Q. My compost pile smells awful. What causes it and is there anything I can do to stop it?
A. If there is too much moisture and poor drainage, the compost pile stays wet, which prevents air from penetrating the entire heap. Without air, microbes cannot act on the compost in minimum time, decay slows down and offensive odors occur. Turning the soggy pile with a pitchfork will improve aeration and the awful smell will soon be gone.
Q. My petunias are beginning to look kind of shabby. What can I do to perk them up?
A. Petunias and other flowering annuals need to be watered during dry weather to a depth of at least 5 or 6 inches. Faded flowers should be removed to prevent seed production, which shortens the plants flowering season. Annuals can often be rejuvenated by cutting them back drastically. This stimulates new growth, which in turn will encourage flowering.
Q. Should Oriental poppies be divided? I've had mine six years and the clumps are quite large.
A. Clumps of Oriental poppies that have gotten too large can be dug, divided and replanted in a newlocation where the soil is fairly good. The time to do this is after the foliage dies down in mid-to-late August, which is when the plants go dormant for a month or so (growth starts up again in the fall).
Q. I have small tomatoes growing on several of my Irish potato plants. Isn't this weird?
A. No, not really. After the potato plant blooms, seed pods form. These pods look very much like small tomatoes. However, in this area summers usually are too warm and dry for development of seed pods.
Q. Can impatiens be grown indoors during the winter?
A. It can be done. It is a good idea to take cuttings that can be rooted. Cut just beneath a leaf where the stem is swollen. Place the cuttings, which should be four to six inches long, in a glass of water or in sand.