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Behind the Barn with Farmer John

Published: May 25, 2010 8:46 AM

 

Readers share ideas

To GF of Tiffin — Do not hoe or cultivate too closely to potato plants or you may injure or harm growing potatoes. My suggestion would be to mulch around potatoes to keep down the weeds or hand weed around plants.

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Dear Farmer John, Could you please tell me what to do to keep a climbing rose going? My roses only last one year, then die or they live and never bloom again. Thank you for your column, I look forward to it. PM of Cambridge

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Dear PM, You failed to tell me if there were other symptoms, like spots on leaves, leaves dying, apparent wounds on canes of roses, etc. Your problem could be a soil deficiency, I would remove the soil where you normally plant the bush and replace with topsoil or a mixture of sand, peat and potting soil. You can make a lime/sulfur solution using one part lime to nine parts sulfur. Once mixed, you can use it starting in early spring before leaves come out, after leaves are out and then dust plant with some sulfur — work some into soil around plant. Then resume spraying with one to nine spray at regular two-week intervals during summer. This should work, but if not, write me with more information. If any readers have conquered this problem, let me know what you did and I will pass it on.

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Dear Farmer John, Every year I have a problem with some of my tomatoes. They get a green top that doesn’t ripen. Why? What can I do about it? Thank you for any help you can offer. DM of Winesburg

Dear DM, I think what you are experiencing is what some call “green shoulders.” People often think tomatoes ripen because of the suns rays but actually they ripen from heat or warmth (on or off the vine, though I think a better taste if left on the vine as long as possible). Green shoulders is actually caused when tomatoes get too much sunlight, often when the foliage is thin (early in season) or when plants are staked or foliage is thinned (as some gardeners do). You can avoid the green tops or shoulders with tomato cages (foliage covers fruit more) or when tomatoes are shielded from the sun by foliage (later in season) or artificial shade. When foliage is thin, you can help with problem by covering plants with a shade cloth, just till foliage covers fruit. 

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From A of Newcomerstown — Early baked potatoes: Melt a stick of butter in 9x12 pan. Take potatoes, wash, slice each potato several times almost through, but not completely through. Then roll in butter. When pan is full, bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Sprinkle over salt, pepper, bread crumbs and spices to taste. Then bake for 35 minutes or till tender. When done take out and if so desired sprinkle with grated cheese. Great with a salad.

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From K of Millersburg — Any tips on how to plant a honeysuckle? Does it need sun or shade? Thanks, appreciate your column. (Dear K, Plant in good soil in full sun and most like support. I like to plant smaller flowers around base and a honeysuckle seems to enjoy the little friends. FJ)

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Dear Farmer John, Do roses make good houseplants? Can I stunt a rose bush like Bonsai stunts trees? Your column is interesting. VC, Fostoria

Dear VC, Roses normally do not make good houseplants, though a few dwarf varieties have been taken indoors as soon as the soil allows in the spring and put back outdoors after they bloom. If you try this, you must water daily with warm water and watch for pests. No, sorry, no Bonsai roses.

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To D of Woodsfield — Yes, you can bake corn. Take sweet corn or one can of canned corn. Mix with 1 cup milk, 2 tablespoons butter, 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 beaten eggs, 1/2 teaspoon salt and dash of pepper. Put in buttered baking dish and bake at 250 degrees for about an hour. Any readers have other recipes, I will be glad to share if they send to me. FJ

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Dear Farmer John, For those who don’t like oats, making pancakes or waffles, replace half of the mix with 100 percent whole grain quick oats uncooked. Then add whatever fruit you like, you can’t tell the difference and get the health benefits of the oats. 

Tip — To keep celery from spoiling, wrap it in aluminum foil. When I did this, it was the first time I got to use the whole bunch before it spoiled. Look forward to your column every week. JP, Kansas

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Dear JP, Thank you and all the readers who wrote this week ... you all are great, so proud of you all.

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Dear Farmer John, I have a question on which is the better water purifier. We have the R/O system, but I have heard of the Kangen Water which is an alkaline water. Has anyone heard of this? We will be moving and I would like to hear from (readers or you). SF of Fredericksburg

Dear SF, I will let the readers’ help you on this topic and print their answers in a few weeks.

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To C of Summerfield — My choice for kraut would be any late large firm cabbage, such as flat Dutch, but if we had a lot of early cabbage we have made kraut from it too. Maybe readers will disagree with me, but if kraut is made properly and left in crock long enough, the cabbage used was not as important. It is all good, summer or fall made.

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Next week gardening without chemicals — how to handle pests in garden? Watch for it. Also NH of Nashville would like a good punch recipe suitable for a graduation party and TR of New Concord is looking for carrot cookie recipe. Have a great week and if you can, help a reader or have a question tip or something to share to help another reader, write to: Farmer John, P.O. Box 234, Groveport, OH 43125. God bless you!

 


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