Saturday, May 31, 2008

May Garden Talk

This month’s “gardening time” was focused on the potted plants; propagated new plants, repotting those that were root-bound, top dressing some, and edge trimming a few.

I created a new hanging begonia from some of that which I am using as ground cover in the east-side garden, and a small pot of English Ivy, that used to grow over a trellis, until hurricane winds took that out, and it now grows along the east side of our spare bedroom windows. Both of those were created from stem cuttings, but now is the time to propagate by stem and leaf cuttings or layering, as well.

We purchased a few new pots for those root bound plants too. As a general rule, I prefer clay pots, as they are very porous, however, I’ll admit to using/buying some plastic pots as well, especially in the larger, harder-to-move (and pricier!) sizes. A good tip is to keep your plants in a pot within a pot, so that any excess water that accumulates in the outside container can be easily drained off. If the container is too large to lift, layer some peat moss or vermiculite between the two pots, as these materials will absorb the excess water, so the roots aren’t resting in it.

And, while I did repot two date palms, two fig trees and a lady palm, we STILL had a few that I simply gave a top dressing. This is a ‘quick fix’ to help keep plants that are outgrowing their pots healthy for a few months, until you can repot them. To top dress, use a fork to loosen the top 1-2 inches of soil. Remove that and discard. Mix some fresh soil with a slow-release fertilizer and add the mix to the pot, to the original soil line. Tamp soil lightly,and water well. As I said, this should give the plant enough nutrients for about two months or so, until you have a chance to repot it properly.

Of course, lawn mowing is in full swing now. If its been dry where you live, remember to water your lawn, but only when the grass blades begin to fold.

Some vegetables for planting in May: lima beans, eggplant, southern peas, sweet potatoes. Annuals for planting: coleus, impatiens, marigolds, ornamental peppers, moss roses, salvia, periwinkles, zinnias.

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