This is what all of your plants are screaming right now! If you are not on a regular fertilizing schedule, now is an opportune time to start. As we approach the warm weather plants are begging for food because they are about to take off.
WHAT IS N-P-K you say… ?
- Nitrogen, or Nitrates, are essential components necessary to produce the protein in plants. As a result, plants grown with nitrogen added to the soil are stronger, healthier and bigger.
- Phosphorus functions as one of the major players in the process of photosynthesis, nutrient transport, and energy transfer. It supports robust and brightly colored blooms.
- Potassium in most fertilizers is water soluble otherwise can’t be absorbed by the plant roots. Potassium controls the plant cells that use water. Without enough potassium, the cells don’t efficiently use water and the plant is unhealthy. It then becomes vulnerable to disease and heat stress. Potassium also aids the enzymes promoting plant life. Without potassium, the plant cannot cycle the nutrients to feed roots, leaves and fruits.
Returned home from summer holiday just to find your beloved houseplants looking a bit peaked? Well, you are not alone. While it may be fairly easy to find friends or neighbors willing to pop over to water your outdoor containers, indoor houseplants are often overlooked and forgotten during vacation travel. And although your plants can probably withstand a few days, prolonged neglect can turn healthy houseplants into a wilted puddle. But before you throw those plants away, it may be possible to revive them with these helpful houseplant care tips.
Houseplant Care Tips:
To revive wilted houseplants, follow these easy steps.
1. Use a fork to lightly break up the dry surface of the soil. As a plant dries out, peat-based potting mixtures and the plant’s rootball shrink away from the pot sides, so any water will be shred and run off. Lightly breaking up the surface allows water to penetrate the soil and reach the roots rather than simply running down the drain.
2. Immerse the pot in a bucket of warm water. Wait until the mixture becomes completely wet and the bubbles stop appearing.
3. Allow any excess water to drain away, and then put the plant into a cool, well-lit location. If you caught the plant in time, it should recover in a few hours.
For more houseplant care tips, stop by the garden center. Our friendly experts are on hand seven days a week with answers to all your gardening questions!
Our 2013 comprehensive planting guide will give you the “how to” on planting annuals to perennial trees and shrubs. Just Click on the image below or follow the link to our PDF, printer-friendly version. Happy planting!
PlantingGuide2013 (printer-friendly PDF version)
It’s here! Spring is finally officially here! And with spring comes peak planting time. Time to break out your gardening tools, lawn mowers, and those garden plans you’ve been pouring over all winter, and get out in the yard! Well………maybe just as soon as it warms up a bit more, right? But before you get too busy with your spring planting, there are a few things you should do to get ready first. Follow our spring check list now and enjoy successful and smooth gardening in the months to come.
Clean Up Those Garden Beds
It’s a good idea to clean up your garden beds before too much new growth occurs with the onset of warmer weather. As the new growth emerges, prune away any dead, winter-killed leaves and shoots, and compost them or bury them in the vegetable garden.
Press back any plants that may have frost-heaved over the winter. Maintain a 2-inch layer of mulch around your plants. Keep the mulch away from the crowns and directly away from the stems to avoid rot.
Dig up, divide, and replant any established plants if they’ve become too crowded. A key sign of crowding is if flowering has been sparse. Some fast-growing perennials need to be divided between one and three years after planting.
Tune Up Those Lawn Mowers
Soon, it will be time to break out the lawn mowers, but before you do, it’s a good idea to give them a tune-up. Plan to service your lawn mower yourself or take it to a lawn repair shop. A few of the items that should be looked at include:
- Air Filter- Clean or replace if damaged
- Spark Plug- Clean or replace if cracked
- Oil- Check to see that it’s filled to the right level. Change the oil as recommended by the manufacturer
- Mower Blade- Replace if chipped, cracked, or bent. Maintain a sharp mower blade to cut the grass cleanly. This is important not only for a great looking lawn, but a healthy one, too. A dull mower blade tears the grass, leaving a rough appearance, and leaving it vulnerable to insect or disease attacks.
- Tires- Examine the tires for wear and replace them if necessary to give you better traction and maneuverability.
- Check for loose screws and bolts on the handle controls and the motor, now and throughout the season
Pull Out Those Weeds
Handpull or spot treat any winter annual weeds that may have already sprouted in your lawn and bedding areas. These pesky little invaders are not only unsightly, they actually pull moisture and nutrients out of the soil, robbing your plants of needed benefits.
Check Those Garden Tools
Dull and broken garden tools are a side-effect of working in the yard. Of course, it’s downright difficult to, say, prune with dull shears. But shears that won’t cut will pull and tear instead, which only damages your plants, leaving them vulnerable to disease. So inspect your garden tools and repair where you can, and replace if necessary.
For more gardening tips, be sure to visit the garden center. Our friendly staff is on-hand seven days a week to help with all your gardening needs.
Happy Spring everyone!
March is here and spring is around the corner, and if you are anything like me, then you are longing for some flowers and dreaming of spring planting. Although it’s still a bit early for many plants, now is definitely the time to be planting cool-season vegetables in your edible gardens.
Cool-season veggies grow best at temperatures averaging 15° cooler than those needed by warm season types. Many have edible leaves or roots (lettuce, spinach, carrots, and radishes); others (artichokes, broccoli, cauliflower) are grown for their immature flowers. A few (peas, broad beans) produce edible seeds. Most can endure short periods of frost.
For best results, you need to grow them to maturity in cool weather; otherwise, they can turn bitter tasting, or bolt to seed rather than producing edible parts. Except in coldest climates, plant them in very early spring so the crop will mature before summer heat settles in, or in late summer for a crop in fall in winter.
Here’s a few tips for successful cool-season vegetable gardening this month.
If you started transplants indoor from seed, you will need to harden these home-grown transplants before moving them into the garden. Hardening is a procedure that prepares indoor-grown plants for the rigors of the outdoors. Reduce watering and set them outdoors during the day. Bring them inside at night. Continue this for 3-4 days. If the temperature drops below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, take the plants inside. After four days, allow the plants to be outside all day and night. After about a week or two, the plants should be hardened off and ready to be transplanted with a minimum of shock.
Helpful Hint- Rotate Your Garden
Rotate your vegetables by not planting the same vegetable or related vegetable in the same location year after year. Rotate at least once every three years. If you have to, and if space permits, rotate the entire garden to a new location and allow the original garden to remain fallow for a year. By rotating vegetables from different families you can prevent the buildup of insect and disease problems. Refer to the following list of vegetable families when rotating your garden.
- Carrot Family: carrot, chervil, celery, coriander, dill, Florence fennel, parsley, and parsnip
- Goosefoot Family: beet, spinach, and Swiss chard
- Gourd Family: cucumber, gourd, cantaloupe, watermelon, pumpkin, and squash
- Grass Family: popcorn and sweet corn
- Lily Family: asparagus
- Mallow Family: okra
- Mustard Family: bok choi, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, cauliflower, collards, cress, kale, horseradish, holrabi, mustard greens, radish, rutabaga, and turnip
- Nightshade Family: eggplant, pepper, Irish potato, and tomato
- Onion Family: chive, garlic, leek, onion, and shallot
- Pea Family: beans and peas
- Sunflower Family: endive, chicory, globe artichoke, Jerusalem artichoke, lettuce, salsify, and sunflower
Piedmont gardeners can buy seed potatoes and cut them into egg-sized pieces containing one or two eyes. Allow the cuts to dry and callous for a day or two before planting. Plant them when the soil temperature remains above 50 degrees F.
Plant asparagus crowns before new growth emerges from the buds.
Some vegetables have heavier demands for nitrogen than others and need extra nitrogen during the growing season. These heavy-feeders benefit from an application of primarily a nitrogen-containing fertilizer applied along one side of the row, about 4-6 inches from the plants. This is called sidedressing. Use a nitrogen fertilizer, such as calcium nitrate, bloodmeal, or cotton seed meal.
Sidedress beets and carrots four to six weeks after planting. Broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower benefit from an application two to three weeks after planting, and again four to six weeks later. Sidedress lettuce soon after the seedlings emerge and grow. Fertilize English peas when they are 4 to 6 inches tall.
Plant perennial herbs such as chives, oregano, and thyme as they become available. Also dill and parsley are okay to sow or set out at this time.
For those of you wishing to get a jump start on your warm-season vegetable gardens, try sowing warm-season vegetable seeds indoors for transplant outdoors later. In flats or trays, try eggplant, New Zealand spinach ( a heat-tolerant substitute for spinach), pepper, and tomato. Tender-rooted vegetables such as cucumber, muskmelon, summer squash, and watermelon should be sown in individual pots or peat pellets.
For more gardening tips, be sure to visit the garden center. Our friendly staff is on-hand seven days a week with answers to all your gardening needs.