Gardening Q and A

Figs – How to Know When Ripe

Q: My figs are turning brown. How do I know when they are ripe? A: One way is to look for those that have bird peck holes. They have spent thousands of years contemplating your question, so they are experts!...

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Big Boy vs Better Boy Tomato

Q: What is the difference between Big Boy and Better Boy tomatoes? A: Both are hybrid tomatoes that were developed to perform better than “open pollinated” types. Dr. Oved Shifriss developed ‘Big Boy’ while working for W. Atlee Burpee &...

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Mushroom at Base of Tree

Q: Is this mushroom something to be concerned about? Age of the tree is unknown. It was left when the land was cleared for the house in early 90’s and stands about 12 feet from the house foundation. A: The...

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Repeatedly Planting Tomatoes In The Same Area

Q: I have a small vegetable garden in which I plant tomatoes. I’m concerned about repeatedly planting tomatoes there year after year. The garden isn’t big enough to rotate plants.  A: You have a problem faced by many gardeners with...

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How/When To Take Cuttings To Root

Q: How do I take cuttings from a Confederate rose, Hibiscus mutabilis, to root? When is best time?  A: I do it in fall so I can give away rooted cuttings in spring but the plant doesn’t much care about...

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Timing Of Aerate, Fertilize, And Apply Weed Control To My Lawn?

Q: Typically I aerate, fertilize, and apply a long-lasting weed control to my lawn. Do you think the effects of each activity would be less than optimal if they are done too close together?  A: I think this is fine...

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Controlling Wisteria

Q: Wisteria has covered several trees in my yard. Is there a way to get it under control?  A: Wisteria is tough to control by any means. Earth moving machines can do the job quickly but you might lose your...

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If Goats Eat Poison Ivy Is The Milk Safe? 

Q: If goats eat poison ivy is the milk safe to drink?  A: Goats enjoy poison ivy foliage very much. As with dogs and cats, if the goats brush against a vine you can get a rash after petting them....

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Thoughts On Using Buffalo Grass In A Front Lawn?

Q: What do you think about using buffalo grass in a front lawn?  A: You can try buffalo grass in a small area but I think you’ll be disappointed. This native grass doesn’t compete very well with weeds and the...

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When/How Far Can You Trim Kiwi Plants?

Q: When and how far can you trim kiwi plants back?  A: They can be pruned much like muscadine grapes are pruned, typically in January or February. But the people I know who have kiwi vines usually let them grow...

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What To Do If You Put Too Much Compost In Tomato Beds?

Q: We put too much compost in a raised bed for tomato plants. Now we have tall, healthy plants but no flowers a month later. What to do?  A: Not much can be done except to wait until the plants...

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How To Control Weeds That Are Growing In Liriope? 

Q: How do you control weeds that are growing in liriope?  A: For a small area, hand weeding is your best option. There will be a few holes where you remove weeds but the liriope will quickly fill in. If...

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Promoting Blooms In Orchids

Q: My orchid has had new growth but no blooms for two years. What can I do to promote blooms?  A: Most often it is a question of light. Orchids grow naturally on jungle trees, so they like intermittent sunlight...

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Is Celebrity Tomato A Determinate Type?

Q: I planted a ‘Celebrity’ tomato. The label says it is a determinate type. But mine already has six vigorous stems and doesn’t look determinate to me. I thought I’d have more of a bushy type plant.  A: I once...

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Rose Rosette Virus Cure?

Q: I am heartbroken! My New Dawn rose has contracted rose rosette virus. Watching this wicked disease destroy such a stately speciman is sickening. Please tell me there is a cure on the horizon.  A: There is no breakthrough yet...

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Making Kieffer Pears Palatable

Q: On your website you say that only canning makes Kieffer pears palatable. I’ve found an exception. A few years ago I had a bumper crop of hard pears. I gathered a paper bag full and left it in my...

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Getting Rid Of Stilitgrass

Q: A patch of stiltgrass appeared in our backyard a few years ago. Now it is all over the yard and spreading to the front. How do I get rid of it and prevent further spread? A: Stiltgrass (basketgrass, eulalia)...

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Creeping Jenny- Can I Kill The Oxalis On It?

Q: Oxalis is taking over our creeping jenny groundcover. I’ve tried pulling it out but we have so much of it and it is difficult to separate the two. Is there anything that will kill the clover but keep the...

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