weather has been absolutely gorgeous lately and we are all excited to
get our container gardens started. My planting schedule starts May 14.
Just as you wouldn't remove a baby chick from the incubator early, you
don't want to remove your young plants from the nursery too soon
either. A couple more weeks of growing time in the nursery can make all
the difference. Please be patient as we wait for the plants to mature and the weather to be more certain.
to everyone who has
schedule your spring
you still need to get scheduled, contact me
guests admire your lovely container gardens, please refer them to Patio
Plants Unlimited. You can earn $25 off your planting
service for each referral.
check-list of yard work to do now:
- Plant and divide perennials. The soil has
warmed up and spring is a great time for planting perennials and shrubs.
mulch. New mulch not only makes the area look pretty, it also
helps conserve moisture over the summer and controls weeds.
weeds. As with all sorts of pests, try to remove them when they are
small and before they spread.
and water the compost pile.
spent tulip and daffodil flowers, but allow the leaves to turn yellow
your vegetable seedlings after the 15th. Plant seeds for beans,
cucumbers and summer squash directly in the garden.
"Every summer I spent a LOT of money decorating my frequently used back
porch with plants. They looked great...for a few weeks. Last summer I
discovered Stephanie and her wonderful automatic drip irrigation
system. What a beautiful porch I had ALL summer long.
Stephanie's porch designs are a work of art!!! I can't wait for her to
replant my pots this spring."
in Your Soil?
In the gardening realm,
we spend a lot of time discussing
plant choices, pests, diseases and other horticultural practices, but
experienced gardener knows the foundation to a good garden is good
soil is so important it has become its own science - you can even get a
in Soil Science! This is a brief, VERY SIMPLIFIED discussion
texture, structure and fertility.
Tilth is the soil's
general suitability to support plant life. Soil tilth is described with
terms "good" or "poor" or something in between. Tilth
is the how the texture, structure, fertility
and living soil organisms work together in the ecosystem.
Texture refers to
the particles in the soil and their relative concentration. The
particles are described
as sand, silt or
clay, sand being the largest particles and clay the smallest.
you have a nice cross-section of all particle types, its called loam. Depending on
the percentage of each type of particle, the soil will be
described as "sandy clay"
or "silt loam" or even "silty clay loam." Here in Northern
is generally described as clay or heavy clay.
how the various particles fit together. Sand, silt, and clay particles bond together
particles) which then creates
(open space) of various
sizes. Ideally, soil should have a combination of large and
space - the small pore space will hold water and the larger pore space
for good water movement and air flow. In fine-textured clay and/or
soils, a lack of large pore spaces restricts water and air
the other hand, sandy soils which lack small pore space do not
and nutrients well. In this area, our clay soil retains water well but
limited air space
makes it difficult for plant roots to expand.
Fertility is determined by the amount of
plant-available nutrients and minerals.
includes elements such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium and
as iron, zinc and copper. Soil which is fertile for plants is also
many soil organisms including earth worms, sowbugs (a.k.a.
millipedes and thousands of bacteria and fungi. Sometimes soil that is
will still have poor tilth because of texture and structure. Soil
fertility varies greatly from one location to another. This is where
soil tests are especially helpful.
Now that you have this background in soil science, what can you do with
it? The most important lesson to be learned here is that just adding
fertilizer may not improve your garden or lawn. Soil texture and
only be altered by routinely adding compost or organic matter
soil. Improvement may not be obvious for
several years. A
single large application of organic matter will not be
enough. As the organic content increases, earthworms and soil
microorganisms become more active, which over time improves soil tilth.
Each spring and possibly in the fall as well, you can turn 2"-3" of
well aged compost into your soil.
If you're really interested and would like more detailed
information, check out this GardenNotes publication from the
CSU Extension Office.
I am often frustrated with
this area's heavy clay soil and I delight in container
gardening. I bring in high quality potting soil for all my container
gardens. In fact, the potting soil I use is not soil at all -- it
is a "soil-less growing medium." If that term confuses you, watch for
my next newsletter when I'll explain it in further detail!
Watch for the upcoming newsletter series...
Starting next month!
As always, if there is anything I can do to make your patio more
enjoyable, please let me know!
tel: (970) 988-3808