By Pauline Keegan
Do tomatoes cross pollinate?
Cross pollination is the transfer of one flower to the stigma of another with a different genetic composition, as by the action of wind or insects or deliberately by a botanist. Tomatoes have “perfect” blossoms, meaning that they contain both male and female organs and are self pollinating. The transfer of pollen to egg is initiated by motion of the plant, normally supplied by wind current. If motion does not occur the blossoms do not pollinate, but fall. If you fear not having fruit due to blossom drop, gently shake the plants twice a day to simulate wind-like motion. Within a week you should see many new tomatoes set if other conditions are adequate.
How long does it to take sweet corn to develop from the first appearance of silk to harvest?
About five days are required for complete pollination after the first silk appears. Harvesting begins approximately 20 days after first silking.
To save my corn crop from worms, I have been told to put a drop of mineral oil inside the tip of each ear. Will vegetable oil do just as well?
Yes, vegetable oil will do the same as mineral oil. Apply one-quarter to one-half teaspoon oil inside the tip of each ear after the silk begins to dry and turn brown at the tip. Applying it earlier might inhabit pollination. If you have a large stand of corn, walk along the row with a can full of oil. The oil smothers the worm as it tries to feed on the tassels and ears.
When should I prune my hydrangea bush?
Hydrangea bushes should be pruned after bloom. Cut back old or damaged growth and stems that carried flowers. Do not cut new shoots.
Send your gardening and landscaping questions and tips to Washington County Master Gardeners, 2536 N. McConnell Ave., Fayetteville 72704 or call 444-1755.