Every spring, readers ask me gardening questions. Have one? Send it to me at binettigarden.com.
You can cheat and set your plants out in early May if you have a warm and protected area such as up against the sunny side of a building and under the cover of a roof overhang or eaves.
Growing tomatoes in black plastic pots (they absorb heat) gets them off to a better start in our cool summer climate than growing them in the cold ground, but by the end of summer the tomato plants placed directly into the soil may produce a larger harvest as their roots will have more room to spread and grow.
If you don’t want to go out at night, place a piece of damp cardboard near seedlings and collect the slugs that gather under the cardboard in the morning. Next, use a pet-safe slug bait such as Worry Free or Sluggo that will cause the slugs to stop eating and slither under a rock to die. You won’t see the slimy mess, but you will see the results.
Finally, remove slug and snail habitats if possible. Rock piles and chunks of rotting wood and debris are where slugs and snails like to breed and lay eggs.
Either lift the clump from the ground and pull it apart or use a sharp spade to make new sections. If you do not divide black mondo grass it will grow slowly, but once you cut it apart the new clumps fatten up into fine specimens that you can replant in any partly-shaded location.