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GARDENING TIPS FOR SONOMA COUNTY


September 2018 Gardening Tips

www.thegardeningtutor.net - Clematis 'Multi-Blue'
Containers for a Fall Wedding

SEPTEMBER 2018

“HELP! MY CONTAINER PLANTS LOOK TERRIBLE”

    Growing plants in containers can be so wonderful, it can also be frustrating. Even some seasoned gardeners find it a challenge to keep container plants happy. By the end of August it may be pruning that will rejuvenate a plant and by the end of September it may be time to swap out summer plants for winter hardy color. Many times the reason plants suffer is the watering technique used is not really getting the water into the root zone. Let's look at some tips that will help plants in containers to thrive!


    September 2018
    Gardening Checklist*
    What to SHOP for . . .
    Checkbox Perennial - Chrysanthemum, Dianthus (carnation).
    Checkbox Annuals - Iceland Poppies, Calendula.
    Checkbox Spring Blooming Bulbs - Alliums (ornamental onions-awesome!), Anemone, Crocus, Freesia.
    Checkbox Veggies (Ideally planted by Labor Day) - Cauliflower starts, Leeks, Some Lettuce varieties, Radish, Swiss Chard. Shop for garlic-plant in November.
       
    Tasks to do . . .
      This month the Tasks to Do focus on the care of Container Plants. To get more tasks, see September 2016 and 2017 for more September Tips.
    Checkbox First, instead of relying on what the top of the potting "soil"* looks like, dig down in there a few inches and check to see how moist or dry the root zone (where most of the roots are growing) feels.
    Checkbox If the soil in your container has dried out, the best way to moisten the soil again is to add water slowly. You can stand there all day pouring copious amounts of water on the surface of the soil and it will probably not penetrate into the root zone once the planting medium has dried out. To add water slowly, either turn the hose on a trickle and place on the soil surface or use one gallon water bottles with a small hole punched at one edge of the bottom.
    Checkbox Some bagged potting mediums have peat moss in them. Once the peat moss dries out it can be hard to remoisten. Follow the steps for slowly moistening the soil or you may want to replant your container using a mix without peat in it. When first planting the container make sure to moisten the potting mix before filling the container.
    Checkbox Although the practice is still used today, there is no need put anything in the bottom of containers such as rocks or broken clay pots because these can interfere with drainage.
    Checkbox It's best to apply fertilizer to moist soil (water the container well one day and fertilize the next day). Applying fertilizer to dry soil may kill the plants. Many container plantings appreciate a weekly or bi-monthly application of half strength liquid fertilizer or monthly at full strength. Plants respond very well to Maxsea (a seaweed derived plant food).
    Checkbox If the soil is too moist perhaps your plants are drowning. Black gnats flying around your plant is an indication of soil that is too wet. The hole at the bottom of the container may be plugged by roots (poke a stick in there to open up the drainage). To create better drainage, perhaps your container needs to be raised up slightly from the surface it is sitting on or it may be time to repot your plant.
    Checkbox Check for possible pests. If when you check in the rootzone the soil seems to be well moistened perhaps there are pests sending your plant into decline. Make sure to check for pests under the foliage as well as on top.
    Checkbox Controlling ants with bait traps will help to keep some pests populations down. If you see ants crawling up the stems and branches of your plants, control the ants before, or in addition to, tackling the pests. Also, ants are generally a sign that the soil has dried out completely.
    Checkbox To get ahead of possible problems with your container plants, at least give them a glance each day. If you are paying attention, the look of your plants can tell you when they are not happy in plenty of time for you to correct the problem.
      *Potting soil does not have soil in it. Soil is made up of differing amounts of sand, silt, and clay. Potting soil is usually peat moss and perlite or coconut fiber with perlite (with nutrients added). Labeling potting soil as a planting medium would be more helpful.
       
    Free printable . . .
      Looking for a way to stay organized in your garden?
    Download this Free Printable Gardening Checklist* and you’ll be amazed how inspired you’ll feel!
    Let us know how you’re doing. You can do it!
    Remember, this printable was created as a short list of tasks with minimal information. If you would like more in-depth information,
    you can always refer back to the checklist above each month for more details.
     

    The Gardening Tutor August 2018 Printable

    *Colors may vary depending upon your computer screen and printer.


*For More Detailed Gardening Tips
Check Out Our Archives Below

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