Posts Tagged ‘plant care’

Dahlia Growers – Tubers And Winter Storage

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

Like every other garden flower, the dahlia has its special pests, and reknowned Dahlia grower Conrad Faust has been fighting them every year. During past seasons he found malathion spray to be very effective against most dahlia pests. He reported, however, that there was a serious outbreak of red spider in many dahlia gardens in the Atlanta area. Sprays seemed to be ineffective, but upon recommendation of the state entomologist the plants were sprayed or dusted with sulfur and this brought the trouble under control. Mr. Faust says this same sulfur is also excellent for the control of mildew which often attacks dahlia foliage in hot, humid weather.

Conrad is always being asked how he digs and stores his dahlia tubers.

The clumps are dug very carefully so as to avoid breaking or injuring the tubers. He then washes all the soil off them with a hose; next he cuts off all the fibrous roots from the tubers, and after that he allows them to dry for a day or two in the garden. Ho is very careful, of course, to label each clump as it is dug, using an indelible pencil for this purpose. Some of Mr. Faust’s clumps are too large and cumbersome for storing, and so he cuts the largest ones in half and dusts the cut portions with sulfur before putting them away for the winter. The smaller clumps are turned upside down to allow all the moisture to drain from the stems.

Unleashing Growth Of The Dahlia Root System

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

Because most Georgia soils are rather heavy, the Father of Georgia Dalhia growing Conrad Faust went to great length to incorporate quantities of humus into his garden. Over the years he built up an ideal soil by adding leaf-mold, stable manure and peatmoss, in addition to which he plants his entire plot to a green cover crop after the tubers are dug in the fall. The cover crop, which may be of rye, vetch or Austrian winter peas, is plowed under in the spring in time to rot and mellow before dahlia planting time.

Moisture conservation is one of the phases of soil management that Mr. Faust stresses. He digs his soil thoroughly to a depth of 12 inches, breaking up any hardpan that may form in the subsoil. This permits an unrestricted growth of the dahlia root systems.

A strict fertilizing schedule is also advocated. Starting with the initial preparation of the soil just before planting time. “A fertilizer of 3 or 4 per cent nitrogen, 10 per cent phosphate and 5 or 6 per cent potash is ideal. When planting, two good handsful of bonemeal together with a small amount of the commercial fertilizer (say a level tablespoonful) should be added to the soil in a radius of at least 2 feet where the dahlia will be planted – or this can be broadcast over the soil.”

How To Care Of The Dahlia Tubers

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

Although winter weather does not permit gardening outdoors in December, the Northern gardener does have a few opportunities to actively practice his hobby. For example, it is during this month (December) that he can clean and store the tender summer flowering bulbs and tubers until they can be used again for the garden next year.

The dahlias that were dug after hard frosts ended their season’s growth need a little attention now. Tubers that have a great deal of soil clinging to them because they were dug when the ground was very moist or because they were growing in a very heavy soil which tends to stick to the roots, should be cleaned by gently rubbing away the dried earth or washing it off.

Some dahlia growers object greatly to the washing method, but others practice it regularly. If they are cleaned with water they should he allowed to dry off before packing them for the winter.

For years, vermiculite has become a favored packing material for dahlia tubers and the bulbs, roots and tubers of other plant materials that have to be dug and stored for the winter. Dahlia tubers must be handled with great care so that the individual tubers do not break off at the main stalk without possessing a part of the latter and the growth “eyes” that will produce a new plant next year.

What To Do In The Garden For January

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

In Northern United States and Canada

Now is the time to check out seed catalogs and online along with placing orders. Early in the month sow seeds of Clarkia, Godedia, Larkspur, Stocks and other annuals for Spring bloom in the greenhouse. Toward the end of January sow in the greenhouse Wax Begonias, Lobelias, Vinca roses, Delphiniums and Pansies for Summer bloom outdoors…

Remove pots of bulbs, such as Hyacinths, Daffodils and Tulips, that are to be forced for early bloom, a few at a time, from the cool basement or sand bed outdoors where they have been rooting, and bring them into the greenhouse or house. Shade them for the first few days and give them lots of water at all times. Keep them cool at first; increase the temperature gradually.

As soon as dormant potted Amaryllis bulbs show signs of life, remove a little of the old surface soil, replace with rich new soil, water thoroughly and place the pots in a warm, light location in the greenhouse or house. Pot new Amaryllis bulbs in well-drained pots of fertile sandy soil.

Tips On Backyard Vegetable Gardens

Sunday, October 11th, 2009

People plant vegetables gardens in their back yards for two reasons, either because they feel an urge to till the soil and produce food for themselves and their families or because they have discovered that only by raising their own vegetables can they enjoy superlative flavor, succulence, nutritive value and healthfulness.

Undoubtedly vegetable gardens are occasionally started because the racks of colorful seed packets displayed in all sorts of stores every spring arouse a temporary enthusiasm to “dig and delve,” but such gardens usually deteriorate rapidly as soon as the weather becomes hot enough to spoil the fun. In the rare cases when such gardens are faithfully cultivated throughout the season, it becomes obvious that they were actually planted for the first reason mentioned.

Unless you really want to eat better vegetables than you can ordinarily buy, there is not much sense in saddling yourself with a back yard vegetable garden. There are easier ways to obtain outdoor exercise or to satisfy an urge to growing plants in containers or in a garden.

How To Make This Year A Topnotch Garden With Bright Flowers

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

If you’re a Northwesterner or a Northern Californian, put those dreaded memories of spring flood conditions behind you. Determine now to make this the year for a topnotch garden with bright flowers, finer shrubs and greener lawns.

Make this a year of changes. Dont be content with the same old flowers of yesteryear. Take a good look at the flower seed stands at your neighborhood seed store and select lots of those brightly colored packets.

One way to prevent your garden from looking just like every other garden in the block is to select some of the less familiar annuals.

The “big three” – petunias, marigolds and zinnias – may be planted heavily, but at the same time be adventurous and try plants such as the exotic bells of Ireland, linaria and nemesia (especially good for covering a bed where spring bulbs are planted), appealing dwarf dahlias, fast-growing cosmos for hedge effects, and mixed gourds for their wonderful harvest of curiously shaped fruits in the fall.

The cool weather annuals such as calendula, sweet alyssum, larkspur and nasturtium, can be sown in the open ground now. The seeds will germinate quickly if the ground is kept moist.

Non Transplant Color – Starting Your Flowers In The Open

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

Purple AnnualsWhen weather conditions are favorable flower seeds can be sown outdoors. The topsoil should be raked level and all stones, clods, and roughage raked from the seed bed. Make sure that the topsoil is raked thoroughly so that it is quite fine and into- this sow the seeds in drills. Cover the seeds not more than three times their depth and firmly light. Water with a fine spray. Thin the young seedlings when large enough and cultivate. Those that are thinned out can be transplanted along the row or to some other part of the garden.

A few flowers due to the nature of their root system are not adapted” totransplanting, however, as a general use most kinds will transplant without difficulty.

For the purpose of simple classification Flowers are divided in three groups; Annuals, Perennials and Biennials.

Annuals flower the first season, ripen seed, then die. As a rule Perennials blossom the second year from seed and thereafter continue to live for an indefinite number of years. Biennials as a rule require two years to blossom. They are short lived after that time.

Plant Perennials And Biennials

Sunday, October 4th, 2009

Just Joey Hybrid Tea Rose (Rosa) 'Just Joey' AGM MHardy Perennials

Unlike annuals, perennials are more or less permanent, flowering annually from the same plants, and do not require to be resown or replanted each season. Seedling perennials, as a general rule, are more vigorous than plants propagated by means of divisions, cutting, etc. They need a longer period of growth to come to maturity than do the annuals, and may be sown from early spring to early autumn, according to their various requirements.

A fairly rich and well prepared seed bed should be made in a sheltered and sunny position, and the seed sown thinly in drills, watering the drills before sowing if the soil is dry.

As a rule, no further watering is necessary, but should a dry spell set in when the plants are tiny like the dwarf banana, it is wise to water them as they need it. Keep free from weeds and pests, and when large enough to handle transplant them carefully to a bed. In October, or alternatively in early spring, according to the size of plants and weather and soil conditions, move them to their permanent quarters.

First Year Blooms Of Peonies

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

in all her gloryWhen planting Peonies plant as soon as they are obtained, being careful to set the division so that the top of the buds will be from 1-1/2 to two inches below the final soil grade after the plants are watered and have finished settling. If planted too deep you will probably get pretty foliage with a few or no blooms, and if too shallow, the buds will be exposed and are likely to get broken off by Old Shep when he serves notice on a stray cat or rabbit.

You should expect blooms from three to five eye divisions the first season. Only seven of the 60 varieties I planted in my garden a few years ago failed to bloom the first year. The plants made a splendid display of flowers the third season after planting.

Digging and dividing large, old peony clumps is no easy task, as most gardeners have learned. If the freshly-dug clump is left exposed to the air for a while, the roots will become less brittle and are more easily handled without breaking. The soil which is tightly held by the roots is best removed with a stream of water from the hose.

The Two Divisions Of Plants Bugs

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

Plant bug insects can be divided roughly into two groups, namely : (a) those that bite and chew their food and (b) those that possess a sucking tube through which they extract their food by means of piercing the leaves of plants. Too bad they are not equipped with a loud speaking tube too, then we’d know when the pesky critters were at work.”

To combat leaf-chewing insects, stomach poison controls must be applied to the attacked plants. Of these the most common are Sevin. Today on the shelves of many garden supply stores you will see innumerable brands displayed, all concocted by chemical companies according to their experience and tests. All these branded controls are made available through laborious modern scientific research. Some stomach controls are nonpoisonous to humans and animals. That is one reason we like going organic with a natural product like neem oil as an insecticide.

To combat sucking insects contact poisons and nonpoisonous controls must be applied to the attacked plants. Of these the most common are malathion, horticultural oil, and insecticidal soaps. Today on the shelves of garden supply and retail nurseries you will see innumerable brands displayed, all concocted by well known chemical companies in their modern research laboratories. Most are available either in powder or liquid forms.

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