Ask the gardening expert

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Since my daffodils' leaves long ago have died back, I would like to move them. Do I dig the bulbs and let them dry for a period of time before planting later in the fall?

This is my opinion on the procedure for moving your daffodils: First, dig the bulbs and shake off the soil. Dry/air them in the sun for a few days, then allow them to sit in a single layer in an airy, cool and shady location such as a garage or carport, not a damp basement. Check them periodically during the last of summer-like weather for mold.

If you were not relocating them, there would be nothing to do, other than creating markers to keep from digging and damaging the bulbs.

Here and there in garden centers, I'm beginning to notice they are offering pansies for fall planting. Are they perennials or annuals ? How would I take care of them if they are more like an annual than a perennial? I guess that I would like more information to decide if I would like to plant them.

Pansies are such a cute and colorful addition toward the end of summer and into fall for color. Most gardeners regard them as semi/hardy annuals,

In areas with mild winters, pansies are used as fall bedding plants because they will bloom heavily over a long period of time into late fall and begin again in very early spring. Depending on your local microclimate, they may even bloom all winter, or at least sporadically during mild spells. Pansies resent hot weather and will look awful in a hurry so most gardeners will want to replace them with fresh summer annuals in early spring. Basic care is the same as for most annuals: rich, moist but well drained soil, and regular attention to watering, nutrients and deadheading. If you are adding some in early fall, be sure they are located in full sun and in a protected spot to maximize their blooming season.

I am just starting out with planting trees and I would like to know if it would be possible to plant seeds from fruits (i.e., orange, apple, plum, peach) which would be purchased from the store. If this is possible, how can I get the seeds to sprout?

This question is similar in nature to one I answered earlier this summer, although I think there is enough difference from the earlier question that I will give you my opinion. You can try planting the seeds and see what happens as an experiment. Warm-climate fruits such as oranges can be started in a pot indoors. Use a moist, soilless potting mix, plant seeds so they are barely covered, enclose in a plastic bag to maintain humidity, and place in a bright spot away from direct sunlight. Gentle bottom heat may be helpful. Remove plastic at first sign of sprouting.

Cold-climate fruits such as apples and the stone fruits will often germinate in spring if planted outdoors in the ground or in containers in the fall. The resulting trees, however, in all likelihood will not produce fruit similar in quality to the fruit you started with. The reason for this is that most fruit trees are grafted, meaning a good fruiting top has been attached to a superior set of roots in order to create an overall high-performance plant. Additionally, in many cases, the fruit we eat does not produce viable seed, in which case they would not germinate no matter what you do.

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

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