May 30, 2012
It is the end of May and I think that most gardeners would agree that we have had some of the best weather for planting that we have seen in many years.
Ever year at this time of the season, I will get asked if it is too late to plant vegetable plants or annual flowers. The answer is that it is just the beginning of the planting season. You still have a lot of time to put in your vegetable garden. You still have time to plant up those window boxes and other planters. You still have time to plant the impatiens around the trees and in the shady flowerbeds. There are plants that prefer to be planted in early June. Zinnias and basil are two plants that immediately come to mind. They love warm soil and warm weather. If you haven’t started your gardens and planting your containers, it’s time to get busy!
The flowers and the vegetables that you have planted will need to be fertilized on a regular schedule. If you do not keep up with fertilizing your vegetable plants, you will get fewer vegetables and your container grown flowers will stop producing flowers. There is no one best fertilizer. I wish there was! It would make my life selling garden products so much easier. There are timed-release products that feed for 4 months. There are powders that you mix with water and water around the base of your plants. There are granular products. Some of these products are synthetics and some are organic. If you ask some one which car is the best car, you will get many different answers. With fertilizers as in cars, if you find something you like and it works out well for you, then that is what you should be using.
The caterpillars are still at work eating your plants. Make sure to check your plants and apply Bt to control the damage from caterpillars. Ants also appear to be a problem. In many cases, they aren’t hurting anything. They may be in the lawn or along the foundation. Unless they are carpenter ants, you can just co-exist with the ants and you will both be happy. Aphids will be feeding on the new growth of your plants. You can spray them with many different types of spray or you can release some ladybugs at the base of the infected plant and let the ladybugs eat the aphids. We sell ladybugs at the store. Slugs have also become a major problem since the extended period of rain last week. If you find sign of slug damage on your hosta, you should be applying a slug bait to decrease the number of slugs now. Left unchecked, they will multiply like crazy and do a lot of damage to your plants.
This may sound like a sales pitch but it is not. During the last week, we have had numerous people who have shopped at the store and said to me “ You had a beautiful (annual flower, perennial, flowering shrub etc.) last week and now I don’t see it. Do you have any more? The problem is that growers have cut back on production for the last 4 years. People were not buying as many plants. Couple together people feeling better about the economy along with nice planting weather and you will find that particular varieties of plants are being snapped up by customers. So, if you see a plant that you want, buy it because if you wait a week, it probably will be gone into someone’s garden.
Well, that’s all for this week. I’ll talk to you again next week.