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Fruits & Vegetables FAQs

Get answers to many common fruit and vegetable questions.

Flower Seeds

Q.  I am wanting to plant potatoes in a garden that was originally a pig pen for 100 years - very good soil.  Last year I put peas and beans there, they grew well.  I know with the rich soil that potatoes become scabby and thought I could add some sulfer to neutralize the soil.  First would this work and second how much sulfer do you need to add for each hill.

A.  Great idea to add the sulphur – it is slow acting, so ensure you add some to the planting hole, and some again in about 3-4 weeks scattered around the plants.  If you have quite a large plot, we carry 7kg bags of sulphur called pH Decreaser – this can be put directly into the holes, or tilled in prior to planting – the bag covers about 4000 sq feet.

Q.  I am planting flower seeds in the garden ,cosmos, lavetera, columbine and four oclocks.  I plan on covering them with plastic until they sprout. Which should I use, clear or black?

A.  You should actually not use plastic, but instead a lightweight fabric called remay cloth.  You can get it at any garden centre.

Q.  Could you suggest what may be causing my cucumbers to be bitter in taste. I am growing them in large containers, southern exposure, under the eaves so they haven't received excess moisture from copious rains. I've kept the soil evenly watered, used tomato fertilizer, and growth was vigorous. Any thoughts?

A.  Bitter cucumbers are caused by a couple of things:
• Extended hot temperatures (which we have had)
• Fluctuations in temperatures (which we have had)
• Inconsistent moisture - you have kept the plants evenly watered, so this is not the issue.

Unfortunately you cannot prevent the temperature fluctuations, nor the excessive heat we had early on.  In a different season with more even temperatures you would have much more success.

Q.  I would like to try and grow garlic in my garden but i have no idea how to. Everybody says you have to start in the fall, is this true?

Though garlic is best planted in the fall, you will still have great success by planting in spring.  Pick up garlic ‘sets’ - basically you purchase bulbs from a garden centre and pull apart all of the cloves.  Each clove gets planted knuckle deep (or about 4”).  Ensure your soil is loosened well prior to planting; if you have heavy clay soil you’ll want to till some compost into the area.  Each clove gets planted 3” away from the next in a row; sprinkle bone meal around the area and water in well.  Ensure you plant pointy end up.