June 3, 2009
The month of May has come and gone and the planting season’s weather has been unusual, to say the least, but plants are growing at a steady pace.
In the minds of some people, the end of May is the end of the planting season. The truth is, many annuals and vegetable plants prefer to be planted in the warm weather of early June. Zinnias, Portulaca, Peppers, Eggplant, Basil and a host of other warmth loving plants will “catch” better in the garden if the soil is warm. There is still time to plant grass seed, perennials, summer flowering bulbs, tree and shrubs. The truth is, the planting season is in mid season.
Now that you have many of your plants in the ground, you must keep up with a schedule of fertilizing your plants. After plants are first put into the ground, they work at putting out a strong root system and the beginning of new top growth. Vegetable plants and annuals and some perennials also begin the process of producing flowers. For these processes to be successful, the plants need a steady supply of fertilizer. If you use fertilizer that is dissolved in water, you should re-apply these products every 2 weeks. Granular fertilizers will generally supply nutrients for about a month. If you slack off on the feeding schedule, your plants will suffer. You spend your hard earned money on buying plants and you put a lot of time and effort into planting those plants. Fertilizing your plants on a regular schedule will make sure that your gardening investment pays off all season long.
Over the past weekend we had people bring in samples of the leaves of plants. The leaves were white in color in some spots. It was obviously not powdery mildew. What had happened to the leaves was windburn. During the last 2 weeks, we had some days that were very windy. The wind occurred during the time when the air was very dry. If you add in some of the warm days that were very sunny, you have all the ingredients necessary for windburn on the leaves of plants. During that time frame, many of the leaves were new leaves emerging on trees and shrubs. Many annuals, vegetables and perennials had just been planted. The windburn happened because the roots of the plant were not able to supply water as fast as the wind could pull the water out of the leaves. In some cases, the new leaves had not had a chance to thicken up enough to prevent the wind from pulling all of the moisture out of the leaves. Young seedlings may have been killed by the windburn. Other plants have leaves that are burned. The leaves on the more established plants will fall off and be replaced by newer leaves. It just turned out to be the luck of the draw that the dry wind struck at the worst time of the planting season and at just the time established plants were putting out tender new leaves.
Newly transplanted annual and vegetable plants are also an invitation for insects to launch an attack on your plants. The new growth is a nice feast for the insects. You should be on the lookout for any signs of insect attacks. If you are not sure what the problem may be, you can always bring in a sample of the plants with any signs of insects or diseases. Put the sample into a plastic bag. This helps to prevent the spread of insects to our plants and also prevents the insects from hopping off the plants while they are going for a ride to the garden center.
Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.