Leftover garden pasticides are hazardous wastes

Backyard Q&A

October 18, 1998

Q. My wife and kids have persuaded me to give up using ZTC pesticides on our lawn and in the vegetable garden. What should I do with all the partially used containers of pesticides I've accumulated? My brother will take some of them, but they've been in our shed for three to five years and I don't know if they still work.

A.Contact your city or county office of recycling or your local landfill to find out about sites for dropping off household hazardous waste.

Pesticides do lose their effectiveness over time, especially when stored at very high or very low temperatures. Call the manufacturer for specific information. The phone number should be on the label.

Q.I planted a late crop of kale, collards and mustard greens in August and want to know if they will survive through the winter. And is it true that the greens get sweeter with cold weather?

A.Whether your vegetables will survive the winter depends on the length and severity of winter cold snaps, the location of your garden and whether you protect your plants. Mustard is the most sensitive to cold temperatures. Full-size kale and collard plants can take temperatures down to 10 degrees.

Plants that are protected by buildings, shrubs or trees will last longer than those that are not. Covering your greens with a floating row cover also will extend their life. Plants that over-winter will probably bolt - go to seed - in early spring.

As for whether greens get sweeter in cold weather, the starches in greens are converted to sugars with cool fall temperatures. So yes, the plants do get sweeter.

This week's checklist

Plant garlic cloves 4 inches deep and 6 inches apart in fertile soil. Mulch heavily with leaves after the plants emerge.

Cut back dahlias and cannas and lift them out of the ground. Store in an unheated basement or garage until next planting season.

Make your second application of nitrogen on your lawn: 1 pound of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of fescue or bluegrass lawn.

After leaves fall, apply a dormant oil to trees suffering from scale insect infestations.

Garden tips are provided by the Home and Garden Information Center of the Cooperative Extension Service of the University of Maryland. For additional information on these questions, or if you have questions of your own, call the center's hot line at 800-342-2507, or visit its Web site at www.agnr.umd.edu/users/hgic.

Pub Date: 10/18/98

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