Califonia Bountiful

Gardening Q&A

May/June 2017 California Bountiful magazine

As a California Bountiful reader, you have the opportunity to get your seasonal gardening questions answered by gardening expert Pat Rubin. Here are a few questions from our readers.

A friend gave me a bag of iris rhizomes last summer, and I forgot to plant them. I just found the bag, and the rhizomes look shriveled and dried up. Do I have to toss them out?

Amazingly, you do not. They may look desiccated and dead, but there is still plenty of life left in them. Get them in the ground and get them watered. You probably won't have any blooms this year, but by next year, those rhizomes will never remember they were neglected for months.

I've never planted a vegetable garden, but the house I just bought has a raised-bed vegetable garden. What can I plant?

Lucky you! Sounds like you are off to a good start. Most beginning vegetable gardeners plant everything and are usually successful. Really, the key is to plant what you like and what you will eat. Also, don't plant the whole garden at once. Get the tomatoes, squash, cucumbers and peppers in now, then visit the nursery again to see what new veggies and herbs they have to offer. Leave room for planting cauliflower and broccoli in August, garlic in October, and greens in the fall and spring. Your garden can become a never-ending source of fresh vegetables and herbs. Don't be afraid to try anything. I've always said you learn as much from failure as from success. Another tip: When you take a crop out, add compost before putting the next one in.

About Pat Rubin, California Bountiful's gardening expert

For Pat Rubin, gardening is more than just dirt and plants. "It's about history, romance, adventure and people," she says. "And it should be fun."

California Bountiful's gardening columnist has lived and chronicled this fun, hands-in-the-dirt approach for years—and for additional publications including Fine Gardening, Pacific Horticulture, Christian Science Monitor, Family Circle and The Sacramento Bee. Pat has also volunteered as a Master Gardener, speaks to garden clubs and appears regularly on gardening radio shows.

Need gardening advice? Ask the expert!

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