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Growing Together: Test your yard and garden IQ with today’s quiz

Today, gardening columnist Don Kinzler offers up a wide-ranging gardening quiz to test your knowledge.

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Is it true squash taste better a month or more after harvest? Today's quiz gives the answer.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum
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Close your books and take out a sheet of paper. Do your own work and keep your eyes on your own paper. Remember those days?

School quizzes were hardly a fun surprise. Sheer panic was a more common response.

Garden quizzes are hopefully more fun, and we’re long overdue because it’s been a year since our last quiz. The following questions require only brief answers and don’t worry, it’s being graded on a curve.

Questions

  1. To produce fruit, an apple tree needs pollen from a different apple cultivar. Can ornamental flowering crabs provide the necessary pollen? 
  2. If a freshly cut homegrown apple shows brown steaking, what is the most likely cause? 
  3. When growing hot and sweet peppers directly next to each other, will cross pollination affect the flavor of the pepper fruits?  
  4. Is it best to water lawns and flowers at night when it’s cool?  
  5. Are ants needed on peony buds for them to open? 
  6. Is crabgrass a perennial? 
  7. Will mowing lawns shorter help control weeds? 
  8. Is it okay to disturb a tree’s roots when removing it from the pot at planting time? 
  9. Will all apples of the cultivar Honeycrisp taste the same, regardless of where they’re grown? 
  10. Are hybrid flowers or vegetables a human-made phenomenon? 
  11. Is it true apples should be stored separately from garden vegetables? 
  12. Does frost penetrate deeper into wet ground or dry ground? 
  13. If you were to fertilize a lawn only once a year, which season is recommended? 
  14. For how many years should young trees be staked? 
  15. Should trees be planted slightly deeper than their depth in the pot? 
  16. Does the flavor of Buttercup and similar winter squash improve a month or so after harvest? 
  17. Does washing garden carrots increase their storage life?
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Should apples and potatoes never be stored together? Answer in today's quiz.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum

Answers

  1. Yes, ornamental crab trees in the vicinity are successful sources of pollen for apples.
  2. Internal apple streaks are most likely caused by apple maggots, the region’s most common apple insect problem.
  3. No. Planting peppers side-by-side has no effect on flavor, only on the genetic makeup of the seeds formed inside the peppers, if they were to cross pollinate.
  4. Watering is best done in early morning, if possible, or early enough in evening so foliage dries quickly. Night watering causes leaves to remain wet longer, increasing likelihood of disease.
  5. No. Ants are attracted to the sticky sap, but they neither help nor hinder bud opening.
  6. No. Crabgrass is an annual, growing each year from seed deposited in previous growing seasons.
  7. No. Shorter mowing creates more weed problems by giving weeds more sunlight while depressing grass growth, which prefers a three-inch mowing height.
  8. Yes, tree roots should be disturbed if they are circling inside the pot by pulling the roots outward or cutting them, as circling roots can kill a tree if left intact.
  9. No. The sweetness and flavor of Honeycrisp, and most apple cultivars, is weather-dependent, and the cooler autumns in Northern regions favor increased sugar, versus West coast production.
  10. No. Instead of being strictly human-made, hybrids occur in nature when bees travel between two plants. Plant breeders copy bees, while purposely selecting plants whose traits they wish to combine into a hybrid.
  11. Yes. Apples exude ethylene gas, which can hasten spoilage of vegetables. Store separately.
  12. Frost penetrates much deeper into dry ground than wet ground, which potentially causes greater winter injury on perennial flowers, trees and shrubs following a dry autumn.
  13. Turf researchers agree that fall fertilizing around Labor Day is the single most beneficial time to apply lawn fertilizer. Spring, around Memorial Day, is secondary.
  14. Trees should be staked for only the first growing season. Many trees don’t require staking, only if they have the tendency to lean.
  15. No. Too-deep planting can cause death. Find the uppermost horizontal root coming from the trunk, and plant with that root just below soil surface.
  16. Yes. With proper curing and storage, many squash become sweeter and more flavorful after a month.
  17. No. Carrots store best unwashed, by simply rubbing off excess soil. Washing removes a natural wax that enhances storage.
More gardening columns from Don Kinzler

Don Kinzler, a lifelong gardener, is the horticulturist with North Dakota State University Extension for Cass County. Readers can reach him at donald.kinzler@ndsu.edu.
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