Wednesday, April 1, 2015

April 2015

Fertilize. Since everything has decided to bloom and grow and forget that May 1st frost date you might just as well encourage and feed that growth with a little fertilizer. I have posted about fertilizers before but think it might be time for a refresher course. As you know there are usually three numbers on the front of a bag of fertilizer (N-P-K) as well as some trace elements listed somewhere else. The first number is nitrogen and produces dark green vegetative growth, increases protein content in food crops and helps plants use moisture more efficiently. P stands for Phosphorus and it stimulates rooting, fruiting and flowering. The last number is Potassium or Potash and helps promote disease resistance, overall vigor, winter hardiness and increased caliper in the trunks of trees. By knowing what these numbers stand for you should be able to decide which fertilizer you need. For anything fruiting or flowering you will want something with a higher middle number, an evergreen would benefit from a little extra nitrogen and something that just seems to lack vigor might like some potassium. We carry a wide variety of organic fertilizers. Organics work better than chemicals because they feed the soil and the soil feeds the plants. Chemical fertilizers feed the plants with high doses promoting fast, weak growth that insects and disease find very inviting as well as killing all of the beneficial organisms in the soil. Chemicals like Miracle-Gro create little plant junkies that need that fix very often to survive On the other hand organics create a healthy environment for plants to thrive with less feeding. Fox Farm has a granular All Purpose (5-5-5), Fruit & Flower (5-8-4), Rose Food (4-4-5) and Tomato & Vegetable (7-4-5) as well as liquid Big Bloom (.01-.3-.7), Grow Big (6-4-4) and Tiger Bloom (2-8-4). Two all purpose fertilizers are Yum Yum Mix and Chickity Doo Doo, they can be sprinkled around on everything and watered in.  If you want single nutrients, good sources of nitrogen are Blood Meal and Alfalfa Meal, phosphorus can be found in Bone Meal, Bat Guano and Soft Rock Phosphate and Potassium is available in Greensand, Sul-Po-Mag and Seaweed Extract. With any fertilizer, always follow package directions carefully. Come in to the nursery and chances are good we can find a fertilizer that fits your needs.

Read the Label. I am kind of a label reading freak. Grocery store, clothing store, bath store, I am always seeing 'what's in it'. So when a customer brought us in this label from a plant she got at Home Depot I really couldn't believe it.

I wrote about these systemic insecticides here and here and that Home Depot and probably many other big box stores are wearing this as a badge of honor and touting it as a healthyhome/garden is really the moral of the story the label.

Lavadula. Lavender comes in a wide variety of species but the most reliably hardy for our area are angustifolia and intermedia. Both have narrow gray leaves, 2 inches long and flower on long spikes in July and August. Angustifolia is also known as English Lavender and is the most widely planted lavender used for perfume and sachets. 'Hidcote' is a variety that reaches 20" tall and has deep purple flowers. 'Munstead' is a dwarf 1 1/2' tall with lavender-blue blooms. The species intermedia is a cross between L. angustifolia and L.latifolia. 'Grosso' and 'Provence' both reach at least 3 feet tall and wide and have deep purple flowers. These lavenders are drought tolerant once established, cold hardy to 20 degrees below zero, adapt to full sun or part shade and attract beneficial insects when not treated with neonicotinoids (just seeing if anyone is paying attention). Plant them in an herb garden, near a patio where you can enjoy the fragrance or as a low hedge.

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