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Ed Hume Answers Your Gardening Questions

Ed Hume cannot answer all of the garden questions he receives, but questions of general interest will be answered here every month.  Email your questions to HumeSeeds@aol.com.  Please note: we do not accept attachments.

Before submitting a question, be sure to check the index of previous questions and answers or search our site using key words.  Many questions have already been answered here on the site.

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Pik Red Tomato Inside

I started a single Pik Red Tomato seed inside, and now it's about a foot tall. It is is the front window of the house (southern exposure). Assuming that it continues to grow as it has, how can I pollinate it, so I get fruit?

That's not really the best place to try to grow the Pik Red or any tomato. I would plant it outside, maybe with the same exposure. Pollination takes place by simply tapping or lightly shaking the plant, to dislodge the pollen. Blossom Set or similar commercial products can also be used to set fruit.

Controlling "Poa Ana" or Annual Bluegrass

I think the grass is called poa ana, and It sprouts seeds even before it comes out of the ground. I have spot killed the stuff for years and it keeps coming back. My wife now tells me that she is tired of the lawn having brown patches every summer. I'd like to over-seed soon, but I've got so many weed grasses, I think I'm just wasting my time. Any ideas???

Poa anna, commonly called 'Annual Bluegrass', is very difficult to control because it seeds so early and low to the ground. Most lawn mowers do not touch the seed heads. Herbicides like Preen Lawn and gluten of Cornmeal are used, with fairly good results. But if you use either one, then you cannot over-seed, as it would keep the grass seed from germinating too.

Supporting Vegetable Vines

I recently moved in to a house and have planted my first garden. Included in my garden are peas and beans and I have no idea how to build the vine and climbing support they need. Will you advise or direct me, please?

There are several ways this can be done. One way is to simply place 6 to 8' stakes every 4 to 6 feet along the rows. Then run strings from stake to stake, run the string about 4 to 6 inches apart, keeping one or two row of string above the vines as they grow. Another way is to use 2 X 4" or 4 X 4" posts and run chicken wire between the posts. Or, you can simply purchase netting and run it between the stakes or posts.

Azaleas Not Flowering

Last year I purchased and planted several varieties of azaleas all of which flowered wonderfully. This year four out of five produced no flowers and one had just a few. The bushes are healthy and green. Why did this happen? Is there anything I can do?

Often Azaleas, Rhododendron and Camellias will not flower if they are planted or mulched too deeply. So if you have placed bark or sawdust as a mulch around the plants pull it away during the spring, summer and early fall growing season. If they get too much water late in the season they will by-pass their flower buds and put on extra growth instead, so watch the watering too!

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