Is it ok to cut off the flower that shoots up from a Hosta? Will it harm the plant? Is it ok to uproot and replant Liriope "big-blue" to relocate it?
Josh, Brooklyn, NY
Most people like the blue or white spikes that emerge from hostas. I like both the leaves and the flowers. It will not harm the plants at all to remove the flower, which I do on coleus. Blue- Lily Turf enjoys partial shade like the hostas. Like most stemless perennials, Liriope muscari are easily subdivided anytime. I would do it in the evening except on really hot days.
Is it okay to use seed from Okra and how do I do it?
Linda, Parsons, TN
Collect mature pods of Okra and sun dry the pods for a few days. While tender young pods are best for gumbo, the older pods are better for seed. One ounce of seed will make a 75 foot row. After the seed is dried store the seeds with or without pods in a brown paper bag and hang the bag in a cool dry place like a cellar for the spring. Plant the seeds an inch deep and four inches apart. Do not over fertilize.
I keep cutting back my Mugo Pines but I can not force growth to the bottom. What could be the problem?
Dee, Taylorville, IL
Technically a Swiss Stone Pine is Pinus mugo, which grows to 75 feet. Dwarf mugos that are used in Japanese gardens are P.mugo mugo or P.mugo nana. I would stop torturing your pine before it pines away. You might consider moving the tree to a more advantageous spot. My zucchini has been doing well. It has a lot of flowers but they are wilting. I did fertilize them. This is their first year. What is wrong? Paula, Kansas City, MO
Melons, pumpkins and squash are all susceptible to squash bug. When the plant is about six or eight inches, the adult lays an egg inside the stem. As the plant grows, the egg turns into a larvae and eats the inside of the stem. Just as the zucchini is about to bear fruit, there is not enough energy left for the roots to supply the vegetable. You could try to rescue the plant but do not be disappointed. Use a sharp razor knife to cut the stem at about five or six inches perpendicular to the ground. Because the stem is translucent, you will be able to spot a brown or black bug inside. Carefully remove the bug with tweezers. Wrap scotch tape around the cut. Next year plant the seeds in a styrofoam cup that is two thirds full of good soil. Cut off the bottom after the seedlings are ready fro outdoors. The cup should be about three inches above the soil line.