Friday, July 17, 2009

Ask the Snarky Farmer/permanent turn signal edition

On Fridays, we throw open the e-mail bag and out spews...
Ask The Snarky Farmer!

     These are actual questions from actual people who probably are licensed to drive. You know that guy in front of you on the freeway who had his turn signal on for a half hour? Here they are, up close and personal:
     Robert and Lynn (from an undisclosed location) want to know: "Would you please suggest a retail nursery with a large selection of Japanese Maples?"
     Be glad to! Where the hell do you live?
     Beth writes: "I'm looking for a rose. Can you give me any information on a thornless, fragrant, yellow, disease-resistant perpetual blooming, non-climbing rose? Thank you very much."

     I am unfamiliar with any rose that might fit all those requirements. And, I do not know where you live, which can have some other limitations on rose growing. However, this may be a worthy substitute:

     Barbara hurriedly inquires: "I have lots of roses and want to fertilize them quickly. One rose expert told me to just pour the granular Miracle Gro around the roses and then water it in. How many times a week should I do that?"

     One moment, if you will. I am having a Macallan minute...
Thank You, I feel better now. 
     Please, Barbara, don't do that. Read and follow all label directions for any fertilizer before applying. Water-soluble fertilizers, although they may look like crystals that you could scatter around the garden, are meant to be dissolved in water before applying. You are risking burning your plant roots by putting that fertilizer around your roses in a dry form. If you are in a hurry, there are hose-end fertilizer sprayer attachments that can ease your feeding chores. And that would be even quicker than spreading out the fertilizer and watering it in.


     LeeAnne of Rancho Cordova, CA (USDA Zone 9) asks: "What plants and flowers do well here?"

     LeeAnne: Pick a page, any page, of the 1,290 available:


     Doug of Sacramento has a pipe dream: "I was wondering if you could provide any tips on growing tobacco in this area."

     First, you need the right tobacco seed (sometimes heirloom seed catalogs sell it), and you need to live where the soil is crummy,  the humidity is high, and the area gets about 40 inches of rain during the summer...North Carolina!
And that's the extent of my tobacco knowledge.


  1. Boy, you are in rare form today! although the question about MiracleGro being applies directly to the ground is frightening. Scratch that. TERRIFYING. Part of the reason our watersheds are so polluted is because people don't follow the instructions and proper use of use conventional fertilizers.

  2. Bravo! I agree, you are quite snarky today. I love it. And so did everyone in the adjacent cubes when they heard you scream in horror. But at least now they're educated on why you should be careful with fertilizers.

    P.S. Can I talk like this at work? It would make things SO much more interesting.