DIVERSITY ADDS EXCITEMENT TO SEASONAL GARDENS

Here we are already at the halfway point of calendar year 2012 and almost 40 percent of the way through the 2012 growing season. Our growing season typically runs from our last freeze date in early to mid April to our first freeze date in late October or early November. But individual crops have their own calendars and time frames that may be based on day length, sun intensity, temperature or moisture availability. We know that some crops peak in the early spring like tulips, daffodils and forsythia. Others will peak in the fall and a few very hardy crops actually peak in the heat of the summer like okra, penta, lantana and crape myrtle. Our yards and landscapes are the most exciting when we plant a variety of plants so that we have color or can harvest at different points of the growing season. This diversity adds excitement to your décor and the aesthetic view and value of your property.  It can also enhance your interest in spending   time outdoors in the yard to observe the many seasonal changes.

You can plant container grown plants, even in the heat at this time of year as long as you stay on top of their watering needs.  We are entering our third week of daily temperatures around 100 degrees.   Those persistently hot temperatures along with little or no rain for weeks has put us back into drought conditions and many established trees and shrubs are under extreme stress.  New plantings will likely not survive without  your supplemental  watering.  Established trees, shrubs and even flowers and vegetables will be rooted deeper into the earth where there is at least some moisture in the soil that they can suck up and use.  New plantings have a limited root zone, nearer to the soil surface and can get dried out or dehydrated much quicker. 

Those of you that are growing plants in container gardens can observe a similar condition in that plants in small pots will dry out much quicker and need water more often because their container does not have as much soil mass, and cannot hold as much moisture after a watering where plants in large containers can go longer and need watering less often, but still more often than flowers or vegetables growing in a flowerbed in the ground. 

We were blessed to get a number of spring rains and to stay cooler through June compared to last year.  This has led to some really nice harvests of tomatoes, peppers, squash and many other veggie crops. Now that we are “heating up” most of the plants in your yard are counting on you for water,  to help them bridge through the drought and heat to survive until fall and the cooler temperatures and it’s refreshing, renewing rains.  If this is the time of year you get a chance to plant, please plant but remember that summer planting comes with a commitment  to water.   Do check your plants regularly and soak the new and established plants as needed.  Please remember your newer plantings will need water more often.

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