Hallelujah, the sun has finally made an appearance for several days in a row! We all want to put that wet spring behind us as we cruise into summer. I’m happy as I finally manage to spend an entire day getting caught up at home.
My first priority was to get all the annuals I had sitting on my back patio into containers. I’m always so far behind everyone else at this time of year! After giving you advice on the best method for successful container gardening, it was nice to check that chore off my to-do list.
I did make a point of mixing up water soluble transplanting fertilizer this year. I used the solution to water in all my flowers. Cool wet weather has really stressed heat loving annuals. A boost of root stimulating fertilizer right off the bat will give them a better chance of taking well.
If you do have a plant or two that collapsed after transplanting, don’t think you are a failure. Sometimes roots get too broken up when transplanting or occasionally a plant may settle too deeply into the soil. With the constant rain and below normal temperatures we’ve had, extra stress has been put on plants. A weak plant may just not be able to recover. Just chalk it up to unpredictable Mother Nature, pick up a new plant at the garden centre and replace the poor specimen.
If you did plant your containers and garden several weeks ago, be sure to start regular fertilizing now. Plants need lots of nutrition to bloom all summer long. The next time I see a prediction of overnight rain I’ll broadcast granular fertilizer throughout my gardens. That will give plants food they need to perform well during the first month of summer.
Once I finished planting my containers, I pulled out a few plant supports that I needed for my perennial garden. I remembered that last summer I had two different varieties of heliopsis that grew tall and then splayed open when flowers formed. I’ll see the staking for a few weeks, but foliage will hide it after that. When flowers do appear this season, they will be held up on nice strong stems!
I did manage to get my favourite herbs tucked into containers, but on my next day off I have to tackle the vegetable garden. I’m embarrassed to say that the only thing in it is asparagus, chives and parsley which came back from last year.
The harvest from the asparagus patch has been very good this year. That perennial plant has sure enjoyed the cooler, wet weather! I also see leaves from potatoes popping through the soil. I didn’t get a chance to plant seed potatoes this year, so they are obviously growing from a few potato tubers I missed digging last fall! That’s a bonus.
It’s not too late to get some plants and seeds into the vegetable garden. You can make an assessment of available space and see what’s still on garden centre shelves. I plan to put in kale, Swiss chard and leaf lettuce for sure. I also have an empty garden right up against the house on the sunny south side. I haven’t decided what’s going in there yet so I think I’ll start with a few tomato plants and peppers. They will like the heat that reflects off the house walls.
I just want to remind you that if you have Mugho pine in your garden, that pruning time is here. When the new growth looks like a candle, right before the needles open up, cut 1/2 to 2/3 of the candle length. That keeps them nice and compact.
Be sure to prune all your lilacs right after they finish blooming too. It’s the only time you should be pruning that shrub.