Q. I just found some daffodil and tulip bulbs in the garage and was wondering if they could still be planted in the garden?
A. The International Flower Bulb Centre points out that it’s not unusual for a busy gardener to discover they didn’t plant their flower bulbs in the fall. The IFBC suggests planting the bulbs. “They are programmed by nature to grow, and late planted bulbs often still grow and flower just fine.” Spring-flowering bulbs should be planted in October in our area, but if you find unplanted bulbs in December or January, you can try to get them in the ground, if you can break through any frost layer that might have formed this winter. Plant the bulb three times as deep as the bulb is high. However, if you wait until March or later, you’re probably way too late.
Q. I have these little black bugs in my kitchen. My friend said they might be carpet beetles. What are they, and how do I get rid of them?
A. Carpet beetles are oval shaped about 0.1 inch long, generally black with a few stripes in varying patterns/colors. They can easily fly from outside unnoticed. Food products like grains and flour are a food source for carpet beetles and should be stored in sealed containers or frozen. It is best not to store wool products or tanned animal hides. If you do store woolens, use the old trick of storing them in a sealed box with mothballs. Vacuuming is the easiest way to eliminate adults or larvae of the insect if found.
Q. Should I get a soil test before I plant my vegetable garden next summer?
A. A soil test can be helpful if you have experienced problems in your garden. Soil tests from laboratories are accurate, but somewhat expensive. Kits can be purchased at garden stores or through catalogs to test for basic soil nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium), but most are not very accurate.
In most cases, establishing good soil fertility in a garden does not require testing. If you have had problems, such as general chlorosis of leaf tissue or yellow striping between leaf veins, you may have a nutrient deficiency. Placing compost in the garden will help enhance soil fertility and beneficial microbial activity in the soil. Some foliar feeding with a balanced liquid fertilizer during the season is generally enough to produce a quality vegetable garden.
Questions should be called in to the WSU Extension offices in Kennewick at 735-3551 or Pasco at 545-3511.