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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 May Links

Identifying Plants

I was wondering if I could send you a photo email to help me identify a plant I have??...I have no idea what it is, but it is a bulb, the white blooms only open when it's sunny...Is it possible for me to email you a photo of the plant??...

I am sorry we make it a policy not to acccept attachments (nor to send them), due to the current rash of hacker activity .  We receive lots of emails that contain viruses and trojan horses every day and cannot take the time to download and check all of the attachments we get. The best way to have plants identified is to take a sample to your local nursery and have the Certified Nursery-person on staff try to identify it for you. They must see the foliage and flowers. Arboretums and Botanical Gardens also provide this service for a minimal fee.

Killing Pampas Grass

What is the best way to kill pampas grass? A saw and shovel or is there a chemical that will do the job?

Actually the best way is to dig it up. However, it is a grass, so grass type herbicides could also be used to eradicate it.


I found your website... Do I unsderstand that "Slug de Fence" really kills slugs?? I have a bad slug problem and I need to kill them all! How effective is your product? Is the salt re-fillable?

No, SlugDeFence does not kill slugs. It acts as a barrier to keep them from entering the protected areas of the garden. When you "fence" an area, you still need to kill the slugs inside the fence or they remain trapped inside.

It is an effective barrier that generally lasts for about 1 year. After that, it needs to be replaced because all the salt will have dissolved. (Since the salt is embedded in the plastic, there is no way to "refill" it.)

Roots in Raised Beds

How do you get rid of unwanted roots in raised beds? My father is 77 and digging excessively bothers his hip. How can he get rid of the tree roots in his raised beds?

About the only way that I know of discouraging tree root in raised vegetable beds is to line the bottom of the raised beds with landscape fabric. Use it at double thickness. You cannot use any kind of a herbicide in your raised vegetable beds.

Sprouting Seeds Outdoors

I have a terrible problem with seeds not sprouting outdoors. I am careful to cover the seeds the right depth and to plant them when the weather is warm enough, so I think the problem is in the watering. How often should I water the seeds (I live in the Skagit Valley) without letting them either dry up or drown?

A couple of things to look for:

1) early in the season seeds are often eaten by birds or soil insects. So check to see if the seeds are still in the soil. If they are gone you know it's one or the other.

2) seeds are often burned-up by hot fertilizers, used in the row when planting.

3) sow the seed shallow rather then deep. In fact, sometimes it's best to barely cover the seeds with soil.

During the cool spring weather seeds may need to be watered once or twice a week, if the weather is warm. If over-wet soil is a problem, use some pumice in the planting soil.

See Also: Why Seeds Do Not Grow

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