Q: We were advised to fertilize our bulbs as the foliage starts to emerge in the spring. At a nursery, a salesman told me to use blood meal instead of bulb fertilizer. When I looked at the box, it says to apply directly to soil surface and not on top of mulch. What should I use and how? — Marlene Fellows, email
A: I think you'd be better off with the bulb fertilizer. Bulbs need nitrogen and the bulb fertilizer is 4-6-4 while the bone meal is only 1-15-0. The 6 percent phosphorus level in the fertilizer is fine for bulb growth. Both products work best if applied directly to the soil surface. That's where bacteria and fungi can attack the organic ingredients and thereby release the nutrients the bulbs want. If you don't mind using a chemical fertilizer, you could use a water-soluble powdered product now. It doesn't require soil contact.
Q: I live near Augusta and am growing several different fruit plants. I'm looking to plant a fruit you don't normally see in this area. I was thinking of dragon fruit plant or perhaps kiwi. — Robert Hutchinson, Evans
A: Dragon fruit is a type of cactus; I think it's too cold for it where you live. Kiwi is a good choice, but also consider serviceberry or mayhaw. If you really want something interesting, try medlar, loquat or jujube. The University of Georgia has a nice publication on unusual fruits and nuts at bit.ly/minorfruit.