“Are the new Urban Apples only for growing in containers?” -NO! They’re perfect for containers (2-3’ wide and 8-10’ tall), but are excellent for those smaller backyards or gardens, and easier to maintain and harvest from! These are so cool! It’s exciting to see plant breeders developing all these smaller growing fruits and berries that are great in the ground or in pots (Brazelberry series of Blueberries and Raspberry Shortcake, TopHat blueberry, Urban Apples, and so much more!)

“What tomatoes are best for containers, and what size pot do you recommend?” – Actually, any of the tomatoes can be grown in containers as long as you have the ability to stake the taller growing selections. If not, then look at the determinate or bush varieties, which usually stay smaller and stockier (Bush Early Girl, Bush Champion, Health kick, Patio, etc). For the dwarf tomatoes, you can get by with a 10-12 inch pot. But for all the rest, I do nothing less than an 18inch pot or larger (one plant per pot). Some folks will use a 5 gallon pickle bucket and be successful. Make sure you use a tomato food like TomatoTone which actually has added calcium to help prevent Blossom End Rot. (Come see me Saturday at the Outlet from 1-4 and I’ll help walk you thru container gardening!)

“Are you all growing the hot peppers again this year? Which is the hottest to date?” -YES WE ARE!!!  Bjut jolokia, Naga Viper, Butch T, Moruga Scorpion, and at this stage, the hottest one of all – Carolina Reaper. But it looks like Douglah may be another one to add to the list. By the way, if you’re not into these extremely hot peppers but like a little kick, grow Cajun Bell. Small bell pepper with a little Cajun kick.

“Why are some peppers sold as green peppers, then others as red or yellow or whatever? And can I use the color peppers for green peppers?” -Good question! Besides some of the ornamental peppers, most start out green, can be harvested green (like the ‘green bell peppers’), but if left on the plant long enough, will eventually turn another color. You jalapeños used mostly as a green pepper, but will turn reddish orange as they mature on the plant. ‘Green Bell Peppers’ (my parents used to call them ‘mangoes’) are used at the green stage, but again, if left on the plant, would eventually turn colors. Remember, peppers grow great in containers!

‘Looking for an early tomato. Which do you like?” -Early girl is pretty popular, but I like Fourth of July, and look at the Tumbling Toms for an early source of cherry tomatoes.

“What was the citrus tasting miniature cucumber you were talking about?” -Kate Cook introduced me to this one. It’s called Mexican Sour Gherkin, and they’re the size of your finger tip, look just like a watermelon, and are absolutely wonderful in flavor! Smaller growing plant, so again, good in the ground or good in containers.

“Is it okay to go ahead and cut back our winter damaged roses?” -Yes, go ahead with anything damaged from the winter and cut it back as needed. Do not leave any dead wood on the plant – get rid of it all, no matter how far back you have to cut it. But yes, get rid of the deadwood, feed the plants, and let’s encourage new growth.

“We are seeing these black raised areas on some of the branches of our Canada Red Cherry tree. What should we do?” -That, unfortunately, is called Black Knot, and it only affects trees in the Prunus genus – cherries and plums. It’s an airborne disease, and I hate to say this, but once in the tree, it is extremely difficult if not impossible to get rid of. Cutting out the infected branches (6-12 inches below the infection) and spring thru early summer sprayings of a fungicide have been recommended, but the results are rarely positive. Its unfortunate, as this has been one of my personal favorite trees.

“Is now the time to tree our Ash tree for Emerald Ash Borer?” – Yes, it can be. You could even wait until the trees have flowered, and then apply (help protect the bees). Do it yourself for smaller trees, like 6-8 inch trunk diameters or smaller, and let the professionals take care of the larger Ash trees. If you’ve never applied a systemic insecticide to your Ask for EAB protection, there’s a good chance it already has EAB. Be sure to inspect the tree, or again, have the professional inspect the tree.


“Is it too late to apply a pre emergent to the lawn?” -Nope. Getting late, but still can be applied. Same goes for applying a pre emergent in the landscape beds, flower beds, etc.