Almanac Gardner Quiz: 2004

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The Almanac Gardener "Quiz of the Week" has been discontinued.
However, the past quizzes and answers will still be made available as an information resource.

2004 Quizzes

April 3, 2004
No winner this week

1. If your lawn has at least 50% weeds or bare spots, what should you consider doing?

  1.     Having it aerated.
  2.     Weeding it.
  3.     Having a renovation done.
  4.     Adding phosphorus.


Answer: C. If your lawn is more than 50% bare or full of weeds, you need to have a renovation done, including killing the weeds with RoundUp and using a tiller to loosen the soil.

2. If your plant arrives with a bare root, what should you do with it?

  1.     Plant it in the ground.
  2.     Put it in some water.
  3.     Plant it in a pot with some soil.
  4.     Let it rest in the box for a few days.


Answer: B. After you remove a bare-root plant from its wrapping, you want to put the root in some water before placing it in soil.

April 10, 2004
Quiz Winner: Donna Shields

1. According to the Quick Reference section in the Consumer Horticulture site, which vegetable(s) actually grow better if you plant them before April?

  1.     Bush beans
  2.     Turnips
  3.     Okra
  4.     Sugar peas
  5.     2 and 4
  6.     1 and 3


Answer: E. 2 and 4. Turnips can be planted as early as February in the Piedmont region and March in western North Carolina, and sugar peas can be planted in January in the Piedmont region and February in western NC.

2. When pruning shrubs, what is the most important thing to consider?

  1.     Types of pruning tools
  2.     Location of the cut
  3.     Timing


Answer: C. When deciding to prune shrubs, timing is usually the most important factor to consider. For example, in the case of flowering shrubs, when it flowers and whether it flowers on old wood or new wood will determine when to prune.

 April 17, 2004
Quiz Winner: Daniel Bagley

1. Why is it important to plant raised beds earlier?

  1.     Because the soil warms up faster.
  2.     Because raised beds hold too much water.
  3.     Because the only plants you can include in raised beds have early planting times.
  4.     None of the above.


Answer: A. Raised beds don't have the advantage of collecting coolness and moisture from the rest of the ground, so the soil tends to absorb heat faster. As a result, the soil drains faster and can dry out quickly, leaving plants with little moisture.

2. When is the best time to harvest broccoli?

  1.     When there are flowers blooming on the green broccoli florets.
  2.     When the broccoli flower heads are well-defined and the stem is fairly thick.
  3.     As soon as you can see the broccoli flower heads forming.
  4.     After the leaves turn dark green.


Answer: B. According to Bill Lord, choice A is too late and C is too early to harvest broccoli. Bill doesn't mention the color of the leaves.

 April 24, 2004
Quiz Winner: Sara Thompson

1. What does Linda say is a good combination of plants for a container garden?

  1.     Plants that are different colors, all the same height.
  2.     Plants that are slightly variant in height and color.
  3.     Plants and large stones combined.
  4.     A combination of a tall plant, medium plant, and trailing plant.


Answer: D. Linda says that you should combine a tall plant, medium plant, and a trailing plant in a container garden. One of her suggested combinations is Northern sea oats, coleus and variegated lantana.

2. According to the Consumer Hort Leaflet on cabbage located in the Consumer Horticulture site, if you live in the western part of the state, when typically are the best seeding dates for a fall crop?

  1.     Sept. 20 - Oct. 20
  2.     May 1 - June 15
  3.     July 15 - Sept. 15
  4.     Jan. 1 - Mar. 30


Answer: B. Since the western part of the state typically gets cooler sooner than the piedmont or eastern parts of the state, May 1 to June 15 is recommended for seeding for a fall crop. See the Consumer Hort Leaflet on cabbage.

 May 1, 2004
Quiz Winner: Gerald Amos

1. If you buy an indeterminate type of tomato, what does Karen suggest to use to support its growth?

  1.     Trellis
  2.     Cage
  3.     Stake
  4.     Wire line on poles


Answer: C. A stake. You could probably also support the tomato plants using a trellis, depending on your space, but Karen doesn't mention that possibility in this episode. Indeterminate plants grow to be about 5-6 feet, so they would outgrow a cage or a wire line on poles (used to support bramble plants).

2. When you are looking for soil to put in a container garden, the soil should:

  1.     Be able to retain moisture indefinitely
  2.     Hold its shape when squeezed
  3.     Fall apart when squeezed
  4.     Be sandy.


Answer: C. In a container, you need a soil that has good aeration. Therefore you need the soil to fall apart and not stick together when you squeeze it.

May 8, 2004
Quiz Winner: Beverly Greene

1. If your bearded iris contract iris borer, you will see:

  1.     Mottling of leaves
  2.     Dotted leaves
  3.     Pinkish area in rotted part
  4.     Reddish-brown “mustard seeds”


Answer: D. Pinkish area in rotted part

2. According to the Consumer Hort Leaflet, what are some plants that you could put in a bio retention bed?

  1.     White spruce ( Picea glauca ), elderberry ( Sambucus Canadensis ) and water iris ( Iris laevigata )
  2.     Willow ( Salix spp. ), crepemyrtle ( Lagerstroemia indica ) and English holly
  3.     ( Ilex aquifolium )
  4.     Frasier fir ( Abies fraseri ), winterberry ( Ilex verticillata ) and peonies ( Paeonia )
  5.     Carolina ash ( Fraxinus caroliniana ), flowering dogwood ( Cornus florida ) and lizard’s tail
  6.     ( Saururus cernuus )


Answer: A. White spruce ( Picea glauca ), elderberry ( Sambucus Canadensis ) and water iris ( Iris laevigata )

May 15, 2004
Quiz Winner: Thomas Gonzalez

1. If you didn't have a lot of time for maintenance, what would be a good shrub or tree to include around your water feature?

  1.     Dogwood
  2.     Red maple
  3.     Bigleaf Hydrangea
  4.     Juniper


Answer: D. Since you don't want to be constantly cleaning leaves and flower petals out of your water feature, you'll want a plant that does not lose its leaves (evergreen). The juniper is the only one of these choices that meets that criterion.

2. An heirloom tomato is one that was developed before:

  1.     1960
  2.     1950
  3.     1940
  4.     1930


Answer: C. Heirloom tomatoes are varieties that were developed before 1940.

May 22, 2004
Quiz Winner: Deborah Purdy-West

1. According to Linda, what is the one color that you WON'T find in a daylily?

  1.     Red
  2.     Blue
  3.     Yellow
  4.     Pink


Answer: B. Linda says that daylilies come in every color but blue.

2. In Charles Brown's company in downtown Raleigh, what materials make up the wall insulation?

  1.     Fiberglass and cotton
  2.     Blue jeans and khaki
  3.     Wood chips
  4.     Recycled carpet


Answer: B. The wall is insulated with blue jean and khaki material.

May 29, 2004
Quiz Winner: John Underwood

1. What product does Karen mention that is very effective on wild violets?

  1.     Weed B Gone
  2.     Speed Zone
  3.     Lebanon Team 2G
  4.     Statesman


Answer: B. Because wild violets are dicots (broadleaf) and perennial, they need an herbicide that works on the leaf. Of the four mentioned above, only Weed B Gone, Speed Zone and Statesman work on dicots. Karen states that in her experience, only Speed Zone is effective on getting rid of wild violets.

2. Hostas are native to:

  1.     India
  2.     Japan
  3.     England
  4.     Ireland


Answer: B. Hostas are native to Japan, China, and Korea.

June 19. 2004
Quiz Winner: Janet Hester

1. If figs are splitting before they are ripe, what could be the reason?

  1.     Nematode damage
  2.     Too much sun
  3.     Excessive nitrogen in the soil
  4.     Too much rain


Answer: D. Figs sometimes split as they are ripening because of uneven moisture or heavy rains.

2. According to the Mowing Lawns page in the "quick reference" section of the Consumer Horticulture website at NC State, how much of the leaf surface should be cut with each mowing?

  1.     1/4 of the leaf surface
  2.     1/3 of the leaf surface
  3.     1/2 of the leaf surface
  4.     2/3 of the leaf surface


Answer: B. The Mowing Lawns page says that no more than 1/3 of the leaf surface should be removed with each mowing.

June 26, 2004
Quiz Winner: Thomas Kiziah

1. What is the best way to prune your crepe myrtle?

  1.     Chopping off the top of the tree
  2.     Pruning the low growth from about 3 feet up the trunk
  3.     Cutting off all of the older branches
  4.     Cutting off all the branches that have flowers


Answer: B. Although many people do chop off the top of their crepe myrtles, Karen says that this can weaken the new growth and leave the tree susceptible to disease and insects. Cutting off the older branches would also cut new growth, where flowers form. And cutting off the branches that have flowers won’t hurt the tree, but it’s definitely not the BEST way to prune your crepe myrtle.

2. Go to the list of Horticultural Leaflets and find the leaflet for growing pumpkins and squash. According to this leaflet, you should not plant pumpkins in soils where certain plants have grown before. What are those plants?

  1.     Annuals
  2.     Any other vegetable
  3.     Any other vine crop
  4.     Fruit trees


Answer: C. Because pumpkins are susceptible to vine borers, it is not recommended to plant them where other vine crops have been before.

July 3, 2004
Quiz Winner: Judy Pate

1. What would be a good combination of plants in one area if you are planning to conserve water?

  1.     Portulaca, snapdragon and phlox
  2.     Vinca, pansies and globe amaranth
  3.     Begonia, cosmos and Dahlberg daisy
  4.     Dahlberg daisy, lisianthus, and treasure flower


Answer: D. All of the plants in this group are drought-tolerant. Plants from the other groups have a mixture of high and low drought-tolerant plants, which would mean that you would have to water more frequently to keep the low drought-tolerant plants healthy. To see a complete list of stress-tolerant plants and their tolerance ratings, see the Horticultural Information Leaflet on Stress-Tolerant Plants.

2. What is something needed by ALL fruit trees to prevent the spread of disease?

  1.     Air circulation
  2.     Water
  3.     Sunlight
  4.     Fertilizer


Answer: A. Although the other factors are needed as well, they help more with plant growth than they do with disease prevention. Keeping branches separate so air can circulate helps to keep fruit trees from getting diseases.

July 10, 2004
Quiz Winner: Jeff Essic

1. You should keep the ratio of carbon to nitrogen in your compost at:

  1.     5:2
  2.     30:1
  3.     20:1
  4.     10:10


Answer: B. The ratio needs to be 30 parts carbon to 1 part nitrogen.

2. Besides moisture, what else is a main attraction for earwigs?

  1.     Heat
  2.     Light
  3.     Sugar
  4.     Millipedes


Answer: B. According to the Insect Notes at NC State's Cooperative Extension, earwigs also like lights.

July 17, 2004
Quiz Winner: Gretchen Glahn

1. You are working in your garden, and you see a live snake. Assuming that you're not planning on picking up the snake, what is the BEST way to determine whether or not it is a poisonous snake without getting too close to it?

  1.     Looking at the underside of the snake to see if the scales divide halfway down the length of the snake
  2.     Looking for pits between the eyes and the nostrils
  3.     Looking at the head to see if it's triangular or oval
  4.     Looking at the eyes to see if the pupils are round or elliptical


Answer: C. Unless it's a very large snake and you have very good vision, the best way to tell if a snake is poisonous is to look at the head. Poisonous snakes have a distinctly triangular head, while non-poisonous snakes have more oval heads (they can be somewhat triangular, but they are not as distinct as they are with a poisonous snake). Often you can tell poisonous snakes by their markings, but if you're not familiar with them, they won't help. The best thing to do if you're not sure whether a snake is poisonous or not is to stay away from it!

2. How far up the tree do you want to prune before you have branches?

  1.     10 inches
  2.     15 inches
  3.     17 inches
  4.     18 inches


Answer: D. Bill Lord recommends pruning between 18-20 inches up the tree before the first whorl of branches.

July 24, 2004
Quiz Winner: Martha Rigsbee

1. What is another term for a mosquito larva?

  1.     tumbler
  2.     diver
  3.     wiggler
  4.     trumpet


Answer: C. A mosquito larva is also commonly called a "wiggler" or "wriggler." "Tumblers" are mosquito pupae, and "trumpets" are the breathing tubes for the pupa. Two excellent sources for information on mosquito is the American Mosquito Control Association and the EPA Factsheet on Mosquitoes.

2. What company is N.C. State University's test site for a permeable pavement that prevents stormwater runoff?

  1.     Bunkey's Car Wash
  2.     Mickey's Pastries
  3.     Appletree Honda
  4.     Duane Reade


Answer: B. In order to answer this question, you had to see the episode. Bill Lord explores a porous concrete pavement developed by Bill Hunt at N.C. State University, built outside Mickey's Pastries in Goldsboro. The pavement, which consists of 4-inch concrete blocks separated by drainage holes, actually purifies stormwater runoff to make the resulting groundwater safe for drinking.

July 31, 2004
Quiz Winner: Don Walraed

1. What common corn problem does Ustilago zeae cause?

  1.     Smut
  2.     Corn earworm
  3.     Root rot
  4.     Seed rot


Answer: A. Ustilago zeae is the fungus that causes smut in corn.

2. When is it safe to touch poison ivy?

  1.     When the leaves are not green
  2.     After the plant is dead
  3.     Winter, after it's lost its leaves
  4.     Never


Answer: D. In fact, it is NEVER safe to touch poison ivy at any time, even after the plant looks dead. The oil, urushiol, stays on the plant all season long, even for years. The urushiol can affect people even after the plant is dead.

August 7, 2004
Quiz Winner: Larry Jones

1. What is the best group of worms to include in a compost bin?

  1.     Nightcrawlers
  2.     Red wigglers
  3.     Flatworm
  4.     Roundworm


Answer: B. Red wigglers are the most commonly used worm for vermicomposting. Nightcrawlers are the only other earthworm, but they feed on top of the soil and like their burrows undisturbed.

2. What is one of the first signs that you have a problem with carpenter bees?

  1.     A slit-like opening
  2.     Mud tubes
  3.     A round half-inch diameter hole
  4.     Small, round holes surrounded by white powder


Answer: C. Carpenter bees made round, half-inch diameter entrance holes when making their tunnels. As for the other choices, carpenter ants make slit-like openings, termites make mud tubes and powderpost beetles make the holes surrounded by powder. For more information, see the Urban Pest Page at NC State for wood-damaging pests.

August 14, 2004
Quiz Winner: Cecilia Fain

1. In general, apple trees need:

  1.     Eight hours of sunlight and lots of open space.
  2.     To be fertilized twice a year.
  3.     A moist area to grow
  4.     All of the above.


Answer: A. Apple trees need lots of light and air. They do need to be fertilized and watered, but fertilizing once a year is enough (in late winter or early spring), and they do NOT like to have wet feet, so planting in a moist site will kill the tree. Soil needs to be well-drained with plenty of organic matter. See the Fact Sheet for Apples at the Consumer Horticulture site for more information about growing apples.

2. To what family does spinach belong?

  1.     Chenopodiaceae
  2.     Sapindaceae
  3.     Solanaceae
  4.     Fabaceae


Answer: A. Spinach, like chard and beets, belongs to the goosefoot (Chenopodiaceae) family.Sapindaceae is the soapberry family, which includes many plants that are toxic. Solanaceae is the nightshade family, including nightshade, Jimson weed, potatoes and tomatoes. Fabaceae is the legume family, including beans and other pod vegetables. See the Consumer Hort Leaflet on spinach for more information.