Ask Grumpy a Question

August 14, 2012 | By | Comments (20)

Submit your questions here. The answers will be free and worth the price.


  1. Steve Bender


    Whoever told you that is wrong. Little Gem takes well to pruning. Shortening spindly branches encourages a fuller plant. Try to cut back to a side branch, leaf, or bud when you shorten them.

    June 19, 2017 at 8:47 am
  2. Karen Ruff Sharpe

    My Little Gem magnolia is very tall, thin & gangly. Leaves start at the ground. There are four thin trunks, though I only planted one. Several neighbors have strong, thick trunk Little Gems with leaves starting 6′ or more from the ground. Everything I’ve read says never cut back or trim magnolia. Do I have to start over & toss this 20 year old out? Thank You.

    June 11, 2017 at 5:38 pm
  3. Steve Bender


    I would cover the tops of the pots with large gravel. For your flower beds, try rodent repellent. You can get this at garden and home centers.

    April 11, 2017 at 4:19 am
  4. Barbara Budemer

    I’ve got squirrels digging up my flowers beds n pots to the point that they’ve actually dig up my plants. What can I do for them to stop

    March 29, 2017 at 10:25 am
  5. Barbara Budemer

    Is there anything I can put in my soil to get rid of squirrels digging in my flowerbeds n pots. They’ve actually dug up some of my plants.

    March 29, 2017 at 10:21 am
  6. Steve Bender

    Assuming that your irises are growing in full sun, the most likely cause of the bending was a sudden cold snap.

    March 2, 2017 at 10:25 am

    Dear Grumpy,
    What causes Iris stems to bend over and under with the bloom nearly on the ground?
    (February 2017 near Madison, GA)
    Thank you.

    February 27, 2017 at 8:55 pm
  8. Steve Bender

    Georgia Gardener,

    These sound like mole tunnels. Moles do not eat plants. They eat worms, grubs, and insects. Your veggie plants are safe.

    January 28, 2017 at 8:31 am
  9. a Georgia gardener

    My vegetable garden is full of tunnels in the soil. I think it’s moles or voles maybe. I just noticed the tunnels this past fall. Will they ruin my plants this spring? How do I get rid of them??

    January 16, 2017 at 10:17 am
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    May 6, 2016 at 8:50 pm
  11. Ann Lay

    Thanks Steve for the information. I will try your recommendation.

    August 2, 2015 at 9:15 am
  12. Steve Bender


    Many different diseases could be responsible for the yellow spots on your cucumbers. This link might help you ID the right one:

    Whatever it else, try spraying your cukes and tomatoes with Natria Disease Control. You can get this at garden centers.

    July 29, 2015 at 2:17 pm
  13. Ann Lay

    I had beautiful tomatoes and plants until about 3 wks ago and now most of them have yellow leaves and the cucumbers are starting to get yellow spots on them too. I saw on utube that the yellow leaves could be lack of magnesium and to mix 2 teaspoons of Epson salt with a gallon of water and spray over the plant. I did nothing really happened. I then took the leaves to a nursery and they thought it was due to lack of iron and sold me some stuff to put on the end of my hose and spray all over the leaves. I did that two weeks ago and still they really look bad. This had been the best year ever with my garden.

    I put plastic snakes in the garden as I had many years ago to ward off the squirrels and for a while it worked great then they began attacking my tomatoes. I wondered if next year I could just put out the tomatoes and not put any cages around them so they wouldn’t have anything to jump onto and to an fro? I wish I could get rid of them all together but haven’t in 15 years!!!!

    July 23, 2015 at 9:04 pm
  14. Steve Bender


    You’re welcome! Glad it worked out!

    June 25, 2014 at 10:15 am
  15. Jan-marie Muschlitz

    In your April issue you included a sketch of a Boring Beetle Trap. My husband’s best friend made us a dozen of them(we live in a log home). One was hung in every corner on the outside and within hours these horrible critters were caught. He revised the design to use small pint size canning jars-attaching the lids w tacks to the bottom-allowing for easier disposal of the critters.
    This was a fabulous find for us-we have battled these bees for years!
    Thank you thank you!

    June 21, 2014 at 2:45 pm
  16. Steve Bender

    Nice garden!

    June 12, 2014 at 10:23 am
  17. Jean

    How often do you answer questions? Still waiting—- Jean

    June 5, 2014 at 12:18 pm
  18. Steve Bender

    Excellent idea!

    April 22, 2013 at 1:20 pm
  19. Elizabeth


    Best way to keep squirrels off a bird feeder? Grease up the pole with WD-40 (or a similar product). It’s cheap, effective and highly entertaining!

    April 18, 2013 at 6:53 pm
  20. Antigonum Cajan

    Tell us Grumpy gardener, is it fair some people think I am a grouch
    just for being a cultivated misanthropist?
    What about this garden?

    August 15, 2012 at 7:02 pm

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