Q. We are adding a small deck to our home that will cover an area planted with annual flowers, daffodils and tulips. Can I transplant the bulbs at this time of year?
A. Yes. I would prepare the new bed first by digging in several inches of compost and a slow-release organic fertilizer. It would be best if you dig about 8 inches deep and work your compost in well. This will give your transplanted bulbs some very nice soil to grow in.
After the new bed is dug and raked smooth, carefully remove the tender bulbs from the existing bed. Dig the bulbs with clumps of soil around them, and then separate them from the soil by hand; otherwise, they can be scarred by your shovel and will become very susceptible to bulb rot diseases. If any of the dug bulbs are damaged or diseased, discard them. Then immediately plant the healthy bulbs in your new bed.
Tulips and daffodils should be planted about 6 inches deep.
Q. We are composting our coffee grounds with fruit and vegetable scraps from the kitchen, but this makes very damp compost. What can we add to keep it drier?
A. A good compost pile has a mix of different materials that provide a balance of carbon and nitrogen. Kitchen scraps and coffee grounds alone will make what is called "green" compost. Green compost is typically rich in nitrogen but is often too wet and lacks carbon. It may also produce foul odors. To get more balanced compost, add more "brown" materials, such as dried leaves, sawdust or wood chips. These are carbon-rich materials that will help dry out your compost.
If these materials are not readily available, add shredded newspapers to your compost. Newspapers are high in carbon and should mix well with kitchen scraps.
1. It can be difficult to spread grass seed evenly over small, bare areas of lawn. Try mixing it first with sand or compost.
2. Most large wasp and hornet nests should be left alone. Wasp activity will cease after the first frost.
Dennis Bishop is an urban horticulture educator for the Baltimore office of the Mary-land Cooperative Extension Services. If you have a gardening or pest problem, you can call the Home and Garden Information Center hot line (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.) at 800-342-2507. You can also e-mail questions, order publications and diagnose plant problems by visiting the Web site, www.hgic.umd.edu.