Gardening Q and A

Flowers- Protection

Q: I am fairly new to gardening and would like to know if there are certain flowers that can be planted in my veggie garden that will ward off deer and bugs. Any truth to this? A: Flowers in the...

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Millet – Ornamental

Q: I’ve recently purchased two ‘Purple Majesty’ millet plants. I was wondering if this plant comes back true to seed and when to collect the seed. They both have several seed heads on them and the kernels are fat and...

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Fungicides – Expensive

Q: Can you suggest any alternatives to the “store-bought” fungicides for bermudagrass? They get awfully expensive when you are trying to control fungus in an acre of lawn! With the wet weather we had earlier I need a maintenance program...

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Canna – Planting Seed

Q: I am a new gardener and planted three canna lilies this spring. When the old bloom died away a group of black pods took its place. They are round with points coming out of them. If these are seeds...

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Willow – Air Roots

Q: I have two willow trees and both are beginning to show some kind of red growth on the trunk of the trees. They look almost like small shoots coming out. A: You are seeing adventitious roots, sometimes referred to...

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Japanese Beetle – Milky Spore Disease

Q: Japanese beetles are a big problem for us. One of the people in our subdivision is encouraging us to have a community-wide eradication program using milky spore disease powder. There are 500+ homes in our subdivision and it will...

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Petunia – Dying

Q: I am at my wits end regarding “wave” petunias that I have bought. I bought one batch and put them by the mailbox. After about a week they started dying one by one. I bought more and put them...

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Butterfly Bush – Remove Flowers

Q: My butterfly bushes have been blooming wonderfully! Is there anything I can do to make them keep putting out the large flowers? A: Butterfly bush produces blooms on new stems. This means that unless new growth is constantly being...

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Cabbage – Collecting Seed

Q: I have had good luck with gathering seeds from plants in both my flower beds and vegetable garden. I need your help in determining how to get seeds from a cabbage. A: Strictly speaking, cabbage is a biennial which...

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Blossom End Rot – Spray

Q: I have heard that calcium chloride is the fix for tomato blossom end rot. If this is true, could you please tell me the mixture I should use? A: Blossom end rot accurately describes the large tan or black...

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Compost Tea – Making

Q: How do I make compost tea? A: My mother used to soak cow manure in a burlap sack to make manure tea for her flowers. Compost tea is similar but the initial ingredient is less odiferous. In fact, compost...

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Compost – Excluding Rats

Q: I read recently that the rat population (roof rats in the suburbs and Norway rats in the cities) is exploding. I have always taught people to compost only vegetable and fruit scraps from food preparation: no fat, protein or...

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Fence – Hiding with Vines

Q: My next door neighbor has put up a chain link fence which I find hideous in my garden! I really want to hide it; what do you suggest? A: I use evergreen clematis, Clematis armandii, for this purpose and...

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Greenhouse – Operating as a Business

Q: My family has a farm in Wilkes county. I have always had a desire to start a business growing plants of some kind, but I’m at a loss as to which type to grow. Perennials? Annuals? Field grown? Greenhouse?...

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Clematis – Pruning

Q: When and how is best way to prune my two clematis? Both are older vines, one purple and the other white. A: I called upon the experience of my colleague Erica Glasener for the answer to your question. She...

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Strawberry Weevil – On Blackberry

Q: I have found strange bugs eating my blackberry leaves. They are tan, about the size of a BB, and are hard shelled. When I touch one it falls off the plant and acts dead. Damaged leaves have notches along...

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Pregnant Onion – Care

Q: My pregnant onion is having babies and I’m not sure how to take care of them. A: Pregnant onion, Ornithogalum caudatum or Ornithogalum longibracteatum, is a fascinating houseplant. The swollen bulb sends forth long green leaves and tall flower...

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Composter – Purchasing

Q: My wife and I are trying to decide on an economical composter. Do you have any suggestions on the best one to purchase? A: It all depends on your sense of aesthetics, your space and your wallet. If you...

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