Q: I mulched leaves with the lawnmower last fall and spread them on the plant beds in winter. Now it's time to dig up the garden. Should I rake off all the leaf bits or dig them into the soil? I also spread them around the rose beds, but I'm assuming this is fine?
A: Digging shredded leaves into the soil is fine. You can have problems if leaves are spread on vegetable beds in winter and left as a mulch in spring because slugs like to lay eggs under the leaves and in spring they all hatch.
But your roses will appreciate the leafy mulch. Just watch out for slugs.
Q: I want to germinate camellia seeds. Should I soak or nick them?
Marg Sewell A: I hope the seed is from your own trees or neighbourhood trees where you can plant it soon after picking it. Germination is much better from fresh camellia seed. You're right about nicking it and soaking. Immerse the seed for about 12 hours. Once the seed is soaked, it shouldn't be allowed to dry out again.
The seed should have enough potting mix above it to cover it well and it's really helpful to add a quarter of an inch of grit above that. You need the grit because camellia seed germinate very slowly and a topping of grit deters moss and bryopytes from taking over the surface.
Because the seed should be kept moist, it can be kept outside as much as possible.
Q: I bought enoki mushrooms and trimmed off the bottom part because it had dirt attached. If I plant this in the ground or pot will it grow edible mushrooms?
Your enoki mushroom pieces are unlikely to grow more mushrooms.
Mushrooms grow from an extensive network of fine underground roots known as mycelium. When mushrooms are cut for sale, the cut is above ground and doesn't include the mycelium. The mushrooms release spores from the gills under the cap. Given the right circumstances, the spores could produce baby mushrooms. But this is unlikely when a mushroom is transplanted into strange soil. It's likely that specialized soil fungi need to be present in the soil to produce the right circumstances.
There are Internet listings from companies selling mushroom logs where mycelium is already present and ready to grow.
Q: We're planning to relocate our hydrangea due to its height. When is the best time to do so and do we have to remove the old flowers?"
Nessie Howdon I'm assuming your hydrangea is an older one since you're moving it because of height. Old hydrangeas are best moved in fall once they've gone dormant.
These shrubs aren't hard to transplant because they have a lot of fibrous surface roots. But you'll still lose quite a few, which will make it stressful for your hydrangea to support all the top growth.
That's why it would be best to prune off the old flowers. Also remove any weak, thin stems and some of the oldest stems. Just cut them right down to the ground.
You won't get as many flowers next year, but after that your hydrangea should recover nicely.
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