Bedding plants can be expensive. Instead, try sowing the seed directly into your garden bed or flower pot. They take just a little longer to come into flower, but it is well worth the effort.
These annual flower seeds can sown between May 10th and June 1st: bachelor’s button, calendula, cosmos, marigolds, larkspur, morning glory, nasturtium, poppies, sweet alyssum and zinnias. Always sow seeds twice as deep as they are wide and keep the area moist until they germinate. Be sure and provide a trellis for most morning glories as they grow as a vine. Mark the location where you plant seeds with plant tags to help you discern weeds from the new flowering plants. Unlike perennial flowers these annual flowers, once they start blooming, they will continue to bloom until frost.
In 1962, an accomplished gardener from New Jersey, Carol Mackie, noticed a shrub with one unique mutated branch having dark green leaves with an unusual white border. She sent cuttings of it to a local nursery who propagated it and made it available to the garden center trade. It is now prized for its pale rose, fragrant blooms and striking leaf color. This Daphne was been named after Carol Mackie who discovered it and it is a perfect hardy, small shrub for the irrigated High Plains. Check out the “Carol Mackie Daphne.”
A great organic based fertilizer can be found at your local feed store. Both alfalfa pellets or meal make a great fertilizer. Alfalfa is high in nitrogen as well as other needed nutrients. (more…)
“Phenology,” is a word describing a connection between climate triggered biological phenomena. It can be used to help you time plantings in the garden. Although it is not perfect, you can use around here with generally good results.
Here are some examples: (more…)
Garden writers often instruct people to “add lime” to soil in order to attain a neutral soil pH (acid/alkaline balance). Unfortunately, this advice comes from writers who live east of the Mississippi where their soil is acidic. They assume everyone has the same soil as they do. This is not good advice in much of the West. (more…)
Check out this great handout on when to start plants for the High Plains vegetable garden. See when to set out seeds, and seedlings. Click here.
As we venture out into the garden, it is time to also grab the old tools. If you need to purchase some tools or replace some old ones what should you look for?
Price, quality, feel, and guarantee are all important. The fiberglass handles are heavier but last well. Look for cushioned hand tools with softer larger handles. Avoid buying cheap tools as they are more apt to break in just a year or two. If you are using old tools consider a lubricating the handles with vegetable oil or linseed oil. Also be sure you start the season with a good pair of gloves.
Garage sales can also be a great source for quality garden tools at a low price.
March is the perfect time to do some important maintenance to your clumps of ornamental grasses. Because these grasses are about to start growing again, it is a good practice to prune each clump down to a height of 10” so that the new growth is not interspersed with the dead brown grass blades from last season.
A fast, easy way to cut the ornamental grass is with a small pruning saw or a weed whacker. Use the cut grass as a mulch on your perennial bed or add to the compost pile.
Now is the perfect time of year to turn your sunny window into a seedling factory. Start with either new small pots or recycled pots that have been cleaned with soap and hot water. Also use brand new potting soil for seeds to prevent disease.
Plant seeds twice as deep as the seeds are wide and maintain moisture until you see germination. Allow for one plant per 1 – 2 square inches. You may need to move them to a larger pot if seedlings start to shade each other.
If your seedlings are stretching or leaning towards the light, then you should be increasing the light by moving the plants to a sunnier spot or placing the plants within a couple of inches of a regular cool white fluorescent light (no need for a grow light for seedlings).
By growing your own seedlings you can save a lot of money over purchasing plants later in spring. Also, you can select to grow seeds from a larger diversity of choices (i.e. early tomatoes, unusual varieties or heirlooms).