Saturday, February 6, 2010

ROOTS, SHOOTS, AND MUDDY BOOTS

Gardening is in my blood, and  on the soles of my muddy boots.

 

I like to take any opportunity to get out and make note of what needs to be done in the gardens and landscape. This quiet time, in the throws of winter before everything pops up, is ideal for planning.

I took time to check out the garden today. Temperatures were mild, near 40 degrees. It felt good to breathe fresh air instead of dry heated air. Some hyacinth shoots were peeking up through the muddy mulch, and the buds on the Endless Summer Hydrangea are swollen.





This pre-spring review is also reminding me that I didn’t clean up the fall debris as much as I could have.

I‘ve left seed heads of Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia) and Coneflower (Echinacea) for the birds to eat . Watching the yellow finches trying to land on the tips is quite funny. They are tenacious and now the stems look pretty ratty. I’ll need to recruit the grandkids for a clean-up party soon.



It seems that  the garden is sleeping. In reality, tree and shrub roots are already starting to take up water. The sap is beginning to flow up into the future canopy. This is the time I normally apply organic granular fertilizers to the ground at the base of trees and shrubs. The freezing and thawing of the ground will help this organic material work its way into the soil. Then when the warmth and moisture of the spring come along, the organic material has worked into the soil and the micro organisms in the soil will be ready to make nutrients available to the roots of the plants as they come out of dormancy.

I 'm getting my order for organic fertilizers ready to submit. I really became concerned about the chemicals we were putting on the lawn. a while ago. I mean, when the lawn care companies have to post warnings after an application,- - what were they telling me? So, we switched to organic fertilizers. I know I'm applying safe and effective products without the  contamination of water, soil, or my family.

With organic lawn products I never have to put a sign in the yard ‘Danger, keep kids and pets off’! These organic products are grains and compost that contains no manures or chemicals. My dog, Shelby can lick the products and no harmful chemicals are present to make her sick. Our 5-3-4 General fertilizer is a good option for established perennials and shrubs in the landscape and our 3-5-4 Starter fertilizer is good for establishing bedding plants and seedlings. 

I use Corn Gluten as a pre-emergent for annual weeds and grassy weeds like crab grass and foxtail. Corn Gluten can go down in March. This is best applied when the daffodils start blooming and when the forsythia bloom. When the ground temperatures are right for the daffs and forsythia, it is also right for weed seeds to germinate. Corn Gluten sets up a barrier through which weeds cannot penetrate. I spread Corn Gluten on the lawn and flower beds for weed control. Corn Gluten is also a good nitrogen source for your lawn with a N-P-K of 9-0-0. Two for one! How awesome is that?

So my plan is: order fertilizers, put down the corn gluten, and call grandkids.....!!!

What are you planning in your yard and garden this season? Have you considered organic fertilizers for your yard? Wonder how organics work? Are they effective? Are they too pricey. Let me know your concerns. Let’s talk gardening, naturally. I've written several articles on organic gardening. Visit my page on Organic Gardening for more information. 
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