Ask the gardening expert

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Can you pull up and replant tomato plants? I planted them in the middle of May 2012. I have to move and I would like to take my tomato plants with me.

That's a new one to me. I've never heard of someone trying this.

I think if you would remove the word "pull up" and change it to "carefully dig up," I'd feel better about it. To begin, take a good-sized ball of soil around the root system portion of the plant. Place it in a big, flat box to carefully transport it, then make sure it's re-planted as soon as possible. You may stand a chance of saving it. However, I think it would go into transplant shock. It could take it many weeks to recover. I wonder if it would be worth your trouble. It may be better to start over.

If you do decide to do all of this careful work and move the plant, make sure you water it carefully for a good while, but do not add any fertilizer to it until you see healthy new growth on the plant.

Last week, I attempted to visit the Master Gardener office and found no one there. Are there certain days that I would stand a better chance of finding someone there to help me find some answers to my gardening questions?

I'm sorry to made a trip in vain. Yes, there are days that master gardeners are busy other places. But we feel the answer clinic is a priority and always strive to serve the public as best we can. In this day and age, it seems government offices are going through a tight budget period, and we at WSU Extension are no exception. The master gardener plant clinic hours have been adjusted in the hopes that it is still a timely and efficient way to greet the public. Here are the location and hours as listed on the website: The Heritage Farm WSU Extension Plant Clinic office, 1919 N.E. 78th St., is open to walk-in clients 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday and 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday. Calls and emails placed before or after hours are handled promptly the following day. The phone number is 360-397-6060, ext. 5711. Questions and photos of plant problems can be sent to mganswerclinic@clark.wa.gov.

I received a beautiful cyclamen for my birthday, it's so beautiful that I want to keep it. Would you suggest I plant it outside?

Well, it's not really bred to be an outdoor plant. But you might be able to keep it the rest of summer and into early fall if you find a protected, dappled shady spot and remember to water it. Be careful not to get water on the corm/bulb.

Years ago, I saw an article in Sunset Magazine telling of a gardener's success with growing a florist cyclamen outdoors in Seattle area. I tried it. I planted it in a highly protected spot behind my house. It looked pretty good all summer and fall. It made it though the very mild winter, but never looked nice again.

Would I recommend you do this? Not really. Enjoy it in the house as long as you can. Then again, it might be fun to experiment.

Celeste Lindsay is a WSU-certified master gardener. Send questions to mslindsay8@gmail.com.

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