Spring is truly here and it really is the right time to sow, plant, and transplant. The growing season is upon us and it is time to take advantage of it to enhance the beauty of your entryway and back yard.
Plant flowers in a bright container: For color all season long plant flowers such as geraniums, nemesia, bacopa, petunia and million bells. We have recently had a delivery of new containers of all different sizes and colors. Try blue flowers in an orange container. Gorgeous! Or red geraniums in a blue container... very Mykonos! Or for a July 4th celebration plant red geraniums, white bacopa and blue lobelia...
Plant tomatoes: There is nothing like the taste of a ripe, home grown tomato and we have many different varieties of tomato plants at Deep Roots Garden Center, including delicious heirloom tomatoes of all colors, shapes and sizes. Plant them in full sun in the ground or in a large container. Be sure to add a generous quantity of organic fertilizer to the soil before you plant.
Plant Bedding plants: Replace fading cool-season annuals with heat lovers such as celosia, dahlias, marigolds, petunias, salvia, verbena, and vinca. Try starting cosmos, sunflower, and zinnia from seed, even if you're a novice gardener. They're all super-easy, make good cut flowers, and attract the beneficial insects you want in the garden.
Rose companions: Planting perennials in your rose beds adds complementary textures, forms, and colors, and provides interest when roses are not in bloom. According to Wen Wang, rosarian at Descanso Gardens in Flintridge, good choices include catmint, cranesbill, feverfew, French lavender, lamb's ear, Shasta daisies, snow-in-summer, and veronica. We also like bearded iris, scented geraniums, and 'Indigo Spires' salvia.
Vegetables: Coastal gardeners (in Sunset climate zones 21-24) can continue to plant quick-maturing, cool-season crops, including chard, leaf lettuces, radishes, and spinach. Inland (zones 18-21), switch to warm-season crops such as beans, corn, cucumber, eggplant, melons, peppers, summer and winter squash, and tomatoes.
Start an herb garden: Plant chives, parsley, rosemary, sage, tarragon, thyme, and my all time favorite herb - Winter Savory. Many varieties can also be grown successfully from seed, such as arugula, chervil, cilantro, and, of course, dill.
Divide cymbidiums: If pots are too packed with bulbs, some brown and leafless, it's time to repot. Knock the root mass out of the pot and separate it into clumps by hand or with pruning shears. Keep at least three healthy bulbs with foliage; re-pot those in fresh potting medium designed for orchids.
Fertilize: Feed trees, shrubs, groundcover, perennials, and other permanent plants. Using an organic fertilizer like Dr. Earth will replenish micro-organisms in the soil as well as feed the plants. Try using a fertilizer containing iron on all plants, not just the chlorotic ones.
Combat powdery mildew: Warm days and cool nights are ideal conditions for powdery mildew. To treat it, spray foliage with Serenade Fungicide or Neem Oil.
Manage aphids: Keep the aphid population in control by dislodging the pests from plant foliage with a strong blast of water from a hose. If they keep coming back spray with Bayer's Rose and Flower insecticide, or an organic alternative Dr. Earth's Home & Garden insect spray. If you do not want to use pesticides try a carton of Lady Bugs from our Bug Fridge.
Manage snails:Search for snails on strappy-leafed plants such as agapanthus, liriope and daylilies, then hand-harvest and dispose. Or trap by allowing them to collect on the underside of a slightly elevated board.
Not your idea of a good time? Try sprinkling pet-safe Sluggo all around your garden beds instead."
Grow perennials bees love: Lure bees to pollinate your fruits and veggies. The following bee magnets need only moderate water: Agastache, ‘Mönch’ aster, catmint, germander, lavender, rudbeckia, and Salvia chamaedryoides. See www.nature.berkeley.edu/urbanbeegardens for more choices. No need to be afraid of bees. They are only interested in flowers. If they investigate you closely it is because you are wearing a bright color or a sweet perfume. Stand still until the bee realizes her mistake and she will fly away. Wasps and yellow jackets, however, are another matter.....
Sow or Grow annuals: Cosmos, sunflowers, and zinnias are quintessential summer flowers ― neither fussy nor thirsty ― and are great if you’re new to growing seeds. They also draw bees and beneficial insects. Other non-thirsty annuals include celosia, marigold, portulaca, sanvitalia, and sweet alyssum.
Bugs have arrived: Our "bug fridge" is full of beneficial insects... ladybugs, lacewings, beneficial nemetodes, praying Mantids, and earthworms. Are you having a problem with raccoons, skunks or possums digging up your lawn? They are probably looking for fat white grubs to eat. Getting rid of the grubs will get rid of the problem. Microscopic beneficial nemetodes attack and kill these grubs as well as over 230 soil borne pests. Easy to apply and extremely effective, come and raid our fridge if pests start raiding your garden.
Free Gardening Classes
We hold free gardening classes on Saturday mornings. Classes will be given by Jon or Barbara. Our full schedule will be up on our web site on an ongoing basis but here is a tentative list of classes. (Subject to change):
April 9 - New Plants for 2011. Brand new plants for this region, not easily found elsewhere.
April 30 - Native and DrougHt tolerant plants. Why are California Natives so scarce?
May 14 - Beneficial insects. The goodies that eat the baddies. How to identify them, and how to encourage them to inhabit your garden.
Bring your questions and your notebook! No need to sign up just come along to Deep Roots Nursery. Classes start at 10:00 AM