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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 February Links

Seed Yield

Q 1. How to determine yield on your seed packages. I assume it varies. We are a family of five.

2. Would the average package be enough for one year's planting for our needs or how do we determine how much to buy?

3. If we were to plant a spring and fall variety in the same year, do we just double the amount we purchase?

4. Are there any books that address this?  I see your packages are by weight (grams, mg, oz. but how do I judge yield with that info. I'm new at this and stumpped. I've looked through your Seed Rack and read the info on the seeds we would be interested in.   It talked about rows but didn't really discusss yield of produce. (I understand there will be some variables as per weather, etc. I just need a starting point for my calculations.

A The quick answer to your question is that I'll be posting some information that will help you make your calculations when I update the site at the end of the month. I have a chart that shows roughly what to plant for a family of four and the approximate number of seeds per ounce or gram.

More on Mason Bees

Q I am lucky enough to have blue orchard mason bees making their home in my yard, but they have not only made a site I selected for them as home, they have pointed out to me that my deck rail is just the right spot.  Obviously, there is some rot in the underside of it. Now I need to know the best time to replace the board- after they hatch out, but before they re-lay eggs. How tricky is that timing?

A The timing is tricky, but you can determine the correct time by observing their habits. When they start emerging (about the time fruit trees start blooming) then you block their openings or simply place a manmade hive in place of the opening in the deck. They are only active for about 4 to 6 weeks.

See Also:  Orchard Bees for Better Pollination

Norway Spruce

Q We have a Norway Spruce still in the container it was bought in. We live in Eastern Wa., [Wenatchee area] When would be a good time to transplant; also what would be a good fertilizer to use? We have goat and horse and also garden compost.

ATransplant it anytime the soil is not frozen, or at least dig a hole and bury the container in the soil. Either way, the plant will be better off in the ground than sitting above the ground. The compost is the best organic humus to use in the soil at planting time.

Grafting Fruit Trees

Q When is the best time to try and root a branch from a fruit tree?

A Fruit trees are budded. So, you take scion-wood in January and bud/graft it onto root stock or an existing tree as the new growth starts, later in the spring. Between January and the budding/grafting time you must keep the scion-wood in the refrigerator or in a dormant state.

Your local library or the County Extension Service will have a bulletin on grafting. There are some excellent books at the library on 'plant propagation' that would illustrate how to do it.

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