Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Random thought of an unorganized gardener...

Over the last 2 months, I have been reading books, went to a couple (free) classes, and read gardening magazines until my eyes bubbled. It is always lots of fun and I usually get one or two good ideas. The problem is that each of those ideas are not large enough for even a small blog post. So, this is going to be an eclectic group of ideas that have no common thread, unless it is that they are usually something I have had problems with. Hopefully, you will have had the same problem and are still looking for a solution - however as what usually happens is I have my "Eureka" moment and tell people and they give me a blank stare as if to say "you just found that out?" followed by a polite "oh really?"; you can have a laugh and say the name ignorant gardener is not just a title.

1) When fertilizing most plants, a good 20:10:20 fertilizer is best. Also add some epsom salts to it. Epsom salt has magnesium which help them do something or other I can't remember, but it really good. 

2) Organic fertilizer are good. They will not burn your plants because they are not ready to be consumed by plants. First, they must be "broken down" by microorganisms (a polite way to put it in my opinion) and then they are ready for the plant. This makes them more of a time release agent as the microorganisms take the slow and steady approach. The only drawback for this is that they are like me, they like it to be warm out before they go to work. If it is cold, they don't like it and won't "break down" the organic materials. 

3) When watering zucchini, squash, or cucumbers, keep the water off the leaves if possible or they can get mildew and something else really bad that starts in the flowers and keeps them from producing this or that vegetable. You can cut the flower so that water will run out instead of staying there and allowing the bacteria to germinate, or just water at the roots. 

4) On a cold summer (like last year) or for hot weather plants like peppers, there are miniature green houses (actually just a nice plastic that goes over the plant and support which is like a garbage bag but looks more feng shui or aesthetically pleasing). These keep the plant warmer and more likely to produce good stuff.

5) Floriferous is a word. It means lots of flowers, blooming freely, and stuff like that. Webster and Roget have a more flowery way to put it, but I like my paraphrasal better. (take that english teacher!)

6) Dahlias, at least in our neck of the woods, need to be dug up each year (too much work for me) or they will get too much water and the tubes will rot. However, if you pile fern fronds over them so that the water will not create a soggy mess for them to rot in all winter, and remove the fern fronds in april, you'll have the same results and with less work. Also, dead head dahlias frequently for best results. (this has not been tested by me, but Cisco says it works so....)

7) Clematis needs constant even watering and alfalfa meal for it to perform its best. If it dries out, it will stop blooming and only grown lots of green stuff.

8) Cut petunias back half way right after you buy them and are planting them in your garden. This will cause them to grow back bigger and better than ever. Also, if they get rangy later, cut back by 2/3 and water/fertilize well. They should continue to bloom **this sounds a bit scary to me, but tests are underway this year for hard evidence of this procedure.

9) Day lilies follow the sun, so keep that in mind when planting them. Then they won't be like that Israelite King Ahab and turn their backs on you to face the wall. 

10) A rose by any other name is still a rose; however a picture of a rose in a catalog is not always the same rose you get when you order. - always check pot sizes. 


  1. Actually, pictures of quite a few plants in those catalogues don't match what you find when you open your order. Love that word floriferous!

  2. Floriferous--that's what I like! But I still cringe when I give flowers like petunias a hard pruning, even though I know it will produce the floriferous plants that I like.

  3. I read about the Epsom salt too- its suppose to help peppers produce better. I had bad pepper production last year, so I'm going to try to remember to spray them with some Epsom salts this year and see if it helps. I was hoping that dahlias could survive the winters here. I planted one last year that had these huge, gorgeous blooms. So far nothing has appeared while all the other flowers have started sprouting up. Still keeping my fingers crossed that the dahlias are just slow. Good luck with all the gardening info.. it can get overwhelming at times!