Garden Questions of the Week

Garden Questions of the Week

“What is the difference between a sprig of dill and a head of dill? I’m going to try and make pickles.” -Sprig of dill would be using the actual dill foliage, where the head of dill is the flower gone to seed – the dill flowers on top, and then produces seed – and you would use that whole thing. If you want dill to come back in your garden, let it go to seed and it will reseed itself.

“We have little mounds of fine dirt underneath some of our plantings and noticed very large bees / wasps going in and out. Not aggressive, but what can we do to get rid of it?” -Sounds like a cicada killer wasp, just in time to take care of those dog day cicadas. Males have no stinger, and females not aggressive (will buzz to scare you but not to sting you – similar to the carpenter bee activity). Holes in the ground are for the larvae and the female will go get a cicada and shove it in the hole for the larvae to feed on. And no, the holes won’t hurt the surrounding plants. Interesting bug to watch. Extra mulch and keeping the soil moist will help move them on.

“My cherry tomatoes have grown and grown and keep growing. They’re growing past my supports. Can I trim the top without killing the plants?” -Remember that if a tomato is an indeterminate, they just keep growing all year (and keep flowering and setting fruit) until they get frosted. And cherry tomatoes are known for having vines 8-10 feet plus. Yes, you can top them without killing them, but it also stops new growth and new flowers. Hopefully you’ll get some lower side shoots that will come along and flower and set fruit. I usually say once the cherry tomato outgrows the cage or support, just let it grow wherever it wants. They usually just hang back down. By the way, I grow Husker Red Bush Cherry tomatoes in containers, and they stay short, stocky and full of great tasting cherry tomatoes.

“I planted daylilies for the first time this year. After they bloom, a big green pod appears. What do I do with it?” -That’s an attempted seed head. Cut it off, stem and all. Deadhead your daylilies and try to keep them from attempting to go to seed. It makes for a much better plant, and helps re-bloomers to re-bloom!

“Now that the daylilies are finished blooming and looking yellow, should I trim them for a better appearance?” -Yep. Get rid of that yellow and brown foliage. If it gets to a point where it’s all yellow and brown, cut it all off. They’ll re-grow and look nicer for the rest of the season. Remember, although spring and fall are the best times to divide daylilies, it can be done anytime after they’re finished flowering, with exception to the re-bloomers, who I would leave alone so they’ll re-flower (deadhead, feed, and water to encourage the next flush of color).

“What do you recommend to get rid of tomato hornworms?” -Are they tomato or tobacco hornworms? Actually, it doesn’t matter, because control is best done by handpicking and destroying them. Look for eaten leaves of fruit with their feces underneath the area. You’ll find them, and then just pick them off. If you absolutely have to spray (there usually aren’t very many), use Bt or Captain Jack’s Deadbug Brew. By the way, they are the larvae of 2 types of sphinx moths. If you want to identify which is which, the tobacco hornworm has 7 diagonal lines on its sides and a curved red horn. The tomato hornworm has 8 – V shaped marks on its back, with a blue black straight horn. Both feed on tomato plants (peppers, too) and the fruit.

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Ron Wilson

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