Rooting through the garden mail, one more time:

Dear Dirt,

Several years ago I purchased two large geese to eat the weeds in my vegetable garden. I even installed a child's wading pool for them at one end of the bed. The geese ate the weeds all right, as well as every one of my vegetables.

Being softhearted, I kept them around for a while. But one night a raccoon killed one of the geese. The remaining one went completely loony and spent his days making odd and loud noises.

I understand geese mate for life, and while I could sympathize with his plight, I couldn't stand his antics. The net result? An

empty garden and an older but wiser gardener.

Frank M. Raymond

! Middleboro, Mass.

Sometimes no matter how hard you try, the garden ends up one big goose egg.

Dear Dirt,

I am writing to correct your comments about the ginkgo tree. Only the female tree bears the smelly fruits. The male tree does not fruit. It is a magnificent, slow-growing tree, pest- and disease-resistant, with fan-shaped leaves that turn yellow in fall. The male ginkgo makes an ideal urban tree, in that it tolerates pollution.

Louise Teubner-Rhodes


So how can it tolerate the female of its species?

Dear Dirt,

The next time you're in the garden and hear that bird cry as on (the TV show) "Northern Exposure," look overhead and you'll likely see a soaring red-tailed hawk. I, too, hear them and pause to watch them as I toil in my garden.

Rod W. Burkert

Blandon, Pa.

Maybe all hawks want to break into show business.

Dear Dirt,

Last year I had 18 window boxes, two pots and a mini rosebush. I won first place in our apartment complex's "Balcony Contest." (320 apartments.)

Margaret Weber

Bel Air

I'll bet you've got a compost pile on your balcony, too.

Dear Dirt,

You said you had trouble raising herbs in your kitchen. Do you by any chance have a gas stove? They are sudden death for most plants!

Mrs. John Edelen


I would certainly think so, if you're going to grow herbs in the oven.

Dear Dirt,

I read your column about hydrangeas. I was always told that putting iron at the roots of the plants would make the white flowers change colors.

Susan Glaser

Reading, Pa.

But then how would my shirts get pressed?

Dear Dirt,

We laughed out loud at the closing statement in your letter to Santa, asking him for that one last favor: backing the reindeer up to the garden for fertilizing purposes.

Mr. & Mrs. Paul R. Smith

# South Easton, Mass.

Wait until you hear my request for the Easter Bunny

Dear Dirt,

Last year my tomato plants got sick and died. Naturally, this happened just as I was starting to harvest what would have been a bumper crop of tomatoes. How can I keep this from happening again?

Ellen Sadowski


Plant viruses remain in the soil for several years, so move your tomatoes to another area. And grow only disease-resistant varieties -- those labeled VFFNT in seed catalogs. Generally, tomato plants marked VFFNT do not go PFFT in the garden.

Dear Dirt,

You care about the joys of gardening like I do. Thank goodness. I thought I was the only one who loved emptying truckloads of manure on my frozen garden, and the wonderful aroma of new-plowed soil.

I find that gardening with headphones tuned to "Big Band" sounds makes the work go easy and quiets the roar of my rototiller.

Bob Prosser



A few jitterbugs never hurt the garden.

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