About Gardening: Sick Ivy & Sterile Squash

by Mira Dessy

I have a small ivy plant that was doing well in the window until this week (I live in Atlanta) and it's a sunny window. Now it looks quite ill. I've tried watering regularly (perhaps I should stop that) with plant food. I've moved it to a different window, tried putting the plant light on it...

I'm new to this apartment gardening, but all of my other plants have been doing very well since last summer. This ivy is sentimental - it was a gift to the guests at a wedding held at my northern college and I'd like to save it. It seems that ivy grows slowly anyway, so perhaps I'm simply not giving it enough time to recover from whatever insult it received.

Dear Elizabeth,
Hi there. It could be that your ivy got too much water. It could also be that it is root bound. This is a condition where the plant's roots grow more than the plant can fit into the pot and sustain itself. I would recommend putting it back in its original window and replanting it into a new pot. When you replant it carefully shake off all the old dirt (or as much as you can get without damaging the roots) and then plant it in new potting soil.

Dear Mira,
Thank you for your tips about bamboo. We have planted our first vegetable garden and have had some success. It is a raised bed that I filled with compost and good dirt. I was told that was the basis for a good garden. I'm certain that I over planted and will not do that again. But I seem to be having a problem with my squash. The first problem is that it makes flowers but no fruit. Then when it does make fruit, it turns black and rots. I've tried not watering it this week and it still seems to have this problem. Do you have any suggestions?

Dear Sheri,
The problem with the squash not producing fruit may simply be that the seed you used is sterile or that it is not getting proper pollination. As to the fruit rotting, it could be that it is picking up the rot from being in direct contact with the ground. I find that when I grow things like squash and melons it is better to prop the fruit (once it is egg sized) up on a container (a small terra cotta pot works well for this but make sure the pot is washed thoroughly in warm soapy water to avoid any contamination from previous plantings). Another idea to consider is to plant things like squash and melons up on a trellis. The fruits will need to be supported as they get larger but this frees up more space in the garden and also removes the possibility of rot and infection caused by soil contact. I hope this helps.

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