Mark Cullen answers your gardening questions
Published Wednesday, August 22, 2012 7:26AM EDT
There were some great gardening questions that came in this week to Canada AM. All of them reminded me of the many questions that I field on my website at this time of year.
How do I save poppy seeds?
Poppies produce a prodigious quantity of seeds after flowering. But you have to keep your eye on them or gravity will become your enemy.
As the finished flower becomes a seed pod the seeds mature inside and fall out on to the ground. Before the seed pod dries to the extent that the seeds begin to drop, be sure to cut the pod and dry them indoors. In time you will be able to shake the seeds out of the pod.
The drought has killed portions of my lawn. How do I repair it?
We are now in the best time of year for starting a new lawn or thickening an old one. Spread a 3 cm layer of soil over the area and broadcast good quality grass seed over it by hand. Rake smooth and step on it to bring the seed into firm contact with the soil. Water the soil well for a couple of weeks. This is an equally good time of year to lay sod.
Should I plant perennial hibiscus in the spring or fall?
A container-grown hibiscus will grow equally well in either season.
Note that there are two kinds of hardy hibiscus-- the herbaceous perennial Disco Belle and Rose of Sharon, which is a woody shrub. Speak to a local retailer about the differences between these two plants and the availability in your growing zone at this time of year.
How do I grow peppers?
Think “hot.” Peppers like the hottest spot in your garden. A south-facing wall provides the kind of heat that peppers thrive in. A loose, open soil is also helpful. Peppers are frost sensitive, so make sure to plant them only after the danger of frost has passed.
How do I get rid of mushrooms from my lawn?
Dig up the lawn where mushrooms exist and remove the culprit -- usually a rotting portion of wood, like an old 2 x 4, or the roots of a long dead tree.
Alternatively put on a pair of rubber boots and kick them. Repeat until they are gone.