Incorporate manure into soil right away

Backyard Q&A

November 15, 1998

Q.I have permission to haul some well-composted sheep and horse manure from a local farm. Can I just let it sit on top of the soil and work it in before planting next spring?

A. You should incorporate the manure with a spade or roto-tiller as soon as possible. Manure left on top of the ground is prone to be moved by rainfall. Also, some of the nutrients in the exposed manure will be leached out.

If incorporation is out of the question because the soil is too wet, cover the pile with a tarp and work the manure in next spring.

Q. Two of my African violets are doing terribly. Leaves are cupping and turning a bronze color, and the new growth is small or stunted. Nothing has changed as far as watering and light are concerned. What could the problem be?

A. Cyclamen mites are the most probable cause. These tiny pests suck the life juices from leaves and produce the symptoms you describe. No available insecticides will give good control. The only solution is to throw out the infested plants and thoroughly clean the pots and saucers with a solution that is 1 part bleach to 9 parts water.

Q. I have raspberry plants that fruit lightly in June and more heavily in late summer. They are a tangled mess and I never know which canes to remove each year. Is there any easier way to manage these plants?

A. If your fruits are red, you probably have the 'Heritage' cultivar, a fall-bearer. If you are willing to forgo the small June crop, you can simply cut your plants to the ground in December or pTC January, removing and disposing of all canes. The canes that emerge from the crown next spring will produce a large late-summer and fall crop.

This Week's Checklist

* If you'd like to become a "marshland master gardener" next spring, contact your local extension office now for information on training dates and fees.

* Drain all garden hoses, roll them up and store indoors.

* To avoid freeze cracks, turn off water going to outdoor faucets.

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: 11/15/98

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