What varieties of asparagus should I plant?
Check our publication, Recommended Vegetable Cultivars for Maryland Home Gardens, available online or by calling us. For asparagus, we recommend Jersey Giant, Jersey King and Jersey Knight. These male hybrids offer high production and disease resistance.
Asparagus plants produce for 12 years to 15 years, so prepare the sunny bed well, incorporating lots of compost before planting. Inspect your asparagus roots before planting for insects or disease symptoms.
Asparagus can be started by seed but most gardeners start with asparagus crowns that have roots attached. The crowns and roots should be fleshy with visible buds. Roots that are totally dry or black and soggy are not satisfactory.
We have an odd bird problem. An oriole flies from a bush and slams himself into our living-room window all day long. We run him off, but in a few minutes he's back! This happened with an oriole two summers ago and after several months he went away. What can we do to stop this bird? It doesn't have a nest in the bush, it just sits on a branch.
You would think our feathered friends would learn after the first few hits, but they see a bird reflected in the glass, chase the trespasser off their territory and can't figure out why it keeps coming back! Cardinals, in particular, are notorious for this behavior, especially in spring when territories are being established.
Try to make your window less reflective by pulling drapes or taping a sheet of newspaper over the spot temporarily. Pruning back the branch where the bird perches may be enough to change the angle and eliminate the bird's reflection. A great help for bird and wildlife problems is the Wildlife / Natural Resources hot line at 877-463-6497.
Jon Traunfeld, regional specialist, and Ellen Nibali, horticulture consultant, work at the University of Maryland Cooperative Extension's Home and Garden Information Center. The center offers Maryland residents free gardening information and answers to plant and pest questions. Call its hot line at 800-342-2507 (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-1 p.m.) or e-mail questions to www.hgic.umd.edu. (You can also download or order publications and diagnose plant problems online.)
1. Start tomato, eggplant and flower transplants indoors under cool white fluorescent bulbs. Keep bulbs 1 inch to 2 inches from plant tops and don't over- water.
2. Overseed thin turf with tall fescue seed at the rate of 3 pounds to 4 pounds per 1,000 square feet. Apply a starter fertilizer and water seeded areas thoroughly twice a day (if no rainfall) to promote strong, early growth.