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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 November Links

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Mildew On Pumpkins

We have a problem in our pumpkin patch!! What appears to be mildew (almost a white or grey mold) is attacking the leaves, and spreading fast. Will just any "fungicide" work, or work at all? What other recommendations might you have for us? This is our first attempt at a pumpkin patch, learning all the way.

I don't think I would even bother this late in the season (early October). In future years if it appears earlier, treat it with a vegetable garden dust or spray. Your garden center or nursery will usually carry one or two brands. Most vegetable sprays or dusts are botanical, not chemicals. You can have the clerk check the label for you.

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Pruning Mandavillas

I just read your instructions for wintering mandavillas but need to know if I should cut it back and if so how far. It's grown to about 10 feet tall outside this summer.

If you have a greenhouse, you don't even need to cut it back. But if you are taking it into the house for the winter, cut it back to a size that is manageable. In our home that would be about 5-7 feet.

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Winter Azalea Care

I live in Missouri and have never had any luck raising or wintering azaleas. Could you give me some tips on wintering azaleas in my home?

Winter azaleas as houseplants. Give them the same care you would while they are in bloom. The home gets very hot and dry over-winter so be certain to provide humidity for them. This can be done by filling a waterproof sauce with gravel, then fill water half way up the gravel, then set the Azalea pot on the gravel , thus providing an island of humidity around the azalea plant. This has nothing to do with watering, so you will have to water as needed.

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Grapes From Cuttings

I want to put in some wine making grapes ( merlot & riesling) for my own use. I live in an area where these grapes grow. My question is how do I start vines from cuttings.

Take cuttings from new mature growth, with a short stem (vine) attached, during the winter dormant season. Lay them horizontally, barely covered with potting soil. I think it's best to do each one in 4 to 6 inch pots. Keep them in a cold frame or if you try to do it indoors, keep the cuttings at 60 degrees. Keep in mind the ones you buy are grafted. The rootstock has a lot to do with how soon and how heavy they bear.

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