27 September 2014

My Three Garden Tips

We all pick up secrets along our garden journey. I have a few that I will call tips since I picked them up from somewhere in the past, but they are no longer secrets since being published here. I wish I could take credit for thinking of them, but will take credit for passing them on.

Tame Your Buddleia
Everywhere I look, I see Buddleia growing wild and free, out of control. I wanted to keep my buddleia tamed. First, I cut it down to within a foot (30 cm) of the ground for the winter. When it begins its spring growth, I will pinch every shoot after two pairs of leaves. Two shoots will develop from the last leaf to three more times. The result is a well-behaved, manicured bush with a neat habit.

The plant blooms are smaller, and blooms later than most near mid to late summer, but this more closely corresponds to the time butterflies and pollinators are out. Deadheading the spent blooms encourages more branching, too.

Micro Watering
Sometimes, I need to water tomato plants in hot weather without wetting the leaves and encouraging fungus. My veggies require more frequent watering than ornamentals, and when mixing vegetables with ornamentals in the same bed, I need to separate watering rituals. The plastic milk jugs with three pin holes poked in the bottom do the trick.

They are filled with water and placed on the ground next to the thirsty plant and left for a while. Water takes about a half hour to drip out slowly from the holes, soaking into the ground instead of running off, does not wet the plant leaves, and does not water surrounding plants. It only takes a few minutes of my time to water. Two jugs per tomato plant is sufficient, so when empty, the jugs are refilled for another plant.

Dust To Dust
The powders that are used for insecticides and fungicides are difficult to apply with the squirt containers, or with no containers at all. Filling an old sock with the powder works well as a duster. I shake the filled sock above the plant, and the powder is broken into fine particles, never coming out in clumps and never all at once.

Each sock is labeled with the contents, such as COP for copper fungicide, and EARTH for diatomaceous earth -- the two powders I use. Of course, the resulting fine dust particles only settle on the upper leaves, so I welcome a tip for getting it on the undersides.

It has been a long time since the last post due to work and vacation, and catching up on work after the vacation.

Garden Calendar:
  • Blooming: mexican zinnia, dahlia, acidanthera, cosmos, aster, zinnia
  • Harvested: 6 bell peppers, many tomatoes
  • Planted: bush green beans 9/7