is there anything I can do to keep it in a 15 inch pot or will I have to...

READ MORE

Hornworms – Control

Q: Until four years ago I always planted three tomato plants in a spot where they covered the entire side of my garage and bore fruit until frost. Then, the hornworms got my address. The first year they defoliated an...

READ MORE

Pansies – Planting From Seed

Q: I am tired of buying flat after flat of pansies each fall, only to see them shrivel up and die each spring. Can I harvest the seeds of pansies that are flowering now so I can have “free” pansies...

READ MORE

‘Packman’ Broccoli – Gone to Seed Early

Q: I planted my ‘Packman’ broccoli plants on February 22. They are only a foot high but have already gone to seed. I feel cheated! A: Broccoli plants flower and make seed (bolt) when the young plants are exposed to...

READ MORE

Red Dogwood – Blooming White

Q: Four years ago I planted a red dogwood. The first blooming season it bloomed red, but in subsequent years has bloomed white. What’s up? How do I get it to bloom red again? A: I’ll bet the red dogwood...

READ MORE

Tansy – Deterring Japanese Beetles

Q: I read in a book that tansy is good for deterring Japanese beetles. I have roses and other flowers that the beetles have a good lunch on for a few months. I don’t like to use sprays due to...

READ MORE

Snakes – Control on Patio

Q: I am trying to find a solution to our snake problem. I live in a townhouse; my unit is bordered by a deep drainage ditch. I’ve had snakes come up onto the patio as well as around the rest...

READ MORE

Creeping Fig – Prune After Cold?

Q: We have a lot of creeping fig planted around our house. The cold weather has turned it brown. Does it need to be pruned back or will the new foliage just take over? A: Creeping fig, Ficus pumila, is...

READ MORE

Termites – Effect of Lawn Chemicals On,

Q: Since termites are always in season in the south, I have a question. Are any of the typical lawn chemicals effective on subterranean or Formosan termites? A: Yes, the chemicals in several lawn and garden insecticides are used to...

READ MORE

Mandevilla – Overwintering

Q: I have a five-year old mandevilla growing in a large container. The first year I got the plant I heard somewhere to not cut it back but to simply put it into a protected place for the winter. I...

READ MORE