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Mid-season and the gardens are growing well. No pest problems, no disease to speak of. I guess this is a good year for a garden and with ample amounts of rain, watering has been kept to a minimum. This is the time to feed the garden one last time before the cold season arrives.
If you have read the post on spring fertilizing, I have an all-purpose fertilizer recipe I use twice a year for the job. This year the garden is so large and full that I am going to feed with poultry pellets. This can easily be broadcast around the garden and not burn the plants.
As a general rule, stop fertilizing the garden no later than mid-August, as new growth will not survive the winter months ahead. Amongst the benefits of keeping plants healthy, mid-season fertilizing will help your garden to look its best through the dog days of summer.
In addition to my mid-season fertilizing routine, if there are plants that need an extra boost or need some quick food or perhaps looking a little tired, worn out, I give them a good watering with sea kelp and fish emulsion. This treatment usually is for those plants that are heavy feeders.
Alyssum planted annually fills in this two inch gap between the stone edging which will eventually cover the stone below.
Every year a few alyssum seeds fall between the cracks and grow.
Moneywort creeping over the edge. Another two inch gap is utilized for more plants.
Something unusual about this year is the rate at which the flowers are blooming. It’s not such a bad thing to see a garden filled with colorful flowers, however, many of the fall bloomers are ready to go.
Looking through past years blooming charts, these fall bloomers typically start at the end of August. I started keeping track of plants at their peak of bloom, because for me it is easier to plan on what changes I want to undertake or new plants to accentuate the garden. This works very well when annuals are selected to enhance a perennial garden. Here is a sample of the charts I keep for quick reference for garden planning.
‘Regale’ Lilies just before bloom.
This lily stalk holds almost twenty trumpet blooms!
Balustrade Garden Update
Photo [LEFT] is the current growth | Photo [RIGHT] after planting.
To read more about planting of the balustrade garden click here.
A sneak peak into the stone tarrace garden. Here I am experimenting with large planters. In this one and many others, elephant ears add height and drama to liven this space.
There are very few perennials in the garden that I neglect due to their hardiness, hostas being one of them. Since all of my hostas are located in shady areas of the garden, I don’t usually bother to feed them with the exception of annual applications of composted manure. Not too long after the full growth of my hostas do I get envious of neighbors who seemingly are able to grow the fullest and largest plants. It seems my hostas could use a little more attention from me concerning their diet.
I am particular on how I feed my garden, keeping in mind that organic fertilizers are easier on the environment. So I have created a ‘hosta’ fertilizer for good strong foliar growth and overall health of these plants.
Hosta Nutrient Mix
4 parts all-purpose organic granular fertilizer 4-3-3
1 part blood meal 12-0-0
1 part bone meal 0-10-0
¼ part Epsom salts [for magnesium]
Added to the basic fertilizer is more nitrogen for good foliar growth and phosphorous for added root development. The last ingredient is Epsom salts which contains magnesium to give hosta foliage more radiant color and a nutrient they like. Ever see hosta leaves turning yellow? They require magnesium. If you experience this sprinkle some Epsom salts around the plants and watch them turn back to a their healthy color.
I apply around two tablespoons of this mix around smaller hostas and up to a cup for larger ones. With the added annual supply of composted manure, hostas should grow with vigor and look splendid all season that is if they are planted in a good location, dappled shade.
A little tip I learned a few years back about hostas, if you don’t care so much for the flower stalks, then snip them off as they rise above the leaves. This will re-direct the energy towards root growth. To date, the only hosta I ever did this with, was a large cultivar called ‘elegans.’ I didn’t want the flowers to interfere with the silhouette of the garden I was going for. As it turns out, the time came to move this hosta and to my amazement the root system was extensive. I have transplanted many hostas and this was the only one that had a root system that large.
Hostas should be fertilized once new growth has started in the spring and again mid-season, usually around July. The only exception, I think, is for the hosta ‘Empress Wu.’ This cultivar should be fertilized three times a season and kept moist, but not soggy.