Monday, April 30, 2012

Spring Gardening Tips

Spring Gardening Tips

If you have covered your perennials or roses with leaves or flax straw (which is a great winter protection for your plants), now is the time to be taking it away.  Do it slowly.  Remove it from the area directly around your plants to allow the plants to breathe.  Don’t put it too far out of reach as you may have to bring it back as protection if our temperatures drop too far below zero at night.  The emerging perennials will be able to endure a lot of cold but remember it’s still too early to be planting out newly purchased perennials. Jensen’s carries some beautiful perennials very hardy to our area. Keep in mind if you really like a perennial, that requires sun, and you have no room left in a sunny spot, all perennials will grow in the shade.  They may not grow as large and they may not flower the way they would in sun, or have smaller blooms, but, they WILL grow.  Don’t deprive yourself of a “Must-Have” perennial.  Give it a try.  You may be pleasantly surprised!
Also, if there are areas of your garden where the soil needs amending, now is the time to enhance the soil to get the area ready for planting.  Drop in for a soil tester to find out if your soil is too acidic or alkaline.  In our clay soil, peat moss is a good product to use as to increase the acidity level in our alkaline soil and it also improves the texture and provides for improved drainage.  Clay soil tends to be very compact and makes it difficult for roots to grow.  Empty the peat moss into a wheelbarrow or muck bucket and add water.  Mix it until it is thick and resembles soil and then dig it into the area.  It is much easier to work with and it won’t be flying away to your neighbours when you start to dig it in. Compost, mushroom manure and sheep manure are also excellent products to use for soil amendment.  If you have an area where your perennials require a lot of acid in the soil and you have evergreens in the yard, save your evergreen clippings and place them around that area.
If your soil is too acid, use a Dolomite Lime to increase the alkaline level.  It is more finely ground and will break down faster in the soil.
Also, if you have recently removed an evergreen tree from the yard, that area will need a Lime to enable grass to grow. This is the perfect time of year to get the area ready for seeding as most lawns prefer a soil that is nearly neutral; in the range of a PH level of 6.5 – 7.2 (PH 7.0 is neutral).
The majority of plants grow best in a PH level of 6.5 – 7.2 as well.
Tomatoes enjoy a handful of Dolomite Lime when planting and periodically throughout the grow season to discourage Blossom End Rot (the black end on the Tomato).
Stay tuned next time for more “Spring Gardening Tips”

Arlene Wheeler

Posted by Tammy Jensen at 8:32 PM

1 Comments:

I love CARROTS LOVE TOMATOES?an update and reioivsn of the original companion planting book. I used many of these ideas the summer of 1975 when I had a half acre garden. My traditional farmer neighbor laughed when I told him what I was going to do, but later in the summer when the insects devastated his vegetable patch he threatened to come over and pull up all my borage and marigolds. He had to admit I was onto something. We had a few mishaps?white and yellow corn planted to close together = polka-dot corn, but we ran beans up the stalks as Riotte suggests and it worked well. The Mexican bean beatles came to visit and stayed for dinner, but we soon learned how to control them. Marigolds in the rows and our evening search to destroy the yellow egg clusters ensured a good crop. My kids learned a great deal about ?real? survival that summer and they didn?t find it on tv. We had squash, melons, tomatoes, and all sorts of other vegetables, herbs, and flowers, and mixed and matched them as companion plants. At the end of the summer, I canned like crazy and made colorful jars of green beans and white and yellow corn. Everything we grew was organic and it tasted great.Louise Riotte includes many suggestions from the first book. Topics in the new edition include vegetables, herbs, wild plants, grasses and grains, and others. Considering what is planted where is important. For example, you should not plant peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes close together or in the same container. These vegetables are related and planting them close together inhibits growth. Matching vegetables and herbs or avoiding combinations of vegetables and herbs that inhibit each other isn?t the only topic discussed in this book. Riotte says that tomato leaves can be pulped in a blender full of water and used as a spray that inhibits Black Spot on roses. Similarly, certain kinds of peppers produce a nice insect deterrent. I?ve grown Pyrethrum (a type of Chrysanthemum) in my garden for years. Pyrethrum has been marketed in the West as a bug repellent since at least 1828, but the Chinese are thought to have used it for perhaps 2,000 years.The best news is that you don?t have to have a half acre to become a gardener and use these ideas. Today, I live in an urban area and have a very tiny lot. I have converted the whole thing into a series of gardens, but half the yard is in shade and vegetables need sun. So, I have placed containers along the driveway in the sun and off the walkway near the patio out back. I am also using many ideas for vertical gardening. I continue to use the planting techniques Riotte suggests, including many for container planting. Compost is important-and even in urban areas you can save kitchen and garden scraps in a compost bin. Carrots may love tomatoes but roses love sh?.
June 8, 2012 5:23 PM By Chichi

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