Have you ever promised yourself that this year, your garden will be the best ever? No slipped deadlines, no impulse buying, no 're-do' of garden beds or paths. This time, everything will be perfect. Here are some random ideas to help you reach that goal:
In starting indoor seedlings for spring planting outdoors—basically allow about two months from the time you start the seeds indoors (March 20) to the day you plant them outside (May 20). That’s a week for the seeds to germinate, six weeks to grow into strong stocky starts, and a week to harden them off before planting.
Plant two seeds in every container/hole. Thin with small scissors, leaving the stockier plant to thrive.
Outside, work in compost (LeafGro) instead of fertilizing—all around your plants to enrich your soil.
Add stone dust (apply 10-15 pounds per 100 square feet of garden, once every 3-4 years) to re-mineralize your soil with natural nutrients. Buy it at a local stone quarry or the garden center of Lowe's or Home Depot.
Lightly mulch (one inch) on top of the compost to hold in moisture. Don't let the mulch touch the plant base.
Don't use chemical fertilizers (like MiracleGro) because of the dangerous level of salts in them.
Holly, Woods and Vines (south about 6 miles from the Wilson Bridge) has standard Daphnes. (Standard means a tall-ish single trunk). Mine, which I bought last year, is ready to bloom in about three weeks—right at nose level to enjoy the overpowering fragrance!
Lightly prune your crepe myrtle each April; crepes flower on new wood. Yearly pruning will keep your crepe myrtle full of blooms and a manageable size.
Water correctly! Frequent short waterings are a cheap tease that results in weak, shallow-rooted plants. Your lawn and garden want a major soaking; an inch of water (which is a lot) once a week. If nature doesn’t doesn't produce rain, try and deliver the water all in one shot, ending just as the sun is rising. Never water in the evening and then let your lawn or garden stay wet overnight. And never ever water every day; your plants’ roots need to dry out between waterings.
Tomato plants need a little afternoon shade (after 2 p.m.) in our area; they suffer when the temperatures and sun run over 90 degrees for a few days.
Enjoy ruminating through many pictures of 'copper in the garden' at www.rutlandguttersupply.com. They are making everything in the way of decorative copper for the garden and home: balls, leader heads, finials, kitchen hoods—copper EVERYTHING!
Nancy Burns is a certified Master Gardener, Belle Haven Garden Club President for the past six years, co-author of two award-winning gardening books, member of the Landscape Designers' Group and the Landscape Design Council as well as being completely obsessed with plants and gardening.