Gardening Daily Tips July 20

Wednesday July 20, 2011


Verbena, Purple (Verbena bonariensis)

Today’s Featured Plant
Verbena, Purple (Verbena bonariensis)

Read the full profile of this plant at ArcaMax.com.

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Q&A: Zucchini

Question: My plants are turnining yellow and I think rotting during growth. Can you please tell me what to do? I water twice a day Morning and late evening. they are in full afternoon and evening sun.

Answer: There are several possible causes for yellowing ranging from under to overwatering, under to overfertilizing and possibly pest or disease problems. If you are using a watering system, make sure it is watering evenly. Also inspect the plants carefully for insect feeding or other damage. If only the oldest leaves are yellowing, try feeding your plants a little nitrogen.

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Q&A: Unfilled Corn Ears

Question: The ears of my corn are missing half their kernals. What can I do?

Answer: It sounds as if the ears are not being pollinated completely. Corn is usually planted in “hills” or groups of about a half dozen plants, or in blocks that are at least four rows deep rather than one lone single row. This helps the wind pollinate the corn. You can help too, by shaking the stalks when the corn tassels are full of pollen to help transfer pollen grains from the tassels of one corn stalk to the silks of another. Each individual silk is connected to a single developing kernal, and if that silk doesn’t receive pollen the corresponding kernal won’t develop.

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Q&A: Edible Flowers

Question: Can you give me a list of edible flowers, what parts of the plant are edible (and what parts to avoid), and any other tips?

Answer: First of all, do not eat flowers if you have asthma, allergies, or hay fever. And eat only those that have been grown organically and have no pesticide residue. Collect flowers for eating in the cooler parts of the day–preferably early morning after the dew has evaporated. Choose flowers that are at their peak, avoiding those that are not fully open or are starting to wilt. Immediately before using, wash the flowers, checking for bugs and dirt. Remove the stamens and styles from flowers before eating–the pollen can detract from the flavor and some people are allergic to it. As far as what parts to on which flowers: You can eat the entire flowers of johnny-jump-up, violet, runner bean, honeysuckle, and clover. Remove the sepals of all flowers except violas, Johnny-jump-ups, and pansies. Eat only the petals of rose, calendula, tulip, chrysanthemum, yucca, and lavender. Roses, dianthus, English daisies, Signet marigolds, and chrysanthemums have a bitter white portion at the base of the petal where it was attached to the flower; remove this portion before using. Dandelion leaves are delicious in salads or cooked as a green. The flowers are edible when young; they become bitter with age. Remove dandelions’ sepals–they are bitter. You can also eat both the flowers and the leaves of nasturtiums.

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Tip: Increase Oriental Poppies

Now, when Oriental poppies are dormant, is the time to increase your planting by division or root cuttings. To divide, dig up the entire clump and cut into divisions 4 to 6 inches across. If you don’t want to disturb your existing clump, simply remove a section of roots from the edge of the clump with a spade. If you want lots of new poppy plants, cut the pencil-thin roots into 3-inch sections, making sure to keep track of which end of the root was closest to the crown of the plant. An easy way to do this is to cut the top of the root section straight across and the bottom at an angle. Then plant the root sections vertically in a container filled with potting mix, with the bottom ends pointing down and the tops about 1/2-inch below the surface. Keep the mix barely moist and in about a month these cuttings will begin to put out new growth. They can then be set out in their new locations in the garden.

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Tip: Divide Bearded Iris

Dig and divide bearded iris clumps if they’re crowding each other or didn’t bloom well. Break off and discard the older central rhizomes, then let the young, healthy rhizomes dry out of the direct sun for several hours before re-planting.

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80 Comic Strips Now Available by Email!

ArcaMax has added dozens of new comic strips to its Comics page, including Archie, Hi and Lois, and 77 others. Subscribe to as many as you like via email, and start your day with a laugh!

Visit the Comics page and subscribe or read online right away.

— From the ArcaMax editors

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Today’s Reader Submitted Photos

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Sincerely,
ArcaMax Editors

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