Thursday, June 29, 2017

Daylilies, dependable perennials for your garden

Daylilies are among the most popular perennials. What makes daylilies a good choice for your landscape? Daylilies are easy to grow and don't require much in the way of maintenance. Daylilies are very adaptable to a wide variety of soils and conditions. It's one of the features that make them popular landscape plants.
You'll find them planted along streets and sidewalks, often under rock mulch, blooming away. That being said, you'll get the best from your daylilies if you take the time to prepare the planting site soil properly.
Daylilies do best in full sun.
They'll tolerate light shade but flower best when they receive at least 6 hours of sunlight a day. Daylilies belong to the genus Hemerocallis, a Greek word made up of two parts: hemera meaning day and kallos meaning beauty. An appropriate name, since each flower lasts only one day.
Given that established daylilies
produce an abundance of flowers that open over a long period of time, your plant will produce blooms on a daily basis through much of the season, especially if you remove spent flowers. Shop for daylilies in the Perennial section. There you'll find well-rooted daylilies in one gallon containers, ready to take home and plant.
You'll also need some compost and peat moss, to amend the planting site soil. When you're ready to plant, mix the Sheep, Peat and Compost 5
0:50 with the native soil. Make the planting hole twice as wide and one and a half times as deep as the one gallon container your daylily came in. Add some Bone Meal to the bottom of the hole  and water. Remove the daylily from its pot and place in the planting hole so the crown of the plant is even with the surrounding soil and water thoroughly.
At this point, you can add a couple of inches of mulch to the planting site. So
il Pep makes a great mulch as well as a soil conditioner. 
Easy to grow, low maintenance daylilies are hardy perennials that thrive in our climate. They establish quickly, grow vigorously under a variety of conditions and will provide color to your summer garden for many years to come. 

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Summer gardening with native bees in mind 

Wednesday, June 21st marked the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year and the start of the summer gardening season. The warm weather and long summer days make it an ideal time to create a better environment for pollinators.  Native bees in particular are important in crop pollination so providing food, water and shelter will help sustain the native bee population and improve your garden yields. Native bees are gentle, solitary and most don't require a hive. Many nest in the ground, others in twigs and stems. Knowing their habits will help you create a better environment for them. Food for bees means nectar and pollen. The ideal plants for bees will produce flowers with high nectar and pollen content. Nectar feeds the adult bee and pollen is harvested to feed their young. Using a combination of perennials, annuals, herbs and bulbs helps ensure a continuous supply.
It's important to plant in clusters, to reduce  the distance pollinators have to fly in order to forage.
Bees need water. A simple way to do this is to start with a shallow bowl or saucer, add pebbles and place the saucer full of water on the ground near where you see pollinators active.
To accommodate ground-nesting bees, l
eave some open space in the garden, free of mulch and weed barrier. Thick mulch and weed barrier make it impossible for the bees to reach the ground. Eliminating mulch and weed barrier will encourage natives to nest.
The other place native bees nest is in wood. You can provide nesting sites by drilling out a block of wood yourself or purchase a bee house and hang it on the fence.
Bees will build their nests in the tubes using materials they find in the garden, including
small pieces of leaves and mud.
When you discover what looks like
bites out of leaves, you've got leafcutter bees building a nest somewhere nearby. Their activity doesn't harm healthy plants, so  it's best not to take action against them. Finally, practice good watering habits. Don't water overhead during the day. It discourages pollinators and wastes water. Water at night or very early in the morning and water at the base of the plants. Native bees are very efficient at what they do.
Both males and females pollinate flowers and vegetables. They are very fast and don't travel very
far, which means they are able to visit and pollinate many plants in your garden. Pay attention to the pollinators as you take your daily walk through your garden. The more you do to attract native bees to your garden, the greater your harvest will be. 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Plant Lilies now for exceptional summer color

Hardy lilies are some of the easiest and most reliable plants you can have in your garden. They are perennials in our area, meaning they come back every year. You'll find these lilies sorted by two general classifications: Asiatic and Oriental.
Asiatic lilies are available in a range of beautiful colors  and are fragrant-free.  Asiatic lilies will spread and multiply in your garden, once they are established.
Asiatic lilies have multiple narrow leaves running up and down the stem and resemble small artichokes as they emerge. Oriental lilies are fragrant, tend to be taller then Asiatic lilies  and multiply slowly in your garden. Both types of lilies are tall perennials with flower stalks ranging from 18" to over 6'. These stalks are sturdy and typically will support themselves, without the need to stake them. Lilies will do well in full sun or partial shade. Once you’ve selected the site, amend your existing soil by adding 2" to 3" of compost, worked in to about 8". Lilies like well-draining soils and the compost will enrich your existing soil and improve drainage.
Lilies can be planted from rooted container stock or
from bulbs. The soil preparation is the same.
Bulbs should be planted three times as deep as the height of the bulb, with the flat side down.
If you're planting from potted lilies, dig a hole as deep as the container and twice as wide.
Add some bone meal
to the bottom of the hole for additional Phosphate, cover slightly, then water to moisten the soil. Gently remove the plant from the container and set it in the ground at the same height it was in the container. Fill in around the plant and water thoroughly. In a short time, your lilies will begin to flower and will continue to bloom well into July. 
Asiatic and Oriental lilies are popular with gardeners everywhere because of their low maintenance and big, bright long-lasting flowers. While they are in bloom, they quickly become the center of attention. A great addition to your perennial garden. 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Time to feed your vegetables 

In order to get the best from your vegetable garden, it's important to feed your plants on a regular basis. There are a number of good vegetable garden fertilizers available, both organic and non-organic.
Always buy one that lists the three major ingredients on the front so you'll know what your getting. The first number on the label is always Nitrogen. Nitrogen promotes growth. The second number is Phosphate. Phosphate helps rooting and blooming. The third number is Potassium. Potassium is important for the overall health of your plants.
When it comes to fertilizers, you can choose organic or non-organic in liquid or granular form. Fertilome and Fox Farm are good choices. They both work. Your choice may come down to what you're growing and how you want to apply the fertilizer.
Fertilizers are most effective when the plant can a
bsorb them through the roots. Granular fertilizers are applied around the base of the plant and watered in.
Liquid fertilizers are mixed and used to water the plant. While
Phosphate and Potassium are often found in our soils, using a good fertilizer with all three major components helps ensure your plants get what they need in terms of good nutrition.
Even the best of fertilizers is only as good as the soil their added to. Soils in a typical garden plot contain a lot of clay and tend to be alkaline. Alkaline soils limit the plant's ability to take in nutrients.
It's important to continually add
organic material in the form of compost, peat moss and coconut coir to your garden soil. This will break up the clay and help adjust the soil pH, making it easier for your plants to use the nutrients you are feeding them. Amending your soil on a regular basis also encourages earthworms and microbial activity. Plan to add amendments to your garden in the spring and in the fall. This will help ensure the best soil for growing vegetables. You can also top-dress with compost during the growing season to help improve your soil. When it comes to choosing the right fertilizer, it's best to stop in and have a conversation about your garden and the vegetables you want to grow. We'll help you choose the right fertilizer for your garden and plants. 

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Tomato Planting Tips

Once you've chosen the varieties of tomato plants you're going to grow this season, it's time to plant. Begin by choosing the right location.  Tomatoes need sunlight, space and good air circulation in order to grow and develop fruit. Pick a spot in the garden that gets 7 to 8 hours of sunlight and enough  space so your plants aren't crowded together. If you grew tomatoes or potatoes last season, it's important to rotate your crops  to avoid disease issues. If you don't have the space to rotate your tomatoes, replenish the soil with compost and peat moss and dust with sulfur to help prevent disease.
As you prepare the site, mix a granular fertilizer into the soil before you plant. Use Happy Frog Tomato and Vegetable or Fertilome Gardener's Special. This will provide nutrients to your plants as they start to grow. Plant your tomato starts on a cloudy day or plant late in the afternoon when the sun isn't beating down on your garden. This will reduce transplant shock and help your new tomato plants get started right.
Remove the lower leaves and plant your tomatoes deep, all the way up to the top few leaves. When planted this way, tomatoes are able to develop roots all along their stems. More roots will make for a stronger plant and healthier fruit. This does not apply to grafted tomatoes. Grafted tomatoes must be planted at the graft line.
You can either dig a deep hole or a shallow trench and lay the plant sideways. It will quickly straighten itself up and grow toward the sun. Just be careful not to drive your stake or cage into the buried stem.
Now that your plants are in the ground, it's time to talk about watering. Consistent watering produces stronger plants and better yields. Water your tomato plants well once the top few inches of soil has dried out. 
It’s best to
soak each plant  right at the base, keeping the leaves as dry as possible. Another way to tell your if your tomato plant needs watering is to watch the leaves. Some leaf wilt is normal during the heat of the day. If your plants are wilted in the morning, it's time to water. For greater yields, use sturdy cages or stakes to keep your plants off the ground.
Pinching off suckers will also help your tomato plant produce better and bigger tomatoes. 
About three weeks after your initial planting, start another crop of tomatoes. Planting a second crop will help ensure a longer harvest and more tomatoes to enjoy!