Question and Answer
Q. We have been looking for Black Crowder Pea seeds and Knuckle Purple beans. Do you know where we can get them? -- Delores Ferree, Sellersburg, Ind.
A. Both are available from the Vegetable Seed Warehouse http://www.vegetableseedwarehouse.com or from Jeffrey's Seed Company http://www.jeffreys-seed.com. Or call 1-800-283-SEED to find a dealer near you.
Q. Can you suggest something I can spray on my garden to keep the weeds down? I am surrounded by cornfields and weeds. Thanks. -- Gene Rinderle, Wheatland, Ind.
A. The best offense is a good defense! You'll be well served by mulching with a layer of black plastic mulch or a heavy layer of organic material to keep weed seeds from germinating.
Preemergent herbicides are effective if applied before weed seeds germinate. There are some labeled for use on many vegetable crops, but none are safe for all vegetables. Follow the directions carefully. You cannot directly seed garden plants into soil treated with a preemergent herbicide, so use these herbicides around established plants, transplants or after germination of seeded crops.
After weeds have germinated, regain control by pulling, tilling or hoeing. A scuffle, or action hoe, works well where mulch is thin. This tool has a flat blade on the bottom of a handle-shaped loop of metal. It provides a relatively easy way of slicing the tops off plants, which eventually starves the roots.
You can also spray actively growing weeds in an ornamental garden with a nonselective postemergent herbicide. If you contact green plant tissue, you will kill the plant, so use care and follow label instructions.
Q. My property is wooded and filled with honeysuckle. The fragrance is nice, but I recently learned these are considered invasive plants. Should I remove them? How do I go about doing so? -- Allen Camilla, Evansville, Ind.
A. Exotic bush honeysuckles leaf out earlier and go dormant later than many other shrubs. In doing so, tree seedlings and herbaceous plants are severely reduced. An Indiana woodland without honeysuckle has a good chance of supporting a variety of wildflowers. Once it is overrun with honeysuckle, there will be few plants growing on the ground level.
There are several methods of removal. All require persistence. Formulations of glyphosate (brand name Roundup) have been used as foliar sprays or cut stump sprays and paints with varying degrees of success. Glyphosate is a non-selective herbicide that kills both grasses and broad-leaved plants, so be careful about over spraying. For cut stump treatments, 20-25 percent solutions of glyphosate can be applied to the outer ring (phloem) of the cut stem, according to Nature Conservancy property managers. Two percent solutions of glyphosate can be used for foliar treatments. Applications should be made to the foliage late in the growing season and to the cut stumps from late summer through the dormant season The subsequent flush of seedlings following all herbicide treatments must also be controlled.
Honeysuckle can also be repeatedly pruned to the ground or mechanically removed. Small seedlings (12 inches) are surprisingly easy to remove in the spring. Larger shrubs require a bit more work. Reproduction is almost exclusively by seed, so be vigilant about removing seedlings after you've cleared your property of existing plants.