Thursday, May 14, 2009

Garden Talks May 14

Hello again,

It is time to share some Questions and Answers from the Inbox here at Skillin's. If you have any gardening questions, just drop us a line at and we will get you an answer!

Question: Good gardening friend JP asks

I'm sure you will get a lot of questions after Mother's Day. I had a wonderful day and have 2 questions.

1. I got a healthy looking Patio tomato plant. My daughter put it in one of her Italian tomato cans. The can is 6 inches wide and 7 inches tall. It held
6lbs. 10 0z of tamatoes. It is so pretty I would like to leave it in this can. Do you think I can or will I have to transplant it into a bitter container?

2. I also got a gorgeous blue hydrangea plant (it came from a florist shop). Can that be planted outside?

Any help would be appreciated.

By the way I met your wonderful Mary at a Polish supper a while ago. What a gem!

Answer: Great to hear from you and I am glad you had a wonderful Mother’s Day.

The patio tomato is a great gift and it will produce many fine tomatoes. I feel like it should ultimately be in a bigger container as I have grown Patio tomatoes in 10” containers (we sell those units here at Skillin’s) and by the middle of the summer those plants have grown large and the 10” containers are tipsy and need good waterings daily. Keep your tomato well fed with a good natural fertilizer rich in calcium like Tomato Tone by Espoma OR give it frequent liquid feedings with Neptune's Harvest Fish and Seaweed Blend.

Onto the blue hydrangea, if you got that from a florist shop then chances are it is a florist hydrangea and cannot be planted permanently outside. Water the hydrangea well and check it daily for water; they have a thirsty root system and crave lots of water.

Plain and simple, Mary is the best. We both like to eat and she told me about the Polish supper (my mouth was watering) and she also told me she met a Skillin’s email fan!

Question: SB asks the following

I wonder if you could tell me what would cause moss to grow on our front lawn. It is really not that shady so I am assuming that the soil is lacking something. Do you think more lime would help it. Also if we decide to redo the front lawn should we dig up all of it and put more loam down. The last two years we have had this problem and we have been there over 30 years and not had the problem before. Any idea as to what causes this?? I also have some tulips that the leaves did very well on but no blossom so I don't know what would cause that.


Moss does thrive in the shade and I know that because of ever growing trees on my property I am getting moss where I did not used to. So take another look at that.

Moss also likes acidic soil and if you have not limed for awhile it may be time to do that. I highly recommend Miracal by Jonathan Green (sold right here at Skillin’s) as an effective and fast acting way to reduce the pH of your soil.

With the tulips it could be lack of sun. Also we are learning that tulips should be planted much deeper than the traditional (3 times deeper than the bulb is wide or about 6”) recommendation. If you can plant them more like 8 to 10” deep the tulips will be happier as they will be more insulated from the roller coaster effect of hot summers vs. cold winters and how the corresponding soil temps affect the tulip bulbs. In a couple more weeks will be a great time to dig up those tulips and replant them a little deeper with a good natural fertilizer like Bulb Tone or Plant Tone by Espoma. Again tulips need to grow in the sun.

Back to the moss; if you have some bare spots in your lawn, now is a great time to re seed those patches or OVER seed thin spots with a great grass seed called Black Beauty by Jonathan Green. Black Beauty is a Tall Fescue that roots deeply—“more deeper” than traditional grass seeds—and that root depth enables your grass to grow stronger with deeper roots and to better endure those roller coaster climate conditions that I referred to in the previous paragraph.

Mike Skillin
Skillin's Greenhouses
May 14, 2009

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