Well here we are again at Tuesday and I have been flooded with more gardening questions. I love it. Let’s jump right in and get started.
A - Yes, raw sweet potatoes can be frozen for up to six months. Simply peel and cut them into pieces. Blanch for 3 full minutes in boiling water, remove the pieces and place in chilled iced water right away. Keep them in ice water for 3 minutes. Drain and place on a tray in a single layer. Freeze for 30 minutes. Transfer to freezer bags, remove air, label and seal. Following these steps will keep sweet potatoes from being mushy and/or stringy once thawed.
A - This is a question that has probably been asked a million times. I hear it all the time. And for this particular question, there’s only one right answer. I’ll give you a hint… if someone tries to sell you some seeds to grow a navel orange tree, you should hold on to your money! You cannot grow a Navel Orange tree from seed. To read more about this check out my latest post over at The Grow Network.
Q - Mary E, Boston, MA asks, I live too far north to grow an avocado tree in my yard but can I grow one inside and get it to produce fruit?”
A - Avocado trees can reach 80 feet in height. Most plants do poorly where freezing temperatures may occur. Gardeners in United States Department of Agriculture zones 8 and below should be wary of trying to grow these trees as outdoor plants. This fact leads to the question, “Can avocado trees grow indoors?” The simple answer to this question is yes. In fact, there are several dwarf varieties, which can help the ‘cold and temperate season’ gardener produce the healthy fruits in their own home.
Avocado growing indoors can start with a pit but is most successful with a healthy grafted dwarf tree. Cultivated avocados are grown from compatible root-stock. A plant produced from a seed is less likely to produce fruit, but it will make a lovely tree.
One thing to keep in mind is that the humble Avocado tree likes to be fussed over. It needs more attention than, say, citrus trees do. But it’s well worth that attention and effort. Avocados are packed full of nutrition. And best of all, they taste pretty good too.
Today there is a wide range of species available, and it is recommended you have a couple of varieties. This helps with an optimum fruit set. Therefore, it is suggested that you have two varieties. They are called Type A and Type B.
Below is a list of avocado tree varieties and types and all of these can be purchased as dwarf specimens to grow indoors.
Secondo - type A (This tree is known to set fruit with no type B Avocado tree around)
Wurtz - type A , Sharwill - type B, Fuerte - type B, Hass – type A, Reed - type A, Pinkerton - type A
A - If your infestation is as bad as it sounds there may not be much you can do to save this year’s harvest. Sorry about that. The most likely culprit is a beetle called the Sweet Potato Weevil. It is about 1/4 inch in length, slender and resembles an ant. It feeds on the plant's leaves, stems and roots, and creates cavities for depositing its eggs. Its larvae hatch and then continue to eat (destroy) the crop.
A non-chemical way to get rid of this pest is to starve it by removing the crop (and any other crop from the Morning glory family), and not replacing it in the same soil and location for at least a full year. Another good idea is to solarize the garden soil. For more on the solarizing process check out my post over at The Grow Network.
Q - Robert M, Augusta, Maine and Ronald C, of Kadoka, South Dakota both ask questions about snow peas, “Do snow pea pods grow back on the plant after picking?” and “I had a lot of success with my snow pea plants when I had lots of peas picked back in mid June. The plants rotted after that. My question is, how early can I grow new snow pea plants? Can I start now in late July or should I wait for cooler days?”
A - Yes, the snow peas will keep on coming. Just remember to fertilize lightly after several pickings to help the plant keep producing healthy blooms and quality fruit. They will begin to slack off production and want to "bolt" when the weather gets hot.
As the weather starts to show signs that it might just cool again, say the end of August or beginning of September for those of us in the south, I would plant seed for my fall crop – in fact, I plan on getting my own fall crop in the ground this week. In most areas you can get both a spring and fall crop of peas.
A - Fig trees are an excellent fruit tree to grow in your garden, but when your fig tree does not produce figs, it can be frustrating. There are many reasons for a fig tree not fruiting. Understanding the reasons for a fig tree not producing fruit can make this a little less frustrating.
When a fig tree is not fruiting, there are a few common reasons that this could be happening. The age of the tree, too much nitrogen in the soil and water issues are the three main reasons for a fig tree not producing fruit.
Fig Tree Not Fruiting Because of Age
The most common reason for a fig tree not producing fruit is simply its age. Trees, like animals, need to reach a certain maturity before they can produce offspring. Fruit is how a fig tree creates seeds. If the fig tree is not old enough to produce seeds, it will also not produce fruit. Typically, a fig tree will not fruit until it reaches two years old, but it can take some trees as long as six years to reach the right maturity. There is nothing you can do to speed up the rate a tree matures at. Time and patience are the only fixes for this.
Fig Tree Not Producing Fruit Because of Too Much Nitrogen
Another common reason that a fig tree is not producing figs is because of too much nitrogen. This commonly happens when you are using a fertilizer that is too high in nitrogen. Nitrogen causes the plant to have lush growth in leaves and branches, but very little, if any, fruit. If you suspect that your fig tree may not be growing figs because of too much nitrogen, start using a lower nitrogen fertilizer or add some phosphorus to the soil to counter the nitrogen.
Fig Tree Will Not Fruit Because of Watering Conditions
If a fig tree is suffering from water stress caused by either too little or too much water, this can cause it to stop producing figs or never start producing, especially if it is a younger tree. Water stress will send the tree into a survival mode and the fig tree will simply not have the energy needed to invest in making fruit. If your fig tree is getting too little moisture, increase the water. Remember, fig trees in pots will need daily watering when the temperatures rise above 65 degrees F. (18 C.) and twice daily watering when the temps go above 80 degrees F. (26 C.). If your fig tree is getting too much water, either cut back your watering or improve the drainage in the area or in the pot. Don’t let fig trees grow in standing water. These are the most common reasons that fig trees will not make fig fruit. There are many other less common reasons that are mostly tied to the nutrients in the soil. If you feel that the above reasons are not what is affecting your fig tree, have the soil tested (contact your local extension office for this) and amend according to the results of this test.