40May 25, 2016

With the arrival of Memorial Day weekend, we are now into the heart of planting season. It’s time to plant the tomato plants!

When you are planting your small plants, be it flower or vegetable, they struggle the first few days to get their root system established in the soil. The roots of your plants are also trying to supply the leaves with water and food. If you plant your plants on a cloudy day or even a day of light rain, it will make it easier for the plants to get their root system established. Your plants won’t be fighting the drying out effect of the sun. Planting on a windy day can also cause your plants to battle to supply the leaves with the water they need to replace the water that the leaves are losing to the wind. This is why it is important to keep the soil moist the first few days. The roots need moisture to grow and they need moisture in the soil in order to supply the leaves with the water needed to keep the leaves alive.

You can also help the roots to get established by using a product called a plant starter fertilizer. This product is mixed with water and it is applied to the soil as soon as you are done planting. This product is formulated to encourage root growth. It is some insurance to help those plants to survive their first few days in the garden or in your containers.

If you fertilized your lawn in early April, now is the next time that you should be applying fertilizer to your lawn. An application of fertilizer now will keep the lawn growing slow and steady through the summer months.

If you grew your own plants from seed inside your home, you probably would like to get them into the garden. However, plants that have been grown in the house are not acclimated to the sun and the wind that they will experience outside. You need to do a process called hardening off your plants before they are placed in their final home. What you need to do is to put your plants outside for about 15 minutes the first day. You would then bring the plants back inside. The next days put your plants outside for 30 minutes and then bring them back inside. By gradually increasing the time you put the plants outside each day, you will acclimate the plants to the sun and wind. By the end of a week, you should be able to safely put your plants outside in their permanent home.

During the past week, we have had many people come into the store and tell me that the squirrels are eating the flower buds on the rose bushes. I have to admit that in the 40 + years I have been in this business, I have never heard of squirrels eating the flower buds on rose bushes. An application of an animal repellent on the flower buds should stop the squirrels from eating any more flower buds.

For those of you who have been waiting for our supply of ladybugs and praying mantids to arrive, they are here! Both of these are natural predators of many destructive insects that invade your gardens.

Once you have all your plants in their new home, you need to set up a regular schedule of fertilizing your plants. So many of the plants that you buy are hybrid plants. Hybrid flower plants will product more flowers if you keep a steady supply of fertilizer in the soil. This is particularly important if you have plants growing in containers. The same goes for vegetable plants. Vegetable plants grown in containers will take a lot of fertilizer out of the soil in just a few weeks. Successful gardeners know that their plants need water and fertilizer to perform well in your gardens or containers.

Well, that’s all for this week. Have a Happy and Safe Memorial Day weekend. We will be open all weekend and on Memorial Day.

I’ll talk to you again next week.

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