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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.


Other October Links

Pea Virus

Each year I lose my Sugar Snap pea vines to what I am told is 'Pea Enation'. Do you have any suggestions on combating this problem?

Pea Enation Mosaic is a virus. It is usually spread by insects like aphid, which carry it to the vines. So the key is to control the aphid as quickly as possible. So be sure to check the vines regularly and control the aphid with a safe vegetable garden type insecticide as soon as you notice any aphid on them.

Incidentally, those of you that are not familiar with this virus disease will see clear spots on the leaves, a mosaic pattern and/or brown flecks and streaks on the leaves of the peas. Swellings on the undersides of the leaves will be noted if the leaves are severely infected with the virus.

The new variety "Super Sugar Snap" is more resistant to disease.  Give it a try!

Landscape Advice

I would like to redo a small yard in front of a 1960's rambler. Are there any schools etc., that provide landscape advice? I am on a fixed income so I don't think I can afford a landscape contractor or architect but am will to pay for some schooling.

Many Community Colleges offer classes on gardening or landscaping. Call your local college and ask for the Continuing Education Dept. (In my area, Highline Community College offers courses in residential landscaping; gardening with Perennials and using Bamboo in your garden.)  Also, many nurseries are willing to give advice if you bring them a couple snapshots of the area you want to redo. Do this in the middle of the week, or at a time when they are not busy. Nurseries are often your best choice, because you can then see the plants they are recommending, and determine if they fit your needs.

Plants to Walk On

We are considering puting in a pathway around 4' wide using 8" X 16" patio blocks. We were going to leave about 2" space between these block and plant baby tears. Are baby tear a hardy plant that can be stepped on by people and dogs?  Also what kind of base do we need to use underneath these patio blocks? The path will be around 31 feet long.

Babytears would be a great plant for the shady areas. Thyme would be better for the sunny areas...and it is hardier. Use tamped sand as a base for the patio pavers. (Moisten the sand and tamp it down, level and set the pavers.)

Controlling Crane Flies

I was gone for a week and when I returned this Labor Day Weekend I noticed hundreds of crane flies flying all over my lawn. I have used BioSafe about 3 times this summer and show no brown spots on my lawn. Where did these pest come from and is there a way to get rid of them while they are flying around on my lawn?

You are probably looking at their outer skins. The flies are already present in many yards.  The Bio-safe probably did a good job of reducing the population this past year. Now, late this fall or early in the spring, will be the time to be concerned about the new crop of this pest.

Incidentally, this insect tends to be concentrated in the wetter areas of the lawn, so those are the areas to treat.

See Also:  Crane Fly Damage   European Crane Fly

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