May 30, 2011

Planting: 3 Tips for Success

 Guest Writer:  Ruth Morse
Here in NYS, we've had a cool, wet spring. It wasn't until this week that it was safe to finally plant tomato plants and other fragile things.

My mother loved being outside, working in the yard. She'd have been out, even in these dismal days, puttering. Cleaning up flower beds, picking up sticks after each and every rain, doing anything she could think of just to be outside.

I am NOT my mother.

A side note: a few weeks ago, I played Scrabble with son Paul and grandson Slater. When we were done, Paul said I sounded like mom during the game. Huh? I do NOT sound like my mother.

But this week we've had some beautiful days and we finally got the bedding plants and a couple of new perennials in the ground. And our vegetable garden? That consists of two Earth Boxes. We've raised our tomato "crop" in an Earth Box the last two years.
These are specialized planters that, due to a carefully designed watering system, give maximum yield......

Our tomato plants were over 7' high last year!  We were so impressed with the results, that we invested in another Earth Box for our cucumber plants this year. I'll keep you posted on how they do.
I am not the gardener my mom was, but I do have some thoughts for planting in containers. Always use a container with a drain hole. Never, ever buy one, no matter how pretty it is, with a solid bottom. You are just asking for root rot or other ugly stuff. The experts tell you to put shards of broken clay pots in the bottom for good drainage. Me? I haven't had a clay pot in my hands in decades. Instead, I put a coffee filter over the hole in the bottom. Not only does this keep the dirt from washing out during watering, it slows down the water drainage to give your plants a better drink. The water slowly percolates [like that pun??] through the hole.

Then I cut up some Styrofoam packing pieces into large chunks and lay them in the bottom. This just acts as filler, saving you some money when you buy dirt. And what gives with the price of potting soil? It's dirt, for heavens sake!

Last, but not least, put a small kitchen sponge in the pot.  Then fill will good quality potting soil and your plants.  This sponge idea is new to me this year. I read this tip in a gardening magazine and thought I'd give it a try.  The theory is the sponge will absorb some of the water and slowly release it as the soil dries.  I'm all for anything that will make watering easier.
I'm not my mother....well, you are probably sick of hearing that line.
...and one more thing......
uh, I'll get back to you when I remember it.
The Cheap Senior Citizen is a Guest Writer who occasionally shares helpful hints she has learned through her experience.

1 comment:

Midge said...

When you're mowing the lawn at 90 years old THEN I will have to say "you ARE your Mother"!