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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 April Links

Mildew on Roses

I have a lot of rose bushes, and here in the Northwest, it seems almost impossible to keep them from mildew without spraying chemicals that seem to be unhealthy to the person that sprays. Do you know of anything that would fight mildew and is not harmful ?

One of the Ivy League Colleges did a research project and found that you could use Baking Soda to help control mildew on roses. Here is the recipe:

3 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. liquid detergent soap (dish soap)

Mix into one gallon of water. Spray every seven to ten days throughout the growing season.

Fruit Tree Suckers

Is there a way to get rid of suckers on fruit trees, and if so, I would appreciate knowing how.

The best way is to trace each sucker back to the root where it originates, and cut it flush with the root. If you leave a little stub, it will grow back (usually with several new ones). Any chemicals you use to kill the suckers will also damage the tree.

Revitalizing Bulbs

I bought a house with a long-neglected garden with lots of bulbs. The bulbs (tulips, mostly) do grow leaves, but don't bloom. I dug up a lot of them last year but didn't replant them all and now have them in my shed by the bucket-ful. How can I get them to bloom? What can I do with the ones which were not planted last fall? I put some of these bulbs in pots in the house for my children, but they grew leaves only.

First, get the tulip bulbs into the ground. The best storage place is in the soil. If you leave them out, they are apt to rot.

As you plant them, add bulb fertilizer into the bottom of the planting hole. Then, next spring, feed them with a liquid fertilizer when the leaves are 2 to 4 inches high. Feed them again after they bloom. Use any liquid fertilizer, but after blooming use one that is 0-10-10. Pour or spray the liquid fertilizer directly onto the leaves when temperatures are above freezing.

Damp Off Disease

I recently bought and planted 'Livingstone Daisy' seeds. They sprouted  without any problem and looked great for a few days. Then on about the third or fourth day I was sad to see that some of the sprouted seeds had wilted and fallen over. Very soon the majority had followed suit and now, on about the sixth day I have very few of the original abundant quantity left. I'm afraid to look tomorrow as these will probably be dead by then also.   Do you have any idea what happened from my description and what I can do about this problem before the remainder are dead?

That is a problem called damp-off disease. It is caused by soil that is either too damp or air circulation that is very poor. Mound the seeding soil in the middle of the flat, so that moisture runs off. Then, go light on the watering and be sure the seedlings are in a spot that has good air circulation.

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