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

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.