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Hibiscus plants can be propagated by cuttings

Q. I have a beautiful yellow hibiscus plant that I want to multiply to make a hedge. Can I propagate this plant by taking cuttings, and how long would it take?

–C.I., Fox Hill

A. Hibiscus is easily propagated from cuttings. An eight to 12-inch stem section with about two to three leaves left on the stem section makes a good cutting. Dip your cutting in Rootone Powder and bury it two to three inches in a seed-starting medium. Keep the cuttings moist and they should root in less than two months. However, depending on the variety, you may find that air-layering(mossing)the branches will produce faster and sturdier plants.

Q. I am a young Bahamian who is interested in establishing a vegetable garden, can you tell me when I should start planting tomatoes, peppers, cabbage and beans.

–I.R., Westward Villas

A. Now is the time to start your vegetable garden. Buy varieties that are disease and nematode resistant. When buying seedlings make sure that they are not too large. Older seedlings may be harder to transplant.

Q. The new leaves on one of our Queen Palms are growing out brown and frayed, can you tell me what is happening to this palm tree and what I should do to treat this tree?

–A.Y., Sea Breeze Estates

A. From your description of the problem, your plant appears to be suffering from a Manganese deficiency known as”frizzle top.”The problem can be corrected by applying Manganese Sulfurate to the soil around the palm tree. Several applications will be necesary. It will not restore the frayed leaves, but new leaves should be lush and green. To prevent further reoccurrence, you should switch to a palm fertilizer that contains minor elements including Manganese.

Q. I have two compost piles in my backyard and a friend who visited me recently said that rats are attracted to compost piles and I may be infested with rats. Can you tell me if this is true and what I should do to maintain my compost?

–D.W., Gladstone Road

A. It depends on what you are putting in your compost pile that would attract rats. Avoid putting meat scraps, fat, bones, grease and dairy products in your compost pile, as these items attract rats and create a nuisance. Kitchen waste such as vegetables and food scraps, coffee grounds and eggshells may be added to your pile. They should be incorporated into the pile immediately to avoid odor problems.

Planting guide for March

Vegetables:Beets, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, corn, celery, collard, cucumber, eggplant, onion, parsley, peas, pumpkin, peppers, potatoes, radish, spinach, Swiss chard, tomato, turnip and watermelon.

Flowers:Ageratum, alyssum, African daisy, aster, begonia, balsam, calenduala, candyturf, celosia, carnation, cornflower, dianthus, delphinium, gaillardia, gerber, hollyhock, larkspur, lupine, marigold, nasturtium, pansy, petunia, phlox, salvia, shasta daisy, snapdragon, stock, sweet pea, sweet William, verbena and vinca.

Grasses:Bahia, centipede and zoysia.

For help with your garden problems, write to: Garden Korner, P.O. Box N-3011, Nassau.

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