Gardening Question of the Day
My tomatoes have deep brown indentations on their tops, as well as some large and some very small yellow spots. Some of my plants turned brown and died back, producing only one or two small tomatoes. What went wrong?
The brown spots are most likely caused by a fungus called alternaria. Next year, look for plants that are resistant to this fungus. If you spray your tomatoes, use a spray without lime, such as maneb, zineb, captan, or chlorothalonil (ask your local garden center where to obtain these). You also might be applying too much manure or overwatering your plants. The yellow blotches are probably tomato spotted wilt, a virus that affects the leaves of the plants as well and is extremely difficult to control. The only way to get rid of this is to remove the diseased plants. You may want to check with your local Cooperative Extension Service office to find out which types of tomatoes are best suited for your growing area.
Last 7 Days
Can you tell me how to get rid of chipmunks? They are seriously destroying my landscaping.
Chipmunks are wily little creatures and can be tough to control. You can trap them with peanut butter, oats, nuts, or sunflower seeds in either a catch-and-release trap or one that’s a bit more, well, deadly. Chipmunk repellent sprays also are available; contact your local garden center to see if it carries them. If the chipmunks are eating your bulbs, try putting jagged shells or stones in the holes where you plant them. Plant cages will also keep the critters out.
When is the best time to transplant rhubarb plants?
Early spring. Incidentally, you should also divide your plants every two or three years in early spring to ensure excellent stalks.
How long does it take to grow tomatoes and cucumbers?
This, of course, will depend upon variety and whether you are starting from seed or setting out plants. From seed, ‘Early Girl’ tomatoes take 75-80 days; ‘Celebrity’, 95-100; and ‘Big Boy’, about 78. Burpless hybrid cucumbers take 55 days; old-fashioned ‘White Wonder’, 58 days; and ‘Market More’, 67 days. The actual number of days will vary with the number of sunny days and amount of rainfall. –Gardening experts George and Becky Lohmiller, Hancock, New Hampshire
How do I grow and care for broccoli?
Broccoli is a great garden plant. Nothing tastes better than crunchy, fresh-picked broccoli eaten raw or cooked. Broccoli is easiest done by starting plants indoors 4 to 6 weeks before setting them out. In warmer states, seeds can be sown directly into the garden. Being a cool-weather crop, it is best when set out early with cabbage and cauliflower for a midsummer feast. Be sure to harvest the heads when they are tight. If the flowers start to open, they become bitter. –Gardening experts George and Becky Lohmiller, Hancock, New Hampshire
I have heard that you can plant a vitamin pill next to a plant and have a healthy plant as well as a bountiful harvest. Is this a joke? I’m not talking about Epsom salts (or eggshells).
Some vitamin pills do have elements that are useful to plants, but this is not a very scientific way to garden. Try a fertilizer spike instead, or perhaps a No-Doze to keep them growing 24 hours a day. –Gardening experts George and Becky Lohmiller, Hancock, New Hampshire
Last year, I planted two small apple trees, a ‘Granny Smith Supreme’ and a ‘Red Delicious Supreme’. The trees are about 4-1/2 feet tall and did bloom. However, my puppy ate one of them — well, chewed about 2 feet of it off. My question is, Will it regrow or fix itself, or should I dig it up and throw it away? They are precious to me, as I live in a historic Civil War–era home and the property is just gorgeous. We are trying hard to keep it as is.
Not being able to see the tree, it is hard to advise. I would transplant the damaged tree to a less-prominent spot and plant a new one. Try a variety like Baldwin, Jonathan, or Northern Spy. –Gardening experts George and Becky Lohmiller, Hancock, New Hampshire
HELP! There is a weed that is taking over my yard!I think it is called spiderwort. It has a strong root system and kills the vegetation around it. When it’s mown, it comes back just as fast and keeps coming back, and there’s more the next year! I was digging them up at first, but now there are too many. I went to the Ag office and they didn t know what it was. I’m ready to use Roundup on the whole thing to get rid of it. Help!
The spiderwort we know is a handsome perennial that grows about 18″ tall and sports large flowers in shades of pink, red, blue, and white. Often, weeds have local common names. Take a sample to a garden center or Cooperative Extension office for I.D. and possible safe control methods. –Gardening experts George and Becky Lohmiller, Hancock, New Hampshire