Q: I think you wrote that the preferred time to till soil in a vegetable garden is during fall, not spring. Why is that? I have always tilled in the spring.
A: It doesn't matter whether you have a northern garden that is planted in spring or a southern garden that is planted in fall. There are several reasons fall is the best time of year to ...Read more
Clever Crocus Bulbs
Q: I always tire of winter long before spring comes. I was looking at the selections of spring bulbs in a catalog and thinking I might plant some crocuses throughout my lawn. Do they require different care to get them to come back every year?
A: My mother and many others have crocuses and other bulbs planted in their lawns....Read more
As the cool weather arrives in the northern states, trees will start showing their hidden colors. The best color usually appears during the two weeks after the area receives its first killing frost of the season. Cool temperatures and bright sunshine promote better color. A cool, wet summer will keep more leaves on most tree species, so areas ...Read more
Q: I feel your answer to the lady asking about browning leaves on the azaleas on the north side of her house should have included some information on lace bugs, which are very common on azaleas and typically cause the damage she describes.
A: You are right, I should have mentioned the lace bugs. Sometimes I run out of room in an article, and ...Read more
Q: In the many years I've lived in my home, I'm noticing mushrooms in my front lawn for the first time. There are no dead roots or stumps in the yard, but there is some thatch.
What can I do to get rid of the mushrooms, or at least control them? I've noticed about three different types in the past few weeks.
A: Don't worry about them at all. ...Read more
Q: Could you give me some guidelines for trimming my hibiscus? It is blooming now. I see that some gardeners like to hedge them like a box, but I would like a more natural look. I appreciate the practical information you give each week.
A: Rose of Sharon, other hibiscus and shrubs that bloom on the ends of the new growth in the late summer or ...Read more
Q: I have a long row of azaleas on the north side of my house that has been there for many years and has done great. I always prune them after they bloom. Due to the horrible heat this year, the leaves on most of the top have turned brown. They look sunburned. My question is, after the temperature cools off, can I prune all the dark-brown leaves...Read more
I once stopped to help a man whose car had flipped over and off the road. The car was smoking like it might explode. We moved a distance away. I asked him what happened, and he explained that he had lost control of the car when he tried to dodge a rabbit that had hopped onto the road.
Fall is a dangerous time for animals and motorists. As ...Read more
The Starseeker GambitMr. Robert E. Birnschein
The starship Eagle is part of a slowly growing interstellar fleet tasked with searching nearby star systems to find a suitable life-supporting planet for a burgeoning humanity to colonize. Crewed by daring civilian explorers and planetary scientists the ship has crossed hundreds of light ...
As we finish out summer and begin sending kids back to school, we can start thinking about fall gardening. Fall is a great time of year to work outside. A lot of garden and landscape chores are neglected over the summer, and it's not too hot, cold or wet to do them in fall. Fixing up the landscape will make it look nice through next spring.
Q: We have a large pumpkin patch, and most of the leaves have turned white. It appears to be powdery mildew. Is this a problem, or can we let it go? We don't want to spray the plants if we don't have to because we may make pies out of the pumpkins.
A: Powdery mildew is common with many vine crops, but it can also affect beans, peas, ...Read more
Recently, there has been a lot of news about the Zika virus. Florida is the first state in the U.S. to see cases of the virus, but the two mosquito species that spread it are common in the Southern, southwestern, Midwestern and eastern regions of the country.
Mosquito-borne diseases have been a problem in the U.S. since the beginning. Malaria ...Read more
Q: Just when I thought I was going to get fresh tomatoes from my garden, they stopped turning red. They are mostly green, but a few have a hint of pink. They have been like this for more than a week. I am watering them the same as always, and they don't have too many leaf spots or yellow leaves. What can I do to get them to mature?
A: Tomato ...Read more
Question: I planted a Maple tree a few years ago. It's about 15 feet high now. Recently, I noticed that there are many roots near or above ground level. Is it because it's not getting enough water? We have bad soil, very clay like. Can I change the watering technique to help it grow more roots deeper in the soil? Will the tree be more likely to ...Read more