Wednesday, May 20, 2009

More P's to Ponder by KCB

KCB is a professional gardener and friend who does wonderful work in the Greater Portland area. KCB is also an accredited Master Gardener by the Cooperative Extension Service and we are proud to tell you that KCB rules as the 2008 Maine Master Gardener of the Year. And we are honored to have KCB as part of our Skillin's Garden Log family.

This post is a sequel to the exciting KCB Minding Your P's from April 28!

"Each May there are two events that anticipation abounds with abundant abandon. Meaning no disrespect, Mother’s Day is not one of them. We are not all mothers.

Some may be surprised by the May spectacle that sets many a twitter, a manifestation that rules the first Saturday of the month of May; The Running of the Roses, the First Jewel of the Crown. Yes, The Kentucky Derby, the most exciting 2 minutes on television. The Second Jewel parlayed in the form of the Preakness this past Saturday. Alas, once again the US will not boast of a Triple Crown Winner. Yet, this is not the event I alluded to.

Can’t you feel it? The anticipation is mounting. It is the running of the roses of another sort. And let us not forget vegetable seedlings, perennials and annuals. There are trees and shrubs at the ready. This coming weekend is Memorial Weekend. The time when we the masses race to our favorite, perhaps more than one, nursery or garden center. Everyone is chomping at the bit to be let out of the gate to participate in the next 2 Ps of gardening; Purchase and Plant.

These are the events of which I mentioned--Purchase and Provide!


v Bring your list. No list? Do another walk around your beds, take another look through your journal or pictures from last season. What’s needed? If you have previously picked up a catalog from your favorite family nursery, review and circle what you find interesting. No catalog? The 2008 Skillin’s Catalog is still on-line and can serve as a substitute. Am I going over-board with this ‘list’ thing? Perhaps. I know all too well budgets can be blown early on. As the season progresses more perennials are added as their bloom time nears.

v Carefully read the plant tags. I love plant tags. So much information.

§ Things of note:
· Hardiness Zone
o We are a zone 5 but some areas are better suited for plants that do not list Zone 5 listed as the lowest appropriate zone.
· Light requirements
· Full Sun = 6 hours of sun between 10 AM 6 PM
· Part Shade/Part Sun = less than above or sun earlier in day
· Filtered Shade/Sun = Under trees or structures in full sun
· Height of plant at maturity.
o That spiderwort can look all cute and cuddly nevertheless can grow to heights of up to14 inches and a rapid spreader.
o Look for plants of varying heights to add layers in your bed.
§ Think front, middle and back of the bed.
· Spacing to allow for expansion (see spiderwort above J)
· Bloom time
o Think color into frost. Look for different bloom times.
· Features of plant
· Best use or location for planting
· General care.

So many choices:
v Look beyond the bloom.
o Look for interesting foliage, texture and movement.
o Purchase plants with buds vs. full bloom.
v Check plastic or peat pot that is housing your purchase
o Soil still moist to touch
o Weed free environment
o Healthy stems and foliage
v No sign of insect damage or disease

Add to your shopping list products that reduce transplant stress. Include a slow release fertilizer and an organic planting mix if soil wasn’t recently amended.

v If you are not able to plant right away do not allow to become dried out.
o Keep plants where they will get the appropriate sun-light, protected from harsh winds (young plants in their containers are light and can easily be blown over)
v Plan placement.
o While still in their containers, place newly purchased plants at the potential spot. Once all are placed step back, walk away and view from different angles. (it’s easy to move potted plants)
v Water potted plants. Do not plant a ‘dry’ plant.
o Use transplant/plant starter solution
§ Refer to manufacturers directions.
v Prepare hole.
o Do not make hole too deep.
o If adding composted planting mix and/or slow release fertilizer make sure to mix in at least ½ of the original garden soil in the mix.
o Loosen compacted soil around the hole to allow for roots to move freely.
o Some transplant solutions recommend watering the hole in preparation for plant.
v Remove plant from pot by gently squeezing or rolling container to loosen plant. If roots extend through bottom push through or prune.
o Do not pull plant from stems or leaves.
o Cradle in hand while pulling away container
o Spread roots with hand or gently w/trowel or garden ‘claw’
v Place plant in the hole at the same level it was growing in the pot.
o Do not bury.
o Add soil mixture. Pat to remove air pockets while not compacting soil
o Water thoroughly

Continue to water until plant is established.

For most of us these procedures are second nature. Nevertheless each day I meet new gardeners. Furthermore, personally speaking, in all my rush I need to be reminded that even a $5 dollar plant deserves a $50 hole. This bodes especially for trees and shrubs.

The full moon has passed. Yet not all fear of a frost in some areas has subsided. For the more tender of annuals, you may want to wait a week.

Also do consider that all plants need not be placed directly in the ground. Containers are fun and a way to be experimental and even a little frivolous.

One final P remains and that is:

v Water as needed
v Remove any invasive weeds
v Deadhead, remove dead foliage as needed
v Love

A plethora of planting pundits prevails at your favorite family owned nursery/garden center. If in doubt ask!

Now go forth and ponder………

And don’t forget to mind your P’s

KCB for Skillin's Greenhouses
May 20, 2009

1 comment:

marge said...

great tips to ponder