I think of readers of this column as my unseen friends. Some of you ask many questions and I love it. This column is devoted to you.
When should you plant summer bulbs outside?
Gladioli, calla lilies, dahlias, and tuberous begonias need warm soil. Plant them only when the soil is warm or they will rot. Feel the soil with your hands. If it feels cold to the touch wait until the soil warms up. Planting too early will only lead to the bulbs rotting and a waste of your efforts and your money. (This also goes for tomato plants, eggplant, and peppers whose roots only thrive when the soil is warm.)
Can you plant peat pots directly into the ground or do they have to be removed?
I think transplants need all the help they can get so I break the peat pots away from the transplants. Just crumple up the pot and add it to the soil.
We drink alot of coffee. Can we mix the grounds into the soil or add it to the compost pile?
Well Starbucks gives it away for this very purpose! The worms in my indoor composting bin certainly make use of our coffee grounds. Coffee grounds are a great source of organic material. I suggest that you mix the grounds directly into your garden. I never spread the grounds on top of the soil because I have noticed that they tend to form a crust on top of the soil which would prevent water from getting down into the ground. If you have a small garden be a little careful as using more than six pounds of dried coffee grounds per square foot can make the soil more acid. (That's a lot of grounds!)
Do 'Stella d'Oro daylilies really bloom all summer?
Not really. They re-bloom which means that after blooming there is a "rest period" followed by the formation of new buds and then of course more flowers. I find that if I prune off the spent flowers and the stems the reblooming occurs sooner. 'Stephanie Returns', 'Happy Returns', and 'Baby Bear" are examples of the many re-blooming daylilies that are now available for purchase.
My Bleeding Hearts die down to the ground every year after they bloom in early summer. Should I let the roots get dry or still give them water?
Bleeding hearts actually go dormant after blooming. The leaves eventually yellow and die down. I make sure that the crowns of the bleeding hearts never get bone dry. Add some compost to the soil near the plants to hold moisture near the roots.
How do I get rid of pillbugs near my plants?
Don't get rid of them! Pill bugs eat decaying material and are not interested in eating your plants (unless they die and decay!). P.S. Did you know that pillbugs are related to lobsters?
Do you recommend buying annual herb plants or growing them from seed?
Many herbs such as dill and cilantro resent being transplanted so buying them as plants is often a waste of money. I simply scatter the seeds onto the soil. I also scatter the seeds of atriplex, perilla, annual chamomille,borage, and summer savory. Often they simply reseed themselves! However I do start basil indoors becasue the seeds always seem to diappear (birds?) in my garden.