Ask the gardeners

Each year our pepper plants are nice and bushy, but they produce little, if any, fruit. The leaves are green, and no insects seem to be on them. Why so few peppers? This is a common complaint with peppers, especially if you live in an area where the growing season is short.

We suggest you try the All America bronze medal winner called Gypsy. It's incredibly productive and bears fruit in 62 days after being set out. The fruits are wedge-shaped, about four inches long, and greenish-yellow in color. They are not as thick or blocky as California Wonder, which does well where seasons are long.

For a good blocky pepper with large, dependable yields early in the season, grow Staddon's Select, which is especially popular in the Northeast because it bears early, even under adverse conditions. I have a 15-year-old asparagus bed that is my pride and joy. Last year, for the first time, the stalks came up looking as if they had been frozen. Could asparagus be susceptible to frost injury? I thought it was hardy.

Sometimes a very bad winter with little snow cover, or a severe frost just as asparagus is emerging, will cause this condition. As a matter of fact, this is quite possible in your part of Canada.

We know of no serious disease of asparagus that could affect it in this manner. I heard there was a tomato variety called Whopper but no one can tell me where to get it. I would like to try it in my small plot if you think it's worth the trouble. Whopper is a fine tomato that has quadruple disease resistance. The fruits are large, round, and often exceed 4 inches across. Under favorable growing conditions, it is a heavy yielder.

Seeds are available from Geo. W. Park Seed Company, Greenwood, S.C. 29646. Why is it so difficult to get the seed of Golden Bantam sweet corn? This is the best corn ever produced, in my opinion.

We all have nostalgic memories of our earlier years when we didn't have the year-round variety of vegetables that are available today.

Golden Bantam was kingpin because it had no equal at the time. Today we have superb varieties of sweet corn that surpass Golden Bantam in taste and disease resistance, have fuller ears, and much better keeping quality, both on the stalk and after it is picked.

Why not try a white, such as Silver Queen; a bicolor called Butter & Sugar; or one of the all-yellow, extra-sweet types such as Sugar Loaf or Wonderful?

There are ''extraordinary sweet'' sweet-corn varieties such as Florida Staysweet, Kandy Korn, and Illini Extra Sweet, but seeds don't germinate well unless the soil is warm. Also, they must be isolated from other varieties by 500 to 1,000 feet so as to retain their extra sweetness--a difficult assignment for most home gardeners.

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