Q: The beans and tomatoes in our garden are getting ripe and we are going away for two weeks on vacation. What can we do about them?
A: You can make a hit with friends or neighbors by inviting them to help themselves to vegetables that reach the eating stage while you are away. Before leaving, be sure to pull all the weeds in sight don't count on the neighbors to do it. Don't fail to ask them to do some water during dry weather.
Q: Can butterfuly bushes be grown from cuttings?
A: Yes. Take cutting during August from side shoots, four to five inches long. Remove the lower leaves, plant them in a shady spot and cover with a jar. Keep them moist. They should root in about three weeks.
Q: Is Sevin safe to use on strawberry plants to get rid of aphids?
A: Sevin is safe to use on strawberry plants but it is not effective against aphids. Use malathion instead. Follow directions on the label for mix and application. Do the spraying in late afternoon to avoid killing pollinating insects. Although in effective against aphids. Sevin will control worms and beetles.
Q: A clear, glossy substance is coming out of a slit on the sides of my peaches. What could it be?
A: The clear, glossy substance indicates injury from a worm. The adult worm laid eggs about bloom time or shortly thereafter. Usually an insecticide applied a week or 10 days after petal fall will destroy the worms as they hatch and prevent them from getting into the fruit.
Q: My cucmber vines climbing on the fence were loaded with blossoms and tiny cucmbers when all of a sudden they wilted and died. How come?
A: This probably was due to the squash vine borer, a small caterpillar, which attacks cucmber, squash, pumpkin, gourd and muskmelon vines. Moths lay eggs on stems and leaf stalks, the young caterpillars tunnel into the stem to feed, the plant wiits and dies.
The borer is a common problem and is not easy to control. Dusting the stems with methoxychlor powder at regular intervals, starting soon after the seed germinate, may save the plants. Follow directions on the label for application.
Q: Is there a way to tell whether a watermelon is ripe without plugging it?
A: A dull thump is supposed to indicate the melon is ripe. It may also mean it is over-ripe. Plugging and cutting are better tests but this is often undersirable. A white or pale green underside usually is a sign of immaturity, while a slight roughness on the surface indicates ripeness.