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We are very fond of Chinese food and have learned to cook many dishes. Now we'd like to grow some Oriental vegetables in our garden but cannot find them listed in seed catalogs. Would you know of a good source?
Nichols Garden Nursery, 1190 North Pacific Highway, Albany, Ore. 97321 has a whole page of Oriental vegetables. For those folks who have asked for a source of uncommon herbs, Nichols has five pages of herb seeds and plants. Its homespun catalog is free.
I'm not sure if it was in the Monitor or some other publication where I read about plants bearing full-size strawberries that can be started from seeds. Can you advise where to get seeds and how long it takes to get berries after the seeds have been planted?
Previously, strawberry seeds have been of the Alpine, or small-fruited, type. Now gardeners can have a dandy large-fruited, everbearing type named Sweetheart.
If properly cared for, you should have some ripe berries about 16 weeks after sowing seeds. The seeds can be sown either indoors or outdoors - after the outdoor-planting season starts.
Many seed companies will list the new Sweetheart variety in 1983. Of the three 1983 catalogs that have just reached us, all list them. They are:
W. Atlee Burpee Company, 300 Park Avenue, Warminster, Pa. 18970; Geo. W. Park Seed Company, Greenwood, S.C. 29646; and Otis Twilley Seed Company, PO Box 65, Trevose, Pa. 19047.
I read somewhere that paper-white narcissus, if treated properly after bloom, can be planted outdoors in a permanent spot to bloom again year after year. Can you tell me what I should do with my bulbs after they finish blooming?
Paper-whites (Narcissus tazetta) do not perform well again once they've been forced indoors. Also, in your area, where temperatures fall below freezing, they would not survive outdoors over winter.
Unlike their relatives (daffodils, jonquils, and other hardy narcissus), paper-whites do not need the cool treatment to be forced indoors, but can be potted in soil and set right in a sunny window, where they will form roots and bloom beautifully.
Some people put them in pebbles, with water covering the bottom third of the bulb. We prefer soil.
Last year a friend gave me some luffa seeds. I expected to get a nice crop of sponges from these gourds, but mine were only about 4 inches long when frost hit the trellis-trained vine. Is there any way I can get them to mature in our area, which gets frost about the middle of September?
Anyone who lives in a northern climate should start Japanese bottle luffa or dishcloth gourds indoors, because the plants take about 120 days to grow to maturity.
You can eat the small ones (up to about 6 inches) just as you would zucchini squash.