May 4, 2016
A week of rainy weather in early May is not that much of a rarity. Over the years, I have seen many times when we get socked in with cloudy, misty or rainy weather. When the weather breaks and it always does, we will all be thrilled with the warm and sunny weather.
Mother’s Day is this Sunday. Along with it being a day to honor Mom, it is the unofficial start to the planting season. Mother’s Day is always the second Sunday in May. This year, it is the earliest that Mother’s Day can be. If you are planning on planting annual flowers this weekend or if you plan on putting in all of your vegetable plants, you may want to wait another week on those plants that can be bothered by cold weather or even a frost. The last average spring frost in our area is May 10th. Many years ago, a local farmer told me that you should always wait until after the full moon in May to plant tender annuals and tender vegetables. The full moon in May this year is on the 21st. If you are willing to take a chance and plant early, you may find that you need to bring in or cover up those tender plants.
One question that has come up repeatedly this week is about planting shrubs and perennials. Some people have felt that it was too cold and rainy to plant shrubs and perennials. In fact, cool and rainy days are excellent days to plant perennials and trees and shrubs. When you first put plants in the ground, the plants need to get a new root system established in the ground. In the case of perennials and trees and shrubs, they also have foliage that needs to get water and nutrients. The root system struggles the first few days to get the roots going and to supply water and food to the foliage. If you are planting on a warm and sunny day, the plants can suffer trying to meet the demand for water and food. On the other hand, if the day is cloudy and misty or rainy, the plant does not need as much water as it would need on a sunny day. By planting on an overcast day or planting on a rainy day, it allows the plant that extra day to get its roots out into the soil.
When you are putting your plants into the soil, it is beneficial to give the plants some fertilizer that will stimulate root growth. This type of fertilizer is referred to as a plant starter fertilizer. The fertilizer is mixed with water and the plants are watered with this solution of fertilizer and water. It is best to do this right after you are finished putting the plants into the ground. Plant starter fertilizer can also be used when you plant your window boxes, raised beds or hanging baskets. This type of fertilizer is only applied once after planting. After that, you would fertilize your plants on a regular schedule with an appropriate fertilizer for the type of plants you are growing.
Since it is planting season, here is an important bit of advice. If you are putting plants into any type of container i.e. window boxes, flower pots, barrels, cocoa fiber lined planters or urns, you should always use potting soil to fill the containers. If you use bagged garden soil or if you use topsoil, the soil will be too dense to allow plants to develop a good root system. The dense soil can also hold too much moisture and can result in the roots rotting in the soil. If you are planting in any type of container, always use a good quality potting soil. For years, I have been partial to the potting soils from a company called the Coast of Maine and a potting soil called Country Cottage.
Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.