May 6, 2009
Only in New England can you go from record high temperatures to the possibility of a frost in about 36 hours. It’s no wonder that we gripe about the weather!
This weekend brings us the full moon for the month of May. Many of the old timers would wait until after the full moon in May to do the planting of frost sensitive plants. During the nights of the full moon, we usually get clear nighttime skies. Clear skies can lead to a dramatic drop in temperatures, leading to a frost. Let’s see if the old timers are correct. The usual planting date for tender vegetables and flowers has always been Memorial Day. There is talk of changing the boundaries of the U.S. climate map. The changes would put us in a warmer climate zone. This could mean that our planting date would change to around May 10 Th. If I knew the answer to proper climate zone we are now in, I would be able to get a job as a consultant for a lot more money.
This weekend is Mother’s Day weekend. Flowers of all kinds are a traditional gift. If you are buying Mom some flowering plants, make sure to choose plants that will grow in the intended planting area. Let me give you an example. For many years, we will talk to customers who has bought a plant for Mother’s Day and in about 2 weeks time, they will tell us the plant is not doing well. After asking a few questions, we usually have determined that the plant needed to be grown in shade and was in fact being grown in full sun. You cannot “ make” a plant grow in the improper conditions. Almost all plants have a tag that will tell you the proper light, water and soil conditions for the plant. If you follow the guidelines on the tag in choosing a plant for Mom, the plant will be happy and so will Mom.
Mother’s Day is also a time that many people pick up hanging flower baskets as a gift or for themselves. These hanging baskets have been on a regular fertilizing schedule in the greenhouse. If you do not continue to fertilize these plants, it won’t be long before the plants use up all of the fertilizer that is in the soil. Shortly after that point, the plant will stop flowering and will eventually die. Unfortunately, the nationally advertised fertilizer is no longer the same fertilizer that it used to be. Several years ago, the company changed the formulation from a high phosphorous fertilizer to a high nitrogen fertilizer. This new formula will create lots of new leaf growth but very little flower growth. If you are using a fertilizer that you can dissolve in water to fertilize your hanging baskets, you will find that your plants will be happier with the old strand-by 20-20-20 fertilizer. Growers have used this fertilizer for years and it will give you beautiful hanging baskets if you use it on a regular basis.
Many of your landscape plants may be slow to put out lots of new growth. Many of the hydrangea family of plants are slow to get growing. An application of fertilizer will help them to pop out of the winter doldrums.
The forsythia bushes are in full bloom in most areas. You should have applied the crabgrass preventer to your lawn. If you have not done it yet, you had best get crackin’ if you want to prevent those crabgrass seed from sprouting.
Well, that’s all for this week. Happy Mother’s Day to all of the Moms! I’ll talk to you again next week.