Q. Why won’t my cucumbers turn green. I have huge yellow cucumbers. Are they edible? thank you, Kathy M. , Illinois
A. There are two possibilities here. If they start out green and then turn yellow you waited too long to harvest and the cucumbers are over ripe. Pick them earlier. The seeds will be smaller and the fruit will be less bitter. If they are never green and always yellow then you may have been slipped a yellow cucumber variety (or this variety was nearby in the field and crossed in at the source). These varieties (like Lemon) produce yellow skins. In addition there are is an outside chance they have a virus which prevents chlorophyll (green pigment) from forming in the skin of the fruit. Overwatering has been said to cause this but usually you see some problems with the plant itself which you did not mention. Since you did mention they were very large it is likely that you have the first scenario. Edible yes…pallatable.. not so much.
Live Long & Garden,
Peter (AKA Horticulture Guy)
Q. Your web site is very informative and inspiring. I try to follow your advice as much as I can. We had good year so far..specially in green house..lots of cabbage, cauliflower, salad, lots of peas and lots of tomatoes are coming…My question is I have lots of weeds in my garden.. what I used to do is to collect all weeds and mulch it with my lawn mower and mulcher.. and put it back into garden..Now I think I am putting back the weed seeds as well.. how I can prevent those seeds from growing.. or how to kill the seeds naturally before I put em back again..?
Thanks again… ~Vik ,Snohomish, WA
A. To kill the seeds naturally you will need to compost the weeds. There are two ways that you can compost – low and slow (sounds like Ramone the Chevy Impala on the movie Cars – my son is an avid fan) or high and fast. Low and slow means low temperature and maybe a year to process the compost. This will not remove the weed seeds or bits that may resprout. You want high temperature (hot) which produces a final composted product in a month or so. This is the process they use at the LRI landfill (Pierce County Recycling, Composting, & Disposal) where all the yardwaste is processed. Low and slow is much easier as you just pile up your garden debris and turn it a few times – low key. To get it to go to high temperatures (120°F–150°F) you have to monitor the types of waste you put in (balance of green or nitrogen rich products and brown – containing carbon like wood chips or brown leaves). You also have to turn it regularly because the microorganisms that produce heat need oxygen. These temperatures will kill weed seeds and other structures that allow the weeds to reproduce Rather than go into any more detail here I will refer you to a WSU extension booklet which you can download on composting.
Live Long & Garden
Peter – HG
Q. I have 2 rhodies that both have leaves that are looking chlorotic with leaves that are yellowing between the veins. I have fertilized like I should, I have bark mulch on them and they still dont have the dark green they should. I did do a soil test with a PH tester and it says its too alkaline but I have no idea what I can do to get the soil more acidic. We have been having above normal rain and have been running 11 degrees below normal temps with temps only getting into the low 50′s.
Can you offer any suggestions on why the rhodies are doing this, is it because the temps are below normal with little sun so far this year? I have read that coffee grounds can be good at increasing soil acidity but how much and how often? Also Im confused on peat moss, some say it doesnt help, others say it does. We ony have access to store bought peat moss, would it help mixing it with compost and applying that?
Thanks in advance for any help. Sandra in Juneau, Alaska
A. This is a common issue called “interveinal chlorosis” in horticulture parlance (the spell checker doesn’t even recognize those words!). You are on the right track as it is a deficiency of iron and/or manganese (most often iron) and low pH can make these nutrients (called micronutrients as they are needed in smaller quantities than Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium (Potash)). As I have mentioned in prior posts coffee grounds are great for organic matter but don’t alter the pH of the soil enough to make a difference (the actual coffee you drink would do much more). So you have two options. The first short term solution is to apply a special type of fertilizer that protects nutrients from the effect of high soil pH (through a process of chelating the minerals) like Miracle Grow’s MirAcid. This does not change the soil pH but rather delivers the necessary nutrients in a protected formulation. The long term solution is to drop the pH of the soil using a soil acidifier – which is usually made up of elemental Sulfur. Follow directions and bring your pH down to pH 5.5. That should free up iron and manganese if they are present in the soil of course (they usually are since the plant requirements are so low).
Excessive Rainfall can leach out nutrients like iron and low soil temperatures can slow down microbial activity which is essential to the breakdown or organic nutrients. But I would still get you pH down and then see if this solves your problem. I would start with the miracid or similar product that has chelated micronutrients to get them greened up quickly and also lower the pH.
Live long & Garden!
Q. I tested the soil @ my Azalea: pH-7.0 Nitrogen- Low, no # given Phos- High, no # Pot- Medium, no # Coffee Grounds suggested for pH and Nitro. correction. What who you suggest to correct ALL issues or where can I find out? Thanks for your Time and Assistance! I appreciate it! Monte Cardwell Wichita KS 67213
A. Hello Monte – Coffee grounds probably won’t help lower the pH much unless you are dumping the coffee with the grounds. But they will help some with Nitrogen and a good source of organic matter but t may not be sufficient if your readings are low. If you are looking for fertilizer follow the lead of your soil test and go with a fertilizer that has a N-P-K ratio (those three numbers on the bags showing the percentage of each nutrient K being for potassium)of approximately 3-1-2. Or apply a nitrogen based fertilizer like urea or blood meal and a potash fertilizer like Muriate Of Potash. To adjust the pH I would use Sulfur soil amendment (azaleas would prefer a pH around 5.5) - Alternately you could also try a chelated fertilizer like Miracid – which contrary to what you might think – does not lower the pH but protects the nutrients from being affected by a high pH (through chelation which comes from the Latin for claw).
Hope that helps – HG
My students, staff and I are gearing up for the South Puget Sound Community College’s Horticulture Program Plant Sale:
For those of you who are in the Puget Sound region here is more information:
The Horticulture Program through the Plant Production & Marketing class will be holding the 38th Annual Mother’s Day Plant Sale on Friday and Saturday May 11th & 12th from 9am to 4pm both days. The sale is up at the greenhouses (Building 30 on the college map). Ed Hume will be joining us from 11am – 12pm on Saturday to answer questions.