By Pauline Keegan
I have heard that certain fertilizers can change the color of hydrangeas. Can you tell me how this can be done?
The color of hydrangea blossoms can be manipulated to be either pink or blue. Adding aluminum sulfate to make the soil more acid, will turn the flowers blue. Adding lime to make the soil more alkaline, will make the flowers pink. These fertilizers should be applied in the spring for next year’s growth.
My tomatoes are not setting buds. I have fertilized them and they get morning sun. Can you tell me what’s wrong?
There are two things that can cause tomatoes to not bloom. Too much fertilizer is one. Nitrogen promotes healthy green foliage instead of blooms. Phosphorus promotes blooms. Try using a bloom booster type fertilizer or no fertilizer at all. Another thing essential to tomatoes blooming is sufficient light. At least six hours of sunlight is required. Try to improve the light situation. A mulch of white paper or aluminum foil will reflect some light. Remove any limbs that shade the plants. Mirrors placed in strategic places is rather extravagant, but it all depends on how much you want homegrown tomatoes.
I am growing asparagus for the first time, when should I harvest it?
Asparagus started from seed should not be harvested for two seasons. Asparagus started from crowns can be harvested the second season. Harvest lightly for three or four weeks. Plants harvested too heavily will not develop a strong root system and the crowns will become spindly and may never recover. When the asparagus plants are in their fourth season, they may be harvested for four to six weeks per year. Harvest daily during this time. Having an attractive plant and harvesting a delicious fresh vegetable are worth the wait. The mature plants will last for many years.
Can daffodils be transplanted to a new location now?
Daffodil bulbs can be transplanted anytime after they bloom, as long as the foliage is left in tack until it withers and falls off. The foliage of spring bulbs is long gone by now. It is OK to transplant your bulbs, the only problem will be in finding them. Dig them carefully to not destroy the fine roots. Replant them immediately so that they don’t dry out.
Send your gardening and landscaping questions and tips to Washington County Master Gardeners, 2536 N. McConnell Ave., Fayetteville, AR 72704 or call 444-1755.