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The Bay Gardener by Dr. Francis Gouin

Let the stalks yellow before cutting

A Bay Weekly reader called asking when to cut back asparagus tops. Not yet! To maximize next year’s crop and to get early production of sprouts, delay cutting back the tops of asparagus plants until after they have turned completely yellow. You want all the nitrogen in the stems and foliage to migrate back to the roots in the ground.

Test and treat your plants before bringing them in

A friend told me the leaves of her Ficus benjamina are covered with black soot. I suspected that the plant had been infected with a soft-scale insect that exudes a honeydew substance that breeds sooty mold. However, upon examining the plant, I saw it was severely infested with spider mites. If you moved your houseplants outside for summer, there is a good possibility that they are infested with spider mites.

Give each plant room, and you’ll eat bigger, better vegetables

 

You’ll love persimmons — once you learn the to eat them

Now that I have returned to the Deale Farmers’ Market Thursdays from 3 to 6pm with persimmons, I get lots of questions: What do you do with persimmons? What do they taste like? The persimmons I grow and sell are the Asian type, almost as large as tomatoes and with very few seeds, if any, depending on seasonal conditions. This year, persimmons have more seeds than usual.

Southern Maryland gardens want native yellow river birch

 

But thanks to sycamore anthracnose, they are suffering and won’t fill out until this summer

 

But fireblight will leave them looking burnt

 

It’s Bay-friendly, so it may — or may not — be the lawn you want

 

Don’t welcome them!

If you thought the Japanese beetles (aka ladybugs) were bad last year, get ready for worse this fall, when invading stinkbugs join the Japanese beetles. This is the worst year I have ever witnessed for stinkbugs. Stinkbugs are harmless to humans and pets, but they are a nuisance and difficult to control. They derive their name from the foul odor they release when you squeeze the abdomen. It reminds me of smelly dirty socks with a slightly sweet odor. 

Here’s how to plant for summer and autumn harvest