May 2016 Edition
the month of results
May is the month of results. If you have been following along with all of the garden chores, you should be able to observe the results of all your hard work. Landscape plants will typically put on the season of fast growth with the warmer weather.
If you find your soil is lacking and your plants are not showing healthy new growth, you may need to use additional fertilizer. Nitrogen is the most common addition to the soil. It is the first number on the NPK product description. Signs of nitrogen deficiency are stunted growth, small leaves, pale and yellow leaves that drop off. Use a good balanced product with a high first number. Be sure to water fertilizers in well after applications.
The first things to check when your garden is not looking so good is the watering. Our rains will leach out salts that have built up from irrigation with imported water. Make sure that you are not over-watering or under-watering. I like to use a
Moisture Meter to take the guess work out of the mix. Good drainage is a must especially with clay soil. It is best to give plants less frequent deep watering through the summer and fall months. Established native plants are going into their dormancy and will not require supplemental irrigation, but will appreciate just spraying the foliage to cool them down in the early morning or evening once a week.
The price of water is going to rise. It is a precious resource that should not be wasted. Consider using a ‘Smart Controller’ to adjust your watering schedule as needed and install water saving irrigation systems like drip irrigation and
Multi-Stream Rotators. If you find that your plants are too thirsty, consider replacing them with Dry Climate Plants that need less water. New plants will require more water to become established through the first 2 or 3 summers. Once they are established, they should be able to flourish with a deep soak once a week.
Summer salads and veggies are the best this time of year. I have trained my family to only eat what is growing at that time of year. This means we can’t wait to get our tomato diet back! Tomato sandwiches, tomato salad, tomato stir fry, tomato casserole, tomato everything! Summer vegetables grow fast this time of year and they need a lot of water. Drip irrigation and mulch will help prevent evaporation loss but do not let the garden dry out. Continue to plant and stagger your summer crops. Harvest daily, especially that zucchini, or you will find a giant in the garden overnight!
Using a diverse variety of plants helps to prevent garden pests from taking down the whole crop. I like to interplant herbs between plants to confuse the little buggers! It always looks interesting and smells so good. It is like aromatherapy in the garden! Enjoy!
contact Marilyn’s Garden Design.