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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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Winter Lawn Fertilizing

I live in the Seattle area and my lawn has turned pale green. Should I use a low nitrogen fertilizer now, or wait until spring?

Research specialists have stated that the best time of the entire year to feed the lawn is December 1st. The reasoning is that it helps develop a deep rooting system and improve color at the same time. So, I would suggest that you go ahead and use a fall or winter type of lawn fertilizer, now.

See Also: Winter Lawn Care

Indoor Gardening

I am looking for plants I can grow indoors that can supply me with lettuce that I can snip and they reproduce in the pot. Also for fruits in hanging baskets. At the present I am growing "Pickle" cucumbers inside, Cherry Tomatoes, Green Peppers, and herbs. The cucumbers have baby pickles on them. The tomato plant (1) and green pepper plants (2) have no flowers yet. Also, this may sound strange, but can I put radish leaves on my salad. I would appreciate your input.

Lettuce are cold tolerant plants, so a cool room in a bright spot would be the best place to grow them. Salad Bowl would be a good variety to grow indoors.

The best fruit to grow would be dwarf Meyeri lemons or some type of dwarf orange, however, they do not have the flavor or sweetness of the varieties grown in the south.

I checked with our staff, and none of us have ever heard of a person using radish leaves in salads. It seems as if they would be pretty rough textured.

Incidently, lettuce is a great crop to grow in a cold frame or hot bed, along with spinach, during the winter.

Pruning Hydrangeas

I have an old hydrangea, at least 20 years old. My husband never pruned it when he purchased his home (before we married). I started pruning about ten years ago, but the shape leaves much to be desired since I started pruning. It was more shapely and full when my husband just left it, but it was too large for our small side yard. What am I doing wrong and can I still correct my errors?

Hydrangeas are probably one of the most misunderstood plants, when it comes to pruning. Most often, they are pruned severly, which causes the plants to send out long spindly growth, which often doesn't bloom. Here's my suggestion: Never prune them more than 50% and then only if they need pruning. Otherwise, leave them alone. (Example: only prune a 5 foot plant back to 2 1/2 feet maximum) The best time to prune is mid-February.

Moving a Pussywillow

I have a weeping French Pussywillow that has been in the ground for about three years. I would like to move it to an area about 30 feet from where it is now that stays very damp in the winter.  Can I expect to get this thing out of the ground (root system seems to be massive in relation to the size of the plant which is 5 x 4). I will have to cut many roots--can I expect it to survive?

Now is the best time to move it. This is one plant that can take quite a bit of abuse, so your chances of successfully moving it are quite good.

Try to get as much of the fiberous root system as possible. Now, during the dormant season, the plant can be moved bare-root.

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