April Gardening Tips

For Your Lawnseedlings-300x225

  • Lime and fertilize lawn and apply pre-emergent control to prevent crabgrass.
  • Re-seed areas of winter-killed lawn.

For Your Vegetable Garden

  • Plant peppers, tomatoes, and other warm-weather crops after all danger of frost has passed.
  • Top-dress beds with aged manure.

For Your Flower Beds

  • Prune hybrid tea and floribunda roses.
  • Feed tulip beds with 5-10-5 fertilizer.
  • Clean water gardens before growth begins.
  • Plant new hardy water lilies.
  • Plant hardy annual and perennial flowering plants, such as pansies.
  • Tender annuals can be planted when danger of frost has passed.

For Your Trees and Shrubs

  • Fertilize trees and shrubs.
  • Remember to feed acid-loving plants, such as broadleaf evergreens.
  • Apply dormant oil spray to trees and shrubs if you have not done so already. Do not apply if plants are not dormant or if freezing temperatures are expected.
  • Replace any dead or winter-damaged trees or shrubs.

Starting Seeds Indoors

seedlings-300x225The arrival of March means that winter is finally coming to an end and Spring is just around the corner! However, temperatures may still be quite cold during the days and nights, and frost and snow still pose a threat to budding outdoor plants. While it’s not quite an ideal time to start planting your spring garden outside just yet, there are plenty of steps you can take to plan and get your plants off to a great start indoors while you await warmer, longer days that will promote beautiful blossoms outdoors. Starting fruit, vegetable, herb, and flower seeds indoors is easier than you think, and with a little knowledge and effort you can be well on your way to a beautiful Spring garden by the time it warms up outside! [Read more…]

March Gardening Tips

30015-daffodils_KS111073-300x199Start Cold Crops Inside

If you haven’t done so already, early March is a good time to start seeds of cold crops such as lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower indoors under lights. By April, you’ll have plants that are ready to be transplanted outside a few weeks before the last frost date.

Get a Head Start on Herbs
Begin planning your herb garden and start seeds of basil, parsley, sage,
and thyme indoors. Start your herbs in flats filled with moistened seed-starting mix.

After germination, place the plants under grow lights or by a sunny window and be sure to keep the soil moist. [Read more…]

February Gardening Tips

pruning-300x198February can be a tough month on plants, but with a little effort you can keep your plants healthy and vibrant while planning your spring garden! Follow these easy tips to keep your garden in top shape this February. [Read more…]

Year Round Container Gardens

Container gardens offer so much versatility.  They are re-usable, inexpensive and properly planted, can provide color from march to november!  The trick is to replant the container with each new season.

holiday container gardensLet’s start from november and work our way through the year.  There is a chill in the air, you’ve finished raking the leaves and you discover some tulips, daffodils or grape hyacinths  you’ve neglected to plant.  Take your container (we’ll use a 14″ pot as an example here) and remove any and all plant material.  Top off the pot with a potting soil mix.  Dibble down 4-6″ into the soil and plant your pot.  Your taller daffodils would be your uprights, your tulips would be your mid-sized and your grape hyacinths would in this case be labeled your trailing types.

Come springtime you’ll have a cheery pot full of spring flowers.  Add a few pansies to extend the flowering and you are all set till May!

When the season warms up enough in May to set out your annual bedding plants, either remove the spent bulbs, or plant over them.  Just mix and match according to your color or plant preferences.  Come mid-September, remove the annual plants, and again, following the recipe for success, replant with fall mums, ornamental kales, fall pansies or experiment with late season perennials.

Finally, to dress the house up for the holidays, take spent flowers out, cut back perennials, and replace with fresh greens.  Boughs of fresh pine, hemlock and fir look great when contrasted with holly, variegated eunomous or even twigs of white birch branches.

Once you get a feel for the growth habit of most plants you can mix and match plants to achieve great looks all throughout the year.  This model works just as well on a whiskey barrel as it does on our 14″ planter.  Have fun creating your pot full of color all year long!

October Gardening Tips

Fall_Color_Ornament_Grass_2037451HRFall is a great time to start a compost pile. Start out with brown leaf and add the last few trimmings for nitrogen. Remember to alternate layers. Shred brown leaf to speed decomposition.

Apply an anti-dessicant, such as Wilt-Pruf, to spring or fall planted broadleaf evergreens and specimen conifers. Make sure temperatures are above 50 degrees. Newly planted Arborvitaes could be wrapped in burlap to protect from snow load.

Mulch in spring-planted trees and shrubs. Don’t permit them to get too dry; water them throughly and deeply

Start amaryllis and paperwhite narcissus for holiday blooms. (Allow 5-6 weeks for paperwhites and 12 weeks for amaryllis).

Apply fall lawn fertilizer at this time.

Apply lime to lawns to raise pH. A 50# bag of lime will raise lawn pH about .5 point per 1000 sq ft.
Re-seed areas damaged by grubs with insect resistant seed varieties

Caring For Mums in Containers

chrysanthemum flowersMums are as ubiquitous as pumpkins in the fall. You can find them everywhere and anywhere from nurseries to supermarkets to gas stations. However, once you get them home they are incredibly easy to kill. They dry out in a nanosecond and need to be watered at least once a day. After the repeated stress of drying out, they often just up and die.

Here are five tips to keep your mums from croaking. [Read more…]

Keeping Young Trees and Shrubs Healthy

Hydrangea-limelight_100_1028MRIt’s hot out there for newly planted trees and shrubs. These plants may be struggling to survive the heat and drought because their root systems haven’t had a chance to get established in the native soil yet. That’s why it’s important to pamper spring-planted trees and shrubs during the first year after planting. Most trees fail after the first year of planting because they were stressed and never recovered from transplant shock. Here are some ways to take the shock out of tree planting.

  • Keep them watered. Young trees need moist soil to survive the first summer. If you have sandy soil, the roots will dry out quickly and the leaves may shrivel and drop. If you have clay soil, the dry ground will rack, exposing roots and causing them to dry out. You should water your trees a few times a week and deeply. Add 5 to 10 gallons of water per tree each time.

 

  • Use a gator. If you don’t want to be a slave to tree watering all summer, try this product. Tree gators are plastic-sleeved devices that wrap around trees. Fill them with water and they slowly release the water over time, keeping the soil around the rootball moist.

 

  • Mulch them. Keep the soil around the tree or shrub mulched with an organic mulch. This will help keep the soil moist, plus prevent weeds from growing. Be generous with your mulch ring size. Spread it outside the drip line of the plant. The feeder roots will be more likely to penetrate the native soil if there is no competition from other plants and the soil stays moist. Add a 2- to 3-inch-thick layer of mulch around each tree and don’t pile it up next to the trunk or the tree may suffer from crown rot.
  • Stake or no stake? Staking usually isn’t recommended for newly planted trees. The gentle swaying from the wind helps the new roots get established. However, if you have a windy location, you may want to stake the tree for just the first year so it doesn’t blow over.

August Gardening Tips

sources from The Farmers Almanac
2220_rudbeckia_48166Medium

  • If you have any houseplants sitting directly in the window, make sure the light is filtered or the plant is moved to a site out of direct sunlight. The windowpane intensifies the heat, and you don’t want to scorch your plants.
  • Fertilize your houseplants frequently to ensure vigorous growth.
  • Snip off the old flower clusters from rambler roses to encourage them to bloom all summer.
  • You can sow a fall crop of bush beans now. Plant seeds two inches deep to protect them from the hot Sun. You can sow other vegetable seeds for an autumn yield, too, by planting them just a little deeper than you did in the spring. The best time to plant is after a rain shower.
  • Don’t water your melons at the base of the stems. Doing so can cause rot. Build up a little earth around the stems to keep water away.
  • Once melon vines have set three or four fruits, remove any new blossoms. The remaining fruits will benefit from this, and you will still have plenty.
  • If your trees have any yellow or undersize foliage, start feeding them regularly. Be sure not to overfeed them.
  • Harvest summer squash when it’s young and tender (8 inches).
  • As the weather warms up, do not neglect your watering. Water deeply in the morning and avoid light sprinklings. Water at the roots, not on the foliage.
  • Start herbs such as parsley, dill, and basil in pots for indoor use over the winter.
  • Harvest tomatoes, zucchini, beans, and other fruiting crops frequently to encourage production and avoid attracting pests.
  • Sow vegetable seeds for your fall garden: carrots, beets, turnips, collards, Chinese cabbage, snap beans, radish, kohlrabi, endive, kale, rutabagas, and summer squashes.
  • Set out broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower transplants for your fall garden.
  • Lightly fertilize tomatoes and peppers. Don’t overfertilize.
  • After broccoli head is harvested, the plant continues to grow side shoots.
  • Slugs? Put out shallow dishes of beer; handpick in the early morning. Also, deter with eggshells and other sharp objects.
  • Prevent weeds from seeding; this will mean fewer weeds next year. Pull weeds as they grow and use mulch in your flower beds to prevent them from sprouting.
  • When there is less than an inch of rain in a week, water extra. Water in early morning.
  • Mulching is an important job to keep up with in July. Organic mulches break down over time, so be sure to check the mulch around your plants. Keep a 3- to 4-inch layer of mulch around your plants to retain moisture. Also keep a thick layer of mulch around the roots of trees and shrubs.
  • Water your containers twice a day. Apply a slow-release fertilizer every 2 weeks.
  • If white crust develops in containers, it’s salt buildup; remove and water heavily to flush out salts.
  • Remove tomato suckers to keep the energy focused on the fruit on main branches.
  • If your tomatoes have “blossom end rot,” avoid uneven watering. Mulch will help moderate the fluctuating moisture levels that nature provides.
  • Lightly fertilize long-season plants, such as onions, tomatoes, and peppers, to help encourage growth.
  • Pinch back mint, oregano, and savory to promote bushier growth.
  • Newly planted trees and shrubs need one to two thorough soakings per week and lawns need 1 to 1.5 inches of water per week. Soak, don’t sprinkle.
  • Finish pruning spring-flowering shrubs by mid-month.
  • Annuals and perennials can be planted at any time to fill in blank spaces in the garden.
  • Remove any dead flowers from your annuals and perennials to encourage new growth.
  • Remove any spent flowers from annuals to ensure continued blooming.
  • Garlic and onions are ready when their tops start to bend over. Remove their tops after they’ve dried for a couple weeks and store in a cool place.
  • During these warmer months, raise the mowing height to 2.5 to 3 inches. Water your lawn with 1 inch of water per week to ensure healthy growth.
  • Feed your roses at mid-month to encourage more flowering.
  • Late this month, plant iris and daylilies. Prepare soil now for fall planting.
  • Dig up and divide crowded spring-blooming bulbs whenever they are dormant.
  • Generally, trees and shrubs need deep watering every 10 to 14 days to a depth of 3 inches with a hose at the roots. Do not fertilize, so that they can start preparing for winter dormancy.
  • Remove annual flowers that have finished flowering – plus, any faded flowers.

Planting Dahlias

kthread-dahlia-flower-220627-o-300x201If your perennial flower garden gets a little drab and boring come late summer and fall, think about planting dahlias. Gardeners are always trying to find colorful flowers to keep the show going into autumn, and dahlias are the perfect star to fit the bill. Dahlias just need a little more thought and attention compared to other perennial flowers.

Dahlias offer a wide range of flower types. There are flowers shaped like pom-poms, anemones, cactus, orchids, and water lilies. The flowers come with single or double petals and in almost any color of the rainbow from white to purple. Some varieties produce flowers the size of a dinner plate, while others have small flowers on dwarf plants. [Read more…]