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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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Treated Lumber For Vegetable Beds

What kind of lumber do you use in the garden boxes? Treated or not treated?   Does it matter?

Some types of treated lumber can be used in raised vegetable beds, others cannot. Check with your local lumber yard or home center to see if they have the right one. Some of them are treated with chemicals that you would not want leaching into the soil and eventually into your vegetables.

Moving Azaleas & Hydrangeas Outdoors

We live in Colbert,WA just north of Spokane. We have azeleas and hydrangeas we would like to plant outside. We are not sure of what kind they are. How do we take care of them in the summer and winter? It is now April, will they bloom again before next spring? How do we know if they "take" to replanting outdoors?

The potted azaleas are not hardy, so they should not be set outdoors until after all danger of frost is over. Then they should be brought back in before the fall frosts. The Hydrangeas are somewhat hardy in the Spokane area, but once you get further north (out of the city) they are too tender and would need to be protected by covering during winter cold spells. Like the azaleas, do not set them out until all danger of frost has passed this spring. They have been forced in a greenhouse and are still too tender.

Fairy Ring Mushrooms

We are having problems with Fairy Ring Mushrooms can you tell us a way to get rid of them.

This is a tough problem to cure. The Canadians have had pretty good success by perforating the lawn within the fairy ring and one foot beyond. Next, they treat the entire area with water and detergent soap. (Use the soap at the rate of 1 tablespoon per gallon of water.) Use liquid detergent soap. Then, keep the area soaking wet for 30 days. That drowns the fungal root growth.

Growing Grass Under Pines

What is the best formula (type of seed, soil additives, etc.etc) for growing grass under large pine trees, where there is little sunlight exposure? Here in Lacey Wa?

First, thanks for letting me know where you live, it really helps when answering garden questions. The best type of grass to use would be fescues. Second best would be turf type rye grasses. My experience has been to fertilize the grasses under tall trees with a liquid fertilizer. The grass blades absorb the fertilizer more quickly, and there is less competition with tree roots.

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