Thursday, May 24, 2012

Quck Gardening Hits for late May 2012!

Hello again,

KCB who can always be described as "out there" (and by that I mean doing much gardening as the owner of Finishing Touches Landscaping Co.) has sent some information for what she is seeing these past few days as she works in many quality gardens in Skillin's Country. There are some great garden tips here!

“ And they're off……” not just for the start of a  horse race any longer. My mind exclaims this phrase as I visit my favorite Family Owned gardening centers this season. People no longer wait until Memorial Day to start the event but celebrate all week with frequent shopping sprees. Now that all is purchased follow this tried and proven hints to assist in your efforts.

·         To avoid leggy plants in the fall, shear back now:

o   Autumn Joy and taller Sedums-cut completely back to about 3 inches. Repeat again before 4th of July. In fact this can be done earlier in May which may result in 3 cut backs/before the 4th!

o   New England Aster- follow the 3 before the 4th rule.

o   Salvias-all tall varieties-My favorite, the Caradonna, offers dark purple stems. Even the seed heads are attractive.  Cut back to next bud for blooming to frost.

o   Veronica-Speedwell Tall Varieties such as Veronica. Also avoid staking using this trick.

o   Garden Phlox- Cut back to about ½ when about 8-12 inches. Cut back at different times to create different heights and bloom times.

o   Nepeta (Catmint) - Shear back to about 3 inches for a more compact growth. If your garden sports several pockets of this prolific perennial, shear back at different times for scattered blooming.  Another hint, shear back the inside of the plant when blooms become spent, then when new growth/blooms appear, shear along the outside. This way you don’t miss the punches of purple while waiting for new growth.  This also works for tickseed coreopsis.

·         Planting Containers:  If using a planting mix vs. potting soil, moisten the dried mixture before filling containers 2/3rds full. Place plants in container then use the dry mixture to fill in the gaps and as top dressing. Water in.  I have found this causes less stress on the soon to be installed plants. Additionally, I check the moisture of my potted plant. If dry to touch, water before removing from pot.  Don’t forget to gently spread the roots.  Top dress with worm castings. Believe me. You will be the envy of your neighbors with such glowing containers.  Unless, they too read the Skillin’s newsletters.

·         What to do with all the empty bags of organic planting mixes & compost?  Remember scraping the bowl of a cake mix or pudding desert after the task was done? I feel the same way about the residual in these bags. I hate wasting a drop of ‘Coast of Maine Penobscot Blend’ or ‘Little River’ compost.  Add a little water to the bag. Grab the top of the bag and ‘shake, shake, shake’…. Use to water in the newly installed plant.  Repeat with the nearly empty bag of Worm Castings.  I let this set for about 24 hours and use as a compost worm tea.

·         Do not forget to water newly installed plants.  Trees and woodies are especially venerable and need tending the first season until established.  Even those sporting a ‘drought tolerant’ tag!

o   Slow & Deep is the key.

o   ¼ inch per half to one hour twice a week. Less often during rainy periods, more often during the dry heat.

§  Drip hoses work best.

§  Do not wrap directly around trunk or base of plants.

·         Think ‘drip line’ which is the canopy of the tree, shrub or plant. This is where you will find the root endings.

Happy Memorial Day.  God Bless America!

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 honored to have KCB as part of our Skillin's Garden Log family. KCB can also be found at the awesome Finishing Touches website

KCB for Skillin's Greenhouses

May 24, 2012

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