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Question: 281-5201
My soil is very hard. What can I use to plant bulbs? Gabriela, Cumberland, RI

Mort's Answer:
You can put the hose under pressure into the hole to soften your task. Allow the holes to dry out after the soil has been extricated. Your holes should be two and a half times the size of the bulbs. Fill the holes with a blend of 50% old soil and 50% coarse sand. If you plant in your old soil, there is a strong possibility that the bulbs will not do well.

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Question: 671-5211
What is the optimum amount of tilling for a garden? Todd, Waterford, CT

Mort's Answer:
If possible, you should till as often as you can. Tilling helps incorporate the sub soil into the loam and increase the depth of the humus. If tilling is not possible after the initial turning in the spring and late fall, you can cultivate with a hoe or clam rake to keep the weeds from getting a start. Cultivation of the surface will create a barrier of loose soil over the more compact soil and actually prevent water evaporation from the soil. Besides creating a sense of humus, there are so many benefits to tilling that you need to till until you can not till any more.

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Question: 702-812
How do I use Aloe from my Aloe vera plant? Katie, Marquette, MI

Mort's Answer:
Simply snap off a leaf and rub the leaf onto a cut or rash. Older and thicker leaves will have more jell in each leave. Succulents store fluid inside their leaves and require less water except when they are in bloom.

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Question: 809-3412
Why is Lyme named after Lyme, CT? Steve, Scranton, PA

Mort's Answer:
The disease was named in 1976 after a dramatic increase in reported cases. Some folks thought it was related to the nuclear facility nearby. It was concluded that the deer tick was the carrier of the germ that also affects humans. Lyme disease is now known to have been in humans for at least 5,000 years. The Ice Man that was uncovered in the Austrian ALps was biopsied again in 2010. He was found to have Lyme in his DNA. The disease in now throughout the northern Hemisphere and in Australia. It is carrier by smaller mammals like rodents as well. Gardeners should always wear protective clothing near brush and spray with permethrin.

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Question: 569-2611
My terra-cotta statue has green algae. The Dutch Boy is about two and a half feet tall. I was told to use sodium silicate. Will it work? Bob, Uncasville, CT

Mort's Answer:
Hydrated lime, sour milk or a good alcohol rub will get it off, as well. A more simple solution would be to let the statue face south for a while. Algae grow on shaded surfaces but it is not harmful. It is nitrogen fixing and can be beneficial ion clay pots. Sunshine will dry it up. If it were an Irish Elf, I would be tempted to leave it.

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Question: 826-3912
What else can I use my aloe vera plant for besides burns and how do I use it? Katie, Marquette, MI

Mort's Answer:
It is easy to use this plant for healing burns, cuts and sun burn. Just break a leaf in half. The juice will ooze out. Rub the liquid, using the leaf as the container, on the affected areas. It brings almost immediate relieve. I had often used it for minor cuts and scrapes. It also works well as a skin softener for chapped hands.

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Question: 1075-313
How do I use aloe from my aloe vera plant? Katie, Marquette, MI

Mort's Answer:
Simply snap off a leaf and rub the leaf onto a cut or rash. Older and thicker leaves will have more jell in each leaf. Succulents store fluid inside their leaves and require less water except when they are in bloom. That is our number one buying question.

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