Ed Hume Logo

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 August Links

Dogwood Losing Leaves

This year, for the first time in ten years I have had some of the new leaves on my dogwood prematurely turn red and then die. I have used Funginex and Orthene as sprays on the tree. This dogwood is planted in full sun, and so I wonder if the hot August weather could have caused the problem?

This problem is usually caused by stress to the tree. This can be in the form of lack of sufficient moisture, sun exposure, nutrient deficiency or poor soil conditions. My recommendation is to punch holes with a pitch fork, manure fork or root feeder. Space the holes about eighteen inches apart and make them about ten to twelve inches deep. Then feed the tree right now with a liquid solution of 0-10-10 (Bloom) fertilizer. Then in mid-February feed the tree again with a Rose-type fertilizer. Apply the fertilizer according to label instructions. If it is a dry (granular) type fertilizer, be sure to water it in thoroughly.

Discouraging Cats

Hi Ed, my wife and I live in Seattle and we enjoy listening to you on the radio. We have two questions. A neighborhood cat continues to use one of our gardening beds as her personal litter box, is there anything we can spread in the soil that will keep the cat from doing its thing? Also, we've been thinking about putting a ground cover that will deter the cat from using the bed, what would you recommend on both questions?

Many listeners and viewers have reported good results by using this formula to discourage cats:

  • 1/4 cup castor oil
  • 2 Tablespoons of liquid detergent soap

Blend the two together in a blender (they won't mix properly otherwise)

  • Add 6 Tablespoons water.

Blend again.

Store this mix in a container till needed.

When you are ready to apply the solution to the area where the cats are active:

Mix 2 tablespoons of the solution into 1 gallon of water. Pour it into the problem area.

A sturdy stemmed ground cover like 'Cotoneaster lowfast' would be a good choice to discourage the cats from using the area again.

Mystery Squash

We have a plant in our condominium border that is strange to us.  The plant looks like a zucchini plant or a squash, but is different in most ways.  It is big and round, dark green with ridges with 1 1/2 inch yellow spots scattered over the surface.  The dimensions of this plant, gourd or whatever is 27 inches in circumference and 8 inches high.  Do you know what it is?

It is probably a cross of two different types of squash that grew there before.  Squash cross very easily.  In fact, we had an acorn/crookneck cross growing out of our compost pile at the research garden a few years ago.  Some of its fruit were mostly acorn with crookneck attributes and some were reversed.  As long as both of the parents were edible, the crossed fruit should be edible.  If one of the parents was a gourd, however, it woud not be wise to eat the fruit, as some gourds can make people sick.  Perhaps by researching what had been grown in that area the previous year (or what kind of squash was thrown out in that area) you might be able to narrow down what kind of cross the plant is.

Transplanting Vines

Two years ago we planted a Wisteria along the west side of our home.  It is obvious the vine is simply going to be too big for that spot.  Can we transplant it now?  We have another spot that should be just fine.

No, it is too early in the season to transplant deciduous vines or plants like Wisteria.  Late October, November, December, January or February would be the best months for transplanting this and other deciduous vines, trees, shrubs and roses in the northern hemisphere (late April - August south of the equator).

Back to Home Page

Return to LibraryBack to Home Page