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  • Writer's pictureFellow Gardener Sara

Keeping Healthy Plants Healthy...All Summer Long

Updated: May 21

Spring is fully upon us, all the verdant greens, bursting blooms on flowering trees and singing birds confirm the fact!

I've always been so eager to get color in pots around my home, hang the beautiful baskets on the pergola and kick into summertime. At long last.

If you've visited our greenhouses, you've purchased healthy plants we've grown and tended here on site, many of them for months. You've invested in joy, color and eventually vegetables to enjoy at your table for the summer days ahead, and I know you want those plants to stay healthy.

Here's some of our favorite tips!

  • Feed your plants well.

    • Flowering plants require regular feeding to keep producing flowers, use a water-soluble product once per week, or (my favorite) reduce the amount of water-soluble fertilizer you use to 1/4-1/3 the amount recommended and water daily (or as often as you water) with this reduced feeding.

      • Be careful not to fertilize super bone-dry pots/baskets at full strength, this can burn the plants. instead, water lightly to slightly hydrate the plant and then come back an hour later to fertilize, keeping in mind morning watering is always best for your plants.

        • Vegetable plants need food too! Especially heavy feeders like tomatoes. Side dressing (raking into the top 1-2" of soil around the plant) with a gentle slow release, preferably organic, 2-3 times per growing season will maintain plant health and increase yields.

        • Perennials, trees and shrubs also deserve a little extra food, wait until the plants are fully leaved out, then try side dressing them with slow release as well, I always use organic and with amazing results! Twice per season is sufficient for these types of plants and will help ensure good color, blooms and branching.

  • Sun loving annuals need at least 5-6 hours of sun to bloom well, so keep in mind where you place those blooming beauties, so they reach full potential.

  • Overwatering is a potted plant or baskets' worst enemy! I've rescued more horribly wilted and heat exhausted plants over the years than drowned and soggy ones. Do wait to water your plants until the soil is dry at least a good inch or finger's length into the soil. Plants will drown and rot when kept perpetually drenched.

I remember years ago, running along the little cement walk with pigtails beating my flushed cheeks, I could hear my bare feet slapping the hot pavement and feel the sun deepening the tan on my young face. The warm air raised to meet me, heavily scented with Grandma's alyssums she always bordered her walk-ways with. Bursting white, confetti blooms spilled onto the path, softening the edges in swooping curves of summer's snow. I felt young and alive, happy and confident.

To this day plants still make me feel that way; alive, happy and confident! It's magical.

All the best to my fellow gardeners as you enjoy healthy plants this summer!

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