Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Reader's Questions: Garden Help

Plants are like people: they're all different and a little bit strange. ~John Kehoe

Today I have more great gardening questions from reader's.

Will Snapdragons really reseed themselves? I live in California where the winters are incredibly mild so many annuals do reseed themselves. Should I just let the plant go or should I pull off those little pods that you say are full of seeds and then plant those? ~Jacqui near Monterey

Snapdragons really do reseed, and should where you are too if you let the seedpods form--which are the little pods--or you can collect the pods when they start turning brown and dry them in a basket, then plant them. Don't put the green pods in anything sealed or plastic because they will mold. What I do is snip off the pods til at least the end of August and then I leave them alone to dry on the plant and reseed. I do this because each plant will basically stop blooming if you don't cut off the seedpods, and snapdragons will bloom right up until cold weather, so I deadhead them until the end of summer. The only thing negative I can say about letting them reseed is that they pop up all over and the colors are always a surprise. I don't mind though because they are so easy to thin out where I don't want them.

Could you tell me why my Hydrangea bush never seems to make flowers. It flowered the first year and that was it. ~Rosie

There are a few things that could be causing this. One thing that could have happened was that you had a late frost and it damaged the buds development. The growth should come from the old wood--if your bush has bare branches, and the growth is coming up from the roots only--there has most likely been winter damage.

Pruning at the wrong time can hinder blossoms too. Only prune your hydrangea BEFORE the end of July. No later or you may be cutting off the next springs buds.

Make sure your hydrangea has 4-6 hours of sun--not too much shade. Do not give it fertilizer high in nitrogen either.

I must mention that sometimes we are given, or buy, a plant from the florist section of a store, and it MAY not be appropriate for your zone. When buying plants it's better to buy from where they can tell you the zone requirements. Try the things I mentioned and hopefully your hydrangea will bloom next year!

I bought monkshood, but have since learned just how toxic it is and want to remove it from my garden--safely. Do you have any ideas? ~Rebecca M.

It is highly toxic, but removing it really shouldn't be a problem. Wear gloves and dig it out, then dispose of it in the garbage. All parts of the plant contain the poison Aconitine, which is toxic to humans and animals. The root is especially poisonous. Oddly, when dried, some animals can eat it safely, and it's been used in herbal medicine as well. Wearing gloves when digging it out should be all you need to do.

On OFL we have tomato harvest tips and recipes:


No comments:

Post a Comment

Leave us a tip, a comment or just say hi!