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Question: 980-3013
We have basil plants that are getting a lot of black mold spots. Is there any way to save them? Also, our dahlia plants are being eaten up by something even though they are still blooming. This makes them look pretty bad. What can I do for this problem? Eva E-mail

Mort's Answer:
Many parts of the country have had excessive rain. This can bring on mold especially in containers. I would throw out the basil and start new plants. Your dahlias have had visitors like rabbits or woodchuck. Rabbits appear in the early morning and woodchucks at night. I use Hav A Hart traps for both. Bait the traps with graham cracker and peanut butter. They are irresistible. If they are eaten from the middle, you can spray with an insecticide.

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Question: 965-2713
Should I pick my basil before it blooms? Should I take the flower off? Glen, Norwich, CT

Mort's Answer:
When you plant basil, folklore says that you should curse. When you pick it, you should smell it. It is true that there are more oils proportionally just before it blooms. Some people like myself take off the flowers, when they appear, to allow more leave growth. I take a few leaves at a time and not the whole plant. Some folks use the flowers as a garnish. It is edible. Pick the basil in the morning and hang it upside down. You can store the leaves in olive oil or in a pesto sauce for six months.

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