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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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Daffodils Didn't Flower

This spring many of my daffodil put up green leaves but no flower. Others in my neighborhood experienced the same thing. This is only the second season for my bulbs. Any idea what happened?

This condition is sometimes caused by the Daffodil bulb fly. The insect eats out the center of the bulb, which is where the flower develops. You might want to dig a bulb, cut it open with a knife and see if the insect is inside. It is a tough insect to control because it is inside the bulb.

Spittle Bug Infestation

I have a really serious spittle bug infestation this year, nothing seems to get rid of them. They are particularly fond of the lavender hedge and the roses, although the loosestrife have some too.

I live in Portland, Oregon, where we had this really unseasonable summer weather lately. I have tried daily spraying with water, and then diazanon spray, but they come right back, sometimes by the same evening!

To expose the insect by spraying is the right approach, but you are using the wrong insecticide. On food crops use an insecticide that contains Malathion. On ornamental shrubs, use a product like Isotox or Orthene.

If you have just a few insects, it's probably not worth worrying about.

World Class Pumpkins

A friend of mine and I just finished a Master Gardening class. She has asked this question to our class, but no one has been able to answer it. Can you vine feed pumpkins? Actually inject the vines with something for feeding and growth? If so, what do you inject them with and what is the process?

I read recently about one hobbyist injecting milk into the vines of pumpkins. The article did not state the method that was used.

All of my references (including that from previous record holders) suggest that foliar feeding, once a week, using a balanced liquid fertilizer like 20-20-20 at half the recommended rate, produces the biggest pumpkins.

Parking Area Weed Control

I would like to treat my gravel parking area with a herbicide to rid of the existing grass and weeds. What would you suggest that would do the job and be relatively safe in the environment?

'Round-Up' or 'Finale' are quite effective on controlling most weeds and grasses. Their residual period is only about three weeks. Of course, read and follow label instructions.

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