Q. My neighbor, who uses liquid fertilizer in his vegetable garden, claims it gives much better results. Could this be true?
A. A solid (dry) fertilizer and a liquid fertilizer with the same ingredients will be equally good. Water-soluble solid fertilizers placed in moist soil dissolve in the soil water an thereafter react with the soil as if applied as a liquid formulation.
The phosphorus in some solid fertilizers is not highly water soluble. However, agricultural experiment stations in Alabama, Georgia, Iowa, New York, North Carolina and Mississippi, cooperating in tests with TVA, found that fertilizers with 40 to 50 per cent of their phosphorus soluble in water are usually just as effective as those having a higher percentage of water soluble phosphorus.
Q. Is it practical to attempt to grow blackberries and raspberries in a garden?
A. The fruits of raspberries and blackberries are so perishable when fresh that they are not sold in many food stores. Red raspberries and erect-growing blackberries are the easiest to grow. They are hardy and resistant to most diseases but may need to be sprayed for Japanese beetles. You may find that birds are fond of the fruit. The bushes can be planted in late fall or early morning.
Q.There are growth regulators for many kinds of plants - why not one for lawn grasses, so we wouldn't have to do so much mowing?
A. It is wonderful idea but unrealistic from a genetic point of view. The grasses must maintain the growth capability to recover from injury resulting from traffic, insects, diseases, etc.
Q. Our lilies-of-the-valley have not bloomed the last two springs. What can be done to help them?
A. Those plants spread rapidly when growing in good soil and light shade and usually need to be divided every three or four years. Late fall is a good time to do it.
Q. Is it true that poinsettia leaves have been found not to be poisonous?
A. Studies at Ohio State University (using rats for the tests) showed that the leaves, bracts, latex and stem of the poinsettia were not toxic. They found the extracts contained common plant sterols or triterpenes, none commonly considered poisonous.
Despite false impressions and erroneous reports published in recent years the poinsettia is perfectly safe to use as a decorative plant in the home, according to Dr. W.J. Collins, Ohio, State entomologist, who particpated in the research.
Q. Next year I certainly want to have fall greens in my garden - turnip and mustard greens, kale and spinach. When is the proper time to plant the seeds.?
Q. Turnip seed can be planted in August until Sept. 1, mustard seed unitl August 20, spinach seed until Sept. 5, kale seed until August 10. Upland cress seed until August 15, leaf lettuce seed until Sept. 1 and radishes seed until Sept. 15.
Q. Can a white-pine tree be kept small by pruning?
A. Growth on white pine can be restricted within certain limits. Some new growth must be retained each year for the tree to survive because 2-year-old needles are dropped every year. The pruning should begin while the tree is small, do it when the needle on the new growth have developed to their normal length and while the new stem wood is still succulent.