Q: Could you please identify this vining plant that grows on our chain-link fence? It is very invasive, as it originally started two doors down and over the years eventually made its way across our neighbor's fence and onto ours. We all know to cut it back as needed. Are the berries edible? It has lovely fall color when conditions are right, but not this year. — Denice Heiser, West Fargo.
FARGO -- Did you know scientists are discovering that trees communicate with each other? They aren’t necessarily gossiping about you behind your back, and they probably aren’t sharing a joke about two trees walking into a bar, but researchers are finding fascinating ways that trees are talking among themselves.
FARGO — The autumn of 2018 will go down in history as one of the more difficult for end-of-season yard and garden work. Our own garden has been too wet to dig potatoes from the gooey clay. Instead, I’m waiting for them to float to the surface. I wonder if Martha Stewart has a recipe for herbed potatoes a la mud.
Q: The photo shows my chrysanthemum this fall. Should it be cut back now that it froze, or leave it until spring to clean it up? This was the second year for it and I was not sure it would survive the winter, but it did! — Bonnie Johnson.
“Close your books and take out a sheet of paper.” I haven’t heard the words for decades, but I remember vividly how the teacher’s chilling words struck fear into the hearts of us poor, unsuspecting (and probably unprepared) students when a surprise quiz was announced. It’s easier to laugh about it when you’re no longer a student.
Q: Can you tell what type of pumpkin or gourd the greenish-gray one at the front of the photo is? I planted seeds for the gourds behind it and don't know where the gray or pink ones came from. Any clues? Are they edible? — Jody Bendel. A: Both the gray-green and pink pumpkin-shaped items are edible heirloom squash, and the gray-green is likely the Jarrahdale variety. Gourd seed is usually a mixture of shapes and colors, and sometimes squash or pumpkin seed is inadvertently mixed in by the supplier.
FARGO — Did you notice the heavy crop of seeds on the region's trees this summer and fall? Elm seeds fell by the millions this summer at our home in Fargo. People around the region shared photographs of buckets filled with acorns and walnuts as trees produced bumper crops of seeds and nuts. Folklore says when trees produce an overabundance of seed, it forecasts a cold, snowy winter. Is this true, or is it an old wives' tale?
FARGO — A headline contest would have been fun this week. Readers could submit titles like "Take it or leaf it," "Leaf well enough alone," "Leaf no trace" or "Don't leaf me this way." What kind of leaf-raker are you? Do you fastidiously sweep every leaf from the lawn as it falls, or do you let them accumulate until a stiff wind blows your leaves in the direction of a neighbor who enjoys yardwork? Raking autumn leaves is a Norman Rockwell-like tradition. Or alternatively, letting the lawnmower suck up leaves into the bagging attachment for removal.
Q: Can you help me figure out what these are? I thought they were tomatoes even though I didn't remember buying yellow ones this year. They're a bit heavier than a tomato, full of flat seeds, and kind of tasteless and punky inside. — Ann Prestrude.
Q: I should have listened to your advice about thinning apple trees. The main horizontal limb on our Haralson apple tree broke halfway through under the heavy load of apples. I mowed around that tree so many times thinking I should thin those apples, but always got sidetracked on another project. — Jody Bendel.