Millipedelikely is 'worm'


Q. We keep finding dead worms on our basement floor. They are brown, hard-shelled worms about one inch long or a little longer. We cannot figure out where they are coming from or how they are getting into our basement. What should we do?

A. These worms are probably millipedes, a very common soil insect here. The soil around everyone's home in this area contains millipedes. They are a very beneficial insect outdoors, in that they feed on dead organic material in the soil and convert it to valuable humus. They find their way into homes under doorways, through cracks, around windows and even through cracks in your foundation. They will die in a relatively short period of time once indoors as they usually have difficulty finding a food source. Spraying Diazinon around the outside foundation of your home will usually solve the problem. Just follow the directions on the label.

Q. Last week you wrote that September was a good month to divide and transplant ferns. Is this time for all perennials? We have some day lilies that need dividing.

A. The rule is if the perennial blooms in the spring, divide in the fall; if it flowers in the fall, divide in the spring. If they bloom in summer or don't bloom at all (ferns) they can be divided either spring or fall.


Q. I planted butternut squash seed last spring but the crop looks like gourds. I have never had any gourds in my garden, so what happened?

A. I can assure you that nothing you did caused this. Either the seed was put in the wrong package or gourds were planted near the squash last year and they cross-pollinated. You could not tell by looking at the fruit produced last year or the seeds produced last year. Well, at least you will have some fruit for fall decorating. But you are not going to like them very well coming out of the oven. A stop at the farmers' market will solve the problem.

Q. When should I try to transplant my rhubarb?

A. Either now or early next spring as soon as you can see new growth. Wait two full years before harvesting transplanted rhubarb.

Keith Stangler has 36 years experience as a horticulturist. For comment or questions call (507) 285-7739 or (800) 562-1758.

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