Ask the gardeners

Your answer to a question about growing chestnuts needs more information. It is true that the Chinese chestnut is blight resistant, but you failed to say that it is not entirely hardy in some states. It winter-kills in the climate here, for example, although trees 19 years old or older are more hardy. I can furnish more information, if anyone wants it. Charles R. Burnham Emeritus professor University of Minnesota

We neglected to say that the Chinese chestnut is not reliably hardy in some states, such as yours. A safe rule of thumb is this: If you can grow peach trees , you can grow Chinese chestnuts.

Meanwhile, if any readers want more information on American chestnuts, write to us and we'll relay it to Professor Burnham. My favorite tomato is the yellow or golden one. It is tasty and attractive in salads, but my problem is that the plants are hard to find. Is it difficult to start the seeds, and if so, is it too late? Also, what causes young fruits to sometimes fall off?

Yellow tomatoes are becoming more popular, but it takes persistence to find the garden store that sells them. Two prominent varieties are Sunray and Golden Boy. We like Yellow Plum, a small fruited variety with a delicious taste.

We usually say to sow seeds indoors six weeks before you want to put them in the garden, but last year we had forgotten to sow Yellow Plum until the first week in May. So we sowed seeds in a peat-lite mix (1 part each sphagnum peatmoss , perlite, and vermiculite), subirrigated the seed box, and kept it covered with a plastic sheet until the seedlings popped up.

We kept it in an 80-degree F. temperature and the seedlings sprouted in two days. Then we set them outdoors about June 10 and they produced baskets of yellow fruit--all we wanted fresh as well as for making delicious jam.

Fruit fall is usually caused by dry soil and hot, searing winds. I have a cyclamen which has finished blooming. What should I do to make it bloom again?

The cyclamen has a beetlike tuber. After flowering, dry the plant off gradually by watering less often, until you're not watering it at all.

After the foliage dies down, place the plant in a basement or other cool place (but not too dry air).

In early fall it should start sending out a sprout or two. At that time, repot with a fresh soil mixture. Then water it, sparingly at first, but increasing the amount as more leaves appear. Grow it in a cool, yet bright window.

It should bloom for you a couple of months later.

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