Q: I have an area where I want to put caladiums amongst tulips and daffodils. Can I leave them in the ground all year and expect a nice show? Darrell Doggett, Smyrna
A: Caladiums rarely survive winter cold in the ground outdoors. I know gardeners who dig them each fall and store them in a warm, dry place for winter but my experience is that stored caladiums don’t put out many leaves until mid-June. You’ll get more leaves sooner by planting caladium corms when the ground is warm in early May. Caladiums like regular fertilization. Feed every six weeks with landscape fertilizer.
Q: Early this spring our figs were leafing and had several small fruits. Now, they have lots of large green leaves but all the figs we saw earlier are gone! There are no signs of new fruit. Catherine Caubet, Newnan
A: It is common for figs to produce a small crop of breba fruit in spring. These early figs emerge on twigs that grew last fall. Sometimes these fruit ripen and sometimes they fall off. Yours simply fell off and ground-living creatures ate them. Your main crop of fruit will come on new growth that occurs this spring. It’s a little early to see small figs but it will happen soon.
Q: We are moving out in the country and I’d like to start a vegetable garden. Our property is on a sunny former cow pasture. I’d like to grow corn, squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, okra, and maybe potatoes. Any suggestions on how I should lay them out in the garden? Alex Mershon, Pike County
A: You obviously want to plant tall things behind short things so that your vegetables get the most sunshine. Years ago, retired Extension vegetable expert Wayne McLaurin came up with a nice garden plan for Georgia. You can find it, plus other University of Georgia garden tips at bit.ly/GAvegetable.
Q: How do carpenter bees make a perfect half-inch circular hole without a compass, ruler or drill bit? Wink Weinberg, email
A: Carpenter bees are remarkable non-tool-using insects! They use their mandibles to grab and pull up small splinters, which are discarded behind them as they penetrate a wood surface. The holes are not perfectly round but they appear so to the naked eye. After the female bee has tunneled for approximately one inch, she changes direction to bore at a right angle to the original entranceway. As she progresses down a plank, she makes chambers on either side of the main tunnel.Each chamber receives an egg and a ball of pollen to feed the larva when it hatches. Each chamber is sealed with particles of wood. Bees may use the same tunnel for several years. The best way to stop them is to squirt insecticide in the hole and seal it with caulk.
Listen to Walter Reeves Saturday mornings on News 95.5 FM and AM750 WSB. Visit his website, www.walterreeves.com, follow him on Twitter @walterreeves, on Pinterest, or join his Facebook Fan Page at bit.ly/georgiagardener for more garden tips.