Gardening Q and A

July 26, 2011 5:58:14 AM PDT
You asked. Now, Jennifer Brennan of Chalet Nursery answers all your summer gardening questions.

Question & Answers

1. Jeannie Coe & Mary Gilbert Tennyson-
Q: Zucchini gets many flowers but no fruit, and there are yellowing leaves; what is wrong and what to do?

A: Male flowers are produced first, then female flowers - this year when the female flowers started, it got too hot - they were aborted due to the high temperatures. The pollinators were stressed by the heat also. Use a fertilizer high in calcium (Dr. Earth Tomato Fertilizer, based of fish bone) or spray a calcium directly on the leaves (Bonide's Rot Stop Spray). The yellowing leaves are due to the plants "balancing their checkbooks". When there was not enough rain during the extreme heat, the roots did not have enough water to absorb the necessary nutrients. The plants take the nitrogen from older leaves to transport it to the younger, more active leaves. When the nitrogen is removed the older leaves turn yellow. Fertilizer, more rain and lower temperatures will reduce the number of yellow leaves.

2. Susan DeCicco-
Q: My herbs are doing great except for the French Lavender; is facing south good for herbs?

A: Your location is the best for herbs - facing South in full sun. Lavender loves hot, & dry, dry, dry . It is probably getting more water than it likes because of living will all the other herbs. Herbs do best in heat with full sun, infrequent deep watering & low fertilizer (1-2x per season).

3. Susan Sawyer Schlink-
Q: Why do tomato plants turn yellow?

A: There are 2 possibilities - 1. Not enough fertilizer, tomatoes are heavy feeders, but use a fertilizer with a higher Phosphorus than nitrogen (Dr. Earth Tomato Fertilizer, or Espoma's Tomato-Tone). 2. Fungal leaf disease, Early Blight, causes leaves to turn yellow. Use fungicides and rotate planting areas.

4. Cathy Nestor-
Q: She is trying to create a perennial garden for the past 2 years - it faces North with good sunlight, amended soil and fertilizer used with only minor improvement. What are suggestions for improvement? Plants include Asian lilies, Day Lilies, Coneflowers, Daisies, Poppies.

A: You are experiencing the "First year they sleep, second year they creep and third year they leap" growth pattern of perennials because most energy os focused on root growth. Like the childhood game of "rock, paper and scissors"; roots always win over the rest of the plant. Use Espoma's Root & Grow now; it has a 3-10-3 nutrient ratio, higher phosphorus for roots and flowers.

5. Pam Decker-
Q. When is the best time to water potted plants & the garden when it is so hot?

A: Early morning is best so that plants are hydrated when the heat starts to rise. (However, do not wait if the plants have not been watered & are wilting. Water immediately.)

6. Debra Byers-
Q. Should I keep watering every night?

A. What are you watering? Usually, at very high temps, water every day - plants require water to cool off & survive the extreme temperatures. It is better to water early in the morning, though.


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