50 May 13, 2008

Mother’s Day has come and gone. The weather was better than forecasted, and many of you could get out into the garden.


Mother’s Day is traditionally a day for giving Mom flowering hanging baskets. These plants look nice when you get them, but over time, the flowering is often sparse. The reason for this is that most greenhouses feed these plants at least once a week. You should follow this same feeding schedule if you want to keep the plants producing lots of flowers. You can use a fertilizer that dissolves in the water you use to water the plants. When selecting a fertilizer, you want to use one with a high phosphorous content. However, some of the newer varieties of petunias and calibrachoa need a higher nitrogen fertilizer that also contains iron. This type of fertilizer helps to keep the plants performing at their best.


As the rose bushes begin to put out lots of new growth, you will need to watch out for aphids feeding on the new growth. There are many organic sprays that will kill the aphids on contact. If you wish to have a longer control of aphids, you can use a systemic insecticide. Periods of rainy weather will also mean an increase in fungus diseases on rose bushes. If you see any signs of fungus diseases on your rose bushes, it is best to immediately apply a fungicide to the plants.


Speaking of rose bushes, many of you are planting Rosa Rugosa. This

“beach” rose does not like to be fertilized with a water-soluble fertilizer. This type of fertilizer can burn the leaves. Chemical insecticides and fungicides can also damage the foliage. On this rose bush, it is better to stick to organic fertilizers and organic insect and disease control.


The dandelions are beginning to show those pretty yellow flowers. If you wish to stay organic, you can use a dandelion fork to pop the plant out of the ground. If it is the correct time, you can apply your second application of lawn fertilizer. This step 2 usually contains a broadleaf weed killer. If you just applied fertilizer to your lawn, you can treat the weeds with either a granular weed control or you can spray on a weed killer. When selecting a spray on weed killer, just be sure that it is a weed killer that won’t kill the grass too.


People are beginning to put their vegetable plants into the garden. The full moon this month is on the 19 Th of May. Many years, the full moon in May is accompanied by clear skies at night. Those clear skies can cause the temperatures to drop and in many years we will get a frost during the full moon of May. You can either wait to plant frost sensitive plants until after the full moon or you can watch the weather forecast and cover the plants to protect them from the frost.


The lilacs are beginning to come into bloom. Here are a couple of things to remember. Lilacs should have the old flower blooms cut off after they are done flowering. This will help to promote the formation of new flower buds. Lilacs can also be pruned back after they are done flowering. Lilacs need to be fertilized after they are done flowering. Lilacs also do not like growing in an acid soil. An application of lime around the base of all of your lilacs will help to neutralize the acidity in the soil and will allow the lilac to grow at its best.


Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.

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