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Plant a variety of tomatoes for growth all summer long

Last year, all my tomatoes (all the same kind) ripened all at once and then I didn't get any more. How can I get tomatoes all season?

You may have planted a variety of determinate tomato that was not a long producer. Determinate tomatoes grow to a set size and stop, however they usually produce over a long period. (Indeterminate tomatoes, on the other hand, continue to put out new growth all summer.) Your tomatoes also may have stopped fruiting because their location became too hot. When day and night temperatures are very hot, plants overheat and stop flowering and fruiting. This year, try growing a diverse selection of tomato varieties.

Are my hydrangeas goners? They're a bunch of dead stalks with only a tuft of leaves at the base.

Hydrangeas, as well as roses, crape myrtles and many other shrubs, died back to the ground this winter. That does not mean their roots died. Most will put out new shoots and grow back into nice shrubs. For your hydrangeas, prune off the dead stalks, but keep a watch for live leaf buds near the base and only prune off the dead part above those.

University of Maryland Extension's Home and Garden Information Center offers free gardening and pest information. Call 800-342-2507 or send a question to its website at

Plant of the week

Blue-eyed grass

Sisyrinchium angustifolium

This native is not a true grass but a member of the iris family, a small blue-eyed beauty that should not be missed. Growing about 12 inches tall, this clump-forming perennial features narrow, grass-like leaves and violet-blue flowers with a yellow center that appear on branched flowering stems. The flowers bring a smile in May and June. Plant in front beds, borders, along pathways and woodland gardens in full sun to part shade in moist soils. Division may be needed every two to three years to keep plants vigorous. It spreads by seed, too. Shear back after bloom to prevent unwanted seedlings. Best of all, it's not bothered by deer.

—Marian Hengemihle

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