Relax! Plant invader is not a wicked weed

GARDEN Q&A

May 24, 2008|By Ellen Nibali and Jon Traunfeld

Can you identify whether this is a weed or flower? (Photo sent through HGIC's Web site.) It looks like that invasive Canadian thistle. I'm afraid to wait any longer because that stuff takes over gardens! This plant is about to have a single large bloom.

Happy news. You have a perennial poppy. It will probably be red or orange, though there are a few other colors, such as pink or white.

Because of arthritis, I need to garden differently. Got any ideas? Can I grow vegetables in pots? Are tomato plants too big for pots?

Vegetables and herbs can flourish in pots. For salad greens, try a new idea in home gardening: the salad table. With this simple item, you can harvest greens from April to November. Our publication Grow Your Own Greens With Salad Tables & Salad Boxes explains how to build and plant one.

Another handy publication, Container Vegetable Gardening: Healthy Harvest from Small Spaces, lists what size pot works for each type of herb and vegetable. A full-size tomato plant needs a 4- to 5-gallon pot. A dwarf-type tomato can get by with a 1- to 3-gallon pot.

Checklist

Do not prune off the tops of shrubs or trees when you transplant them. The plants need all their leaves to build up their root system.

Ellen Nibali, a horticulture consultant, works at Maryland Cooperative Extension's Home and Garden Information Center, and Jon Traunfeld is the director of the Home and Garden Information Center. The center offers Maryland residents free gardening information. Call the center's help line at 800-342-2507 or e-mail plant and pest questions through the Send a Question feature at hgic.umd.edu.

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