Ask the gardening expert

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Some plants need to be fertilized in the fall, but I am not sure which ones. Early this past spring, I planted blueberries and strawberries. Should these be fertilized in the fall?

Lawns and annuals ( not perennials) are about the only thing that should be fed in the fall. Fertilizer encourages new growth, and you won't want your plants to begin lush new growth this time of year. Any new growth will not have an opportunity to harden off before cold weather sets in. This new growth will be killed off and you'd need to prune it off in the spring. Don't feed your blueberries or strawberries now — wait until new growth begins in the spring and feed them then.

For my 2014 vegetable garden, I've been thinking about planting seeds in small pots and then transplanting them later as the ground is warmer. Can you please give me some idea how many seeds I should put in each pot? I am planting tomatoes, lettuce, broccoli, zucchini, cucumber, corn, string beans, peppers, watermelon, cantaloupe, pumpkins, eggplant.

A pretty ambitious chore you'll be creating or yourself. Many of these seeds require their own set of temps, soils, light, etc, but who knows, it may turn out just great for you. I'm going to give you my opinion on the matter. I think it will be such a hard job to get all these seeds in their proper growing situation. It would be a lot of work for an experienced gardener, let alone you, an amateur, I wonder if you'll be able to have a producing vegetable garden using this method. I hope you can.

If you are germinating the seeds in individual 2-inch pots, I would suggest using about three seeds per pot, and then after they've sprouted, removing the weaker two seedlings as they grow larger Some exceptions would be lettuce, which you might do better to directly sew into your prepared plot, and beans, which are almost always seeded directly into the garden, as well.

My neighbor is moving, and giving me any and all plants that I want. I am so excited and happy to be able to do this. There are so many plants that I want, but I have to hurry since the house is going on the market very soon. I guess I will just go over and dig out all the plants I want. There are lots of clematis vines, some shrubs and perennials.

I'm thinking of just getting them all moved over here, watering them well, and covering them with a sheet of plastic, then replanting them here in my yard when my husband gets back from a business trip (a week, two at the most). If I make sure they are watered well and covered up, shouldn't they be OK until then?

Wow. This is a scary situation, moving established plants at the hot end of summer weather, then not replanting them immediately? I can't recommend this taking place at all.

A better situation would be to hire someone to help you so you can give them immediate attention. Then if you don't have a nice spot for each plant, don't dig it up. And absolutely don't stockpile the plants, as I think this would be needlessly stressing them to the point of terrible plant loss. It's better to leave them, and see them lost to you, than to have them die under a tarp here in late August.


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