A: First, a gentle correction: Your plant is an American agave, Agave americana, sometimes called a century plant because of the length of time it takes to flower. Usually, the flower spike grows 10 feet to 20 feet tall. It’s a spectacular sight, but the mother plant will die several weeks after flowering, to be replaced by “pups” that emerge around it. I don’t see much damage to the leaves of your agave, so I don’t think it has been permanently harmed. Many gardeners in rural areas have had small trees rubbed vigorously and killed by deer trying to remove the spongy tissue that covers their new antlers each fall. To prevent deer rubbing on it in the future, drive four 6-foot lengths of steel rebar 2 feet into the ground equidistantly around the agave, thus surrounding it with a square formed by the rebar. Wrap the square with chicken wire, using short pieces of steel wire to keep it in place. Deer will be able to rub on the rough chicken wire without damaging your plant.
Q: On Sept. 4, I bought three ‘on the vine’ tomatoes at my local grocery. I used two and left the third on the counter. As it sat there week after week showing no indication of decay, it became a challenge to see exactly how long it would last. The first indication of decay started Nov. 7. What modifications are being made to produce tomatoes which last at least three months? Judy Abbott, email