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New Perennials
Here are the basics for good gardening. Listed below are tips on how to prepare the soil for planting and how to water, mulch and fertilize. Watch for any updates and the latest info on my ‘Facebook' page.

Perennial Gardening Tips
It is important to remember the basics of gardening:
Improve the drainage of your soil. If the soil doesn't crumble in your hand, it won't drain well. It is even better if the soil bed is raised six inches above the ground.A raised bed will drain better and the rain will detour around the area. If your budget is limited, fix your soil first.

How do I get good soil?

When transplanting a few plants, just did a hole twice as large as the root ball.  Add a total of one third or more of the following: sphagnum peat moss or turface to aerate the soil, compost will add organisms to break down the heavy clay soil. Gypsum will also help break down the clay.

When starting a new flower bed, outline the area with a garden hose. Dig down nine to twelve inches and turn over the soil. Break up the clay and remove as many rocks as you can. Add thirty to fifty percent as mentioned above. Mix it in very well and this will give you a raised bed!

FERTILIZING YOUR PERENNIALS


The more organics you have in your soil the less fertilizer you need to add. Perennials are not heavy feeders. Plants grown in the shady woodland setting need even less fertilizer. Heucheras  need very little food.

I use and recommend two kinds of fertilizer. Espoma natural organic fertilizer.  For detailed information go to www.espoma.com   This is excellent for good soil building. Incorporate when planting and top dress once or twice a year.

Also, I use osmocote products.     

They offer three products. The osmocote plus is the closest to what I use. It offers 12 nutrients and last up to six months. So feed once in the spring and your done for the year. Use the lower rates for perennials. The other two products are good too!

WATERING:

You want to water thoroughly enough that the water penetrates six to eight inches deep.  That’s how deep the roots grow.  You only have to water once a week when you do it right. Except when it’s really hot you can water more often. 

Now when you have plants growing under big established tree it is important to water even deeper. That big tree really drinks a lot of water. Its fibrous roots will take water away from your perennials. So water enough for all the plants under the tree. Soak the area with a sprinkler really well.

Try your best to water in the morning hours. Less water will evaporate and more will be absorbed by the roots. Also the foliage will dry out before the evening. When the foliage is dry at night you will have fewer problems with fungus on the leaves.

Some plants like pulmonarias, monardas, or tall phlox have problems with powdery mildew.  First choose a cultivar that is more fungus resistant. Second don’t crowd the plants. The more air around the plants the faster the foliage will dry. Third don’t water late in the day.

MULCHING: USE IT SPARINGLY AROUND PERENNIALS!!!

One inch is plenty around perennials and annuals. The oak, cypress, and cedar mulches are all very good!!  DO NOT push mulch around the stems and crowns of the plant!! Especially around heuchera’s!!  This will rot them for sure. Just use one quarter inch of mulch under the heuchera leaves. The plant needs to be planted one inch high so it can dry out a little between waterings.

Cares melt away when you kneel in your garden!!   
Have fun!! Barry


 Any questions or suggestions please email.


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