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Growing Tips

Plant a Winter Herb Pot

by Kim Nichols Messer

                  Herbs can be grown easily in a container.  I like to start a couple of herb pots each season.  In the fall and winter, I prefer the savory herbs.  You may use almost any type of container.  A lightweight plastic container is good if you need to move the pot around as the light changes during the season.  A 15-gallon container will fit six herb plants easily.  Most herbs really only need about six inches of soil below to spread out their roots.  A large terra cotta pot is a beautiful addition to a porch or patio but will be a bit heavy to move.  A 16.5-inch pot will hold six herb plants.  You may also plant herbs in a window box.  A smallish version will easily hold four herb plants.  I have parsley in a large mason jar in the kitchen window.  A small Bay Laurel plant will do well in a small pot outside in the sunshine.
                   Use good organic potting soil in a pot with several holes for good drainage.  Then choose your favorite herb combinations.  As the weather cools, I will be roasting root vegetables and making soups.  Some of my favorite winter herbs are Sage, Rosemary, Oregano, Thyme and of course Parsley.  Try roasting some beets with olive oil and rosemary.  Or butternut squash with sage.   Thyme is great with chicken and roasted vegetables.  Sage and Bay leaves are great in soups and stews.  Herbs are so easy to grow and so economical to have nearby for use in your cooking.  Fresh herbs will really enhance the flavor of your dish.  Give it a try, grow some herbs.

Amaryllis

By, Kathryn Courtney

It’s Amaryllis bulb time at Maas! I’m not one to push the holiday season but when the amaryllis bulbs come in I get that warm, comforting holiday feeling. Amaryllis bulbs are great for our gulf coast area. You can plant them in decorative pots for your tabletop or mantle. After your amaryllis bloom, they can go straight to the garden. No need to worry about freezing for most varieties and they are very carefree. For me, picking out only one or two varieties a year is the hardest part of the amaryllis experience. You can choose from solid red, white or pink. Pick double or single, or fat or thin petaled amaryllis types. Choose stripes, flowers with different colored throats or sparkling petals. The choices seem endless. Right now I’m preferring the sparkling ones but that may change tomorrow. Choose large bulbs for more flower stalks when the blooms appear.

Once you have chosen your bulbs decide whether you are going to plant them outdoors or in a pot for inside. If you decide on a pot, think about how many bulbs you want to plant. Amaryllis get big so the pot needs to be big enough for your number of bulbs. The pot doesn’t need to be deep but make sure it is wide enough to accommodate the blooms. You can pick any kind of decorative type planter. Make sure it has holes in the bottom or is deep enough to keep water from actually touching the bulb. Also, the planter needs to be heavy enough to hold the blooming amaryllis and big enough that the bulbs do not touch each other. I use some regular, well-draining potting soil and some green Microlife fertilizer in my amaryllis pots. Plant your bulb with the shoulders exposed. This means the top of your bulb is above the dirt. I love this part of planting amaryllis because you can instantly see when the first leaves emerge. Water sparingly until you see the leaves, then water more as the plant begins to grow. Once the flower stalks appear the plant grows very quickly. I always stake my amaryllis flower stalks as they can become very top heavy when the flowers bloom.  I use bamboo stakes and green gardeners tape but you can make the stakes more decorative if you like. Different types of amaryllis take different amounts of time to bloom. If you are trying to have blooms around the holiday’s research how long it takes the different varieties of bulbs to bloom. An average flowering time is seven to ten weeks although some types will bloom in six weeks. After the blooms die, cut the flowering stalk back to an inch and a half above the bulb. Leave the leaves on the plant to allow the bulb to build up nutrition for the next year.

 

 At this stage, my bulbs always go out to a designated spot in my garden. I love the way amaryllis look when planted in groups. I carefully remove the bulb from the pot, dirt and all, and plant it in the garden at the same height it was planted in the pot. Do not plant your amaryllis deep. This causes the bulb to rot. My amaryllis garden is also in a raised bed so the bulbs never sit in water. Good drainage is essential for the success of your bulbs. After this step, my bulbs are pretty much ignored until the leaves start to die back the next fall. Sometimes I cut the leaves back to about three inches above the bulb at this point but you don’t have to. It does keep the garden looking a little neater. Fertilize the bulbs and wait for the cycle to start over again.

 

Amaryllis have definitely become my favorite bulbs by far. They are extremely carefree and hardy, always give me a great bloom show and the leaves are pretty in the garden even when they are not in bloom. Mine have survived the Harvey flood with flying colors and I am eagerly awaiting my next blooms. Come see the new selection of fall bulbs including amaryllis bulbs at Maas this month. Bulbs are a great thing to add to your garden.

Let’s Talk About October, 2017

By: Pat Cordray

Take a deep breath, now exhale, it is October.  Possible cooler weather with fewer pests is almost here.  A great gardening month with tons of things to plant from vegetables to beautiful color plants.  I’m so ready for this.

 

Fall vegetable gardening goes into high gear as we get cooler, plant beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, Swiss chard, collards, kohlrabi, lettuce, mustard greens, English peas, snap peas, radish, spinach, and turnips.  Does any of these veggies sound good to you, then go outside and plant them.

Viola

 

Fall color, this is the optimum time to plant beautiful color for the fall. Plant lobelia, alyssum, snapdragons, dianthus, phlox, nasturtiums, bluebonnets, dusty miller, marigold, petunia, violas, ornamental kale and ornamental cabbage.  As the weather gets a little cooler, it will be time to plant pansies and cyclamen.  These plants will add bright colored blooms and/or interesting leaves that are perfect for any container or garden.

 

Poppy

If you want poppies, larkspur, sweet peas, delphiniums, hollyhocks and foxglove blooming in the spring, now is the time to plant the seeds.  Before you plant your seeds, check the package to see if there are any special instructions for the seeds you picked.  Examine the seeds to make sure they are not broken.  Broken seeds will not germinate.  I usually soak all of my seeds overnight in tepid water to help the germination process along.  Plant seeds in raised beds or in containers with organic soil topped with worm castings.  The worm castings will give the young plants the boost they need without burning.  Gently water your new seed plantings to keep them moist, too much water pressure will wash your seeds away.  Seeds are great way to add loads of color and variety to your garden.

 

Bulbs are another great way to add spring color to your containers or in your garden.   Bulbs need a raised

Lycoris

bed or container that has good drainage, full sun (part sun in summer, under a deciduous tree would be perfect), and water.   These bulbs spent the last year getting everything they need to bloom this year.  So, plant them and they will bloom in amazing colors.  Toward the end of this month and through November plant Dutch Iris, ranunculus, calla lilies, Leucojum, Lycoris, and daffodils.  Tulips and hyacinths will need to be refrigerated 4-6 weeks before planting.  Hyacinths need to be planted from mid-November through early December.  Tulips will need to be planted mid-December through early January.

 

So much beauty to look forward to, I love gardening!

 

Enjoy your garden,
Pat

Planting for Fall

By: Jennifer Gregory
Summer may still be scorching us, but September is just around the corner and with it the optimal time to plant many of the seeds for fall and winter gardens. Prior to planting seeds make yourself a check list of products that will increase your propagation, yield and over all health of your crops.
* Mycorrhizal inoculants: Including Mycogro, or Microlife. These products contain an
beneficial fungi that colonize the roots of plants and increase their water and nutrient absorption capabilities.

* Fish Emulsion: An all natural and organic liquid fertilizer that is easily and readily absorbed when used as a foliar spray.

* Organic Pest/Affliction Control: These products can vary based on the issue and the crop, but a good general purpose such as Neem Oil will go far in treating most insect or fungal based ailments.

Onward to the seeds! September is a great month for starting your garden from seed. At the start of the month you’ll want to plant Cucumber, and winter Squash.

 October sees an explosion in the number of types of seeds we can plant in this region. Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Kohlrabi, and Potatoes should be planted in the first half of the month. Chard, and Collards in the middle of the month.
This is also the start of the period to plant annuals for spring color! From October to December you can plant Alyssum, Asters, Bluebonnets*, Calendula, Dianthus, Flowering Cabbage and Kale, Pansies, Petunias, Phlox, Shasta Daises, Snapdragons, Stock and Violas.
*Sow Bluebonnets no later than November for spring flowers.
November brings root vegetables, Beets, Garlic, Carrots. Lettuce should also be sown during this month.

December wraps up winter planting with Mustard, Onion, Radish, Spinach and Turnips.

Growing from seed takes more patience, but in the end the pride one feels seeing something you started from a packet become a hardy and healthy plant is beyond compare.

-Happy Planting!-

Gardening for Hummingbirds

By: Kathryn Courtney

Well, we have survived a Biblical flood as Mayor Sylvester Turner says. So many of us are still out of our homes or are cleaning up the aftermath. We’re tired, cranky and generally on edge. What can we do to relieve some of this stress and frustration? Jim is having Prayer in the Garden this Saturday, September 2. That will definitely help. Sitting outside in the sun today helped me tremendously. So many birds, butterflies and moths, lizards and other critters were out in the sun too, celebrating the end of the rain. Soon, we will have our hummingbird migration throughout the Gulf Coast. At last, something to look forward to!

To be ready for the hummingbirds when they reach your yard you need several things. First is a chemical free, safe environment. Garden organically for the wildlife in your backyard. Do this not only for the health of the hummingbirds but also for the welfare of your kids, your pets and yourself. It’s very easy and in the long run, very rewarding. Hummingbirds need places to rest and nest. Provide them cover in the form of bushes and small trees. The hummingbirds in my backyard particularly love my climbing roses. They perch on the branches and build nests in the brambles. Also provide a source

Fire bush

of water for these birds. They prefer running water. I have found bubblers or small solar fountains floating in a regular birdbath work great. If you have a fountain in your yard, that’s great too. Make sure there is a place for the birds to perch or land that is shallow. This gives the hummingbirds access to the water.

Now, on to my favorite part. The plants. You can use feeders if you want but I like to grow the plants hummingbirds prefer. If you use feeders, make sure they are always clean. Also use a hummingbird safe food. Never put red dye in your hummingbird food. Plants are just easier to grow and you never have to worry about organic plants being safe. You can learn all of this in our Hummingbird Class on Saturday, September 23.
Salvia

Hummingbirds have developed a long narrow beak and a proboscis (like a tongue) to get nectar out of tubular shaped flowers. They also prefer the colors red and purple. This gives you a very long list of plants to pick from. The most popular hummingbird plant is actually called hummingbird bush, fire bush or hamelia. I have seen these bushes in many yards. Some get quite large but

Dwarf Esperanza

there are also dwarf varieties. Other plants that come to mind are flame acanthus, firecracker fern, any type of red or purple salvia, porterweed, liatris, red shrimp plant, beebalm and so many more. There are a few vines that hummingbirds love. Honeysuckle and crossvine are two favorites. Make sure you have a large area if you want to plant these. You will have lots of hummingbirds but also lots of vine. There are new domestic varieties that are much tamer than the

Crossvine

natives. If you look at pictures of all these plants you can see a trend. All of them have tubular flowers and they are all red, red-orange or purple. Most any flower that fits this description will be a hummingbird plant. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center has a great website: www.wildflower.org . They have lists of all the plants and also which ones are native if that’s important to you. All of us at the nursery have some hummingbird knowledge. If you have a question, ask us. If we don’t know the answer we can find it for you.

It’s time to get out of the house! Enough with the rain and the flood. Even though it’s still squishy, let’s all try to get outside in our gardens and get ready for the hummingbirds.

Let’s Talk About September 2017

By: Pat Cordray

 

Just when you think that you can’t take another August day, along comes September.  Granted, the heat is still here but it is a teensy bit cooler.  Any improvement, in the hot weather is much appreciated. But really September is just a “stepping stone” to October when the temperatures are a little more pleasant.  In the garden, vegetable growing expands, changing out our summer color for fall color begins, planting flower seeds for spring blooming wildflowers starts as the weather cools, and it is time for the fall bulbs to start arriving in the garden center. Plus, hummingbirds, hummingbirds, hummingbirds! Keep on the lookout for hummingbirds!  Even with the hot temperatures September is a great gardening month.

Last month, we planted tomatoes and peppers.  This month we need to move on to our other fall vegetables.  Vegetables like: beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, collards,

Swiss Chard and Marigolds

cucumbers, mustard greens, squash, Swiss chard and turnips.  My, how the list has grown from last month.  If you want to garden in the best possible weather, this is it.

Fall color is on its way, with lobelia, snapdragon, marigold, dianthus, celosia, chrysanthemum, alyssum, calendula, petunia and stock showing up during the month of September. This is an excellent time to change out summer color for new fall color.
These plants will bloom over the next few months giving your garden and containers a fresh new look.  Leave room for more fall plants as they become available in the next few weeks.

Toward the end of the month and into October, or as the weather cools. We can start planting wildflowers and other spring blooming flowers from seed. Pick bluebonnet, Indian paintbrush, coreopsis, larkspur, gaillardia, purple coneflower, gaura and black eyed Susans to grow from seed.  Plant your seed in a well-draining raised bed with lots of sun.  Spread your seeds in the bed and cover with about 1/8 inch of soil.  To make sure that the seeds make good contact with the soil, press down firmly on the soil where the seeds are planted.  Water gently and keep the soil moist.   Mix these seeds with plants in your ornamental garden or grow in wildflower beds.  Either way they will be beautiful.

Bluebonnet
Larkspur
Coneflower

Fall bulbs will be in this month.  We are expecting narcissus, tulips, ranunculus, hyacinths, callas and leucojum bulbs about mid-September. This year we will have a new pink tulip called Don Quichotte, I’m looking forward to seeing the blooms.  The narcissus included on this shipment will be Ice Follies, Red Devon, Skype (new, white with an apricot trumpet), Lemon Beauty, Apricot Whirl, Erlicheer, Tahiti, and Pipit.   There will also be Delft Blue hyacinths, mixed Ranunculus, Leucojum Aestivum (Summer Snowflake) and Calla Aethiopica(White Giant Calla Lily).  This is just the beginning with Amaryllis arriving in October.  Bulbs can add so much vibrant color to your garden when most everything else is dormant.

 

Hummingbirds should be out and about in September and on into October.  Planting for hummingbirds is a great way to invite them to visit your garden. Plants like flame acanthus, fire bush, firecracker fern, salvias, trumpet creeper, bee balm, purple coneflower, Turk’s cap and cigar plant are a few nectar plants to consider.  Feeders are a great way to supplement the nectar plants you have in your garden.  Keep your feeders clean and full to ensure that the birds that rely on them won’t go hungry.  Hummingbirds also eat insects, so don’t use chemicals in your garden to keep them safe.  Make water accessible to them by providing a shallow water pan or saucer and adding pebbles. A mister, to spray water on leaves, is another way to provide water.
Enjoy your garden,
Pat

Just Add Water

By: Kim Messer
        There are so many ways to add water to your yard.  It may be as simple as adding a bird bath.  We have a bird bath in a corner of the yard.  It is a water source for birds, bees and squirrels.  We refill it daily this time of the year.  Birds drink and bathe in the fresh water.  They usually stay awhile and fluff out their wings to dry before flying off.  The song birds passing through are really social little birds.  The Wrens will visit the bird bath in little bird packs of ten or twelve birds.  They bathe and then dry themselves in the sand rubbing their bellies and chirping.
        We also have a three tiered fountain.  The water flow provides a soothing sound for us and another water source for creatures visiting the yard.  It also seems to be a nice place for lizards to hang around.  The fountain rarely needs to be cleaned, and that just means scooping out the leaves and changing out the water.  The sediment rich water is great for your nearby plants.
        Here at the Nursery, we have an above ground lily pond.  The plants help filter the water for the fish inside.  It is quite a relaxing spot.  The Lotus Flowers rise up  from the murky bottom to open clean and fresh to greet the day.  They are certainly beautiful and deserve a second glance.
        There are so many ways to add water to your yard.  Just a little effort may bring great rewards… Enjoy your yard and share some water!

Time for Fall Veggies

By: Kathryn Courtney

It’s very hot. I just went outside for 5 minutes and that was too much. It’s not terrible in the shade though, so sitting on my porch is still doable. I miss my gardening. Watering things just to keep them alive is not very satisfying. Just when it seems like there’s no hope, along comes fall vegetable gardening season. We are very lucky here on the gulf coast. We have 2 gardening seasons and if you start early enough, planting with seeds is the way to go.

   Plant a second crop of spring vegetables by choosing short season varieties. Bush green beans, cherry tomatoes, small cucumbers and short season summer squash are just some of the seeds you can start now for an extra crop during early fall. Look at the seed packets to find the varieties with the shortest time to maturity. This will give you a better chance of having more to harvest before temperatures get too cold. I especially like to do squash and green beans in the fall because the pests and mildew that plague the garden in spring are not as bad in late summer. Give your seedlings extra water and some shade if you can during August as the temperatures are very hot. As your plants mature, the temperatures will slowly drop allowing for your plants to flourish and provide a good harvest. I start my cherry tomatoes in Ladybug seed germination mix on my porch. This gives the seedlings some shade and protection from the worst heat. Healthy Harvest fertilizer contains actinovate which fights damping off of your seedlings. Sprinkle a little on top of your seeds before you water them. Squash, bush beans and short season cucumbers go directly in the ground. I sprinkle a half inch layer of seed starting mix or worm castings on top of the ground where the seeds will be planted. This helps the seeds germinate and the roots can get established directly in the ground. If you have a mist setting on your watering wand use it for your seeds. The soft spray will not disturb the fragile roots that are just getting established.

 

   Now for the cold weather crops. Root crop seeds can be planted now. These veggies don’t transplant

Easter Egg Radishes

very well so plant them directly in the ground or container where you want them to grow. Carrots, beets, onion seeds, turnips and radishes are good root crops to start now. Radishes take no time at all to mature making them a great veggie to plant with kids. Plus there is the fun of getting to pull them out of the ground. There are many brassica vegetables to start now. Broccoli, cauliflower, collards, kale, kohlrabi, and cabbage are just

Romanesco Broccoli

a few. The fun of doing this type of vegetable from seed is the variety. There are the regular varieties and then there are some with great different shapes and colors. Romanesco broccoli, purple cauliflower and kohlrabi and frilly kale are some of the different varieties to grow. Germinate these seeds in a kitchen window or on the porch away from the hot sun. If the seedlings get too hot the vegetables can turn bitter. Greens are my favorite fall veggie. Fresh spinach is very hard to beat. Heat tolerant varieties of lettuce and spinach don’t mind the cold either, so you can expect to be harvesting until spring or early summer of next year. Mustard greens, endives, arugula, swiss chard and different greens mixes are only a few of the choices available. The diversity of the greens family is amazing. I start

Swiss Chard

my greens seeds where they are going to grow. I love growing greens in containers for ease and for decoration. Greens planted in a container can be as beautiful as any flower. Try one of the chards such as bright lights on your front porch. Your neighbors will be jealous.

 

Get your fall garden seeds started now. Don’t miss the fall gardening season!

 

Let’s Talk about August 2017

By: Pat Cordray

Julep in the shade

Whew, we are now in the midst of the dog days of summer. It’s just hot, hot, hot! Believe it or not, August is the start of fall vegetable gardening. You’re thinking, no way it’s not time for that. It’s just too hot. Fall weather doesn’t start around here until maybe late September or so. True, but if you start in August, you can grow so much more. Vegetables aren’t all that you can grow this time of the year, but that is where we are starting.

The main ingredients for growing vegetables are the plants or seeds, sun, soil, and water. Just imagine eating vegetables that you have grown yourself in your own yard. It’ll be great and it’s super easy!
Do you want to use transplants or seeds? Choose the right plants for the season and also choose vegetables that you like to eat. Don’t over plant, this crowds your vegetables, give them plenty of room for good production and air flow. Plant larger growing vegetable plants on the north side of the garden so they won’t block the sun from the smaller growing plants. Using seeds? Kathryn is going to cover growing vegetables from seed in her article this month, so check it out. I’ll add my favorite tips for seed growing. Before you open the seed packet, check the planting instructions for that vegetable and follow the instructions. Once you open your seed packet, check your seeds to make sure they are not broken, broken seeds will not germinate. Don’t store your seeds in the car, it is too hot. I love to use MycoStim any time I plant and that includes when I plant seeds. I use a hoe handle to make my row, then I place my seeds in the row with the appropriate amount of space between the seeds, remember, more is not always better.   Then, I put my MycoStim in an unused laundry measuring cup. I put a little MycoStim on my seeds and then finish planting. Water gently, don’t use the jet option on your hose end sprayer, that will just wash your seeds away. The MycoStim helps with root growth, transplant shock and stress resistance.
Growing your vegetables from transplants is easy. Again, choose the right vegetable plants for the season, pick what you want to eat. Don’t get too many, it is very tempting
but there is usually a limit to the size of the garden. When the garden is ready and the time is right, gently take the transplant out of its container. Put MycoStim on the root ball. Then Plant. Plant most transplants in the garden at the same level they were in the original container, tomatoes can be planted deeper. Plant on a cloudy day or in the evening to protect transplants from the sun.
For fall plants think leafy greens, root crops, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.

Mustard Greens with Nasturtiums 
Kale

Here is a guide to help you pick what to grow and when to plant:

When to Plant Fall and Winter Vegetables
Vegetable
Seed/Transplant
When to Plant
Beans, Bush
Seed
September
Beans, Lima
Seed
Mid-August – September
Beets
Seed
September – Mid-October
Broccoli
Transplant
September – January
Brussels Sprouts
Transplant
September – January
Cabbage
Seed
August – November
Cabbage
Transplant
*September – November
Carrots
Seed
September – November
Cauliflower
Transplant
September – January
Collards
Seed
September – December1
Collards
Transplant
September – January
Cucumber
Transplant
September – January
Garlic
Clove
Late September –
Mid November
Kohlrabi
Transplant
Mid-September – November
Leek
Seed or Transplant
October – November
Lettuce, Leaf
Seed or Transplant
Late September – December
Mustard Green
Seed or Transplant
September – November
Onion
Transplant
*November
Peas, snap
Seed
Late September-October
January – Early February
Peas, Southern
Seed
August 1 – late August
Potatoes Irish
Seed Potatoes
mid- August – late August
*February
Radicchio
Seed
Late September – October
Spinach
Seed or Transplant
October – November
Squash, summer
Transplant
Early September
Squash, winter
Seed or Transplant
Mid-August
Swiss Chard
Seed or Transplant
September – October
Tomatoes
Transplant
mid July – mid-August
Turnips
Seed
September – November
January – February
This list was taken from Kathy Huber’s article in the Houston Chronicle, Aug. 14, 2009, with a few adjustments made by *Lisa Gaige
Next up, look for the sun. Most vegetable plants are going to need at least 6 hours of full sun. Take a look around your yard and see if you have a spot that would work. Watch the area when it rains, does water stand? If it does, you might not want to plant in the ground there. Most plants, including vegetables, need good drainage. If it is the only spot that has adequate sun, you may consider doing a raised container garden. Raised container gardens are an easy way to grow vegetables. Put a couple of cinder blocks on the ground, to the height you want, then place your container on top. I have mine at a height that I can use a gardening chair to plant, weed and water, uh oh, my lazy gardener is showing. If you are going to plant in the ground, you will need to raise the garden at least 6 inches, more if you can afford to. This allows for good root space and drainage. The bed should be able to be tended without stepping into it. If you do a wide garden, add stepping stones so that you can get into your garden to maintain it without compacting the soil. If this is your first garden, don’t make it too large for you to maintain. Start small.
Soil, get the best soil you can. Good soil makes better vegetable plants and vegetables with fewer problems. If you can’t afford to raise your bed to the proper height at first, about 6 – 12″, you can always add soil to your garden each season until you get the height you need.
Water, is our next ingredient, for a good vegetable garden. Water your garden slowly over a longer period of time. I’ve noticed in my container garden that when I check the soil after I water, the soil on top is wet and the water is draining out of the drainage holes. The top couple of inches are wet but below the soil is very dry. Always check. Use your hand or a hand trowel and dig down a few inches to check. Once the soil is dry it is difficult to get it moist again. When you plant make sure the soil is moist, not muddy or dry. While you are watering, is the time to keep an eye on your plants. You are looking for signs of bugs, leaf or fruit damage. The sooner you take care of a problem in the garden the easier it will be to solve. Don’t forget to fertilize, we recommend Microlife. Microlife is an organic fertilizer that is not going to burn your plants.
That wasn’t so hard, was it?
August bonus!
Hummingbirds migrate through this area August – October. If you want them to visit your garden plant for them. Here are a few plants that attract hummingbirds: flame acanthus, hamelia, Texas Betony, Turk’s cap, shrimp plant, pineapple sage, firecracker fern, cigar plant. Get these plants in your garden now to help feed the hummers while they are here. If you use feeders, keep them full and clean. I love when hummingbirds visit my garden and I know you will love it too.
Enjoy your garden with a glass of iced tea!

On Watering

By: Deb Pavlosky
I know you all know this already, but I am going to say this again – plants NEED water – how often and how much is dependent upon the plant and the soil it is planted in as well as other conditions (like temperature, light, wind, mulching, etc.).  If all you are growing is succulents or other drought tolerant plants, overwatering is more of an issue for you than underwatering and this article is not meant for you.
If, however, you are like nearly everyone I know and you are growing typical landscape and/or potted plants in this area, this article should be like gospel.
Water your plants.  During the summer, most plants will need water EVERY SINGLE DAY.  Yes, every single day.  This is especially true for newly planted plants.  When you put a new plant in the ground, the root ball is directly underneath the bottom of the plant.  Plant roots need time to grow and spread before they are truly efficient at getting water.  So, when you water, be sure to water at the base of the plant and directly over the root ball.  Water deeply to encourage the roots to grow more deeply.  If you only water enough to moisten the top couple of inches of soil, you won’t reach the whole root ball and any roots that grow will be shallow.  Shallow watering will lead to weaker and more thirsty plants over time.
If you have a sprinkler system, that’s great for established plants, but the sprinkler heads may not deliver water exactly to the root ball as necessary for new plantings.  So, YES, you will have to hand water those new plantings at least through the first growing season.   It takes some time for plants to become established and develop sufficient root systems.
For established plants (plants that have been in the ground for more than a growing season) watering is less of a concern, but you still have to pay attention to their needs.  Water stress can be the cause of a lot of issues and can make plants more susceptible to disease and pests.  Water daily in the summer to keep your plants happy and healthy.
If your soil drains well, that’s a good thing (ideal for most plants except boggy types that either like to be in the water or have wet feet).  But, because it drains well, you are going to have to water daily.  Even if there was a rainstorm the day before, you have to water.  I have personal experience that I am sharing with you in the photo included here.  This photo shows a half whiskey barrel planter that I was replanting the day following a rainstorm.  I assumed the soil would be too wet for me to plant, but I thought I would give it a go anyway.  I pulled the old plants out and then dug down into the soil to find that it was completely DRY beneath the surface.  And, though the surface appeared wet, the soil beneath was not.  I was so struck by it, I asked my husband to come out and see it too.  He’s always asking if I really need to water and this was prima facie evidence.  Yes, counselor, I do.
So, the end of June came with a few days of really rainy weather and that was a nice little relief for this gardener.  But, the heat will return and watering will be key to happy plants and in turn a happy gardener.
Also, remember that your plants are using up nutrients in the soil as they grow and all the watering can cause some of those nutrients to leach out of the soil too.  Fertilize through the growing season with a good organic fertilizer like Microlife 6-2-4.  This fertilizer provides needed nutrition and encourages more fine-root growth that will help plants uptake both water and nutrients.  As a bonus, Microlife will not burn your plants.  It’s a win-win-win so, don’t forget to water-water-water and use a good organic fertilizer.