Silver Heights Nursery will be opening for its 20th year on March 24th, Tuesdays through Saturdays from 9 until 5. We have a few new items this year as well as Back to Earth Compost, Uni-Gro Potting Soil, Fox Farm Products, Organic Pesticides and all of the quality plants and honest advice you have come to expect from us.
March is a month when the weather begs you to get out and plant something...and you can plant those cool season veggies and annuals...but don't be fooled into getting too carried away. Our average last frost date is May 1st. Which means our last frost will fall somewhere between April 15th and May 15th. So there is a good chance of freezing temps, snow, hail and wind for two more months. There are however a few things you can do this month that will get you outside on those sunny days.
THINGS TO DO:
PRUNE ROSES. When and how to prune your roses depends upon what type of rose you have. Early spring is the best time to prune Hybrid Teas, Floribundas and Grandifloras. Just as the new growth starts, remove any dead, damaged or diseased wood back to where the cane is healthy and white. Prune out weak, thin or spindly growth. Open up the center by removing any crossing or rubbing branches. The increased air circulation and light penetration will reduce disease and insect attacks. Dig down to remove any suckers that originate from below the soil line. Pull them off in a quick downward motion. This will remove growth buds that would have produced additional suckers. Then thin your roses to 4 to 7 strong, healthy canes and remove 1/3 to 1/2 of last year's growth. Climbers and Ramblers often bloom on 1 or 2 year old wood and should be pruned after they bloom by cutting the main shoots back by 1/3 and removing any small woody growth. Lateral branches my also be taken back to 3 to 6 inches if they have gotten out of control. Repeat flowering Climbers should be pruned in early spring and spent flowers removed to hasten the next bloom. Shrub, Hedge and Rugosa Roses need only be cleaned up occasionally by taking out all dead, damaged and crossing/rubbing branches. Miniatures and Groundcovers can be cut back by 1/2 to keep them fuller but most can also be left alone. When you prune use high quality, sharp pruning tools and cut at a 45 degree angle sloping away from an outward facing bud. When removing spent blooms or cutting flowers for arrangements, make your removal cut back to an outward facing leaf with 5 leaflets. This is where a new flower will come from. After pruning your roses rake up all of the debris around them and dispose of it and if you haven't used a dormant spray yet it would be a good time to do so.
DIVIDE PERENNIALS. Once your herbaceous perennials, those that die all the way to the ground in the winter, have started to grow you will want to divide those that need it. If the clumps have begun to die out in the center, their blooms are less abundant and smaller than usual or just seem overcrowded, they will benefit from division. Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia), Daylillies (Hemerocallis), Coneflowers (Echinacea), any members of the mint family, that square-stemmed sometimes invasive Lamiaceae group that includes Mentha, Salvia, Monarda and many herbs can all be divided now. Division is the act of propagating a plant by dividing it into several individual plants, complete with roots and buds of their own. To get started have the area you plan to plant your new divisions into or the containers you will pot them in ready so you don't leave the roots exposed too long. Mix compost and bone meal into your soil for planting in the ground or use potting soil in pots. Dig up the root system using a trowel, spade or in the case of large clumps a garden fork. Brush off loose soil and remove any dead leaves and stems. Wash the soil from the crown so you can easily see the buds. Divide the clump into sections that contain several buds or shoots and healthy roots discarding any old, woody growth. Replant and water thoroughly to settle the soil around the roots. It may take a year for your newly planted perennials to start blooming well again but it will be worth the effort.
And for those days when inside sounds better:
START SEEDS INDOORS. If you are planning your summer garden there are many warm season vegetables that can be planted from transplants in May so now is a good time to start them indoors from seed. Remember, the quality of the seed you use is important. We carry Lake Valley and Pagano Seed. These seeds are all untreated and contain no genetically modified or engineered organisms. We are not open now for you to purchase them from us but a lot of you stocked up before we closed. If you do need seed before we open I would recommend Johnny's Seeds or Territorial Seed online. Tomatoes, Peppers, Eggplant and other small seeded vegetables can all be started now and will be ready to transplant outdoors in 8-12 weeks. (Large seeded vegetables like Corn, Squash, Cucumbers and Beans do best when planted directly in your garden once danger of frost has passed.) Fill a seed tray with good potting soil like Uni-gro that drains well. Firm the soil gently and plant the seed according to package directions. Most vegetables germinate well at a temperature between 50 and 70 degrees so the top of a refrigerator or a warm window sill is fine but don't forget that window sills can get awfully cold at night. After planting, water the soil well to ensure that all air pockets have been filled. Keep the soil moist, not wet, using a watering can with a fine rosette or simply misting with a spray bottle. Once the seeds have germinated they will need lots of light. A sunny window, heated greenhouse or fluorescent grow lights work best. When the seedlings develop their second set of leaves it is time to transplant them. Using your fingers or a spoon dig up individual seedlings keeping the rootball intact. Plant them in 3-4" pots filled with potting soil. Water thoroughly to settle the soil and fertilize regularly with Fox Farm Liquid Grow Big or granular Fox Farm Tomato & Vegetable and Superthrive. Keep them in bright light and water when needed. You may want to transplant these vegetables again into larger containers as they outgrow their pots. One week before you plan to plant your vegetables outside you will need to "harden them off" or get them used to direct sunlight, wind and changing temperatures. Set them outside for a few hours every day gradually increasing their exposure to sun and cold. Once they are ready for the real world plant them into your garden. Does this sound like too much trouble? We'll have plants ready to go when it is time to plant them outside.
COME TO THE COOP'S FLEA MARKET. Saturday, February 28th the Silver City Food Coop will be hosting a Community Flea Market at 614 N. Bullard St. from 10 until 4. And since we have spent the winter 'cleaning out' we will be there selling some used household and garden items. Come down and support this event!
PLANT OF THE MONTH:
VIOLA cornuta. Most of you know these cool season annuals as 'Johnny Jump-Ups' and because they are Alpine wildflowers, when planted in the fall they will give you color all winter long or in the spring for an early splash. The viola is just a smaller version of a pansy with 1" flowers but seems to tolerate more shade and cold than their larger cousins. They bloom in every color of the rainbow and take very little water. Plant them in September to let their roots get a good start before the cold hits, in full sun or part shade, fertilize regularly with Fox Farm Big Bloom or Tiger Bloom and keep deadheaded. They look good in pots, along a sunny walkway or mixed with evergreens. Because they like the cool weather replace them with something more heat tolerant (think petunias, marigolds, vinca, alyssum, etc.) once it gets too hot. Quite often these annuals will reseed and give you little surprises here and there throughout the year.
|Violas planted 9.15.2014|