Poinsettia blossom

Getting poinsettias, cactuses to bloom

Question: I saved my poinsettia from last Christmas by moving it outdoors for the summer. This fall I brought it inside before the weather got cold. What should I do to get the poinsettia to bloom again? What about Christmas cactus? E.R.

Bee balm

Growing bee balm from seed

Question: While attending a backyard event at a friends this summer, I admired a beautiful patch of red blooms. I was not familiar with these flowers and commented on their beauty to my friend. She told me they were bee balm and hers had self-seeded. Several weeks later she dropped off a container of the spent blooms. If you could advise when and how I should plant I would be grateful. I have no idea what to do with these shriveled red flower heads. Thanks for any help you might be able to send my way.

apples on a tree

Harvesting Apples

Question: I just moved and the yard has a number of different apple trees. It looks like we will have lots of apples but I don’t know what kind they are so don’t know when the apples should be picked. Do I need to know the type of apple to know when it is ready for picking? Are there any guidelines for knowing when apples are ripe? C.B.


Black-Eyed Susan Leaf Diseases

Question: Am I the only person who is especially plagued with fungal-type diseases this year? I have powdery mildew on lots of plants, but also a disease or diseases that I noticed last year on my black-eyed susans. I dislike using chemicals in the yard as we have many birds and butterflies. What can I do about my black-eyed susans? M.S.

raised garden with plants

Vegetable Garden Beginner

Question: I’m planning on putting in a new 20 x 40 foot vegetable garden this spring. I’ve never gardened so don’t know very much about what I’m doing. I have nice large spot in my backyard with full sunlight, on a gentle slope. I’m planning on getting compost from the municipal compost site and tilling it in this spring. If the gardening goes well this year, I plan to put a raised bed garden on the same spot in a couple of years. Are there good books or websites you recommend? Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. F.M.


Spring Yard Clean-Up

Question: It looks like the weather is finally warming up and I can’t wait to be outside. What can I do in my garden and yard? A.P.


Cold Frames

Question: I’m so tired of winter and can’t wait to start gardening. I’ve thinking about buying a cold frame to grow lettuce this spring. Do you think it is worth purchasing and what can I grow in a cold frame? E.L.


Growing Lavender

Question: I love lavender and would like to grow it in my garden. I’ve heard many types of lavender won’t grow here. Do you have suggestions on which lavender would be best for Kenosha? I’d like to try growing it from seed. J.H.