Now is a great time to plant cool-season vegetables

Cool-season vegetables, like broccoli, need several weeks of warm days before cooler weather arrives. CONTRIBUTED BY WALTER REEVES
Cool-season vegetables, like broccoli, need several weeks of warm days before cooler weather arrives. CONTRIBUTED BY WALTER REEVES

Credit: Walter Reeves

Credit: Walter Reeves

Q: When should I plant collards? Donna N., Decatur

A: I asked this of my all-knowing gardening friend Wallace Nelms a few years ago. He told me that he waited to put in his plants or seed until the night temperatures are turning a little bit cooler but warm afternoons are still in the forecast. Mid-August to mid-September is a fine time to plant cool-season vegetables.

Q: We put out bagged brown mulch a month ago. It was not pine bark or cypress. My wife was planting coneflowers and raked the mulch back to discover powdery white stuff all on the mulch and the ground. N.L. Smith, email

A: I would be willing to bet she found strands of fungal mycelium. These are put out by harmless fungi as they naturally decompose the mulch. In a sense, the mycelium tendrils are the “roots” of the fungus. There is no need to do anything. Fungi that decompose mulch do not attack healthy plants.

Q: I have planters of scouring rush horsetail that make a privacy fence along my patio. This past winter, I cut them down to the dirt and fertilized them, hoping they would become fuller. Instead, they grew back weakly and I now have brown horsetail stems mixed with green ones. What should I do? Katrina Blackley, Atlanta

A: My inclination would be to clip off all the brown stems and then fertilize with houseplant fertilizer. Horsetail, Equisetum hyemale, is vigorous enough to be invasive in damp places. I’m reasonably confident your plants will recover. If any rhizomes are alive, the fertilizer should force them to grow. If nothing happens, you’ll have to buy new plants.

Q: My 3-year-old yellow angel trumpet has plenty of plant but very few blooms. It’s usually covered with blooms! I fertilize with a cup of 10-10-10 around the trunk approximately every three weeks. Joe Cagle, Woodstock

A: I think you’re over-fertilizing. A cup of fertilizer every three weeks seems like a lot. Very vigorous growth, like you have, will inhibit flower bud formation on many plants.

Q: Our zoysia grass has gone nuts this year, invading the garden beds mercilessly. Can I use stone edging? Linda Corr, Fulton County

A: The best solution is a continuous barrier made of metal or plastic. Edging material is easy to find at garden centers. The edging should be installed 6 inches deep with 2 inches showing above ground. Be sure the top edge is easily visible. You’ll need to inspect every week or two to make sure no grass has grown over it.

Listen to Walter Reeves’ segments at 6:35 a.m. on “Green and Growing with Ashley Frasca” Saturday mornings on 95.5 WSB. Visit his website,, follow him on Twitter @walterreeves, on Pinterest, or join his Facebook Fan Page at for more garden tips.

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