Ask the determined gardener

What can I do for cockroach problems?

Cockroaches hide in the day and come out at night to feed on foodstuff and starchy materials such as book bindings. Roach sticky traps are a good indicator and a solution to eliminating the pest. Cockroaches require food, water and shelter to survive. Making these inaccessible is a good exclusion plan. Chemical treatments for inside use are: Diazinin 0.5 percent or Dursban 0.5 percent aerosols or ready to use sprays; products containing hydropene (Gencor/Gentrol or Combat/MaxForce bait station with growth inhibitor) also work well. Use all treatments as recommended and use precautions to keep chemicals out of food and spices and off of dishes and eating utensils.

Please recommend a fast growing tree to reduce turnpike noise.

Holly is a good evergreen, can be pruned to desired height and meshes quite well. A fast growing deciduous tree is the Lace Bark Elm. Prune them properly for your purpose. They are heavily leafed out but leaves do not present a burden as they are very small. They can sustain damage from ice storms but will usually outgrow the damage. Some branches may die a year or two later due to green stick fractures of the limb.

My peaches are rotting and turning a gray/brown color, and the branches are oozing.

Brown rot is a very destructive disease of all stone fruit. The brown rot fungus (monilinia fructicola) causes blossom blight, fruit rot, twig blight and branch canker. During rainy weather gummosis is common on infected twigs and cankers. These practices can help control the fungus. 1. Sanitation: removal of mummified fruits from tree, also from the ground, and their destruction is very important. 2. Adherence to a recommended spray schedule: You might want to follow the recommendations on Current Report CR-6240. I previously posted a recommended schedule or you may find this available at your County Extension Office. 3. Good harvest practices: Most losses in harvest and market are from wounds of any type or size. Take care to reduce damage and you may not want to ship fruit that has been damaged.

All my peaches disappeared overnight off of tree and off of ground.

It has been said that a family of raccoons can strip peaches off an area. I have had that happen the last two years. First year the peaches were just overripe, the second they were just reaching ripeness, almost as if someone marked a calendar for the next years visit. I have a 6-foot privacy fence with no signs of digging around bottom of fence. Possibly mounting motion cameras in place when the fruit ripens can capture images of the offender.

My squash grown from volunteer collected seeds is strange and has no taste.

With squash, a cucurbit, flowers from volunteer plants can cross pollinate with many other cucurbit species. Chances are you will not grow true to what you thought. Buy new seeds each year for squash and all other cucurbits.