Inquire the Learn Gardener: It’s Ok to feed birds with new seed from a thoroughly clean feeder – Brainerd Dispatch

Dear Grasp Gardener: In the news it claims we shouldn’t feed birds because of to Avian Flu. When can people start feeding birds once again?

A bird at a bird feeder.

A chicken at a bird feeder.

Contributed / Metro Newspaper Assistance

Respond to: I spoke with a fowl specialist at the Minnesota Department of Natural Means. He reported the DNR and Raptor Center are at present performing collectively to test birds all over Minnesota. Raptors and waterfowl are most impacted by Avian Flu whilst songbirds are not widely impacted. He pointed out that there have been a few scenarios in previous yrs. It’s Okay to feed the birds now, but aged seed must be thrown out and only new seed made use of since outdated seed will get mold and microorganisms. Bird feeders need to be routinely cleaned with a 10% bleach option. The DNR gets quite a few calls about dead birds around bird feeders. In truth, they gained just one contact from a homeowner with 5 useless birds close to a hen feeder. It turned out that the result in of loss of life was salmonella poisoning. So, routinely cleaning bird feeders and utilizing new chook seed is suggested and extremely encouraged in order to reduce salmonella poisoning and to continue to keep birds balanced.

Pricey Grasp Gardener: Previous 12 months I received whitish-coloured caterpillars about a person-inch very long that ate my romaine lettuce. What are they and how can I get rid of them if I get them once again this yr?

Answer: With no a photograph for exact identification, my very best guess is the offender is a cabbage looper. Irrespective of its identify, the cabbage looper may well also destruction potato, tomato, pea, lettuce, spinach, nasturtium, and carnation vegetation. The caterpillars are pale environmentally friendly with slim white traces functioning down every single side. Whole grown caterpillars are about 1½ inches extended. Cabbage loopers make a characteristic looping movement as they transfer across vegetation. The larvae chew the leaves and can result in severe defoliation. Late phases tend to tunnel into heads of cabbage, lettuce, and other plants, leading to extra injuries. The safest way to get rid of cabbage loopers is by selecting them off the vegetation and disposing of them.

Pricey Master Gardener: Is now a superior time to divide hostas?

Remedy: Hostas are really effortless to divide and early spring is a very good time to divide them. Dig up the clump as new growth emerges. Using a sharp spade or knife, slice the experienced plant into divisions that have a least of three shoots.

Dear Master Gardener: I would like to place in a little raised bed vegetable backyard garden, but I do not have a location in my property that receives total sunlight. I do have a location that receives about 4-5 hrs of daylight for each day. Are there any veggies that will effectively expand in aspect sunlight?

Answer: Most veggies need to have full sunlight, which suggests at the very least eight hours of sunlight for each working day. Fortunately, there are a lot of excellent vegetables that will increase productively with four to 6 several hours of daylight. Leafy vegetables, these kinds of as lettuce, spinach, collards, Swiss chard, and kale can be successfully grown in areas with as minor as a few to 4 hrs of immediate sunshine per working day. The subsequent veggies can be developed in four to 6 hrs of direct sunlight for each day: beets, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kohlrabi, and radishes.

Dear Learn Gardener: What do the numbers on the fertilizer package suggest?

Remedy: The 3 figures on a fertilizer package correspond to the percentage of 3 factors: Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium. For instance, a 10-10-10 fertilizer, which is often employed in the spring to fertilize a lot of flowering shrubs, has 10% nitrogen, 10% phosphorus and 10% potassium. Fertilizers increase nutrients to the soil to assist plant progress. In get to precisely fertilize your garden, backyard garden and landscape crops, it is useful to get your soil tested. Soil testing presents details on the availability of vitamins in the soil and whether or not soil amendments are necessary. As of April 15, the cost of a soil take a look at at the College of Minnesota Extension is $17. Instructions can be downloaded from:


Lawn fertilizer is high in nitrogen to stimulate green development, and by regulation are not able to comprise the center quantity, phosphorus, since the runoff is negative for our lakes. Garden fertilizer in the back garden will bring about lots of inexperienced leaves but couple greens or fruits.

Pricey Grasp Gardener: Past year my yellow lady slippers didn’t bloom. What could be the bring about?

Solution: It depends. The yellow lady slipper orchid is really fussy because of to its habitat prerequisites for soil, fungi, light-weight and moisture. The soil must have the suitable temperature, chemistry and moisture, which may well be challenging to replicate in a household garden. The roots of the lady slipper orchid kind an affiliation with soil fungi to enrich mineral absorption and for the reason that of this they do not transplant nicely.

You may well get your backyard concerns answered by contacting the new Master Gardener Aid Line at 218-824-1068 and leaving a message. A Grasp Gardener will return your phone. Or, emailing me at and I will reply you in the column if area will allow.

University of Minnesota Extension Learn Gardeners are qualified and licensed volunteers for the College of Minnesota Extension. Data specified in this column is based on college research.

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