Annual Time at Blomidon Nurseries—That Means Colour!siteadmin
Annual Time at Blomidon Nurseries—That Means Colour!
Now is the time when all the magical colours start to appear in your garden. Here in the valley, annuals usually get planted just before or right after the long weekend in May. The full moon is on the 5th of May this year, which leaves it open for maybe a last frost in June. So it’s going to be a gamble there. Most people will not wait until June to plant their annuals. Therefore, you’re just going to have to listen to the weather. If they call for a frost, you’re just going to have to go outside and cover up your annuals.
With the full moon on the 5th of May, that could be your last frost depending on where you live. The Halifax area has more water, so they tend to not really have that last frost. I don’t know what it is, perhaps it’s all the buildings around, but their last frost usually is a lot earlier than here in the valley. Hilly regions, like we have, with low-lying areas are quite prone to last frost. You don’t get frost on an overcast night or if it’s raining. You will get frost on a really clear, open night with no clouds, when there is a full moon, and everything lines up together. Then you’ll have a good heavy frost.
One way or the other, May is the time when everything goes in the ground, including potatoes, onions, garlic, all your vegetables, and all your annuals. If you haven’t done it already, you can be cultivating your soil, turning it over, adding compost or manure, and incorporating that in.
Maybe you moved into a new place or made a new bed last fall. Now would be a good time to do a quick soil test. It will tell you the pH of your soil as well as the nitrogen, phosphorus, and the potash content. That’s going to give you a really good start to know what kind of fertilizers to apply, depending on if you’re growing vegetables or flowers. Again, your soil type has a lot to do with that because heavier clay soils hold on to the nutrients for the plants to take up, but in sandy soils, everything gets flushed through, so they hold on to few nutrients. So you have to feed more often in sandy soil because it doesn’t hold the nutrients for the plants to take up.
When you do those tests, they’ll tell you if you’re low or if you’re high in some mineral, and you can choose your fertilizer to adjust accordingly. If you had one that had really high nitrogen, you wouldn’t want a fertilizer that has a lot of nitrogen; you’d want one that has potash and phosphorus. However, if you wanted a lot of nitrogen, then you would know to pick up the right fertilizer!
All fertilizers have 3 numbers, like 10/10/10, or 15/30/15, or maybe 30/10/10. The first number is always nitrogen, the second number is always phosphorus, and the last number is always potash. The numbers simply represent the ratio of each. If you are growing a lot of root crops like carrots, potatoes, and turnips, you need a lot of potash, but your nice green lawn requires more nitrogen. Your lawn fertilizer will be something like 24/8/8 with a higher ratio of nitrogen, which will keep it green but also make it grow like crazy!
If you’re unsure, you should always do a soil test, which will cost you anywhere between 25 and 30 bucks, but it’s so worth it. Then you know what you’re dealing with. Don’t forget that the soil testing kit is good for up to 10 different tests for each mineral. You don’t just use it once and throw it in the garbage.
When you are buying your annuals, you buy them either in a single pot or in what we call “cell packs,” which are usually little trays containing 4, 6, or 8 plants. This one little tray is smaller than a 4″ pot. When you pinch the bottom of the cell pack, you pop out the plant and the roots are filling the cell, and you can hardly see any soil. Take your finger and just pinch off the very bottom. This will get the root out into the soil to get established quicker.
This is something I always recommend, and I know people don’t do it. They go home thinking I’m crazy and that they’ll hurt the plant, but when you take them home and you put them in the ground or in your pots for your hanging baskets, I totally recommend that you pinch the flowers off at that first initial planting. Take your first finger and your thumb to just pinch it off. What’s going to happen is the plant is going to spend all of its time making roots and branching out, and in two to three weeks, you’ll have many flowers, not just one on the top of a stem.
Once your garden and planters and hanging baskets are all planted, it is a must that you water them thoroughly. This will settle the soil around the roots as well as give them a drink. Make sure you give the leaves time to dry off before the sun sets. You do not want wet leaves going into the night. Fungal diseases can develop on wet leaves overnight.
Fertilizers should always be used according to the directions on the packaging no matter what type you are using. Pay attention as some are water-soluble, needing to be diluted in water; some are granular or pellets; and some are foliar, meaning they can soak right into the leaves.
Fertilizing is a full summer activity as annuals are fertilizer hogs, especially those in hanging baskets, as they get watered more often and so require more nutrients.
If you haven’t already done so, why not take a walk through the greenhouses at Blomidon Nurseries soon, to see the colours, smell the scents, and help us space things out by buying some beautiful plants? Now you can sit back and enjoy the beauty and the colour in your garden!