24August 3, 2017

How does your garden grow? It is interesting to talk to customers in our store about how their gardens are doing this season. As we all know, last summer was very dry and many gardens did not do very well. So many plants dried up and died last year. It would appear that this year the plants are doing fine. Some people have complained that some of their vegetable plants are not producing the way that some people had hoped for. Flower gardens appear to be faring much better. Some people have felt that the plants are not blooming as prolifically as in prior years.

Once I get to talk to people in depth, I have discovered that the people who are happy with their gardens are usually the people who have routinely fertilized their flower and vegetable gardens. The vast majority of the plants that you put into your gardens are hybrid plants. In the case of vegetable plants, the hybrid plants need a steady supply of food for plant growth, flower production, vegetable production and ultimately the ripening of the vegetables. If you do not keep up with fertilizing your vegetable plants, the plants will produce fewer flowers, which ultimately mean fewer vegetables.

Many people have complained that they have healthy tomato plants with lots of green tomatoes but very few that are producing ripe tomatoes. This could be one of two things happening. Some tomatoes take a long time to ripen. This is usually the larger size tomato. If you planted Big Boy tomatoes, they usually don’t ripen until later in August. If you planted some of the early maturing varieties, think Early Girl, and they are not ripening, then the problem is that you are not using the proper fertilizer. If your tomatoes are going to ripen, they will need a lot of potassium in the soil. Potassium is the third number of the three numbers listed on your fertilizer package. If your tomatoes are going to ripen, and if the rest of your vegetables are going to ripen, make sure that the potassium level is high in your fertilizer.

Many people have also commented that their annual flowers in their window boxes started off well but the flower production has slowed down substantially. Again, this problem stems from a lack of fertilizer. Most of the varieties of annual flowers that you would buy are hybrid plants that need a lot of fertilizer to successfully produce a lot of flowers. The middle number on your fertilizer package is phosphorous. This is the ingredient that helps in flower bud production. If the phosphorous level is low, you are not going to get a lot of flowers.

You also need to keep in mind that as your flowers grow and those containers fill up with plants, you need to fertilize regularly to keep those plants producing. In the case of annuals, you may have fertilized once a month when the plants were young. Now that the plants are full size, they probably need to be fertilized every 7 to 10 days to keep those flowers coming along.

If you want your gardens to keep producing during the summer months, you need to give your plants the proper fertilizer and you need to do so on a proper schedule. Once you get into the habit of doing so, you will love your gardens even more.

A few of you have asked where our garden center is located. The garden center is called Harbor Garden Center. We are located on Route 1 in Salisbury, about 1/4 mile south of Salisbury Square.

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

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