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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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Other December Links

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Controlling Vetch

Can you give some advice as to whether we can do anything about vetch on a slope that is intertwined with our vinca ground cover? We have been pulling it out, but thats an impossible process and it almost overtook the entire hill last year. If we have to kill some of the vinca to rid ourselves of this we will. We were hopeful we could put something on it this time of year that would kill it.

 This is really the wrong time of the year to apply a herbicide to control the vetch. The best procedure is to grub out the vetch this fall, and then next spring treat the area with a pre-emergence weed killer, such as 'Preen'. The 'Preen' should help keep the seeds of the vetch from reseeding. By using this procedure you eliminate the vetch that is present and then (Preen) should help keep the seeds present from germinating. It may take more than one application to completely solve the problem.

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Over-wintering Hibiscus

How do I care for a hibiscus tree over the winter? Should I bring it inside now (October) or will it survive the winter in a patio pot outside?

No, the common varieties of Hibiscus will not survive the average winter of the Pacific Northwest, so they must be brought indoors for the winter. In your email you did not say where you live, so if you live in an area where temperatures remain above freezing during the winter, then the plant can be left outdoors.

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Moving Oregon Grape

I have many native Oregon Grape plants growing in one portion of my yard which has been left as natural woods. I would like to move some of these plants to another area of my garden, but I am fearful of losing them due to their roots being entangled with all the neighboring plants. Are there any special precautions I should be taking that would increase their chance of survival?

That's a tough question. Usually if the plants are situated in a bit of a moist spot the roots will be more confined and as a result the plants will transplant easier. On the other hand if the soil is dry, the roots tend to wander and it is more difficult to move them. It's best to move them when they are dormant, during the fall and winter months of November to early March. Take as much soil with the roots as you possibly can.

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Harvesting Kiwi

 We have a great harvest of Kiwis but don't know what to do with them.  When should they be picked and how do we ripen them?

Pick them while they are still hard. Usually they are harvested after the first frost. Store them in the refrigerator or a cool dry spot. (Egg cartons are ideal.) Put a few on the kitchen counter to soften as you need them.

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