You asked, Greg and Sheila answer! Many of our customers, followers, and Row By Row Group Members submitted their gardening questions and tonight, you will have them answered.
Q & A – Part 1
“Have you ever had success growing asparagus?” – Yes, we’ve been growing asparagus for the last 7-8 years. We have several videos on our YouTube on how to be successful growing it. The key to it is after the 3rd year of growing it, you want to cut them back. You will develop weeds around the asparagus and that’s normal. If you cut them back, you’ll continue to get asparagus shoots.
“What is the best way to get rid of grasshoppers? I’m surrounded by grassland and they’re inundating my yard and garden.” – There isn’t much you can do for them organically. You need to hit them early on with a synthetic insecticide. You can rotate Bug Buster II and Neem Oil to treat them.
“Concerning nitrogen fixers, do the nitrogen-fixing plants have to die or be pruned back to release the nitrogen for other plants to scavenge from the roots left behind?” – You can’t intercrop a “live” legume with a crop and expect it to exchange the nitrogen. It needs to die back and break down into the soil before it is beneficial.
“Will I get better germination on my edible hibiscus if I leave the pod on the plant longer? I don’t want to leave it on too long since it could go bad but I need some tips on when is the right time to pull the seed pods.” – Once it blooms and the bloom falls off, I normally wait about 5-7 days after the bloom falls off.
“I’ve heard it said for a long time now, insects don’t attack healthy plants. Can you demystify that? – There is some truth to that. Think about it like it was your body and your immune system is weak, you are more than likely to get sick. It is more likely for an insect to attack your plant if it does not have the proper fertilization, health, etc. Insects can also attack healthy plants but they tend to fight off insect infestation easier.
Q & A – Part 2
“Can you tell me what fertilizer to use on onions and at what time?” – We recommend a well-balanced fertilizer, like 20-20-20, and alternate it with a nitrogen source like Ammonium Sulfate. Stop fertilizing 30 days before you harvest.
“Does Mrs. Hoss succession plant or intercrop in her raised beds?” – I do succession planting a lot in the spring and summer. I don’t do it in the fall because the broccoli, cauliflower, etc. take longer to grow. I will intercrop with flowers in the spring and summer, I do sometimes plant my garlic and onions in with my English peas.
“What can I use next time to prevent my pumpkins from being destroyed by vine borers? I want to give it another try.” – For vine borers, you want to make sure you plant earlier in the spring to get ahead of the outbreak of the vine borers. You want to spray them early on, have a good spray schedule. If they get into the vine, you’re done.
“I want to bring my peppers inside for the winter. What do they need to keep producing or at least not to die over the winter months.” – If you bring them inside, you’ll want to keep them wet (keep the moisture to them) but I wouldn’t fertilize them. Once the springtime comes, you want to re-pot the plant and then start fertilizing.
“Can you use your drip irrigation system in containers? If yes, can you show how?” – We actually have a container watering kit that is perfect for your needs. We will get a video done on it soon!
Q & A – Part 3
“When you are starting a farm on raw land, what is the best cover crop to plan to help build better soil?” – Hairy Vetch and Winter Rye are great ones for the cool season. During the warm season, you would want to go with Sunn Hemp.
“I have never been able to get bell peppers to grow to a respectable size. I am in Central North Carolina. Any ideas?” – Fertility, fertility, fertility. I struggled back in the day until I realized bell peppers LOVE fertilizer. We always use a good amount of compost (pre-plant) and then we hit it with plenty of fertilizer.
“How many weeks before planting straight out of the 162 trays would you start your transplants for tomatoes and peppers?” – On my peppers and tomatoes in the spring, I normally start mine in February in the seed trays. I give myself 6 weeks on tomatoes and 8 weeks on peppers. When I start them in the fall, I start mine in July and can grow them off in 4 weeks.
“How do you sow oats on your beds for the winter and get all the seeds covered to germ? I only seem to get half of them covered.” – I normally just scatter and rake them into the soil. I always seed a little on the heavy side.
“How do you keep your garden rows so clean and weed-free?” – We stay after it with the wheel hoe. Anytime after the rain or you see the weeds starting to come up, get out there and cultivate it up.
“Starting a new plot where poison ivy was growing but tilled it out, will it be ok?” – Poison Ivy does not like cultivation. You will be ok as long as you have and keep it cultivated.