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.
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At one of your lectures, at the Garden Show last spring, you mentioned fertilizing bulbs in late winter. I have forgotten the exact timing and method you suggested? Can you give me additional information?
The best time to feed the bulbs is when the new foliage growth is about two to four inches high, in late winter or earliest spring. And, a second application should be made just after the bulbs finish flowering. Use a liquid type fertilizer, such as fish, Peter's, Rapid-Gro, Miracle-Grow, etc. Apply to the new leaves and surrounding ground. Use according to directions so you do not burn the tender new growth. These feedings are made to help build strength into the bulbs, for future flowering. This type of feeding is sometimes especially useful for bulbs that have been in the ground for a number of years.
Is it too late for me to prune my Grapes and Kiwi vines? I usually do it earlier in the season, but have not had a chance due to the rain in early January and then family matters.
Yes. However, this is one job that you should do as soon as possible. In fact, Kiwi specialists say the vines should be pruned by Valentine's Day. If they are pruned after that time the vines are apt to bleed profusely. The Grapes vines will also bleed, if cut too late.
Why is it that my African violets will not bloom? The leaves are healthy and beautiful, but no flowers. Some of these plants have not flowered for two or three years. I try to follow the directions on the labels that are in the pots, and have tried to follow suggestions that friends have offered, but to no avail. What do you suggest?
I have found that if African violets do not get enough light or are given too much care they tend to grow, but not flower. So if you are being to kind to them, by feeding too much or watering too generously then that could be the problem. On the other hand if they are situated in spot where they only get moderate light, then that may be the problem. They need about fourteen hours of bright light a day. So sometimes it is necessary to provide additional light for them, by using a Gro- light above them, especially during the winter. Keep it about ten to fifteen inches above the plants. If you are being a little heavy-handed with watering or feeding, cut back and stress the plants a little. Also, the use of a bloom setting fertilizer like 0-10-10 may help. Apply it according to label instructions.
When can I start seeding my flowers and leaf vegetables inside? Each year it seems like I am either too early or too late? I would like to get the plants started early so I can have my own seedlings to set outside later in the spring when things warm-up.
Most of the commercial growers start their annual flowers and leaf vegetables in late February or early March. Zinnias, Asters, Peppers and the warm-weather crops are started even a little latter. The key to starting any of these seeds indoors is finding a bright light spot, where the temperatures are about 65 to 72 degrees. If you use soil from the garden, be sure to sterilize it first. One method of steriling the soil is to bake it in the oven at 170 to 180 degrees for about two hours. Vermiculite or commercial potting soils are probably the best mediums to use for starting seeds.
See Also: Starting Seeds Indoors