Do you know your seeds and bugs?

Shauna Dob­bie has some pointed ques­tions for you. She’s here to clear up a few mis­un­der­stand­ings and prop­a­gate a few gar­den truths. Test your knowl­edge by an­swer­ing true or false to the fol­low­ing ques­tions.

Ontario Gardener Magazine - - LOCAL DIRT -

1. Seed­less wa­ter­mel­ons are grown from seed.

2. Pack­ets of seed left over from last spring are def­i­nitely no good now.

3. When you start seeds in­doors too early, the plants get long and spindly be­cause they haven’t got enough soil.

4. To get your seeds to ger­mi­nate faster, sow them in rich soil

5. Pick your pan­sies be­fore they’re spent if you want them to re­bloom. 6. Petu­nias lose their scent after they’ve been open a few days be­cause they’re get­ting old.

7. Bees are cru­cial to the pro­duc­tion of one-third of our food.

8. Pe­ony buds won’t open if there are no ants to clean the sticky nec­tar off them.

9. Ants at­tack lady­bugs.

10. If you see a lit­tle in­sect that looks like a six-legged al­li­ga­tor, bluish black with or­ange spots, stop drink­ing al­co­hol in the gar­den.

1. True. The seed­less wa­ter­melon plant seeds are a cross be­tween a reg­u­lar wa­ter­melon and a wa­ter­melon plant that is ge­net­i­cally un­able to pro­duce fruit. The seed­less wa­ter­melon can­not pro­duce seeds, though.

2. False. They might be okay. Beans, phlox and car­rots re­main vi­able for three or more years. Del­phinium, corn and parsnips don’t tend to make it past one year. If you’ve got enough space, try sowing the seeds. If you don’t like to take chances, only plant fresh seed.

3. False. The rea­son baby plants get spindly, or leggy, in­doors is be­cause they can­not get enough light; they’re stretch­ing to find the sun.

4. False. Seeds con­tain all the food they need to ger­mi­nate. Seedlings don’t need out­side nu­tri­ents un­til they de­velop their first set of true leaves.

5. True. A flower’s rea­son for ex­is­tence is to make seeds. If you re­move the flower be­fore it has made seeds, many plants will try again. This works with most an­nu­als and bian­nu­als.

6. False. Petu­nias lose their scent once they’ve been pol­li­nated, not be­cause they’re get­ting old. The flower pro­duces the scent to at­tract bees and other pol­li­na­tors. Once a pe­tu­nia is pol­li­nated, it doesn’t put more en­ergy into pro­duc­ing a scent.

7. True. Bees pol­li­nate crops such as ap­ples, oranges and squash. With­out pol­li­na­tion, those plants don’t pro­duce the fruit that we eat. Imag­ine the cost of send­ing farm­ers out to the fields with boxes of cot­ton swabs to man­u­ally pol­li­nate all those crops!

8. False. Ants do love pe­onies, and they do crawl all over the buds col­lect­ing the nec­tar, but they don’t seem to do any­thing ben­e­fi­cial for the plant. On the other hand, they don’t seem to hurt the pe­onies, ei­ther.

9. True. Lady­bugs are a nat­u­ral preda­tor of aphids, which ants herd. Aphids suck the juice out of your plants then ex­crete a sticky sub­stance called hon­ey­dew, which ants love to eat. When a la­dy­bug comes along to eat the aphids, to the ant it’s like a fox in the hen house.

10. False. Whether you’ve been drink­ing or not, the al­li­ga­tor-like crea­ture is a la­dy­bug larva, and it will eat up to 400 aphids be­fore it be­comes an adult. As an adult, it may vac­uum up as many as 5,000 more aphids.

•••

8-10 cor­rect: Your mind is fer­tile ground in­deed. 5-7 cor­rect: A lit­tle more sun­light and you’ll be grow­ing strong.

Fewer than 5 cor­rect: You won­der how much you have to drink to see those lit­tle or­ange-spot­ted al­li­ga­tors in the gar­den.

Did ants cause this pe­ony bud to open?

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