In the Grow (Q & A)

The following question and answer columns are currently written by B. Rosie Lerner, Purdue Consumer Horticulture Extension Specialist and are distributed to news media around the state by the Purdue University Agricultural Communications. Columns from June 1995 - January 2006 were authored by Bev Shaw, Advanced Master Gardener.


August 1996


Q. We would like to establish tiger lilies along a 50-foot portion of a bank on a farm pond where grass and weeds now grow. We have lilies growing wild along our field. My questions are: Is transplanting from these wild lilies a good bet, or should we buy bulbs? When is the best time to do that? Thanks. – Steven A. Cain, Brookston, Ind. A. I think you may mean daylilies instead of tiger lilies, since […]

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July 1996


Q. I used to have two plum trees in my backyard, but both were struck by lightning and died. I would like to replace one of them, but I heard you have to have a male and female tree to bear fruit. Is this true, and if it is, how do you tell them apart when you buy them? – Deborah S. Wallace, Greensburg, Ind. A. Plums have perfect flowers with both male and female parts, but […]

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June 1996


Q: In your April column you mentioned a decorative tall grass for slopes. I’m very interested, however, we like to entertain in our yard and make use of the area up to about 15 feet from the slope at the south end of our 1-acre lot. I would like to know what pests this plant might draw – especially if it’s mosquitoes. – Shelly McCoy, Ridgeville, Ind. A: Big bluestem does not attract any insect pests that […]


May 1996


Q. I have a hillside that is now scarce with grass and weeds and would like to try little bluestem. Where can I find it? Can the seed be planted directly on the ground, or what kind of preparation is necessary? – Myrna Sowers, Crawfordsville, Ind. A. Prepare the site by killing all the existing weeds. Because you’re planting a hill, you don’t want to loosen the soil too much, so till lightly or hand rake a […]

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April 1996


Q.Can you give me the proper way to freeze corn on the cob so it doesn’t lose its firmness? – Edward Serfin, Demotte, Ind. A. Sorry, but this is outside my area of expertise, and I don’t want to give advice on food preparation since improperly stored foods could actually cause one of my readers harm! Please contact the consumer and family science educator at your county Cooperative Extension Service office. He or she is specially […]


March 1996


Q. I’m moving into a new home where the previous owners had a small garden. What do I need to do this spring to prepare it for planting? Also, are the inexpensive seeds you buy at the department stores adequate, or should I go to a garden center? Is it better to plant seedlings than seeds? – Carrie Powell, West Lafayette, Ind. A. Start with a soil test of your new garden. Your Cooperative Extension Service office […]

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February 1996


Q. This past summer, bugs ate the leaves off my turnips, squash, rutabagas, etc., in a short period of time while I was away from home. I had applied wood ashes mixed with water and dishwashing soap. What should I use rather than a toxic chemical? Also, should I transplant evergreens in the winter or early spring? When is the best time for transplanting? I also have several locust seedlings to move. I have a wood-burning […]


January 1996


Q. I have been told that applying lime around pecan trees will increase nut size. Is this true? If so, how much and how often should it be applied, or what should the pH be? Are the pH requirements the same for other nut trees? Do English walnut trees leave toxins in the soil as black walnuts do? Can an old English walnut be replaced with a young one at the same site? I have some […]

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December 1995


Q: I have been trying to raise tomatoes on trellises for several years with not too much success. I tried shorter trellises, several different fertilizers and ground-up eggshells for copper and calcium. My plants grew tall vines, went above the trellis by about 3 feet and fell over, ruining my pepper plants next to them. Also, I had brown spots on the tomatoes. I tried different varieties, so variety isn’t a factor. Could you enlighten me, […]


November 1995


Q. How do I get rid of these small, round, red-orange bugs that look like ladybugs? They are swarming on our screens, doors and porches trying to get in the house, and many of them succeed. Nothing seems to discourage them. If you happen to smash them, there is a terrible odor. I don’t know if they damage anything, but they sure are annoying. Thanks for all your useful answers. – Ellen Roe, Crawfordsville, Ind. A. I […]


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