Garden Q & A

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If you have a garden question email in to us at 

 Late fall planting 
Q: (Fall) My Carrots, Beets and turnips are all really late I really got a late start on them two weeks ago. I looked at them the carrots were about one or two in and length and the beets are about 1 in across my question is, should I pull them out or can I leave them in and let them grow longer with the potential Frost and possible freeze here in the next days and weeks I live about 30 minutes south of Green Bay Wisconsin zone 5A? Thank you

A: Fortunately those are all cool cooler weather crops and if you’re just going to have a frost it’s not going to hurt them it may slow their growth down during, but the warm days will pick back up. It’s not going to kill them like it would have tomato, pepper or eggplant that type of thing. The other thing in which you can do is if it’s not going to get 27° your ok. Beyond that what you can do is take leaves and Mound over that area and basic create a blanket of insulation over top of your plant if it’s going to get like for example of tomorrow night’s to be 21° you can cover those with leaves two or three feet of leaves.  If the next week is going to be warmer temperatures with Mild night you can remove the least. Basically it’s creating a little refrigerator to keeping the soil from freezing and keeping the plant from freezing. You can also do this over winter you can overwinter them. And remove the leave back harvest what you need and cover again.

Space needed for Brussel Sprouts
Q: Do Brussel sprouts take up very much room? I am interested in growing the next year how much space do they really take?
A: About 2 square foot and you get a lot of Brussel sprouts on one plant

 Coffee grounds
Q: I’m going to use my coffee grounds in the garden how dry should they be?
A:Great question coffee have a lot of good properties you can put them in your compost pile as a nitrogen supplement a green material that you need in order to keep the compost pile balanced browns and greens. You can also put them in the garage and have around 2% nitrogen.
You don’t have to let them dry out to be put in the garden. You may not have enough grounds so you can go to your local coffee shop and provide them with a device in which they can put the grounds in. we have used a 5 gallon bucket. Then just dump the filters and the grounds in the in the garden it’s all good. The filters will all breakdown. The Key is to mix it into your ground. If you broadcast the coffee grounds on the Garden is  to just get use them up and give organic material. But to get the benefit you need to work them in the soil. If you done and just leave them on top of the ground the nutrient value evaporating from the ground.
The other thing that people are concerned with is that, if I add coffee grounds to my garden it will turn soil acidic. This is not true as most if not all of the acidic has been brewed out. It had almost a completely neutral base pH level. If you find you have found that you have forgotten you had coffee grounds or they are moldy there’s nothing wrong with them go ahead and work them in the ground as normal.

Q: Can I make pasta without using all purpose flour is that possible? 

 A: Yes the flower you can look up being a gluten free grain homemade pasta recipes online or if you don’t want to use all purpose flour like a whole grain there’s recipes like that as well alternative to all purpose flour there’s nut flours and whole grain flours even seed flowers.

Wood chips 
Q: How long does it take for a tree ‘s wood chips to the decomposed if I run through a normal wood chipper?
A: 2 to 3 year if you want to invest that time and energy into that. Take those wood chips and intermingled them in with your compost pile that would take 5 to 6 months if you have a properly built compost pile that gets about 170 degrees

Dying Rosemary 
Q: What am I doing wrong when I bring my Rosemary plant inside over winter and it dies?

A: There’s two problems in which you can you have. One is potential root rot and two is the change in amount of light the plant is getting.  You bring it from outside which is very bright to inside which is not as bright and these rosemary plant has a very difficult time adjusting keep it by a window.  The root rot issue, if you’re watering it too much and the Plant dies Rosemary like water but not all the time allow it to get almost completely dry then water.

Tomatoes in growbags
Q: I have a three-part question about growing tomatoes in grow bags. What do you recommend I use for planting medium?  I know that I should not use garden soil for tomatoes.  What the minimum gallon bags and any particular brand of grow bags you recommend?

A:  You do not want to use garden soil native soil as it will get very compact you can buy pre-made potting soil. We have planting tomatoes and other plants in 100% compost and have seen them do very well.  You can make your own mix and you would do with three ingredients 1/3 peat moss or coco coir and 1/3 of vermiculite and 1/3 of compost.  What is a minimum size grow bag that you would recommend going in?  A 10 gallon grows bag size it’s the right size for tomato. They are heavy feeder so and that give them a lot of room to grow and feed we use grow bags from they have sizes from 1gallon to 60 gallon

Days to maturity
Q: Can you please explain to me what it means when it says days to maturity?

A: Depends on how you start the seed. If the seed is planted straight in the ground the time to maturity is the time between the planting in the grow and harvesting of the crop. If you start seeds indoors and then plant them in the ground, the time from you transplant in the garden to the harvest is the days to maturity.  

Old Seeds 
Q: Are my Seeds still good from last year and from the last couple of years?

A: To a certain degree each year the viability goes down by 10%. The type of storing matter too, you can put then in the crisper of your fridge in the jar with a lid and label them. They will keep several years.  Tomatoes kept in that environment can last up to 10 years not with 100% viability.  Parsnip, onion, leeks and carrots you’re looking at one maybe two years if you’re very fortunate. A couple years ago we save some parsnips, the book or the internet said about one year is all that seed good for. Three years later we planted the seed, we planned them extremely heavy and we had a tremendous amount of seedling, dozens upon dozens of seeds so don’t always go by what it says but also if you think the seeds are old plant heavier

Planting on a hill
Q: I have a relatively steep incline in my yard, I have planted purple coneflowers and Lily there they but they fall over and the weeds come up. My next thought is to optimize this by planting plants that would produce vegetables. Something that grows low to the ground and thick to drown out a lot of those weeds. Can you make any suggestions? I was thinking a vine crop like squash but I think when they mature they would potentially roll down the  hill, the slope is west facing,

A: We always like to see your utilization of areas to be more productive for food. A west facing slope that’s good it will get a lot of afternoon and evening sun. I would recommend watermelon, pumpkin, Butternut squash and or spaghetti squash. There are going to be attached to the vine so they’re going to be perfectly fine there. Plant them thick and you’ll be good to go.

Cooked or baked seeds 
Q:  Will seeds that I have found in fruits or vegetables that have cooked already or baked be planted and will they grow?

A: No those seeds are already non-viable when baked or cooked and gone through the cooking process even when you dehydrate they will not grow. Gardener will take a dehydrator and dry seeds out from tomatoes, eggplants or onions. If the heat is too intense on the seed it will bake the internal portion that seed and make it non viable. If you save seeds let them dry naturally

Pumpkin is soft 
Q: Hi! I had a volunteer jack-o’lantern pumpking patch this year and decided to roast and puree the pumpkin and freeze it. The harvest was bountiful, and I am still working on my pumpkins. I have one that is now a bit soft but has no odor or rotting yet. I cut it open, smells fine. Looks fines, It just softened. Is it too ripe now to use? I thank you very much!

A: Hi thank you for the question. If there is no order or smell and it is just soft it is fine to use. It can several factor it could be over ripe or under ripe.

Rhubarb do in containers
Q: How did your Rhubarb do in containers? Also what zone are you in?

A: The Rhubarb has been doing great it was started from seed and it is going into its 3rd year in the container. It will soon have to be divided. We do not bring it in the winter is stays out all year. Here is a newer video of how it is doing we are is zone 5a

Dividing Seed Potatoes 
Q: When I cut the potato for planting do I have to let the cut side “cure” and form a skin/ scab?  Or, is it okay to just plant it after cutting?

A: You do not have to wait growing up we never waited, we just cut and planted people will let them dry and scab over to limit the chances of insects from eating the potato in the ground, other people will coat them in Horticultural sulfur is a powder commonly used to acidify soil or lower its pH level. It can also be used directly on cut potato pieces to protect them from rot and other soil borne diseases.

What is required to grow Asparagus
Q:I’m considering growing Asparagus but have no clue where would I start or buy the crowns or seeds?

A: You can purchase them at your local garden center or online. You purchase them as a 1 year or  2-year crown . A two year crown you will be able to harvest some off of it next year if you want it sooner than later. They have a root system that is kind of spread out like an octopus is take things and you want to make sure you spread those roots out when you plant them those roots will shoot under the ground and the shoot up Asparagus. Asparagus is a perennial it will last forever 20 to 50 years, if you have a specific area in which you want to turn into a low effort Garden you can have asparagus growing there.

Seed saving options
Q: I would love a great saving option I use the shoebox and I use a banker’s boxes but the packets fall to the bottom of it. The mice seem to like them as well even when I put the little silica gel packets in them. And then I want to be able to label them what can I do?

A: I did some research and they’re not associated with his for anything but you go on Amazon and here is the link to what my work well.×6+photo+and+craft+keeper+extra+large+clear&ref=nb_sb_noss

Tomato Hornworms
Q: I had tomato hornworms last year how do I prevent that from happening again?

A: Tomato Hornworms lay their larvae in the fall at a determine depth in the soil so by disturbing the soil either late in the fall or as soon as you can get in the garden and  work the soil in the spring you’re going to reduce your chances of the return of tomato hornworms by about 90%. If you’re able to find the larvae destroy it. The larvae will look like a butterfly cocoon.  So if you  choose to spayed  or till the area, whatever the case is it will put it in a level in which is not designed to survive and it will greatly reduce the chance of getting tomato hornworm. Also moving your tomatoes from one location to another location will help.

The Best kind of watering can
Q: What is better a plastic watering or a metal watering can?

A: We use both, their pros and cons to both. A metal watering can will not break down in the sun like a plastic one will. But if you leave it out for a long time obviously the metal one will rust the plaster one plastic one will not.  I would be encouraging you to look at when it comes to a watering can is get one with a detachable sprinkler head, that way when particles gets stuck you can remove the sprinkling head and you don’t have to beat around on to dislodge the dirt. Also get a watering can based on how much you’re capable of caring just because it’s a pretty three gallon watering can if you can’t lift the 3 gallon water because of whatever reason it does not do much good.

Number of seed per hole
Q: I’m new at this is there a master list somewhere that tells you how many seeds to start to plant in each cell? l I’m hoping to start tomatoes and peppers  along with basil cilantro parsley and mint but I can’t find anything that tells you how many seeds to throw in the whole.

A: If you have good seeds you’re going to have about a 95% to 100% germination rate. However you we recommend planting two seeds per cell and then cut off the one that is the weaker on once they  have sprouted

Dampening off
Q:  What is the best way to prevent dampening off?

A: This happens when the seedlings fall over and then your plants are dead. It looks you cut them off at soil level.  One thing you can do is use cinnamon and sprinkle cinnamon on top of the soil at the time of planting this helps prevent that fungus from destroying the plant. This also happens because of over watering.  Water as need and use cinnamon.

Oak leaves for the garden 
Q:I also have an abundance of Oak Leaves, I could bring that over and use it as a mulch, right? Someone told me that Oak Leaves would kill a garden.

A:  That is simply not true oak leaves have tremendous about of benefits to your garden as do most of the leaves you find in your backyard.  They have such nutrient power for your garden Oak leaves work just fine they are large, They may mate together and prevent water from running through them you might want to run them over with a lawn mower or mulch them in a smaller prices.  We used Oak,  and Maple leaves and all that that we can find.

sheep manure
Q: Can you advise me on is sheep manure common to use for the Garden? I’ve heard a horse manure is very good any advice on sheep manure?

A: Yes it will work great for the garden but you want to let it aged if you don’t let it age it’s just like cow manure or horse manure it will burn the plants and know your Source know what the animals are eating because if it they’re eating a grass that contains a broad leaf herbicide that can still be persistent after the animal has digested extracted it you compost it when your garden it can still be detrimental.  You want to look up the term killer compost.

Pocket Gophers
Q: We have pocket gophers and they are just starting to make their appearance in the yard what is the best way to get rid of them?

A: We found a bunch of suggestions that might work things like scaring them they don’t like certain music the best way to get read of them is Poison baits sometimes you do need to do something like poison to get rid of an animal that sounds like the consensus. Now also if they die from the poison other animals can eat them ad possible die too.

Raised bed lumber
Q: Hope you can help.   The untreated wood on my raised garden beds are being destroyed by, what I think are,  ants.  They are leaving a red residue I need to replace the wood.  Can I use treated wood or the newer plastic wood, the sort used on decks. Your recommendation will be greatly appreciated.  Your emails and classes are WONDERFUL.

A:  Back in the 90s wood was treated with very Arsenic, that has been changed is treated with ACQ, for alkaline copper quaternary. The wood meets the same standards for above ground and ground contact as arsenic-treated wood. It is safe for use in raised bed the plastic deck lumber I think would heat up to much and heat the soil as well not a bad thing in the early or late part of the year but during the hot summer in may not be good for the soil.

Pepper seedlings 
Q:  My peppers seeding  some have come up without true leaves  and other have not, should I fertilize now or wait until they have all have true leaves?

A: Wait until the true leaves develop that’s the first set of real leaves that come out of it secondly if you’re growing in a good potting soil that contains a slow-release fertilizer you don’t  have to worry about fertilization if you were growing in peat pellets or soilless mix then yes you’re going to have to supplement with some type of organic or inorganic fertilizer liquid fertilizer even a soil Diva type of nutrient supplement would work.

Safe seed store to order from
Q: Can you recommend to me a good seed Vendor online I went to another a seed website, I found out the website was not secure I’d like to order a variety of seeds?

A: is the site you can go to. They have over 460 varieties of seeds

Real cinnamon
Q: Do I need to use real cinnamon real cinnamon to sprinkle on my seedlings at the time of planting to prevent damping off and soil gnats or will the fake kind work?

A:  The cheap cinnamon work just as fine as the expensive stuff so it makes no difference.

Q: The deer every year destroy the garden so we decided we’re going to build a fence so what kind of fence and plants can we plant to keep them out?

A: Certain grasses deer do not like Mexican sunflowers is another one that some people will plants because of the abrasiveness of the leaf. Bobbex is an all natural spray that will repel deer it has a potent  smell and is 93% effective only 2nd to a physical barrier. Deer can jump up to 8 feet high but a 6 foot fence would a height that would keep them out.

Seeds not coming up 
Q: I plant onions 14 days ago and nothing has germinated should I replant?

A:  What you want to do is one keep the soil hydrated secondly you want to be patient onions can take 14 to 21 days to germinate.

When to Plant cucumbers
Q.what should soil temp be to direct sow cucumbers? 

A: Direct sow when soil is no colder then 65 F. You can plant under a cover low tunnel but before you plant you want the soil to be at least 65 F. If you plant before 60 F the plants will not do well and be studded and die.

New potting soil or not
Q:Last season I planted tomato plants in 15 and 20 gallon grow bags. They did extremely well. I used a mixture of 60% compost (Purple Cow) and 40% potting soil (Miracle Grow). My questions: 
What do you recommend to rejuvenate the medium in the bags? Replace all of the soil with new compost and potting soil? If not, what amount/percentage should be replaced? 
And…if you recommend replacing just part of the soil….what method should I use? Skim off the top of each bag or dump the bags out….mix in the new…and refill?

A:You can take off the top 25% of potting soil and then add compost. You dont have to mix it up. Then, at the time of planting, fertilize as you normally do.

Strawberry Runners/Daughter plants
Q:Hi…if a runner has daughter plants with established roots could you cut the cord and plant it..or does it still have to be attached to the mother plant?thanks…also what do you cover your strawberry patch with to protect in in winter? Thanks

 A: Yes if the daughter plants had rooted you can cut it and move it elsewhere. If it has not rooted do not cut it yet. We do not cover our strawberry patch and never have and the plants do well. We do mulch it with pine needles. It is a good thick mulch that takes several years to break down and does not make the soil acidic.

Killing thistles
Q: Is there anything I can use that really will kill thistles in my veggie garden? I’ve been digging many times a year & it only gets worse. I don’t want to destroy the soil so that nothing will grow.
A: BioSafe of Garden line offers a diverse array of eco-friendly products to support all facets of plant life, products that do not leave a lasting footprint Save 10% on your next order use coupon code TWVG at checkout.

Worms in my containers
I found worms in my containers which I did not put there. You have said in your video not to add worms to container should I try remove them ?
A: Everything is fine worm eggs may have been in the soil you do not have to remove them.

Top dressing Asparagus
Q: I started an asparagus bed least year in a raised bed. The soil settled quite a bit over the winter. The asparagus is coming up really well, and I’ll wait another year before harvesting to allow it to get established. Is it okay to add more soil to the bed around the asparagus that’s popping up?
A:I was able to find this information from  University of Vermont Department of Plant and Soil Science. The second year you can harvest a few spears on vigorous varieties. Harvest only 2 or 3 spears per plant, over a two week period.  Add 3- to 5-inches of compost over and around plants when you finish harvest. Asparagus are heavy feeders since they need to produce enough shoots for us, for themselves, and to live from year to year.  If you use an organic fertilizer in addition, or instead of as much compost, use one with high levels of nitrogen (the first of the three numbers in the analysis on the bag), and moderate levels of phosphorus and potassium.  At the end of the season, cut back the tops when they turn brown and brittle.  Top dress another 3 inches or so of compost or rotted manure over plants, then several inches of straw over this.  Use weed-free straw, not hay which often contains weed seeds. The first will help enrich the soil for the following season, while the latter will help protect the plants over winter.

White butterfly
Q will white butterfly attack turnips ? beets?
A The cabbage white butterfly is not attracted to any plant that is not in the brassica family.

Q: can i plant carrots in 45 temp soil?
A yes 45F

Eggs in planting hole
Q: Have you heard of putting an egg in the hole when planting a tomato plant?
A:Yes the promise is it is used as a fertilizer  I would not do it. The egg will smell as it rots animals can dig it up, The shell will not break down for this year’s growing season to feed the plant  just use a all balanced fertilizer

Leeks bolting 
Q:I have grown leeks for years, but lately they are almost all bolting. What is going on?
A: the most common answer to that questions is that a the leeks are planted when it is cool as we do then it get warm hot early in the season then cold again then turns to summer the up and down of temps effects the plant to make it think it is in it second year of growing so then it bolts my suggestion would be to wait a little longer before planting them so the risk of up and down temps are less

Cool crops Planting temps
Q:what should day and night temps be for planting these cool crops u talked about?
A: It is more about soil temps then air temps it the soil it a steady 45 to 55 degrees then you can plant. you can check the soil temp at root zone with a digital meat thermometer works well

Rutabaga that sprouted
Q Hey I’ve got a Rutabaga that sprouted. I felt bad for it and put it in some water. Now it’s growing. It has multiple sprouts. Is there any way to plant them?
A:Because Rutabagas are biennials, if you plant the Rutabaga, ultimately you will get a big bushy plant and a flower stalk, and possibly seeds so that you can grow even more rutabagas. so if you plant the sprouts it will not grow on their own

Q If I transplant some watermelon and squash outside, should i put a row cover on them or not?
A:watermelon seeds indoors six weeks before spring’s last average frost date. The seeds will germinate in 10 days when the soil temperature is 65 F yes a row cover low tunnel would be good to get a head start on the seed

Tulips being eaten
Q: Something ate my tulips maybe rabbit ? Squirrels? Any thoughts.?
A: Rabbits have been eating them. Rabbits love tulip check Bobbex has product that will repel rabbits

Compost smells
Q:PLEASE I NEEDS HELP I have a compost pile of heats up but it smells like ammonia why?
A: If your compost smells sour like ammonia, the most common reason is too much green material and/or a lack of brown material. You should use 2 to 3 times as much browns as greens. 

Planting Asparagus and Strawberry
Q:When is the best time to plant asparagus and strawberry crowns? before or after first frost date? 

A: Right now (early spring) is the best time to plant crowns it will give them time to sprout and photosynthesize during the warm summer months. Once planted the asparagus roots will spread both vertically and horizontally underground You may not get any berries this year.

Planting Peppers outside
Should I transplant pepper in to garden when soil temp is 70? 
Should I put a row cover over them then? If so, what light transmission should I get? 
If so, do I keep it on them all summer, or how to I know when to take it off?
A: Yes 70 F degrees is fine we have done it at 60 and 65 and they have been fine at that soil temps. There is not need to cover t

killing thistles
Q: Is there anything I can use that really will kill thistles in my veggie garden? I’ve been digging many times a year & it only gets worse. I don’t want to destroy the soil so that nothing will grow.
A: BioSafe of is a garden line offers a diverse array of eco-friendly products to support all facets of plant life, products that do not leave a lasting footprint Save 10% on your next order use coupon code TWVG at checkout.

Worms in my containers
Q: I found worms in my containers which I did not put there. You have said in your video not to add worms to container should I try remove them ?
A: No you do not need to remove them. Do not add worms to your containers but it they are there it is ok. They may have come from eggs in the soil (compost) or other means.

Soil Temp for Carrots 
Q: Can I plant carrots in 45F temp soil? 

A Yes 45F soil temp in the coldest you can plant them in and still get germination. 

Deter squirrels
Q: How do I deter squirrels from my planters without shooting them. My gosh worse this year than ever. Tried cayenne no go.
A: You can Bobbex animal repellent it is all natural and won’t wash off just follow the directions 

White butterfly attack
Q will white butterfly attack turnips ? beets? 
A The cabbage white butterfly is not attracted to any plant that is not in the brassica family. 
Attacking crops such as cabbages,, turnips and other brassicas, the cabbage white butterfly is an insect to be wary of. The adult butterfly, however, is not directly the problem, but rather the larvae. … The eggs then hatch into green larvae anywhere from five to fourteen days after they were laid.

Q: How much damage will opossum do to the yard and vegetation 

A: They eat ticks, help prevent Lyme disease and kill venomous snakes. The possum menu consists of dead animals, insects, rodents and birds. They also feed on eggs, frogs, plants, fruits and grain. A little known fact about a possum’s diet is their need for high amounts of calcium. Due to this fact, possums readily eat the skeletal remains of rodents and other roadkill animals. Unfortunately, possums are also known to eat dog food, cat food and table scraps. It’s not uncommon to happen upon a possum rummaging through your garbage cans.

Pineapple plant 
 Q: I have a pineapple plant going on two years old. Should I plant it in the ground, in hopes that it will flower?
A: No pineapples are a tropical plant and even in the summer in the Midwest the night time temps can mess with plant and early in the year the ground is to cool. Leave indoors where you have had it and let it grow there. 

Peppers in straw bales 
Q. With my straw bale garden I am also wondering if I should water all the plants every day. I had always thought peppers needed less water but wondered if the answer was different with straw bale gardens?
A: Straw bales hold water very well and plants do not need to be watered as often as you may think. Yes they do dry out and the temps do play a role, you will just have to stick your hand in the bale or get a moisture meter and see how often it will need to be watered. 

Rhubarb flowering 
Q:Can I eat rhubarb when it has flowered?
A: Yes rhubarb will often flower if it is stressed and can also based on how old it is. This however does not effect the taste of the rhubarb. You can cut the seed stalks off so they do not go to seed and you will be good to go.

Square foot gardening 
Q:I have my raise garden set how do I start with planting my vegetables’? Do I start by making rows to put my seeds in? I have Kentucky pole beans, carrots, cucumbers, red mercury peppers, red cherry large tomatoes, and brussels sprouts. My raised garden is 4ft x 8ft. Will this be enough room?
A:I am going to suggest the square foot garden method :
Tomatoes 1 plant per square foot
1 pepper per square foot
Carrots 16 per square foot
Cucumbers 2 per square foot ( I would plant these on the edge so they can grow out of the bed if you do not use a trellis such as a tomato cage )
Brussel sprouts 1 per square foot
Pole beans 8 per square foot with a tellies

with the pole beans you could plant them in a row on each 4 ft ends of the bed and use cane pole or long stick per plant

Topping Onions 
Q: Does topping onions help or hurt the production
A: Actually with onions the larger the top the larger the bulb.  What that plant is doing is collecting carbohydrates in energy and storing it in the leaves to make the layers of the bulb so the larger, the bigger leaves on the plant the larger the bulb will be. So topping them won’t make as much sense you shouldn’t get a larger bulb. Here are a couple of onion growth tips that you want to make sure that as those tops are growing. You need to fertilize them every two to three weeks until the leaves quit growing, and then you also need to have adequate water during that time again you want to make the largest leaves the largest top you can on an onion. Then that onion will use that energy that stored to transfer and to creating a bulb and create the biggest bulb that it can make. Keep the soil is loose around the bulbs it can grow to a big size and make sure you use the correct daily for your area.

Strawberry Runners
Q: How to deal with strawberry runners
A: June bearing strawberries will put runners on this is how the plants propagates Runner that are established can be cut from the plants. (runners are small plants that are attached to the main plant by a small vine once they have rooted you can cut them and move them)  what some gardeners will do is put planting trays in the bed and take the the daughter plant and sit it in the potting soil to get them to root to move them to other locations. we did this transfer them across the garden. A typical Garden Strawberry Patch 5 to 7 years. We don’t cover our bed during the winter we leave it exposed and they did very well. ever bearing strawberries will not have runners.

Plant after Garlic
Q: What can I plant in place after I harvest my garlic?
A: Tomatoes  in you have starts, potatoes, cucumbers, peas, turnips, rutabagas

Black bottoms of the tomatoes

Q: My tomatoes look normal but the turn black on the bottom, what’s wrong? The bottom of the fruit is black?
A: This would be blossom in root rot it is due to the fact that there’s not enough water in the soil in order for the plant to pick up the necessary calcium that is required to properly develop the fruit. What you want to do is just water the plant keep the soil to a damp consistency such as a sponge and water regularly to prevent the soil from drying out. When the soil is to dry it is preventing the plant from up taking the calcium that is needed to develop the fruit. If you begin to water that will fix the next generation of fruit that will begin to develop it will not fix the current problem that is on the plant.

Shrews in the garden
Q: Are shrews good or bad for the garden?
A: Shrews don’t hurt plants, and they don’t burrowing into garden beds much if any. They live under leafs and grass matter such as mulch and might use existing mole and vole tunnels. So they are fine for the garden. As the name implies, insects make up a large portion of the typical shrew diet. Food habit studies have revealed that shrews eat beetles, grasshoppers, butterfly and moth larvae, ichneumon wasps, crickets, spiders, snails, earthworms, slugs, centipedes, and millipedes.

Boxwoods bushes turning yellow 
Q: I have about 15 2-3 year old Boxwoods that I am trying to grow into a hedge. Suddenly the outside tips are turning yellow. I am concerned that I might loose them. Is there anything I should do to assure their health.
A: Feed and water your bushes like normal to help them recover. Root Rot. Sometimes, the root systems of boxwood shrubs get infected with fungal pathogens like Phytophthora. When root rot becomes serious, it’ll manifest as yellowing leaves that curl inward and turn up, and the plant will grow poorly.

Vegetable potting soil?
Q: Does the potting soil have to be specific for vegetables to be safe? Or does an all purpose potting mix work? Like garden safe all purpose potting mix – organic
A: A all-purpose potting mix will work fine all potting mixes are safe for gardening and vegetable gardening We recommend DR. EARTH


 July no radish bulbs 

Q: suggestions on growing radishes. Great leaves no bulbs?

A: If this was early on in the season early spring I would suggest it was a nutrient deficiency in the soil but as we have crossed Into Summer radishes are a cool season short day Crop, day light sensitive crop. So as it warms and the days are long the plant is going to go into a reproductive state not a bulb development state. However allow the plants to go to seed the green pods are edible and taste just like the radish bulb so if you’re unable to get the bulb you can at least get radish in the green pods before they mature.

Keep rabbits out
Q: Mark wants to know will using blood meal help keep rabbits away A: It the blood meal was to be keep dry it may work but once is it is wet it will not work best is to get a 2 foot high chicken wire fence or


Liquid  and power pectin
Q: is liquid pectin the same as powder pectin?

A: No Liquid pectin and powder pectin are not directly interchangeable; you have to make some modifications. You need to adjust both the quantity of pectin and the cooking process. For one pouch of liquid pectin use 2 Tablespoons of powder pectin. Change when the sugar and pectin are added

Organic removal of Mugwort
Q:What are some ideas for getting rid of mugwort (artemisia spp.) without resorting to inorganic means?
A:Use organic weed killer such as Bio Safe   use coupon code TWVG at check out and save 10% as soon as it comes. Same for weeding it out remove it as soon as you see it.  Its best to eradicate it asap

Saving Shallots Seeds
Q: I saw one of your YouTube videos about saving onion/shallot seeds and I have a question about shallot seeds.  I have a small bed where last year I planted about 20 shallot bulbs. This spring the shallots are doing great and i’ve left two plants go to seed. The flowers have formed this globe-like flower but if I open one of the flowers I don’t see any black seeds. In each of the tiny flowers I see several tiny seeds. Also, some of those tiny flowers have opened up.
Those tiny, tiny seeds inside the flower, are those that I need to save?  Should I wait a little longer before checking for the black seeds?
A: Yes the flowers will have seeds in them. You will need to wait till the plant dies the seeds need that time to develop that is where the black seed will be. The flower opening up is normal for the plant to grow the seed.

Slime mold/dog vomit 
Hi there I have a question about the slime mold (had to google it to name it)
It grew in yellow hard foam piles  on the sides of my raised bed I left it alone & looks like it died but it continues to be so rainy that it popped up elsewhere.
Now I have mold on the stalks of radishes & beets beneath the greens. Is that affecting the veggies & do I have to pull & toss them?
Very intimidating in spite of Prof Google saying it’s harmless.
A: Correct it is not harmful to humans. Some cultures eat slime mold as well. As for it being on the stalks of your plants it is not hurting them at all. If it was to grow on the leaves then if can kill the plant. when on the ground it will appear and the disappear with in a few days. Also you can remove any much and weeds from around the plant to get to bare soil and to let more air and light get to it and dry it up. At the time of harvest just clean the edible parts with white vinegar and that will kill any spores that remain. If you want to kill it, Spray it well with 1 tablespoon of baking soda mixed with 1 gallon of water 

Floating Peaches in the Jar
Q No matter how hard I try my peaches float in the jar. I pack tightly any suggestions?
A: Thank you for the question, Floating is normal no matter how tight you are able to pack items in a jar there will be some floating that happen.  some reasons it happens are, Overripe fruit – the acid and pectin content is lower. Air can remain in the tissues of the fruit after processing.

Fruit Tree Spray for Vegetables 
Q: I just noticed a few holes on my Brussel sprout leaves that I need to take care of. I have a batch of fruit tree spray I mixed up earlier for my apple trees. Can i use fruit tree spray on their vegetables? The label says for apple and fruit trees and strawberries. Doesn’t say anything about vegetables.
A:The safe answer is no you can not. The more detailed answer is what kind of spray did you use for the trees and is it just for fruit tree or does the label say it can be used for both?

Q: What Advice for watering can you offer?
A: Water early or late in the day if you can fine mulch add that to the garden. Keep soil damp not soggy.  Water twice as much as you think you need as the soil will use it all up. If you get the leave wet there is no issue with that.

Pole Beans & Bush Beans
Q: Do you think it’s too late in the year to plant pole beans am in green bay? I forgot I bought them from mi gardener.
A: Based on where you are at it maybe pushing it. Pole beans take 70-80 days to start producing and will keep producing till frost. Bush beans take 40-60 days to start producing and will produce for 2 to 3 weeks. 

Mycorrhizal fungi in bagged soil
What about container gardens?  Is there mycorrhizal fungi in our soil?  Some of us live in a condominium and need to buy soil.  I wonder if there’s any life in the soil that we buy in bags.  I love gardening.
A: Yes there is mycorrhizal and fungi in the compost/bagged soil that you buy if you by the soiless mix then no there is not.

Propagate  a Yacon
Q: Can you propagate  a Yacon tuber to make a new plant?
A: No the only way you can propagate Yacons in by the rhizomes you can save them in the fall in sand in a cool place over winter we have videos on have to do that.

Eating Radish seed pods
Q: Any suggestions on how to prepare radish seed pods? never knew you could eat em, i usually just collect the seeds, wanna try eating them. Thanks.

A: we harvest the pods when they are full and plump and green you can pick them when they are smaller. based on the soil moisture the pods can be crisp or they can have heat to them. some gardeners pickle them in the refrigerator. 

Planting store bought Potatoes 
Q: We got a bag of potatoes from the store and two of them started to sprout Can I plant these? Do you know how long they will take to grow them? Also do you know how tall they will get? If we planted them now would they be ready in time? It is very late in the season.Just looking for an idea. A help is greatly appreciated.
A Thank you for your question Yukon Gold potatoes take between 85 and 90 days to mature you certainly can plant these that you have gotten from the store. If they are sprouting then that would indicate they have not been treated with any growth inhibitors. Potatoes will typically grow 2 and 1/2 sometimes 3 ft tall based on the nutrient availability in the soil so you should have no problem with these if you’re growing them in a container my suggestion would be putting a tomato cage around them to add some extra support to allow more leaves to be exposed to the Sun to grow better. t would be closed as it would be October 20th for 90 days if it was I and I had the space available I would go ahead and put them in even if they do not fully mature you can still Harvest them as small potatoes no matter what stage they are in after the flowers occur 10 weeks after you planted

Creeping Charlie
Q: How to get rid of Creeping Charlie variety of weed. I have been having a constant battle with this invasive weed years ever since it was sold as a ground cover some 20 years ago! Gerry Michigan
A. Pull the Weeds Out from the Ground – pull as many as you can Use the Soil Solarization Process If the lawn is covered end-to-end with creeping Charlie weeds then you may need to employ the soil solarization method. This method uses the heat from the sun to kill the weeds.Cover the weed-invaded area with plastic wrap. Make sure the wrap is firmly rooted to the ground by burying the sides in mini trenches. Leave the plastic wrap for a few weeks. The creeping Charlie will eventually die due to the heat that gets trapped underneath the plastic wrap. Apply an organic Weed Preventer. Weed preventers, like from biosafe, contain natural ingredients such as corn gluten meal. It can prevent creeping Charlie (and other garden weeds) from spreading by reducing the seed germination process. Creeping charlie is truly a pain. Hope that works out for you!

Spiders in the garden 
Q What can I put on tomatoes and cucumbers to get rid of spiders?
A: Do not put anything on the plants to kill them. Spiders eat pests.Spiders feed on common indoor pests, such as Roaches, Earwigs, Mosquitoes, Flies and Clothes Moths. If left alone, Spiders will consume most of the insects in your home, providing effective home pest control. 

Jars breaking in the canner
Q: Hi I have been canning for about 6 years. This year I am having problems one jar seems to break in each canner on the bottom of the jar. I do not tighten the top too tight. I am not over stuffing the jars. I use room temp water in my jars. Could you help suggest anything? I have a gas stove I even tried different burners. Please help

A: Room temperature water is causing the jars to break

Beet leaves are dark purple
Q: I have an issue with my beets the leaves stay and turn dark purple. If you could let me know what it is and what to do that would be great. 

A:When you notice a plant with purple leaves rather than the normal green color, it is most likely due to a phosphorus deficiency. All plants need phosphorus (P) , Also some varieties are just very purple also

Storing Jerusalem Artichoke
Q: whats the best way to store Jerusalem Artichoke them for winter? is it ok in garage, in paper bags? 

A: The best way to store Jerusalem Artichokes over the winter is a few ways 
1. cut the plants at grown level and mound leaves three to four foot on top of the area it is growing to prevent the grown from freezing . 
2. Take a bucket put a 2 inches of soil from the garden in the bottom then a layer of Artichokes then cover and repeat. Keep the bucket in a cool not frozen area shed of attic stairs 
3. Bag them in a zip top bag and keep in the back of the frige they will last a few months

Snails in the garden
Q: How to deal with snails in the garden? 

A: 1. Introduce predators – One effective organic snail control is to introduce or encourage predators. Make your garden friendly to small snakes, like the garter snake 
2.Set out traps – A common snail trap is the beer pan. Simply fill a shallow pan with beer and leave it out overnight. The snails will be attracted to the beer and will drown in it. The beer will need to replaced every few days to remain effective. Another trap is to find a flat object than can provide a dark, cool, moist location. Snails love dark, cool, moist areas. You can use a board, a piece of carpet, or thick cloth to create this environment. Water an area, then lay the object down over the damp area. Return in a few days and pick up the object. You can harvest and destroy the hiding snails.

Making peppers hotter 
Q: Any truth that watering hot peppers more often makes them hotter? 

A: To get hotter Peppers it’s quite the opposite less water less nitrogen and leave them on the vine longer the heat will intensify in the pepper

Planting Fall Bulbs
Q: When is the right time to plant fall bulbs
A: Not all bulbs should be planted in the fall. keep this in mind Dahlias and gladiolus should be planted in the spring,  while daffodils and tulips do well when planted in late summer or early autumn. the rule of thumb: If you are planting a bulb that blooms in the spring, plant in the fall.

Blossom end rot on Tomatoes
Q:How can I fix blossom end rot?
A: Keep the soil moist. When the soil stays to dry the calcium that is available in the soil is locked out that is the element in which is needed to correctly form the bottom of the tomato. By keeping the soil watered and damp it will not fix the current problem on the plant but will prevent the next generation of fruit development from obtaining the rotten portion on the bottom as it develops. People often say use 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt for 1 gallon of water and water it in this works because you’re watering the plants Epsom salt is different than calcium Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate so keep the plants watered if you do see fruit that is rotten on the bottom remove it before it is allowed to fully develop to allow the plant to focus on fruit that is good not rotten. 

Q: How can i keep raccoons away from porch they is nothing there to eat they come on the porch and do their business there any suggestions

A: put a couple a plates of standard moth balls

pumpkin vine cut
Q:It’s September 1 and I just severed a major vine feeding the only two pumpkins I have. I had lots of dead and dying leaves (growing a plant in a large container on my deck). Just fertilized the other day, and seems to be doing better. But now I’m scared my little pumpkins might dye. I just stuck the end of the vine back into the soil. Hoping it develops roots so the fruit will continue to grow. I have several blossoms on other vines, but wonder if they even turn into baby pumpkins, will they mature before the frost? I’m guessing 60 days or so isn’t enough. so I need to see what I can do for the ones I got. A:Sadly your small pumpkins will most likely not grow and because it was a major vine you may lose the plant. There are if on the ground feeder roots the attach to the ground to help the plant

Moving Tomatoes from home to greenhouse  

Q:I have failed miserably at gardening the past few years. So last year I did nothing but work on getting better soil. This year my goal is to start earlier with better seeds/seedlings. My question is can I put my seeds for seedlings out in my greenhouse right away or must I start indoors? I live in green bay. I am thinking starting tomatoes second week of April? Thanks.
A: Thanks for reaching out.  You can start tomato seeds 2nd week of April in your greenhouse. You just need to make sure the temperature is around 68- 70 degrees and there is proper ventilation if needed.  Depending on your greenhouse set up, that might not be warm enough.  We start ours indoors as we don’t have a greenhouse, but we can watch them and know what temperature it is in our grow room area. Here is also a helpful link with other links listed in the article that will definitely help you: 

Wood Ash in The Garden
Q: Ash from the fireplace is it good for raised beds. Is this correct?

A: In small amounts, It sweetens the soil(raises the PH). Depends on what you are growing. It will raise the alkalinity of the soil which will harm plants that prefer more acidic soil. adding to much ash  will make it more alkaline and most plants don’t like that.

Squirrels eating bird seed
Q: How do you keep squirrels from eating all the bird seeds?
A: There are a couple of different ways in which you can fight the squirrel problem one you could attach cones to the bird feeders add a lubricant or a slinky to the pole . A more effective way is to either mix hot chili powder in with you or birdseed or they do have that type of bird seed available on the market birds cannot taste the heat in the chili powder but the squirrels can taste the heat and will go elsewhere.

Treated lumber for raised beds
Q: Can I use pressure treated lumber for raised beds ?

Pressure treated lumber is now treated with a copper material not arsenic as it was in the nineties. It is safe to use pressure treated lumber for raised beds. There maybe some leeching of the copper into the soil. However there are small traces of copper in your soil that is part of what plants need to use to grow it will last considerably longer

Moving seedlings outdoors 
Q: How tall does a seedling need to be before planting it outside

A:The general rule of thumb is that when a seedling has three to four true leaves, it’s large enough to plant out in the garden (after it has been hardened off)

Coffee grounds as Mulch
Q: Has anybody use coffee grounds as mulch around tomato plants? listen to a podcast yesterday and they were talking about how good this is for tomatoes
A: Coffee grounds contain about 2% N and less then 1% of P and K. You need to work them in the ground in order to get they NPK. It is a great food for worms and to build up the organic matter in your garden. Using coffee grounds as mulch is not good as it forms a hard covering over the soil and prevents water from getting to the plant it acts much like a brick on mulch on the soil

Flies in my seed starting mix
Q: I just started seeds and now I have tiny flies all around the soil is this normal and what should I do?

A: Those are Fungus gnats normal in all soil 2 things that you can do one spray them with soapy water and 2 sprinkle cinnamon over the soil, just a dusting is contains anti fungal properties and will help keep what gates that are not dead away

How much to plant in a 5 gallon bucket
Q: How many pole beans plants can you plant in a 5 gall bucket?

How many Bush beans per 5 gallon bucket? Thanks
A: you can get 9 bush bean in a 5 gallon bucket and 8 pole beans this if calculated by the square foot gardening method and a buck is approx 1 sq foot.

Last year’s potatoes for planting 
Q: if my potatoes have sprouted from last year harvest but they are small will I still get good sized potatoes this year.
A: It is hard to say you really want a seed potato to be no smaller then a medium size chicken egg. With yours I would remove all the sprouts but one and plant them so they can focus its energy to the one sprout

Roses, Lilacs Fruit trees, zone 4 
Q:When is a good time to start seed in zone 4? when can I uncover my buried rose bush? when can I prune my Lilacs and climbing rose and fruit trees?
Starting seeds indoors is based on the your last average frost date so search growing zone with your zip code, 12 weeks before for peppers, onions leeks, tomatoes 8 weeks, brassicas 6 weeks, When to uncover your roses It is simply when the danger of freezing and thawing has passed so not yet it may be mid April or later when you will do this in zone 4. Pruning lilacs n early spring, before the buds open (April), or After the leaves have fallen in autumn (September, October) Lilacs form flower buds at the tips of branches during the previous growing season. This means that it is important to prune just under the panicles a week or two after the plant has finished blooming. If you prune the branch tips heavily or after the flower buds have formed, you will have fewer blooms next year. For the climbing roses time to prune is from autumn and through winter, while the rose is dormant. For your fruit trees early spring before buds break and trees are still dormant.

Best seeds to buy
Q: I’m starting a garden. Where should I buy my vegetable seeds from?

A: we would suggest they have a great selection

Carrot fly
Q: I have a question about carrots and have not seen an answer anywhere.

Years ago, I could grow great carrots – now in the same garden the carrots come up great but when they reach maturity, the tops, about an inch down the actual carrot, are brownish with holes in them. No bugs or animals are apparent. What could this be?
I have rotated the carrots to different sections of the garden and plant two different varieties, but all are the same.
Help please

A: you have carrot fly
Choose resistant varieties.

Avoid thinning out. As this puts the smell int he air
Cover with fleece.
Make fly barriers.
Grow with alliums. Grow carrots alongside strong-smelling companion plants such as alliums, including chives and garlic.
Mix with other crops.
Sow later.Sow carrots late in the season – sowings made from June onwards usually avoid the first generation of pests, although further generations of flies can attack from July to September.
Rotate your crops
Avoid parsnips and celery
Use controls Use a biological control, such as carrot fly nematodes, or a sticky trap.

Grazon how long will it be in the soil
Q: I sprayed between my trees with grazon to kill the weeds not the grass, The trees do not look well dying and curling up. How long will the grazon stay in the soil 

A: Grazon is a Persistent herbicides can remain active in soil for up to 2 years, sometimes even longer. And even if you have compost from animals that has eaten the grass that was sprayed with Persistent herbicides like grazon it will still kill your plants years after in the composted form
This chemical is used to control herbaceous weeds and some woody plants, without killing desirable lawn and turf grasses. It will kill the trees no right away but over time as you are seeing with the curing on the leaves

Is the ink in shredded paper ok
Q: With using shredded paper in your garden, are you worried about what’s in the toner and inks at all?

A: Good question no we are not worried because most if not all ink is soy based and in toxic however if their might be toxic ink the tiny trace of it would not hurt the soil. As the soil has a natural barrier called a buffering compactly that protects is self from bad things, Like acid rain or small levels of toxins

Buckets have a smell
Q: I have several pickle buckets that i have washed cleaned very well but can’t get the pickle smell out. Can i still plant in these buckets? Do you think they would be ok?
A: Yes you can plant in those with no problem do make some drainage holes and you will be all set. The smell is in the plastic and you will never remove it but it will not hurt the soil or plants

Where to start 
Q: I would love it if I could be pointed in the right direction for what I can do right now to prepare for spring! thank you so much in advance I am in Wisconsin
A: A few things you can start doing now is looking at what you want to plant and either but the seeds for direct sowing when the time is right for those seeds and if you want to start seeds indoors not is a good time to start tomatoes, eggplants, the brassicas, herbs, to name a few. Also you can lay out your garden so you have an outline so where you would like to start plans always change but it will give a starting point.

Pet Ashes
Q: I am trying to find out how to use pet ashes from a cremation in the garden. From what I gather it either is or is very similar to bone meal. We want to memorialize our cat this way. He can be a part of the trees in the forest. But I don’t want to over or under do it so I am trying to get my bearings.

A: You’re not going to overdo it by spreading the ashes in the garden/ forest. There will be a small amount of potash in the ashes. You have a small amount of ashes, it’s not a long term feed to the plants it is a short term but there are some nutriences for the plants and it will not hurt them you would also want to mix them in the soil as they ashes can blow away.

Tomatoes upside down
Q:Any tips for growing tomatoes upside down?
A: Well, tomatoes don’t do particularly well upside down that said if you are going to try it I would recommend an indeterminate cherry variety as it does not take as long to grow and develop as large fruiting tomatoes. I would try to grow it in full sun and be sure to keep the root system Hydrated and properly fed over the growing season as tomatoes are heavy feeders and will deplete the nutrients in the soil quickly

Cross Pollination
Q: Will there be a problem with some plants crossing with others of the same family/ varieties if planted close together ?

A: No and yes. For the current growing season if you are only growing for production
and not going to save seeds then you will have no problem. If you are going to be growing for production and seed saving then yes example you are growing 5 varieties of cucumbers there is a very good chance that you will have crossed varieties if you save seeds. Now that could be good and bad as you may have a new type of cucumber that is tastes great or one the does not

Palm cactus fruit soil
Q: Can you use a palm cactus fruit soil to put cantaloupe seedlings in?

A: You could but I would advise not to simply because palm cactus fruit soil is made to be drain and dry out much quicker than standard potting soil and as those types of plants do not like to have soil that holds moisture. I would use compost of a potting soil that has a slow release fertilizer in it.

Container beets 
Q: I’ve never grown beets before. I don’t have a yard and I want to do these in a pot. How big of a pot would I have to get to plant these?
A: Beets can grow in any size pot. It is best to grow them in a larger container as you can get more plants in it, and it will have more soil which will take more time to dry out. Holds more moisture. You also can mulch the beets as they come up. Do remember to thin them as they are a cluster seed and without thinning them they will not develop large Bulbs We have grown them in grow bags as small as 3 gallons you can get 3 to 4 plants in and they did very well

Watering cans
Q: What would you recommend plastic or metal watering can?

A: There are benefits to both and also negatives also metal can rust if not taken care of and plastic will break down via the sunlight plastic is lighter and then medal. But the medal is much more durable. We have both the key to any watering can is to get a size you can handle. Just because it can hold 3 gallons if you can’t carry 3 gallons it does no good. Also make sure the sprinkler head can be removed for cleaning.

How to grow Asparagus
Q: What is required to grow asparagus? I’m considering it, but have no clue about it. Where would I purchase starts (or whatever they’re called)?

A. To plant asparagus crowns, dig trenches 12 inches wide and 6 inches deep (8 inches in sandy soil) down the center of the prepared bed. Soak the crowns in compost tea for 20 minutes before planting. Place the crowns in the trenches 1½ to 2 feet apart; top them with 2 to 3 inches of soil.
Asparagus thrives in slightly acid soil (pH of about 6.5). Choose a site that has partial sun (full sun is not needed). Asparagus does not like to have its feet “wet,” so be sure that your garden bed has good drainage. If you do not have good drainage, consider growing asparagus in raised beds.
Yield. In general, plant between 10 and 12 asparagus plants per person for fresh eating. If you are especially fond of asparagus or want additional produce for freezing, plant a few more. The basic guideline is 50 plants for a family of four, advises Barbara Damrosch, author of “The Garden Primer.”
Buy them seed saver exchange do not carry asparagus crowns you would want a 2 yr old crown and some online site have them your local independent garden center most likely will have them

Treated raised beds
Q: Do I still need to seal pressure treated wood?
A: It is not necessary because of the pressure treated lumber but if  I am going to invest in lumber and raised beds I would seal it with a wood sealer just to add an additional layer of protection on that would to potentially get another 2,3,4 years out of it After installation, treated wood takes 2-4 weeks to dry. For optimal results, wait until the wood is completely dry to paint and stain. or you could leave the wood out in the sun for that time treat it then make the beds

indeterminate tomatoes

Q: Can you plant indeterminate tomatoes in containers with any success? If so, what varieties do you recommend? Tomatoes I’ve grown in the past have been; Brandywine, Old German, & Roma as well as yellow Grape varieties. Thanks for any guidance you can provide.
A: All tomatoes can be grown in a container Id suggest not growing them in a grow bag no smaller than 10 gallons or a 5 gallon bucket with drainage holes, and cage or trellis them also. Brandywine, black krim, any cherry tomatoes will do well for you.

Leeks bolting
Q: I have grown leeks for years, but lately they are almost all bolting. What is going on?
A: The most common answer to that questions is that a the leeks are planted when it is cool as we do then it get warm, hot early in the season then cold again then turns to summer. The up and down of temps effects the plant to make it think it is in it second year of growing so then it bolts my suggestion would be to wait a little longer before planting them so the risk of up and down temps are less.

Spring Garlic?
Q: I didn’t get around to planting garlic last fall – can I still plant garlic in the spring? If so what is the best variety?
A: Yes you can, you want to plant it as soon as you can get it in the ground as it need cold hours to grow correctly Any heirloom hard neck variety work well for us German hardy is a good choice here in the north soft neck in the south. It may not be as big as fall garlic as we have found but it is better in the ground growing if you can find some to plant.

Leeks and Fennel
Q:Can direct sow leeks and Fennel ?

A: Leeks do not do well from direct sowing as they take 150 days to grow if you do not start them indoors you can get them at the garden center as we have and they do very well . Fennel can be grown from seed as it take 90 days you can soak the seeds for 24 hours before planting. Plant  the seed when the soil is 50F to 70F   

Celery Problems
 I have been growing celery for the past 2 years. Part of my quest to grow all of my sauce ingredients. I start my celery from seed indoors. I have 2 locations. My own backyard garden doesn’t get more than 5 of direct sun. The celery does ok, but tends to be skinny and more ‘herbie’ tasting. Is there anything I can do to improve the flavor and size?

A: Celery needs calcium for best growth, so mix in bone meal or gypsum. Bone meal is a good all-purpose amendment adding this to the ground it will help all plants to have better growth. It also may be the variety also that cases that taste. Size will also be improved by adding nutrients to the soil you could try if it is allowed in your area a large grow bag from RootMaker Products Company a 60 gallon grow bag or 10,15 30 or a raised bed.

Planting on a big hill
Q:We have a slope in our little backyard where I want to improve it for gardening. My husband says we need a tiller to till it up. The previous owner planted hostas and wintergreen ground cover. The ground cover is the problem. A neighbor gave me ground up leaves and grass clippings to start a compost pile 2 yrs ago. It’s not enough. Area 40× 20. Its @ a 30 degree angle.
A:We think tilling would cause erosion. We would turn it over with a garden fork or shovel and garden there in the specific area where you want to plant. Tilling would cause the soil to erode down.

Coupon code
Q What was the company you talked about for seed trays and what the coupon code again thank you .
A: Rootmaker coupon code TWVG to save 10% at checkout

Slowing the growth
Q: I hope you can help me out with. I started some tomatoes perhaps too soon here and I’ve already had to move from a 4 inch to a 6 inch pot. The plants are getting too big and I’m 6 weeks away from putting it into the ground. How can I slow down the plant a bit?

A: To start with no matter what you do you are going to have very large tomato seedlings. The best advice I can give is keep the plants cool. if you put them somewhere where it is not cold but cool this should slow their growth as we see this in the spring we plant them out early it cool days and cold nights and they do not grow much.

Filler in Fertilizer
Q: what the inert material/filler use in npk fertilizer?
A: Sand and granular limestone are popular fillers because they are inexpensive and make distribution of the fertilizer easier without adversely affecting your lawn or garden.

Burlap Sacks 
 Q:. I work at a roaster and I am planning to grow in the burlap sacks this year as you show in one of your videos. I’m wondering if you had any trouble with pests eating the bags? I’m also curious if the bags held up for the whole season ? Fantastic video, and super inspiring.
A:We did not have any issues with pest for two main reason, one we kept the soil moist so no mice or rate problems and two we kept the grass cut around the bags to have less chance of bugs getting on the plant and hurting it. The bags we doubled them up 2 bags per plant they did last the season however the bottoms to rot out of them but it does not hurt the growth of the plants

Bone Meal Blood Meal
Q:What is the difference between  bone meal and blood meal thank you
A: Blood meal is dried and powdered animal blood; it increases soil nitrogen levels. Bone meal is ground animal bones; it increases soil calcium and phosphorus levels.

How much to water 
Q:I had trouble figuring out how much to water my germinated baby lettuce, any input. A:the safe answer is keep the soil like a damp sponge if you poke your finger in the soil and it feels damps you are good. If it has not came up yes cover the soil with a sheet of paper towel to hold the moisture in the soil

Acidic soil
Q:Do blackberries need acidic soil?
A:they do not they will grow in normal potting soil or compost native soil without any issue

Weeds seeds in straw 
Hi, I listened to you at the WI Garden Expo in Madison. Just downloaded your podcasts. You talked about mulching your raised beds. Do you use straw? What kind and where should I get the straw? How do I know that it is not full of weeds?
A:When mulching our raised bed we will use several item. One will be leaves from that we have piled up in our garden from last year. The 2nd will be dry chemical free and seed from grass clippings. and yes straw we get our garden center. straw is the stalk of the wheat and his baled with little grass or weed seeds in them. we have never seen any major weed issues will the straw we have gotten. The other thing you can do is ask as the garden center if they have had anyone complain about weed seeds in the bales. 

What to feed Swiss Chard 
:what fertilizer would you add to Swiss chard once it starts growing big?
A:Chicken Soup For The Soil® also known as “the perfect fertilizer” contains all the nutrients the plants need. It comes in a liquid concentrate and will  make up to 128 gallons!

Planting Garlic an onions from the Kitchen 
Q:I stuck some of my store bought garlic that grew out of hand in my raised bed a couple weeks ago figuring what’s the worst that could happen. Same with some onions that were growing in the back of the fridge! We will see if they produce anything by this fall. Would you have any experience with either of these scenarios?
A:Yes the store bought garlic you may get small bulbs as it being store bought it is a generic variety and is unknown where it may have come from. Second you will get small bulbs because garlic needs cold hours to form and bulb correctly garlic is best planted in the fall we found our spring planted garlic was about 80% smaller than the fall planted. With the onions you will only get greens and seeds, now onions fall into 3 grouping long day in the north, mid day in the middle parts of the U.S and short day in the south. If the variety is unknown you can still eat the onions greens as the plant grows this year the bulb will get smaller as it is the 2nd year and it puts on seeds in the second year.With those seeds if the type is unknown then replanting seeds next year will not be worth the time as you do now know what you have as a short day onion will grow in the north but not bulb and save as a long day in the south.

Early Blight
Q: Can you recommend a “Yellow whole grain corn mill”. For using to control early blight on tomatoes.  I have almost completely stopped growing tomatoes because of early blight. I have tried only early watering, trimming lower leaves and growing them 8 ft tall with guided fences and sucker pruning, but I have not been able to get any real strong fruiting. No more than 3-5 lb a plant.
A: A yellow-corn-meal- any brand will work as long as it is whole grain and yellow. Apply one hand full at the time of planting around each tomato that has a good bacteria called trichoderma that fights the early blight that is in all soil.  Now based on your description it sounds like you have great plants but little fruit, that is telling me you may have a surplus of Nitrogen in your soil causing the plants to grow large but not fruit much. to much Nitrogen will lock out other elements in the soil preventing the plant from growing fruit I would get a soil test and see where your level are at and start from there 

Carrots going to seed
Q:If you catch the carrot tops going to seed, can you remove the flower heads? Will it force the plant to send more energy to the carrots underground?
A:If the carrot is flowering you have waited too long to harvest so if that is happening and it is not the 2nd year  you need to harvest sooner. If you were to cut the flower off to save the carrot the carrot have already changed inside to start seed production and can become bitter if eaten 

Bagged compost
Q:Is there a bagged type of
compost you are recommending to use in the raised bed?  A: Raised Garden Bed Mix is similar to potting mix. If you were to make your own raised garden bed soil mix, you could use 50% garden soil and 50% potting mix for a good drainage and aeration (if you use your own garden soil it will have weed seeds in it). Garden centers also make bagged soils specific to raised beds, getting this the ideal choice if you are able to find a local garden center that sales it by bulk it is much cheaper. But if you are looking at bagged soil. There are a number a great companies out their here is what you are going to look for in a compost/raised bed mix peat moss topsoil compost and vermiculite

PVC Raised bed
Q: I have 6 – 4×8 foot raised garden beds that were put in about 5 years ago.  I was afraid to use treated wood as I did not want to contaminated the soil or ingest chemicals so I used regular wood.  Of course, the carpenter ants loved this wood and now all the boards are deteriorated and collapsing. So they all must be replaced.  I cannot afford cedar. The treaded wood has warnings about causing cancer on them. Do you think I could safely use PVC planks or do you have any other suggestions.
A: Thank you for the email and the question. Yes you can use  PVC planks to replace your raised bed. We chose for our raised bed to use treated lumber as it is treated with a copper chemical and the research we have done show little to no leaching from the boards to the soil. Some will use treated lumber and cover the areas where the soil touched the lumber with a plastic.  For PVC planks the only other suggestion would be if you can pick a light color so it does not absorb the heart as much and the soil in the summer does not over heat and dry out as fast.  

Q:What is the best way to harvest microgreens? Will they continue to produce as you harvest them?  Doreen
A: Thank you for your email. The best way to harvest microgreens is to plant them in a large 10×20 flat in 3rds  in succession a few days apart. As the microgreens sprout their first set of true leaves that is the time you can harvest them they will be around two inches tall and it will be about 2 or 3 week after planting.Just cut them with a scissor at soil level. Microgreens do not regrow after they have been harvested. You will find that if you plant peas and the harvest them above the first set of leaves that you may get some to regrow but it is really not worth the effort it is best to replant for another harvest.

Planting beets when it is cold
Q:My beets say they tolerate Frost but if we need it a certain temperature to germinate should I germinate inside and put outside in the chilly weather as soon as I see the green buds? So the green buds can be exposed to 30 and 40 degree weather at night?
A: Beets germinate best when the soil times are 50-80F. Yes beets are  tolerant of Frost however if you were to start them inside and then when you see them sprout move them out, the temperature can be too much and can kill them without hardening them . You can start them indoors and then in 2 or 3 weeks once they have come up thin them and harden them off and plant them. The other option and what we are doing this year is, we will be planting our beet seeds when the soil temps are around 40F and these seeds will come up when they are ready as they would in nature. In Nature the plant drops it seeds in the fall and the seeds set dormant until the temps are right and then they sprout

Container irrigation system 
Q: I’m growing tomatoes in fabric bags this year. What model drip system do I need

A: Deck Garden Irrigation Kit – Small with a timer or without up to 20 Pots from 

Keeping Rabbits away
Q: Best cure for getting rid of rabbits other than trapping them. Used moth balls, irish spring soap, apple cide vinegar, crushed red pepper, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, rabbit scram, repels all…etc.
A:Yes these all do work however when it rains you do need to apply them you can also us 2 foot high chicken wire they help keep them out if you leave it up all year long also what does work is deer feet  it is a All natural, environmentally safe Deer Defeat effectively deters deer, rabbits, groundhogs and other browsing animals, while actively nourishing your vegetation. It does not scare them away but it keep them from eating your vegetation 

Straw Bale Gardening
Q:. Just listened to you  podcast about growing in straw bales.  How do you keep rodents out?
A: The best way is to keep the bale moist to the dampness of a sponge water it as needed stick you hand in the side and top if it is dry water it 

Straw Bale Gardening 
Q: when conditioning my straw bale
I can only use water from the hose. Will this be okay?
A:  People may be concerned about chlorine killing off the microbes in the bale and they will not studies have been done that shows little not nearly no die off happens

Wild raspberries in container 

Q:I have some wild raspberries on a second property that I don’t get out too often And I’d like to dig up a second year cane or two to plant in a container at the house so I could harvest some before the birds beat me to them ! Do you think wild raspberries would do well or does it have to be a nursery plant Thank you

A: As long as you plant it in a large enough container it will do just fine.  You want to transplant it when the plant is still in dormancy. You might still be able to it now, also with that patch on the other property you could look at bird netting that you can lay over top of the plants to keep the birds away too. 

Bent Grass
Q: have bent grass in my lawn, do you know how to kill it without hurting my fescue lawn?
A: It is also called creeping bent grass  it will grow in the sun and in the shade it is found on golf courses it has a bluish green color it is a fine thin bladed grass. There are two ways to get rid of it, one in using roundup you would spray the grass but also you would spray a foot beyond the area as the grass will already be creeping in that grass that you can not see most people do not want to kill all their grass (this can also take several treatments over 2 to 3 years to kill it all) The second is called Tenacity it is not cheap however it will not kill you fescue but will only control the bent grass and will need 3 application over a couple of year but with a little time you can get rid of the bent grass 

Stalks for stock
Q: When onions are seeding Would the stalks be good for flavoring soup stock?
A: at the time the seed pods are on the plant the stalk are very thin and woody and tough and would have off flavor.

Q: Do worms damage plants by eating the stem or roots?
A: Cutworms chew through plant stems at the base. They primarily feed on roots and foliage of young plants, and will even cut off the plant from underneath the soil. But earthworms do not.

Rhubarb is Yellowing
Q: Areas of my Rhubarb leaves are turning yellow.  I can’t seem to find a diagram identifying the parts of the rhubarb leaves, so please bear with me.  The part turning yellow is the area on either  side of the rib? That runs through the leaves.This has never happened before.
A: With your Rhubarb and yellowing leaves, what it maybe is you have over watered it. You want to keep the soil damp. Also it is best to fertilize early in the spring 1/2 cup of 10-10-10 fertilizer is fine or something in the range and again in the fall. Apply the fertilizer in a circle around the plant. It is best not to fertilize new plants until the second year.
So no more Fertilizer right now, their may be too much in the soil and causing some element being blocked out and keeping others from up taking to the leaves. And if the leaves are changing color but the stem is still firm you maybe ok for harvest this year. If the stem get limp, remove all those that are this way to get them from the plant.  

Soaking seeds
Q: I soaked my chickpeas in a wet paper towel for 7 days then they were really mushy..i guess I should have just planted them directly in the soil,without pre soaking? can I use store bought chic peas?
A:Yes you can use store bought dry . You can still soak them for a day and then plant them that will help. Keep in mind, Some beans and chickpeas  maybe too old to germinate well, while others are irradiated so they won’t sprout. The seeds may also have a poor germination rate even if the seeds aren’t treated to prevent germination because they haven’t been stored at optimum conditions for planting.

Cover crop is thick
Q:For the first time, 2019, I planted a cover crop (winter wheat) on my garden last fall.  Now, that I’m preparing the garden, I’m finding, dealing with the cover crop to be more of a challenge than I anticipated.  It’s like grass or sod.  Any suggestions here?
With you cover crop situation. Our suggestion would be to cut it down and that will kill the plant. It will not regrow like a weed or a grass will when it is cut or mowed. After that you can allow it to dry and break down on the top of the soil or you can burn it off (safely) or till it  under. 

Weed and Feed (Compost)
Q: I apply weed and feed to my lawn can I compost the clippings?

A: No if the weed and feed is non organic meaning its active ingredient in not corn gluten it had 2-4-d as it’s active ingredient and that is a broad leaf herbicide that kills plants by changing the way certain cells grow this herbicide is very strong and even after mowing grass bagging clipping composting to a black compost the 2-4-d is still active and when put in your garden it will kill your broad leaf vegetable there is not a study that we have found that says if you wait this long then it is safe to use in the garden.

Nectarines for the north
Q: Are there any varieties of nectarines that will grow in WI outside of a green house?
A: Stark HoneyGlo miniature nectarines only attain a height of about 4-6 feet. …
‘Intrepid’ is a cultivar that is hardy in zones 4-7. …
‘Messina’ is another freestone crop that has sweet, large fruit with the classic look of a peach.

Dealing with slugs
I have dealt with slugs in the past. What can I do to be proactive this year?
A: you can use CRAB & LOBSTER SHELL 5-3-0 from
it is high is calcium at around 23%
Weeds hate Calcium so you can work it in your soil for a weed control
Place it on top of the soil and because of it sharp edges is will keep them away

Dry seeds
Q: Can the seeds be planted a day or two after drying?
A: It all depends on the type of seed not all seeds can be planted right away some need a cold cycle OR Seed stratification is the process whereby seed dormancy is broken in order to promote this germination. … Even still, other seeds require a combination of both warm and cool treatments followed by a warm treatment, or a combination of warm and cool moist followed by a dry cycle and warm period to germinate. (It all depends on the seed type)

Powdery Mildew 
Q, in the summer of 2019, my squash became covered with dust or mold. How can I prevent that from happening again this year?
A: Thank you for your email, we will start with the easy part first the dust and mold issues with your squash plants that is called powdery mildew and it is caused by several factors. The main factor is that moisture on leaves the plants are not drying off it gets cool at night. in the middle of summer this is not a big deal as the nights are so warm that they dry off after dark with no issue but as the days get colder as we have found the moisture stays on the leaves and begins to creates the mildew, So how to control this, do not plant those plant close together let them have space to allow all the surface area as possible in the late summer. There are measures that you can take to try to prevent this from happening you do this before seeing the mildew to keep the pH on the leave at a level that will no allow the mildew to form

Swapping canning recipes
Q: I have a simple question about canning that I can’t get a good answer on hoping you can help. If I have a recipe for refrigerator pickles … Can I do the canning method with a hot bath to keep pickles for a while or do they have to be refrigerator pickles?

A: your recipe for refrigerator pickles is only for refrigerator pickles you can not use that recipe to and make hot water bath pickle you would need a hot water bath pick recipe

Indoor winter squash 
Q: I’ve started winter squash, and they’re going great guns — they’re huge, over 12″, but it’s too soon to put them out. they are starting to form buds. I’m assuming I should pinch the buds so they survive transplant better. Should I also cut back the vines?
A: yes as you see it bud cut those off.

Lower leaves are yellowing on seedlings
Q We started tomato plants by seed, they came up, looked good and now they are not real green and the bottom leaves are dying . We watered the plants from the bottom, used grow lights, and potting soil, the seeds were new, we also packed the soil down as you suggested before planting. Is there hope for the plants or should we just start over.

A: normal for the first set of leaves the Cotyledons leaves to dry up and fall off. If more leaves are dying off than those I would remove them to lessen the stress of the plant. We are noticing leave cure on some of our tomato starts this can be caused by a few factors Cause: Even a few hours without water can slow a seedlings’ growth and after a day the plant may begin to curl its leaves to conserve moisture. Hot grow lights and the dry air inside heated homes can rapidly dehydrate plants, too. I had the area very warm where they are at it is has only happened on the golden nugget tomatoes.

Garden Paper
I have seen where some people purchase what is called “Garden Paper” for weed control. Comes in rolls of 3′ X 100′.
Question: Is this just as effective a cardboard? AND Do the worms treat it as they would cardboard?
A: The garden paper it is Naturally porous paper controls weeds but allows air and water to penetrate, Made from renewable resources, with no petrochemicals it will break down and you can till in under. Cardboard will break down but it is not does not let water or air through it only the place that you would cut the hole to plant but the cardboard is lower in cost then the garden paper. The worms would treat the garden paper the same as cardboard. The live right under and feed off our cardboard

Rain Barrel smells
Q: I have a rain barrel for about 3 years now. Do I have to do any maintenance to it or can I leave it until it falls apart? I’ve noticed a very swampy and rather disgusting smell coming from the water recently, should I drain and clean it or does it not matter for my plants? My barrel is of the first type that you’ve shown, it’s not transparent/translucent and has no direct sunlight.

A: You do not have to do anything to it but drain it in the winter do it does not freeze then you can also clean it out with soap and water as for right now you have bacteria in the barrel; just scrub it out, then let it dry in the sun for a couple of days., it’s perfectly fine to use on the garden even with the smell, it’s not hurting anything it is also a sign it is not being used very quicky and has been sitting for while. If you want to make the smell go away A little bit of chlorine bleach will kill the algae and,most of the smell in a couple of days, totally evaporates out, leaving the water safe for plants. It’d be even safer to flush the water out, wash the barrel well, and then let it refill before using that water on sensitive plants. You could also Add cedar oil or cedar chips to the barrel.or • Add 1 cup of vinegar to a barrel full of water this will not mess with the soil pH but will have enough of a ph change in the barrel that should kill the bacteria

Save soil
Q: We have a large property but I want to simplify some gardening and want to plant lettuce etc. in pots like you said.
I have a large pot that is maybe 20” high or more and almost 2’ in diameter. My question is do I fill the whole pot with
potting soil or do I put dirt in the bottom of the pot to save the potting soil?
Also, I have had a compost tumbler for years but hardly ever use the compost. Does it have to be totally composted before using it? Maybe I could put the un-composted stuff in the bottom of that big pot?
A: with the large container if it is 20 inches deep you can put filler in the bottom of it such as milk jugs or soda bottles but the lids on and sit them in the bottom you can take planter pots and sit them in the bottom on the planter sit them with the bottom facing up so the do not get crushed. you can also fill it with dirty it you do this you could fill it up to half full to 15 inches then take paper and put a layer on that soil before adding the potting soil to keep any weeds from coming up. The compost does not have to be fully composted if you are going to put it in the container you do want it to be about 80% broke down before using it and the rest will break down in time.

Garden layout
Q Why did you put your beds parallel to the fence for the front yard? I have a large space to add more beds. Does it matter if they are north/south verses east/west? The space is on the south side of our yard. The beds I have now are east/west. Thank you!!

A: Thank you for watching we put them in the direction because that was the way our traditional ground garden was laid out and if we would have went the opposite direction of what the video shows we would have gotten fewer beds in that area. We have found that if you are in mostly full Sun throughout the day it really doesn’t make that big of a difference if you’re East or West or North the South facing beds the Sun will go over them regardless. If you are facing some shade situations then it’s best to adjust the beds accordingly before building them in order to accommodate the shade. We will have some that shoveled tomatoes shade out very minimal amount of time other vegetables. But it will be to the point where it will not affect the overall growth or production of them

Wood chips 
Q: I am in the beginning stage of building a raised garden. The space that I am using has had wood chips/mulch on it for about 3 years. I moved all the old wood chips so I can pull up the weed block and level the ground. Can I use the old wood chips to help fill and level the ground, then put down the weed block? Thanks for your guidance.
A:Yes with our raised beds we did not use any weed block or cardboard as we have seen and feel that 10 inches of compost will kill the weeds. Yes some will make it in the bed but it will happen you can use the weed block if you would like but that will keep worms from going into your bed besides the ones that will be in the soil you fill the bed with if you do not use weed block at the bottom on the bed the wood chips will not hurt the soil. When you much on top of the soil and mix wood chips in it will rob the soil of nitrogen with your situation they will be find and will help hold some water

Fill my raised beds
Q:I would like to know what to put in a newly made raised bed. Is there a order of items and not just dirt?
A: We filled our raised beds with a raised mix we had delivers in bulk from our garden center Bluemel’s landscape and garden center in Milwaukee. It is cheaper to buy in bulk instead of bags for large beds
If you want to create your own mix there are many different recipes you can pick from. I would suggest 1/3 compost 1/3 peat moss and 1/3 vermiculite.
depending where you live you can call local garden centers and see if they have bulk mixes and if they deliverer. Thank you

Coffee cans to plant squash
Q:You recommended coffee cans for starting off squash plants and keeping the can around the base of the stem to keep away squash vine borers. I cannot find metal coffee cans like they used to sell Folgers coffee in anymore. They package the coffee in plastic containers. What else can I use? Thank you,
A: Plastic coffee containers will also work just fine we have tried it with the cardboard containers thought it does hold up early on by the end of the season all your are left with are the metal rights as we used to start our seeds in, The plastic would even be better for the reason if you did have a issue and needed to remove the container you could cut it away. As we have said this seems to really reduce the chances of the squash vine borer but we are still very vigilant

Q:Do you not have problems with rabbits in your garden that you don’t need a fence around the beds?
A: we do not, years ago when we starting gardening in the backyard we had a big problem, over the years we plugged the holes under the fence where they were coming in and we did have a 2 ft high chicken wire we left up year round when we did ground garden but we have not see a rabbit in the garden for years

Q: Gail asks I have bittercrest hairy growing in my asparagus bed and flower garden. What can I use to eliminate?
A In both vegetable and flower beds?  Removal by hand. Removing hairy bittercress before it flowers or goes to seed remains the quickest way to control it and prevent it spreading. Mulching and also using a Contact weedkiller We would recommend green Gobblers 20% Vinguar Green Gobbler Vinegar Weed & Grass Killer | Natural and Organic Weed & Grass Killer |1 Gallon this is a saver way to control the problem

Outer leaves of Romaine
Q: Can you cut off outer Romaine lettuce leaves and leave the middle bolt part? Will that still flower and produce seeds?
A: You would need to leave some leaves to all the plant to get the energy it needs to grow but removing some would not hurt the plant and it they are bitter in eating them remove the central vain and that is where that bitterness is at.

Black raspberry
Q: I’m planning to grow one black raspberry plant and one purple raspberry plant in containers. Should I get two 25 gallon containers? Would the roots run out of room after a few years?
A:Yes think big 25 gallon per plant as it grows it will create runners and more plants will be created and then you can have more plants.

Lightning Strikes 
Q: Lightning strikes are good for our gardens
A: There is no evidence that lightning strikes have a deleterious effect on soil. In fact, lightning is a source of nitrogen for the soil. Once the nitrogen ions are carried to the soil by rain, the nitrogen mineralizes in the soil and is changed into usable nitrates. 

Red Peppers
Q: How to make a pepper ripen to red sooner?

Here are  three ways
A:  Leave them on the vine, it can take two or three more weeks after maturity full sized green pepper for a bell pepper to turn red, yellow or orange .
A: Simply leave your peppers on a sunny windowsill in a warm room for a few days. They will begin to turn color and ripen in the sun. Once ripened to your liking, store them in the refrigerator or use them right away. If they start to go soft, throw them out.
A:  picked less-ripe pepper (green) and a tomato together. Put them together in a paper bag and close the bag. Tomatoes emit a gas called ethylene; the gas helps the pepper and any other produce placed in the bag, ripen faster

Mile Crate tower
Q: A lot of gardeners out there are setting up these crates in such a way that they can be self watering/wicking. However, I’d like to simply insert an 8″L x 1/2″D hose through the side of my milk crate and burlap liner roughly 3″ high from the base of the crate during assembly, and using a funnel for assistance, deliver water to the root system that way. Do you see any advantage/disadvantage to this approach versus watering directly over top of the plant? I’m thinking midsummer when it’s hot and dry, my approach would avoid evaporation.
A: I think your plans would work very well and you are keeping the water at root area. The only disadvantage is  if you have many of these units it can take time to water them all. another option would be during the construction on the crates us a drip irrigation system and have the emitter in the center under the soil in the crate to make watering easier

Q:I have a tree peony growing with a regular peony.  I would like to take out regular peony but do not want to hurt the Tree peony.  Is it possible?  I really only care about the tree peony. It is somewhat nice since after the tree peony blooms I get the regular peony flower.  It just started happening a year or so ago.
A: Yes this is possible it is best to remove the regular peony in fall as this is the time you would dig them up divide them if you were to do it now you would damage the roots tree peony and compromise  it and it may not bloom for you. Do not use any weed killing chemicals on it as it will kill both of them. What you can do now is as you see the regular on coming up keep cutting in back do it can get the sunlight it t need and it will not get in the way of the tree peony and then in the fall you can did the regularly on up  

Ground squirrels/chipmunks
Q What is your best advice for getting rid of ground squirrels/chipmunks that keep burrowing under my day lilies, redbuds and rock walls [making the walls unstable]? I don’t want to harm any birds, and I want to be mindful of our dog, who spends a lot of hours outside when we are outside, and without strict supervision, since she never strays off our property and we live in the country, so she does roam around while we are working. [ And sometimes she finds nests full of little edible bunnies, so she is a very good dog!]
A Thank you for your question: So Chipmunks and squirrels absolutely can’t stand the smells of certain strong oils like peppermint, citrus, cinnamon, and eucalyptus. These can be sprayed around the area. Chipmunks can’t stand the smell of garlic. Pepper-based repellents work best and have been proven to keep chipmunks off objects and surfaces and away from homes. However most if not all will need to be reapplied after a rain. Mothballs will deter chipmunks and squirrels But If eaten, a mothball would kill a chipmunk or squirrel and other animals can eat them and become sick or die also. Sprinkling cayenne, chili powder or other hot, intense spices around your garden next to the wall is a non-toxic way to discourage chipmunks from hanging around. Now a decoy predator, like a motion-activated owl, can scare chipmunks away from your yard. I hope this will prove you with a starting point 

How much need to can
Q How many pounds of vegetable / fruit needed to can use canning cart
A:Vegetable Pounds per quart

Asparagus 2½–4½
Beans, green, wax, or snap 1½–2½
Beans, lima 3–5
Beets, without tops 2–3½
Carrots, without tops 2–3
Corn, cream-style or whole kernel 3–6
Peas, green 3–6
Pumpkin 1½–3
Spinach and other greens 2–6
Squash, winter 1½–3
Tomatoes 2 1/2 to 3 ½

Q: How long would you give carrots to grow before thinning out?

A: about 4 weeks cut them out not pull them  

Walapini gardener
Q: What are your thoughts on walapini gardener
A: a walipini is an in-ground food production structure. An aquapini is a walipini incorporating aquaponics. These structures are built into the ground because below the frost line the earth maintains a temperature of 55 degrees F/13 C. Building these structures sunk deep enough into the ground benefits from this and helps keep these structures both cool in the summer and warmer in the winter.

Flowers on basil
Q: Any tips on slowing the production of flowers on basil?
A: Basil that is going to flower can be caused but hot temperatures indoor and out, pick the flowers off as soon as you see them. Basil won’t live forever but cutting the flowers off and keeping the plant cool in good soil can make it last a bit longer. Instead of harvesting individual leaves, you can also harvest stems or the entire plant. Basil will grow back and provide a second or even third harvest even after being completely stripped of leaves.

Nutrients and ph up/down 
Q. Can you speak to the shelf life of the nutrients and ph up/down? I’m guessing we should keep them in cool dry places?
A: shelf life for PH up/down is based on how often you open the bottle and how long you leave it open. Each time you open the pH up bottle air enters the bottle so CO2 is introduced  so if you are see that the ph/up and down is not working as effectively as it has been this is the reason.  nutrients will last for years if kept in a cool dark place. The only exception are nutrients inoculated with beneficial bacteria and fungi, which often have a shelf life of about two years.

Thinning Carrots 
Q: How long would you give carrots to grow before thinning out?
A: 4 weeks cut them out not pull

Fall Spinach
Q:I didn’t plant spinach seeds in the spring. But I found some and want to know when is the best time to plant them in the future, this growing season. Late August??
A: Depends on your area it is a cool weather crop,and take 45 day to grow do if you plant it about 6 to 8 weeks before the first frost in the fall. Sometime it is best to just grow some crops in the fall as the nights get cooler not warmer 

Early Bight on Phlox
Q: What do you do for early blight on Tall Phlox?  Thank you!
A: You can be sprayed with an all-purpose fungicide for flowers and vegetables. Fungicides are best applied as preventatives while the leaves are still healthy.
Fungi are often soil-borne so mulching is important too.  Remove and discard diseased tops in fall. Avoid overhead sprinkling that splashes soil and wets foliage.(if you mulch this is not a issue. Thinning out the numerous stems increases airflow, reduces disease and promotes larger flower heads.also you can remove up to 25% of the infected leaves as well. It does not hurt to put a few hand fulls of the whole grain corn meal around the plant too to fight the early blight 

Deer are eating my garden
Q Something is eating our asparagus..suggestions other than a tall fence?? I’m thinking it may be the deer..we have picked the it four times and today should have been a good picking but only picked 7 or 8 pieces. Some looks like it has been taken to the ground..some still there to pick.

A Deer Defeat  (use code Radio at check out to save 10% on your order valid 2020) would be the next thing to use it is all natural here is a video  with the owner and it maybe something you would want to look into 

Splitting Lavender 
Q Can I split a lavender plant just by cutting it in half?

A:  you can’t divide them. Lavenders are woody shrubs and if you split one down the middle, it will die.

Q: I planted my seeds in elevated rows, what is the best mulch for this type of garden set-up? If I use straw or leave mulch do I have to remove it before I till next season?

A: Leaves and straw are very good mulches. You do not have to remove them you can till them under next season most of the leaves will break down and some of the straw will to before next season

Flowers on chives 
Q I have got some chives this year. I never grew them before, but my son bought a house that had some mixed in his flower bed. Mine are starting to flower.
 Should I let them flower?
A: Well, there’s really no harm in letting your chives bloom, but your harvest might get smaller if you do. Most plants will produce smaller leaves when there are flowers too. The flower stalk is usually also hard and you can’t eat it.

Pole beans 
Q  Is it too late to plant pole beans if I soak them today it is the begging of June ?

A:Plant them you have lots of time they take 60 to 80 days to grow before producing and will produce till fall

Cabbage is turning yellow 
Q: Why are my cabbage transplants turning yellow?
A: my first thought is over watering by you or rain as it is flushing out the Nitrogen in the soil. to fix this top dress with more compost around the plant or you can make a compost tea and water it in to feed the plant. If you have a fertilizer with a higher 1st number apply it to the plant according the the instructions. it this situations. The best would be a liquid so it can be picked up right away by the roots

Onion to seed
Q: I took an onion that had sprouted greens and planted it now I’m starting to see seeds /flower come in so my question is should I cut the flower and let the onion develop more or should I let the seeds grow?
A,you want to cut the flower head off to put more energy into the bulb development (note it will not storage good at all and the bulb will be smaller do not save seeds as you do not know if it is a long short or mid day variety )

Poison ivy
I was driving, listening to your show on WAAM – Ann Arbor Mi.
I have poison ivy growing in / around both berry bushes and landscape flora.
You advertised a ‘Chapin (?)’ spot sprayer for herbicide. I missed the web address. Can you provide.  Ron
A:               or search amazon  for weed devil

Are they determinate or indeterminate
Q: I have a problem with my tomato plants nobody has really been able to help me with. I started around 15 Rutgers tomato plants from seed this spring and have them planted out into the garden now . They have been growing ok. The problem is I have no idea if they are determinate or indeterminate variety! the seed packet did not say and I have no other varieties to compare them to see which they resemble more and internet searches say that Rutgers can be either depending on the specific line of them?. I’m not sure how to prune them (if I should at all) since I’ve read removing suckers is only done with indeterminate tomatoes and will reduce production in determinate ones. If you have any advice with how to keep them properly pruned or how to tell which type they are it would be so helpful! right now the plan is to let them bush out since id rather extra foliage than a stunted plant I suppose.
A: Rutgers are both indeterminate and determinate, so there is no way to know.  There is no science that pruning the suckers makes a difference, so it is up to you. We would leave them alone and let them do their thing 

Bean and peas not good in straw bale
Q: This year,  and most other years, only a few of the beans and peas I plant in my straw bales actually germinate. The seeds are from Baker Creek, and the soil layer I put on top is organic. MY tomatoes and potatoes are awesome. But for some reason, I usually get only 3 or 4 pea or bean seeds to germinate and grow nicely. Any ideas?

A: If you make a planting bed from potting mix on top of the bale, often seeds that germinate in that layer cannot get a root to jump down into the bale.  On the other hand if you plant directly into the bale of straw it is too course, and often the seeds won’t stay moist and germination is low.  The best method is to cover the bales with a layer of potting mix, maybe an inch or an inch and a half, and then lightly water that layer into the top of the bale, and then seed into that.  This helps keep the seeds surrounded by moisture and yet when they germinate the root can easily transition into the lower part of the bale.

Plants are dying 
Q: My question is around mulching with pine needles and how my plants are currently doing.  For reference I am zone 5 in Appleton, WI.  Last year we planted our garden over memorial day weekend and about a week or two later I decided to cover half the garden with pine needles for mulch.  It seemed to work great and there weren’t any issues.

This year I planted the garden again over memorial day only this time I applied the pine needle mulch right away.  My concern is all of our plants seem to have gone from a nice green color to a yellow green color and some have completely died off.  Some of the plants were started from seed by myself and then hardened for 2 weeks prior to planting.  Other plants were bought at a local garden store as well.  Now all of the plants were nice and green at the time of planting but since have gone to the yellow green color.  Even the store bought plants seem to have gone to this yellow color as well.

My question is: Is it possible that the pine needle mulch is affecting the plants?  Is it reflecting too much sun/heat while the plants are young?

Some other notes around the garden this year is that we got quite a few inches of rain since I planted these two and a half weeks ago.  I walked through the garden and the soil was wet but not soaked.  We have also had some 90 degree days as well since then.  Is it possible they are getting burned out that way?  Lastly we had some fresh cow manure added to the garden this year.  Could that be affecting this as well?
A: Your mulch is fine.  It is likely the fresh manure you added to your soil.  Fresh manure is high in nitrogen and burns your plants.  It is likely you cannot save these plants, but watering heavily can help some of the burn.  You can also mix in some plant based compost as well. There are other ways of working it out of the soil it will take some time only use well composted manure in the garden.

Canning with city water
Q: I have moved from a place that had well water to a place that has city water with chlorine in the water is it still safe to use that water to can will
A: You can use the tap water that has chlorine in it it will not hurt when you use that water to call with 

When to replant
 Any advice on how many days one should wait before resowing cucumbers if nothing pops up?
A: If the soil if of 65 f then a week is enough time if they do not come to replant

Plants are dying
Q: First off, thanks for the awesome show and information you provide.  I constantly reference your facebook and youtube page.
My question is around mulching with pine needles and how my plants are currently doing.  For reference I am zone 5 in Appleton, WI.  Last year we planted our garden over memorial day weekend and about a week or two later I decided to cover half the garden with pine needles for mulch.  It seemed to work great and there weren’t any issues.

This year I planted the garden again over memorial day only this time I applied the pine needle mulch right away.  My concern is all of our plants seem to have gone from a nice green color to a yellow green color and some have completely died off.  Some of the plants were started from seed by myself and then hardened for 2 weeks prior to planting.  Other plants were bought at a local garden store as well.  Now all of the plants were nice and green at the time of planting but since have gone to the yellow green color.  Even the store bought plants seem to have gone to this yellow color as well.

My question is: Is it possible that the pine needle mulch is affecting the plants?  Is it reflecting too much sun/heat while the plants are young?

Some other notes around the garden this year is that we got quite a few inches of rain since I planted these two and a half weeks ago.  I walked through the garden and the soil was wet but not soaked.  We have also had some 90 degree days as well since then.  Is it possible they are getting burned out that way?  Lastly we had some fresh cow manure added to the garden this year.  Could that be affecting this as well?

A: Your mulch is fine.  It is likely the fresh manure you added to your soil.  Fresh manure is high in nitrogen and burns your plants.  It is likely you cannot save these plants, but watering heavily can help some of the burn.  You can also mix in some plant based compost as well. There are other ways of working it out of the soil it will take some time only use well composted manure in the garden.

City water for canning
Q:I have moved from a place that had well water to a place that has city water with chlorine in the water is it still safe to use that water to can will
A: You can use the tap water that has chlorine in it it will not hurt when you use that water to can with 

When to replant
Hello! Any advice on how many days one should wait before resowing cucumbers if nothing pops up?

A: If the soil if of 65 F then a week is enough time if they do not come to replant

Unknown crop
Q:I was wondering if you have done a show on Indian garlic. I am so confused.  I’ve been told it’s called Indian garlic. It smells like garlic. Sometimes it’s stalks are stiff and in time create a (the only way I can describe it) starburst of seeds on the tips. They look like onions. I’ve tossed the seeds in  a  couple of  pots and grew as I described  with grass like blades that lay over when hit with rain. They look like onions and also no smell really and they don’t have the starburst of seeds. I think I threw those in the bucket of soil 2 summers ago & forgot about them. I know that they all came from seeds the same way & I was curious about them & wanted them in a pot to watch. I’m looking at my sight so I could have mixed something up. Why would I plant a pot of grass? I thought. Anyway , What do you know about Indian garlic?  I live Oklahoma so I understand if you don’t know if you don’t have a previous show you can point me towards. Thank you New to your show by way of the beginner gardener podcast.
A: it sounds like garlic chives

Lemon tree flowers are following off
Q I have  a lemon tree. It is 5 years old and it has produced fruit twice now but  the flower appears but then falls off without any fruit. What can I do?

A: If the tree is not in the age range of 3-5 years is most likely is not ready if it of that age range you are not getting proper pollination and you need to hand pollinate with a q -tip from flower to flower also Lemon blossoms falling off a potted lemon tree may also be caused by cool drafts, as well as under or over watering. … Flooding, waterlogged soil or over-watering can also cause lemon blossom drop. Lemons grow best in a well-draining soil with regular irrigation, especially in times of intense heat and/or drought.

Died grass on my septic tank
Q: I live in Michigan’s thumb area [lexington]… grass over my septic field is brown and sparse. Can I add peat moss and seed this area to add organic matter for soil retention?

Any ideas will be welcome….thank you in advance

A: Dead grass over your septic tank is a good sign! It means your septic system is probably working the way it’s supposed to. Brown grass appears during dry or warm weather and indicates that your grass isn’t getting enough water. That’s because the soil over your tank isn’t as deep as the soil over the rest of your lawn. However, the worst thing you can do is to water the brown grass.  

If you have lush, green grass growing over your septic tank, it could mean that the hydraulic system isn’t working properly. The trenches in your leach field are filling with liquid waste because the soil can’t absorb any more water from your house. That wastewater is full of rich nutrients that give the grass over your septic system a good dose of fertilizer and turn it a rich shade of green. Other signs of trouble include slow-draining toilets, sewage odors, and sewage backing up into the house or surfacing on the leach field.  

When planting over your septic system, remember not to dig too deep. Drain lines may be as close as 6 inches from the top of the soil. Wear gloves when working with soil over the septic system to reduce exposure to harmful organisms that may be present. Select plants that don’t need much maintenance, watering or fertilizer. Ornamental grasses and herbaceous plants such as catmint, black-eyed Susans and verbena are good choices. Don’t plant plants that are meant to be eaten over a septic system.  

That all said growing up on the farm we had a septic tank that was about 2 foot below soil level and drained out of the tank was 100 years from the tank and we grew on top of it with no issues So things to keep in mind.

Bush beans indoors
Can you plant bush beans indoors in a container under a grow light?
A:Yes you can grow them indoors under a grown light. We have done this and it has worked great.

Cardboard as mulch 
Q: I have tomato n chills plants on the bed. They r about 8 inches tall. Can I cover the soil with  cardboard around the plants ?”

A: yes but it would be best if you leave enough room around the plant for watering and rain like a foot diameter or if you put a drip system in like from dripworks then you can put it right on top of the system and right next to the plants. 

When to harvest 
Q new gardener here I have two questions, One how will I know when I can harvest my onions? And two do I need to cage potatoes, they are getting tall and leaning?

A: Onion can be harvested at anytime but for bulb harvest you want to wait till the top of the plant falls over on crimps the stem it is done growing at that point regardless of the bulb size. Potatoes do not need to be caged they are strong stemmed and even if they do fall over they will be fine no worries 

Q: I have a question about canning Mrs Wages salsa. I am new to canning and it says for pint jars.. could I use half pint jars instead just process the same time? Thank u

A:  Yes you can do that.

Unfinished compost in the garden
Q:Thank you for all your hard work on the Wisconsin Vegetable Gardener radio show.Is it bad, ok, or good to use unfinished compost in garden? We have run out of space in our compost bins and our raised beds could use some additional soil. I’ve heard that it could take nitrogen out of the soil but it could also improve worm life (and therefore worm castings). Does the answer change between halfway versus mostly composted materials?Thank you for your help! 

A: Thank  You for the email and question, in regards to half finished or almost finished compost yes it will suck some of the nitrogen out of the soil. However as you indicated it will increase soil microbial life and the worms as it will continue to break down. I certainly would go ahead and add it to your raised beds it would be OK to do such as you may lose a little nitrogen but increased the worm activity so it balances out thank you for listing try not to mix it in to your beds lay it on top 

Bubbles in the jars 
Q I canned cherries  and they are all sealed, but I see little bubbles on the top of some of the jars ,does that mean they will spoil. I boiled them for 25 min. and left them cool before I took the ring off.

A: As long as you followed the recipe correctly they are fine. Sometimes fruit releases air in the canning process and results in bubbles at the top of the jars. 

Sad Rhubarb
I live in Massachusetts and have rhubarb that has been good for many years, but now has thin stalks.  What is causing this?

A: The main cause of this would be too little food, and often also indicate too little moisture The quickest solution is to mulch in autumn with a thick layer 2-4 inches of well-rotted compost or good quality multi-purpose compost, then do that again in the spring with another layer  This will provide a source of new food, as well as locking moisture in around the roots. If your stems still aren’t plump next spring, then leave them alone for another year to bulk up 

Also note Dig and split rhubarb roots every 3 to 4 years. Divide when plants are dormant in early spring (or fall). And the plant can live up to 20 years 

What is eating it 
I planted two Wozniak’s cherry bushes this Spring in PA. When it arrived it was basically a root and a thin vertical stock. They were growing nicely. I placed a fence around each plant. Unfortunately, something got into the cage and stopped off each stem in the middle of the stock below the leaves. I placed a 5’ wire fence two feet outside the plants all the way around . So I I know it wasn’t deer. My questions are…. will they grow back next year from the root. And, what animal may have done this? I’m thinking maybe a squirrel or chipmunk? Any thoughts?

Unfortunately those plants won’t be growing back.  There is not a way for the plant to photosynthesize if there are not any leaves.  

We think it may have been deer as deer are sneakier than you think they are.  Squirrels and chipmunks go for more green than anything.  We cant imagine what else it could be.  A higher fence and it further away from the plant would be better.

Wilting tomatoes 

I’m hoping you can help me. I cannot figure out why my tomato plants all look like they are wilting.  I have pepper and parley plants in the same raised bed and they look fine.

This is the same bed I had Sunchokes in last year.

I’m thinking maybe I should dig one up and check the roots?

Do you have any ideas?

A: before I would dig up any the plants and look at the roots I would give them a very good watering tomatoes when stressed from heat will have some curl on leaves and they will Wilt

Pepper leaves falling off

My first issue is with my peppers.  For a few of them, the leaves have completely dropped off.  The peppers plant does not appear to be dead because I can see a small new leaf.  In the same row of peppers, some of the plants have leaves that are turning yellow and brown and then dropping off.  Any idea what may be causing this? Kathy 

A: With the peppers leaf drop is a sign of too much water and or not enough water is both cases the plant will drop their leaves, leaf drop can result from too much nitrogen-heavy fertilizer. Even adding fertilizer to the planting hole can burn the plant.  The easy simply answer is watering there is not much you can do when it rains either but self watering either do it more offend or less  

Planting potatoes from harvest ones

Can you use freshly harvested potatoes and plant them for a second crop?
A: Yes you can their should be no issue with this as when you harvest potatoes and bring them indoors they begin to sprout anyway

Backyard Garden

Q: I’m interested in knowing if it is legal to turn the lawn in my backyard into a vegetable garden in Wauwatosa or not. Help information will be appreciated.

A: Most municipalities allow for backyard vegetable gardens.  You would want to contact your local city hall to determine any specific rules and regulations.  Also, before you dig a garden you want to call diggers hotline 3 business days before you dig.

Pine Needles in raised bed
Any reason I can’t fill the bottom on my raised beds with pine needles? {our boxes are 26″ tall}

A: Yes you could feel the bottom with pine needles. It won’t affect the soil as pine needles will neutralize ph by the time they turn into soil. In time you will need to top the bed off with more soil ask it will break down the needles 

Cherry tomato
Q: Can you recommend a good tasting cherry tomato to grow in a large container ?

A: Here are several cherry tomato variety, Chadwick Cherry, White Cherry, Black Cherry, Gold nugget
Igleheart Yellow Cherry, Gold Rush Currant, Mexico Midget

Short day long day onions in the north

Q: If I try to grow short day onions in the north will they even grow?

A: Yes they will grow but will not put on a bulb or a very small one at best. Onions are in 3 categories: long day short day mid day. Long for the north, short for the south and midday for the middle of the country all based on daylight length during the summer.

Wood ash in the garden 

Q: I am( located outside Boston Ma. I have a small vegetable garden(10ft x 20ft). I put in 4 inches or so of composted cow manure every fall. My question is in regards to wood ash. I normally generate 2 to 3 five gallon buckets over the winter from my wood stove. I dump this in the garden and it really has seemed to supercharge the plant growth. I usually put it on in the spring just before a rain storm so it gets washed into the soil.
But I have also read that I need to be careful and not use too much. So the question is how much should I use? I also have border gardens with Iris and various herbs and spices. Can I put it there as well? How about my lawn?

A: You want to add about 3 pounds per 1000 sq feet every 4 weeks.  It’s water soluble so if you feel like you’ve added too much, steady watering can help rinse it through.  You can also add it to your iris and herbs.  You can certainly sprinkle it on your lawn as well.  

Shredded paper as mulch 
Q: Does the wind blow the shredded paper out of the garden when you use it as a mulch?
A: it really doesn’t. Maybe a few pieces, but nothing measurable. You could also wet it down and that will help keep it more in place

Keeping plants warm indoors
Q: How would you keep indoor containers warm? Would the best method be to lay some mulch on top of the soil –

A: If you are in a non climate control area garage, basement you have a few options. They make heating mats for such a job it not a body heating mate this made for pots to set on, A heater that can be costly if you are trying to keep them alive and these are large plants you can much then with sheared paper or old rags and wrap then with blankets or bubble wrap

Seedling are not good

Q: Hi! Love the show, it has been super helpful! Last year was my first year gardening, this year I am trying to start many of my plants from seeds. I have some pink plume celery started, they are in nutrient dense soil, are in a tray that waters from the bottom, they are under a grow light for 16 hours per day and I have a floor fan blowing on them. Many of the seedlings are still falling over! The light is probably 4 inches above the seedlings. What could be the cause of them not doing well? Thanks!

A:Thank you for your email and the kind words about the show. We are happy that the show has been helpful for you.  Based on your description of the situation my initial thought is that the plants are experiencing a disease called dampening off this is when the plants grow A few inches and then fall over at soil level and die off. The main cause is too much moisture. I would allow the soil to dry out much more than you are allowing it too. Also  sprinkling cinnamon over the soil to help prevent the damping off.

Good PH Tester 

 Q: My wife and I work together on Tuesday and Saturday . We listen to you on our way to work. We are looking for an accurate PH meter for testing our garden beds and lawn areas. We bought a 110 year old house four years ago and we are looking at improving the lawn for greener grass and garden beds for flowers only. We only plant perennials. There is way too much animal life for outdoor vegetables and we both work two jobs. All of the reviews we have read suggest that there are no accurate PH meters for any price and the testing strips are just as bad. They suggest that you send the soil samples to a university for testing. Is this your experience as well? Love your show!

A:Thank you for the question and for listening to the show.

To get the most accurate data sending samples off to a lab is the best either from your local university or we also suggest

Your university may be cheaper to do soil testing.  That said once you get that information you have a baseline in which you can buy a ph meter yes the cheap ones do give you a reading not as reliable as the more hi tech ones. You get your results from the lab then you can take your ph tester and test the ph to see how far off your meter is or is not. Then you know next year or the next time you can use your meter and know it is let’s say +.2 off of what a lab result would be. so if the meter read 7.2 you know it is right around 7.0
Getting a baseline from a soil test then using a ph meter and knowing the  Accuracy range based on the soil test we think is the best way to go then the meter can be used over and over.

Lawns need lime when low soil pH starts inhibiting the availability of nutrients. Soil pH preferences vary between regional lawn grasses, but most grasses prefer soil pH between 5.8 and 7.2. Warm-season grasses tolerate slightly lower pH, while cool-season grasses prefer pH slightly higher


Rutabagas in the spring?

Q So, you CAN rutabagas in the spring? How soon? I just got some seeds and it’s the end of Jan, can I still plant these seeds and get rutabagas this spring? That would be AWESOME!”

A:Yes you can plant them as soon as the soil warm up enough in your area

Planting shallots in spring 

Q: Planting shallots I missed planting them in fall. Can you still plant them in Spring? I’m in zone 5 with the last frost date of May 7. When should I plant them? What variety yields good and thrives here? I see recommendations to start in mid-March but i am not sure because the ground may be still frozen and we get snow until the first week of May. I missed planting them in fall. Can you still plant them in Spring?

A: I do not have a specific variety but you can plant them as soon as the ground can be worked they are very hardy and can stand cold.

Soil Temperature
Q: When a plant or seed requires a certain temperature to grow or germinate, is that an average soil temperature or minimum low temperature required?

A: A minimum low temperature for example peas germinate between  40 and 70゚F  If you plant below the minimum soil temperature then the plant can die because it’s too cold or the seeds can potentially rot in the ground and not germinate

Where I live there is heavy clay soil and the topsoil was scraped off and sold when the house was built.  In-ground gardens have not done very well for vegetables.  This spring I am building raised beds out of wood and galvanized corrugated metal.  They will be 4 feet wide by 12 feet long and at least 18 inches high.  I am looking into the wood sealer advertised on your program for the wood as well.  Since the beds will be tall I’d like to use the hugelkultur method to fill the bottom and should be able to find free tree parts and wood chips for that.  The top 12 inches of soil I will buy in bulk from a garden supply in my town (Janesville, WI).  One offers a veggie and flower mix of top soil, mushroom compost, rice hulls, and peat moss for $60 per cubic yard (in stock) as well as plain mushroom compost (out of stock) and screened topsoil in the mid $40s for prices for the latter two.  The premier local garden center recommends mushroom compost for raised beds at $50 per cubic yard and keeps it in stock regularly.  What product do you recommend?  Should I get mushroom compost and add my own amendments?  I am willing to add my own organic fertilizer, although I would think that pure compost should be rich enough for the first year.  I want a general veggie garden, but probably will have to plant cool season crops in the fall by the time I finish the beds and fill them.  Also, should the soil be full depth for any certain plants?  Feel free to edit the length or content of this to make it a question for the program. 
Also,  I bought a lot of seeds and am planning to buy a few different starts of things that seem tough to grow, like peppers.  If I don’t have enough room in my raised beds and decide to start a few straw bales for extra space, are there plants that especially do well in them that would save space in the raised beds?
My desired vegetables are Pole and bush beans, Radishes, Carrots, Head and leaf lettuce, Beets, Cherry and slicer tomatoes, indeterminates, Zucchinis Various basil, other herbs Hot and sweet peppers (I think these might like the straw bales) Pod and shelling peas, Ground cherries, Sugar baby watermelon
Maybe Onions, Potatoes, 
 A: Thank you for your question and thank you for listening!  
The mushroom compost will be the best for your beds and there will be no need to amend – you can add a little organic fertilizer if you want, but not necessary.  10 inches is the minimum depth you would need.  Our raised beds are 10 inches deep and we do just fine. 
Watermelon, tomatoes, and peppers will do really well in the raised beds.  You can grow the basil out of the side of the bale.
Sprouting potatoes 
Q:Trying to get my Yukons to sprout more eves, its coming slowly so I moved them from the basement to upstairs sunny window Cool? Is the warmer the better then ? Just wondering if I can leave them in my 55 degree basement or bring them up where it is 74.

A: Indirect light is best not direct sunlight 74 degree would be good 55 is of the cool side

Trumpet vine
I have a trumpet vine. Not sure if I need to cut it down to the ground or not. One year I did and it grew great over my arbor, but had only a few flowers. This last fall, I only cut back a few and left most of the vine intact, but the vines look and sound like hollow straws this spring. Are the buds going to form on existing vines or form new vines from the ground up? What should I do? Thank you

A: It looks like this is a process over seasons. 

In the spring, when new growth begins, you select several of the strongest shoots and train them to the supporting trellis. The rest must be cut to the ground. Once a framework of several strong shoots extends over the trellis or allotted space – a process that may take several growing seasons – trumpet vine pruning becomes an annual affair. In spring, after all danger of frost is past, you prune off all lateral shoots to within three buds of the framework vines.

It is also vital to deadhead the flowers throughout the growing season consistently 

When to plant squash 
Enjoyed the segment on squash from 2 weeks ago. I learn so much from you two.

You mentioned waiting on planting zucchini to avoid the  larvae in the stem. (I have had problems with that in the past.) When is a safer time to plant and not have that issue?

I live in Madison Wisconsin 

A: Thank you for your question. Here is Wisconsin Squash vine borers overwinter as pupae in the soil.  They emerge as moths in late June and July. Zucchini

takes 45 to 55 days to harvest so you could plant your  seeds in mid July and by the time your plants are of size the egg laying time is over. This would give you zucchini mid September. 

WHY is it called blanching?
.Q: No one has ever answered the question, “WHY is it called blanching?” I know what blanching is, and how to do it, but I don’t know why it’s called that. The word blanche means “white” or “to whiten”, which doesn’t fit what is done to vegetables. Blanching vegetables actually helps to retain the bright color of the vegetables. So, why is it called blanching?

A: Blanching has a different meaning here – according to the USDA – Enzyme activity can lead to the deterioration of food quality. Enzymes present in animals, vegetables, and fruit promote chemical reactions before and after harvest, such as ripening. Freezing only slows the enzyme activity that takes place in foods. It does not halt them. Enzyme activity does not harm frozen meats or fish and is neutralized by the acids in frozen fruits. But most vegetables that freeze well are low acid and require brief, partial cooking to prevent deterioration. This is called “blanching.” For successful freezing, blanch or partially cook vegetables in boiling water or in a microwave oven. Then rapidly chill the vegetables prior to freezing and storage

Straw bale gardening potatoes 
Q : I Just found out about the straw bale planting. Is it advisable to plant potatoes in a straw bale? Is there an issue with sunlight turning the spuds green?

A: Thank you for your question. You can grow potatoes in straw bales after you condition the bale. But from what we have been told from Joel Karsten the author of the growing in straw bales book for some reason they just do not do very well. yes they will grow but not as good as they should. Also you have to cut the bale opent to harvest and unable to grow in the bale again. 

We have tried a no dig method and it has worked well for us which we have had a hard time with growing potatoes for years.  Planting no dig potatoes Here     Harvest here 

plywood for raised beds 

Q: I am looking to make raised beds and for the sides would plywood work and it is large and I can cut it to the size I need?

A: No plywood would not be good and it has lots of glue in it and when it gets wet it will expand and begin to rot and fall apart. Metal roofing, pallets boards and even 1 inch wide boards would be better. I understand you want to save as much as possible but if you’re going to have to replace it next year you have not save much of anything 


Growing in Tires
Q: Can old tires be used as raised beds?

A: Most scientific studies thus far suggest that most of the health issues regarding tires arise when they are burned, Despite the fact that the EPA and Center for Disease Control have not found statistic links to health hazards from either intact tires or “crumb” products, studies are still underway and officials acknowledge that more data is required. many reputable organic gardening sources, such as Mother Earth News cautions against growing edibles in tires as a long-term practice. As they age, rubber tires do break down and release the same metals and chemicals that are known to be an immediate problem when tires are burned. However, this is an extremely slow process. The fact that tires break down so very slowly is why they pose such a notable problem in the environment, and it takes many decades for a tire to fully break down into its toxic components. Still, the process is underway to a small degree all the time. 

Ground cover best green beans 
Q: Can you please advise me on what to put under trees.  I did bark and landscape material under it as weeds grew through. I now planted ground cover under pictures I will send.
Is this ok ? Also under trees grass will not grow.   Do I just plant ground cover? What are good green beans to plant?  I don’t want the flat pods. They were tough last season   
A: Ground cover under your tree works well.  
Blue lake pole or bush beans are a great green bean – round and flavorful! 

Watermelons in the North 
Q: Looking to grow watermelon. I have failed many times, usually just end up with a small unripe melon. I am in zone 4b, is it too late already this season? What is the best method for actually getting to eat some? I am willing to try anything, but most of my growing is in a traditional garden bed. 

A: Thank you for your question. a large watermelon in zone 4 and 5 where our gardens are located is near impossible. However several years ago we were able to grow and harvest a watermelon. It was a cream-of-Saskatchewan watermelon, we grew it in a straw bale. Saskatchewan watermelons  are a white-fleshed round watermelon (5-10 lb.). Thin, brittle, pale green rind with dark green stripes. Flesh is very sweet with excellent flavor. One of the best home garden varieties for short season climates.

Grub and Japanese beetle control 
Q: What was the product you mentioned on your show Sunday April 11th to get rid of japanese beetles and grubs.
A: Phyllom Bio products

Jerusalem artichokes
How do you prepare Jerusalem artichokes? I’m not sure I even know what those are! ?
A: We put them in roast and bake them , you can eat them raw, we also cut them in thin chips, coat them with oil and air fry them as chips. They have a nutty and savory earthy like a cross between an artichoke heart and the best potato you’ve ever had. I would find someone who grows then to taste before just growing them to make

Did I kill the garlic 
Q: I live in southeastern Wisconsin, I planted garlic last October and unfortunately it grew quite a lot in the fall.  I covered with leaves and recently removed leaves, but there is zero growth.  Did I kill the garlic by planting too early in the fall, or can I hope it will yet grow (middle of April) 

A: No you did not kill it. This is normal for garlic to grow after planting in the fall and then to stop over the winter. it is fine and will jump back into growth.

Q: (mid April) I am in S.E. Michigan and harvested day lily seeds last fall.  I though I could plant them in raised beds and transplant them later.  When I check online, it seems like there are some very complicated processes.  Can I just plant them even though it is late in the year as far as….the existing plants are already several inches above the ground. I would like the simplest successful method possible.

 A: Thank you for the email. You can plant those seeds in your raised bed and keep the soil moist and in 1 to 2 weeks you will see them geminate. Daylily can be grown any time of the year as long as the soil can be worked. Once they are growing then you can move them later. 

Okra seedlings dying  
Q: I’ve been growing Okra indoors for the past 5 weeks and things have started off good but by the 4th week my good leaves have started falling off and no new leaves have grown just the stem, but the stem is still alive. What should I do?

A: Fusarium wilt is caused by a fungal plant pathogen (Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. Vasinfectum), the spores of which can survive for up to 7 years in a soil. This pathogen, which thrives in wet and warm conditions, enters the plant through its root system and compromises the plant’s vascular system, wreaking all sorts of havoc. As the name suggests, plants that contract this disease will begin to wilt. Leaves, starting from the bottom up and more predominately on one side, will turn yellow and lose their turgidity. Plants infected with this condition should be destroyed. Start over with new seeds and potting soil and its best to keep the seedlings below 75 degrees.

Carpenter bee problems
Q: What do I spray into the galleries that the carpenter bees make?  Also can the wood be sprayed to prevent future problems?  The area in question is the front porch ceiling made of pine. Ilona (Elona) listens to the show on WAAM 1600 AM out of Ann arbor MI

A:  Thank you for the question, Carpenter Bees overwinter in wood, they will come out in the spring (usually April or May) and mate. The females lay their fertilized eggs in excavated tunnels in wood. First you want to make sure there are no bees in the old holes pushing a stick or pencil in the hole to make sure it is empty or killing whatever is in there. Or take a cotton ball, cover it in rubbing alcohol and shove it up in the hole. The alcohol robs oxygen and kills what may be in the hole. The best thing to use to fill the holes that are already there is (the easy way) use wood putty and fill in the hole. For a more complete finish you would be getting a dowel rod or plugs of the hole size or making it fix putting glue on the tip of the dowel rod and pushing it the hole cutting flush with the board. To keep the bees from doing this again you can get a RESCUE! Carpenter Bee TrapStik – Also Works on Wasps, Mud Daubers 

Q: Our neighbors shared some cow manure that they got from a local farmer.  It doesn’t appear to be what they call green.  I’m just thinking maybe adding over the top of our soil and tilling it in now.  We won’t plant until near the end of May.  Some articles say to be really careful with manure, so just worry if it’s a good idea to use – don’t want to burn up our plants?

My other question is when using Cornmeal for Tomatoes, do you add to the bottom of hole when planting or sprinkle on top of soil around the plant?

A: That manure could possibly burn your plants and it looks still too fresh, you could put it in a pile and let it break down over summer and add it in the fall or wait til next spring. It seems too risky right now. 

Cornmeal you just sprinkle around the base of the plants once its planted. On top of the soil.

Greenhouses with green plastic
Q: I am looking at getting a greenhouse. Which is better preferred for vegetables. the green covers or the clear? is there even a difference. all the stuff i read online are mixed but with no explanation why.                       
In studies, it has been found that using green plastic to cover a greenhouse results in plants which are slightly (but very slightly) shorter than plants grown in a greenhouse with a clear plastic covering. There isn’t all that much green in sunlight, it seems, since overall, green plastic lets in almost the same amount of light overall. It’s probably not preferable to clear plastic as a greenhouse covering, but if you find yourself in the unlikely situation of having only green plastic sheeting available for your greenhouse, it will do if need be. more  info Plastic Sheeting  Polyethylene will usually only last one year. Use clear 4- to 6-milimeter-thick sheeting. Opaque green will not let in enough light. 
A double layer can be used to reduce heat loss in the winter, but it will cut the light intensity by 8 to 10 percent. A single layer of polyethylene sheeting allows 85 to 88 percent of the natural sunlight to reach your plants.                                                                                                                                                                                               
Carpenter bees make 
Q: What do I spray into the galleries that the carpenter bees make?  Also can the wood be sprayed to prevent future problems?  The area in question is the front porch ceiling made of pine.

A:  Thank you for the question, Carpenter Bees overwinter in wood, they will come out in the spring (usually April or May) and mate. The females lay their fertilized eggs in excavated tunnels in wood. First you want to make sure there are no bees in the old holes pushing a stick or pencil in the hole to make sure it is empty or killing whatever is in there. Or take a cotton ball, cover it in rubbing alcohol and shove it up in the hole. The alcohol robs oxygen and kills what may be in the hole. The best thing to use to fill the holes that are already there is (the easy way) use wood putty and fill in the hole. For a more complete finish you would be getting a dowel rod or plugs of the hole size or making it fix putting glue on the tip of the dowel rod and pushing it the hole cutting flush with the board. To keep the bees from doing this again you can get a RESCUE! Carpenter Bee TrapStik – Also Works on Wasps, Mud Daubers 

Tomato seedling leaves dropping 
Q:I have tomato seedlings that are  dropping lower leaves. What can I do? I plan to move them to a larger pot. The other flats have some issues too but some flats do not
A: We have had problems like this before. There can be a few factors one temperature if it is too cool, second can be the lower leaves are not getting enough light. Over watering can also cause the lower leaves to fall off. With ours as long as the large upper leaves showed not change we did not worry about it and they grew fine out in the garden

Selling produce
Q: I was wondering where to sell the produce I grow in my garden. Is it possible to sell them to the local supermarkets? 
A:Thanks for your question.  You would have to call around to different stores to find out.  Your best bet is farmer’s markets.  You can contact them but here is a list for the Milwaukee area to give you an idea.  This list is from 2020, I don’t see anything for this year yet.

Rocky soil 
Q: What crops grow good in very rocky soil? 
A:Herbs, Butterfly weed, Coneflower Epimedium, (shady rocky areas)
Oxeye Daisy, Verbena Rose Campion,  Black Eyed Susan, Succulent plants,Small trees and shrubs. most vegetables do fine in rocky soil with the exception of root crops

Shallots spring planting 
Q: Planting shallots I missed planting them in fall. Can you still plant them in Spring or can they only be planted in the fall and need over wiring in the ground ? 
A: you can plant them as soon as the ground can be worked they are very hardy and can stand cold and no they do not need to be overwintered in the ground spring planting is fine

Old pole bean seeds
Q:I have pole beans that I left in the trelise last year. They dried but I never brought them indoors. Are they any good? Can I plant them? 
A: Yes they are still good if they were mostly dry before the cold temps. In nature the beans sit frozen all winter long fall to the ground and then germinate in the spring without human help.

Horse Manure aged 
Q:I have a neighbor down the street that has horses and has a sign out front of the house that says free horse manure and I’ve been tempted to picked it up and put the horse manure in my garden but I’m not sure if I can use it fresh or I have to wait a couple years for it to age what should I do? Also is there a difference between horse manure and cow manure?

A: Thank you for the question: horse manure that is not composted when it is aged will burn your plants, same for cow manure, you can get it and compost it.  well-aged manure, or that which has been allowed to dry over winter, can be worked into the soil. Manure that is piled and left alone will decompose slowly. This can take three to four months if conditions are ideal. You also need to know what the grassed the horse has eaten as it can be killer compost

Q: Is kelp and seaweed good for the garden?
A: First Seaweed collection for personal use, in small qualities does not require a licence check your area or (do it at night) Seaweed is actually an alga ponds have algae .
A: You can put kelp, or any seaweed, into a bucket or large glass jar and fill with water. Leave this in the sun, covered, for a few days and your ‘tea’ will be brewed. Use this as a foliar spray to deter insect pests, or apply directly to the soil around seedlings

Seaweed contains useful amounts of iodine, copper, iron, potassium, manganese, phosphorus and zinc. If you are concerned about salt, seaweed can be spread out over the driveway and rinsed with a hose.

Planting Rhubarb
Q: I have rhubarb seeds. Is it too late to plant them?

A:Yes you can start it from seed normally you would want to start in 10 weeks before your last frost date indoors. But it you start it now it will be fine

Seed starting indoors
Q: I’m in Zone 4 and hoping there are edibles that can be started from seed at this late date? Thank you for sharing your wisdom.
A: At this point of time in mid May You can start tomatoes indoors and plant them out in 4 or 6 weeks. Other than that in Zone 4 it is best to direct sow them from seed. bean, cucumbers at the right time yes pepper and tomatoes from seed outside Holly did it when she was younger. 

Seeds will not grow 
Q: For two years I have bought chive and bunching onions seeds from different places.  They will not germinate.  I wait 4 weeks and them try planting more seeds.  I use Miracle Grow soil and purchased garden dirt.  I have them under grow lights.  Everything else I plant grows well, flowers, peppers, squash, tomatoes, etc.  Why will my chives and bunching onions not grow?  Thank you for any suggestions you can give me.
A:The only thing we can think of is the seeds might be too old.  It sounds like you have the right conditions, so it really could be the seeds.  Onion seeds lose germination quickly after 1 year.  It usually only takes them 4 – 10 days to sprout.  You may want to buy starts now or make sure you purchase seeds fresh next year. 

SFG book
Q: What books would you recommend on square foot gardening?
A: To answer your question the best book for square foot gardening would be  All New Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew

To cold for tomatoes  
. What temperature will shock a tomato plant? I heard that it’s too cold can “shock” them?
A:Any temperature 50 degrees, it can show significant problems to the plant.  They can survive down to 33 degrees, but that would be for an established plant.  Smaller seedlings would likely die.  

Trim or not trim tomatoes 
Q: I decided to grow San Marzano tomatoes this year, but did not realize until I received my seeds in the mail that they are semi-determinate. I am a new gardener and only grew one indeterminate variety last year which I tried to prune to a single stem to keep it from bushing out too much. Should I be doing the same this year with the semi-determinate variety? Or will pruning this variety lessen the harvest? Any tips on pruning would be helpful!
A: no do not trim it done let it grow normally 

Going to seed
Q: I have a parsnip plant I didn’t harvest last year, and it is now going to seed.  I’m considering letting it go to seed, and leaving that area of garden for parsnips.  Should I do that or can they become a problem plant taking over?
A:You can let them grow and they will put seeds on. We did that.

Removing weed roots
Q: How do you get the whole root of weeds without digging up your whole garden?
A: We have found that we dig out as much as possible and keep removing that weed. By doing this it will over the course of a season or to stress the plant out to the point it will not come back.

Good Soil
Q: Can you please explain to me what is black soil?
A: Black-colored soil containing a high percentage of humus and high percentages of phosphoric acids, phosphorus, and ammonia. Chernozem is very fertile and can produce high agricultural yields
Growing in Compost 
Q: I’ve tried growing in compost only but it seems that the water doesn’t flow through it very well. The compost got hard and nothing really grew well in it. Maybe it’s the type of compost I used. It’s the compost from the nursery that comes in a bag. Thanks!
A: what may help is mixing some potting soil in with the compost and then using a mulch to keep it from drying out as fast this can be leaves, straw, shredded paper, pin needles sand to name a few.

Soil Testing
Q: I need help coming to terms with soil testing. I have 7 raised beds and a few fruit trees. Our local extension office (Madison, WI) charges $15 for the basic tests for each sample. It’s a good price but if I were to test all of my spaces, it would get expensive quickly. Are there any good bulk or DIY options that you recommend? Most of the beds were created and filled as we were able to so the soil in each of them is pretty different.
A: As far as soil testing, that is going to be your best bet.  There are kit options online, but a soil lab like at local university  is going to be best.  You should test your soil every 3-5 years. Its well worth the cost, especially if it can help your vegetable production.


Egg looking things
I bought several hanging baskets. The flowers are doing fine, but I see on top of the soil what looks like round egg shaped  things that are slit open. Do I have some bugs that have hatched? What do I need to do? 

A: Those are fertilizer capsules for the garden center/ grower. Nothing is wrong as they get wet and over time they will open and feed the plant. 

Store bought Potatoes
Q I found some store bought potatoes under the cabinet. They are still firm and have sprouts on them about 9 inches long. Can I plant these if so should I pinch the sprouts off?

A Yes you can plant them store bought can be ify but if you have sprouted do not remove the sprouts if you can cut then to get more potatoes leaving one to two sprouts per chunk no smaller than an egg then plant them deep or trench method you are good to go. Do not plant them if you have summer soil temps that excide 85F.

Grass Cutting

A: An optimal height for a cool-season grass Which you would have (Cool-season grasses are grass types that thrive in areas with cold winters and hot summers. … However, these grasses grow best when temperatures are between 60-75 degree F, which is why they grow most actively in the spring and fall) generally is about 2 ½  inches . And at each mowing, you should only be removing about the top 1/3 of the grass blade. Consequently, a good time to mow lawns is when your grass is about 3 to 3.5  inches high now some will keep their grass at 4 inches that really shades out the weeds.

Pine Needles
Q: Can I use the needles from Arborvitae trees as mulch for a vegetable garden? I have 10 Arborvitaes that shed plenty of needles. Thanks.
A: Thank you for watching the video. yes you can use those needles 

Weed cloth
Q:If I put down weed cloth on one side of my patch, do you think it would keep them from spreading THAT way? I don’t mind if they spread in the other direction
A: Some weeds will die off when covered like grasses. Other weeds like thesis that have runners and crippling Charly are likely to just grow under the grow cloth until they find light to pop up. do Yes and no. 

Coconut core sub
Q: Can Pine needles  be a substitute for coconut husk in  potting mix?? Please let me know. I live in area full of pines.
A: Pine needles can not be a substitute for coconut husk/core as pin needle do not have any absorbent factors. Coco core helps hold water and release it when the soil needs it.

Thing Beets
Q: mine beets are all clustered together… can I dig them out while growing and space them out?
A: No by digging them up you will damage the roots of the plant that you digging up and the one that is staying and most likely both will die

Garlic Scapes 
Q: Do you have to wait until the scapes curl right around before picking them? What is the best way to cook them?”
A: You don’t have to wait for them to cure, you can cut them at any time. We take and cut them and add them to a salad. Or take the whole scape and pan fry it with butter till tinder

Hilling Potatoes 
Q Do you continue to hill your potatoes beyond initial planting? If so, how much? If not, how high should the hill be?
A:The reason for hilling potatoes is to prevent developing tubers from being exposed to sun changing them to green and making them toxic. How much: enough to make sure you do not see potatoes showing through the soil how high? depending on how  deep the potatoes are you have hilled them a lot then you will not have to do it any more or very little.  The key to keep them covered by a few inches. 

Grow bags and Deer

Q: I have been thinking about expanding my small gardening at home to bigger gardening. I’m not sure if I should stay with fabric or invest into some of the birdie steel containers I’ve started to see on youtube. I also have to look into fencing for deer rabbits and all. Any thoughts or ideas? I lived in Superior WI and have moved to Duluth, MN which is just a stone throw away but cold and snowy winters I don’t want to be replacing boards on a raised bed all the time.

A:The birdie steel containers look nice and  most are high-sided. They can be an investment to buy and fill. We have not used them but have heard good things about them. We have created raised beds out of 2×10 treated lumber and we use many grow bags from they offer a 15% discount with code Radio21 till the end of the year. We have been using and leaving the grow bags outside for over 7 years now with little to no wear on them. 
For Deer and rabbits I would look into  Deer and Rabbit that Deer Defeat works well.  Radio save 10%

Weed cloth to kill weeds 
If I put down weed cloth on one side of my patch, do you think it would keep them from spreading THAT way? I don’t mind if they spread in the other direction
A: Some weeds will die off when covered like grasses. Other weeds like theses that have runners and creeping Charlie are likely to just grow under the grow cloth until they find light to pop up. do Yes and no

Why is it named that 
Q: Something I’ve never understood is why they’re called sunchokes. They look nothing like artichokes. They’re not related to them. They’re tubers and not flowers or fruit. And from what I’ve read they taste like potatoes but sweeter.
A: Also called sunroots, earth apples and sunchokes, Jerusalem artichokes are neither artichokes or from Jerusalem. tuber with its tawny skin and white interior that becomes creamy 
when cooked is actually a member of the sunflower family with its origins in North America and Canada. Its nubby appearance and the way it grows below ground is probably the reason it’s sometimes referred to as the Canadian truffle
     The plant was called girasol or girasole (the Spanish and Italian words for sunflower), due to its resemblance to the flower, and then artichoke was added onto the end due to the similar taste.
Another common name for Jerusalem artichokes was created by Frieda Caplan, a specialty produce distributor and marketer. She decided that the Jerusalem artichoke needed a catchier name, so she coined the name sunchoke in the 1960s.

Mounds or Hills
QI Don’t do much gardening but actually enjoy your show when driving to work on the weekends. We planted a little garden with some basic vegetables in it and it’s doing quite well and some raised beds but I was wanting to try some pumpkins for my six-year-old. I know they run a lot and take up a good amount of space but was wanting to see what might be the best way to plant them. I have seen where you break up the ground and then basically do a mound of fresh topsoil on top of the ground and do about three seeds per mound. Any advice would be appreciated
A:  Mounds or hills that pumpkins are planted on. The main reason for mounds or hills is to have the seedlings up on higher, warmer, dryer, and deeper topsoil. If you have dry, warm and sandy soil, you would want to plant at normal ground level. The mounds or hill can also help if you have lot of rain that it will not drown out the seedlings. Three seeds per mound and thin to the one best seedling while small. mounds are best if 4 or 5 feet apart for medium sized pumpkins.

When to harvest
Q: What time of day is best to gather sage?
A:The best time is early in the morning sage and most herbs, just as the dew evaporates, but before the heat of the day they are not stressed from the heat and will have more flavor also do not wash the leaves or aromatic oils will be lost.

Cucumber are yellowing
 Some of my cucumbers are large and turning yellowish orange. What did I do wrong?
A: You did not pick them soon enough those are going to seed and will be bitter pick them when they are smaller and nice and green 

Q: How to get grubs out of the garden?  They are living under the straw bales and skunks, I assume, are digging around the bales to get them.  They’ve even dug out some plants in the ground. Thanks,Tim  from South Dakota

A. remove by hand, apply beneficial nematodes, or use grubgone from phyllom bioproducts

Leek Seeds 
Q:How is the best way to know when my leek flowers seeds are ready
A: full dry or nearly dry and are black inside of the flowers


Q: Why would I be getting white spots or patches on my ripening raspberries? Never had that before.
A: This is a physiological disorder problem due to sunscald because of extreme hot temperatures and high sun exposure. Watering regularly will help the disorder especially in extreme hot temperatures.

Garlic is mushy
Q: I harvested my fall garlic and after hanging it, it didn’t dry and is soft and mushy. Any recommendations?

A: white rot – causes issues with garlic and other alliums like onions – a disease found in soil 

Cucumber/Tomato problem 
Q: Fed my garden granular 10 – 10 – 10 and my tomatoes have yellowing lower leaves and some leaves are dying on my cucumbers – is it the fertilizer?  
A: early blight and that how cucumbers are sometimes 


Beans curling 
Q: My bush and pole beans leaves are very shriveled and twisted looking I have kept them watered and we have had lots of rain too. Thanks
A: to much water they will come back

Bigger Onions 
Q:I have seen people dig dirt away from the bulbs of their onions in the hopes that it will allow the onions to grow bigger is there any truth to this
A: Absolutely not. Bulbing of onions is controlled by variety, temperatures and length of day. The onion will bulb when the required conditions are met. Removing soil around the base of the plant will not increase bulbing, although it appears to because the bulbs are visible. This operation may do more damage than good, especially to white varieties of onions. Removing the soil from around white onions results in sunburning which turns the top of the bulbs green.

Celery seeds 
Q: How can I save celery seeds?
A:  Celery is a biennial plant. That means that it won’t flower until the second year and you certainly can’t start harvesting celery seeds until then. During the wait for seed bearing flowers, you can harvest the flavorful stalks, just don’t take the central stalk which is where the flower will form.

No Zucchini  

Q: My zucchini plants are in a container. I moved them there after 2 disastrous seasons in an ever increasingly shady garden. There are 3 plants in the container. They get nice flowers and sometimes a small zucchini then both just fall off. Is it a pollination problem?.
A; Thank you for your email  This sounds like a lack of pollination problem. We have had this problem. We have found that it does fix over time. Here is a video we just made about these problems.

No Salt Pickles
Q: This is the recipe I used And forgot the salt You had mentioned  I should try them but I just did them yesterday Won’t they still taste like cucumbers

A: It does take time for the flavors to change. You’re right. Did you just make one jar? If you did you could open them, put the salt in, and let them sit in your fridge for a couple weeks. And then consume within 90 days.