Q. Is it too late to plant cool weather vegetables? And if I do plant them now, what are the best choices so they will produce before winter weather?
A. No, it isn't too late to plant seed now.
• Suggestions for vegetable choices for our area would be: Arugula, beets, broccoli (transplants), Brussels sprouts (transplants), cabbage (transplants), carrots, cauliflower (transplants), kale (transplants), leeks (transplants), lettuce, mustard greens, peas, radishes, spinach, and turnips.
• The vegetables tagged transplants just means these plants require a longer time period to mature.
• If you plant seed instead of transplants and if the weather does change before they reach maturity you could use layers of row covers as protection at night.
• Other suggestions are to use a cold frame (this is a mini greenhouse), and trenching.
• Trenching means to mound the soil up on either side of the row of plants forming a wall of sorts which will serve to protect the plants on cool nights.
• Planting in containers will allow you to move them around to receive as much sunlight as possible and can easily be covered on cool nights.
Q. I have found poison ivy here and there in my landscape — near the fence seems to be a favorite place. What is the best way to get rid of it permanently without using chemicals?
Getting rid of poison ivy permanently just isn't going to happen I'm afraid. Birds love the berries this vine produces and so they drop little gift bombs everywhere they visit. So our task is to be a poison ivy spotter and have a plan of attack in mind. Here are a couple of suggestions on how to keep it cleaned up when you find it without going for the chemical sprays or having to call an exterminator:
• Look for new seedlings and either pull them or dig them out. Either way you choose to do this, use gloves and cover every area of skin where the plant might touch you.
• Some people are so allergic to this plant that they should also wear a breathing mask.
• You have to love kids and pranksters, but some have told other children that this plant is edible so it falls to you to teach your children the dangers involved with touching it let alone eating it. This is one time when it is definitely a good idea to teach them to be very afraid of something.
• Pull the plant by loosening up the soil around the plant with your trowel or shovel, then pull it up, making sure you have roots and all.
• Some of you may have a tool called a weed grabber. That would be a great tool to use but whatever you use, be sure to drop this weed in a plastic bag and throw it in the trash. Poison ivy is as dangerous dead as it is alive.
• If you touch it in any way, run gloves and clothing through two wash cycles. Research has shown that the oil on this plant is very tough and one wash cycle will not necessarily remove it.
• Digging the plant is my choice. I use a shovel and dig deep beside the plant, then bring it up roots and all (plus a little dirt), shovel it into a plastic bag, seal the bag, and toss it in the trash. Then spray the shovel with Clorox. I never touch the plant this way and keep a long handle between me and the plant.
Jane Ford is an Advanced Master Gardener. Email questions to email@example.com. This column is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of The News-Sentinel.