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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 January Links

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Non-hybrid Seeds

Q Are your seeds true non hybrids? and if so, many that you say are do not specify that on their packages.   Is there a reason for this?

A Ninety percent of our seeds are non-hybrids. Because of this, we specify which varieties are hybrids on the packets. You can view every packet on our website individually (at the Seed Rack) or click on the link for non-hybrids to see the list. (Note that none of our flowers are hybrids.)

QHow do I know I'm getting a true non-hybrids seed. I'm looking for good quality seeds that I can save some seeds from those plants I grow to replant the following year. Will I be able to do so with your seeds.

A Yes, our seeds are from the current year's crop (they won't even be completely packaged till January) so they have the highest germination rates and the non-hybrids will stay true to type when saved.

Q Can you store your Non-hybrid seeds over a year if stored properly?

A This varies from variety to variety. Most varieties will hold their germination for many years. Some, will not last an entire year. (Examples: Beans, Corn, Pumpkins and Squash will often have good germination for 6 to 7 years, Onions might not germinate well next year.)

QWhat would be proper storing method?

A This also varies from variety to variety. Most just need to be kept cool and dry and not exposed to direct sunlight or extreme temperatures. A few like to be refrigerated or frozen.

Don't exclude hybrids from your decision making process. Most of them can also be saved for many years and it is possible (contrary to popular belief) to save the seeds from hybrids that you've grown. The only negative is that you probably will not get exactly the same results from saved seeds. Hybrids often revert to their parent strains, so saved seeds might not result in plants that are as disease resistant or large etc.

See Also: Why I like hybrids

Premature Bulbs

Q I planted some daffodil and iris bulbs about 6 weeks ago. I must not have buried the bulbs deep enough because they've already started sprouting (yikes!). The daffodils are about 3" tall and the iris' are about 1". What should (or can) I do to stop the growth and/or protect them until early Spring?

A There's not much you can do to stop the growth. If the weather turns really cold all of the sudden, cover the tops with some sort of cloth material. Then, when the weather moderates (hopefully in a few days) remove the covering completely. Cover again if it gets cold again. Bulbs will take fairly cold temperatures before it will affect them.

Norfolk Island Pine

Q we purchased norfolk pine and  would like to know if it can be transplanted outside? we live in zone 4. if so, any special treatment? if not, how do i care for it inside?

ANorfolk Island Pine is only hardy to 32 degrees F. It is native to Norfolk Island off the coast of Australia. Inside it needs humidity and bright light, but not direct sunlight. Feed only during the spring and summer growing season.

Dogwoods Not Blooming

Q I have 6 Cherokee Chief Dogwoods about 7 ft. tall that I put in about 3 years ago. My problem is that they do not bloom in the spring. New foliage comes out fine, but no blooms. What's up?

A Dogwoods are rather slow to bloom, so don't be discouraged. Feed the trees in about mid-February with a rose type fertilizer that contains micro-nutrients like iron, magnesium, sulfur, boron, etc. It will not help for this year, as the dogwoods have already set their buds for the coming spring.

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