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Archives for January 28, 2017

Dream Gardens: Asparagus is in tip-top shape

Earth up the shoots in stages during their first summer, this is so that newly emerging stems aren’t swamped but it also ensures the crowns end up four to six inches below ground giving long, succulent stalks to cut. 

Beds need regular upkeep. Each April, start the growing season with a good dose of general fertiliser such as blood fish and bone dusted liberally all over. 

Hand weed carefully to avoid disturbing roots or damaging underground stalks, keep the plants well watered in dry spells and keep your hands off the asparagus spears for two years. 

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Top tips to make your balcony garden more attractive

New Delhi – Harpreet Ahluwalia, founder and principal designer at Earthly Creations has shared some smart ideas to have a small outdoor paradise that is full of life.

* Plants are essential things you’ll need to have to decorate a small balcony. Hang potted plants behind the railings and on the walls.

* Avoid using too much floor space of your balcony, do not overcrowd it. Instead, devise ways to utilise vertical space to double up your space. It’s the best space savvy solution that’ll allow you to have more plants in your limited space.

* East-facing balcony receives almost six hours of sun, often between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m., and the major benefit of having such a balcony is that you can save your plants from the harsh afternoon sun.

* West-facing balcony garden is quite similar to south-facing balcony – here the sun shines at its peak for about six-to-eight hours and except tender shade-loving plants, you can plant almost anything.

* Themed plant and flower garden are also viral these days. People living in apartments and penthouses prefer to indulge themselves in kitchen gardening and low-space gardening with small pots and planters in their balcony area. Small coloured pots with different shapes and sizes are in trend.

* One can also place vines and planters in bottles too. Like growing creeper plants like money plant in a bottle will surely use less space and will also enhance the aura of your balcony. Waste bottles of soft drinks can be decorated and painted as per the colour scheme of your interior and can be used to grow such plants.

* Growing flowers of bright shades and exotic fragrance will surely attract butterflies to your flowerbeds. It will ultimately lead you to defining a budget-friendly butterfly garden in your balcony making it a centre of attraction and soothing to the sight.​


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Garden tips for February – Visalia Times

February means Valentine’s Day, don’t forget your sweetheart. A blooming plant for the home, office or garden is always appreciated.  Hard to believe but Spring will be here shortly, so time to get a head start on your spring garden now.

BARE ROOT PLANTS: Time is running out to purchase and plant bare root plants such as fruit trees, berries, grapes, kiwis, and roses! Don’t forget bare root flowering shrubs and vines: clematis, forsythia, lilac and flowering quince. They may look like sad little ugly ducklings right now, but they will grow into swans, with color and fragrance for you to enjoy.

Planting is easy; just dig a hole twice as wide, but just as deep, as the root ball. Add some soil to the center of the hole and mound into a cone. Place the plant in the hole on top of the cone and gently spread the roots out, then cover with soil. Plant the roots high and make sure not to plant too deep. Water to settle the soil, and then add a thick layer of mulch to retain moisture. Avoid staking new trees; most bare root trees come without the addition of stake. If you must stake, do it loosely so the tree trunk can bend with the breeze. Don’t leave the tree staked for longer than a year as doing so could make the trunk weaker.

VEGGIES AND HERBS:  Now is the time to start seeds of basil, eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, and tomatillos indoors. Place them in a south facing window where they can get plenty of light. Seeds of chard, lettuce, peas and radishes, as well as seed potatoes, can be sowed directly into the garden. Buy seed potatoes from a nursery or catalog that carries certified seed potatoes. To prevent soil-borne diseases, do not plant potatoes from the grocery store or those left over from your garden last year.

CRITTER CONTROL: With all the new growth, snails and slugs will be having a feast on your favorite plants. Use snail bait or hand pick. This will help to prevent them from laying eggs and having a larger snail population later on.

GARDEN CHORES: Pull weeds now when they are small and before they form flowers and seeds. Weeds can be placed in your compost pile as long as there are no seed heads.  Cover your garden with at least three inches of mulch to keep new weeds from growing.

Pruning can still be done on berries, grapes, deciduous fruit trees, and roses–as long as spring growth hasn’t started. Do not prune camellias, forsythia, lilac, quince and other spring-flowering shrubs or trees until they finish blooming.

Do not prune frost-damaged woody plants until new growth begins in the spring. Pruning now could start new growth early.  March could have a late frost this year, so don’t get spring fever yet!  In grafted plants, if the plant dies all the way to the graft, then the new growth will be from the root stock.  In this case, you will have to re-graft or replace the entire plant.

After pruning fruit trees, apply a dormant spray before the buds swell. Products containing copper are used to control some diseases, like peach leaf curl. Products containing oil kill insects and their eggs that overwinter in the cracks and crevices of the tree. Choose a calm day with no imminent rain in the forecast and follow the directions on the container exactly.

Harvest citrus fruit when it is ripe, as citrus does not ripen after picking. If you have extra fruit, consider donating to a local food bank.​

Camellias are blooming now. Pick up fallen blossoms and discard to prevent flower bud infection which leaves ugly brown blotches on the blossoms. Pansies, snapdragons, and other winter annuals should be fertilized. Pinch faded flowers and any seed heads to keep the plants blooming. Cut ornamental grasses now before spring growth arrives.

TAKE ADVANTAGE: While you are waiting for the weather to warm up, why not add to your gardening knowledge? On February 10-12, the Master Gardeners will host a booth at the Visalia Home and Patio Spring FEST at the Visalia Convention Center. Please come by with all your gardening questions as we love to talk about gardening!  You can also find us at the Farmer’s Market in the Sear’s parking lot, every Saturday from 8 am until noon.

For answers to all your home gardening questions, call the Master Gardeners in Tulare County at (559) 684-3325, Tuesdays and Thursdays between 9:30 and 11:30 am; or Kings County at (559) 852-2736, Thursday Only, 9:30-11:30 a.m; or visit our website to search past articles, find links to UC gardening information, or to email us with your questions:

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5 garden tips for the week starting Jan. 28 – San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Declare war on weeds

It’s no fun, but we’ve been putting off this job almost too long now. It’s time to tackle those weeds whether we want to or not. They’re starting to produce seeds, so we had better get them out of the garden now. It will reduce our workload in the future, and besides that, once they’re gone, it’s amazing how much better we’ll feel.

Deciduous fruits

Don’t wait any longer to plant deciduous fruits, such as grapes, apples, apricots, nectarines, peaches, plums, boysenberries and any other varieties that drop their leaves in winter. Watch out for withered stems, however, which could weaken the plants’ growth or even cause premature death. Select plants with a plump (not shriveled) trunk. Hold off on planting citrus and avocados until March, just in case Mother Nature throws in a late freeze in the next few weeks.

Pruning time

Prune old flower heads off of hydrangeas. Remove the upper third of each stem along with the dead flowers, but don’t cut any lower if you want good blooms this spring. The best new blooms come on growth that arises from last year’s healthy stems. To get the largest possible blossoms, reduce the number of flower stems. Otherwise you’ll get more numerous blooms of moderate size.

Rose care

Feed and mulch established roses now, if you haven’t already done so. Use any balanced plant food high in phosphorus (such as 10-10-10 or 16-16-16). Spread a quarter cup of Epsom salts around each mature rose plant to boost vigor and flowering. Add a 3-inch layer of organic mulch or plant a “living mulch” (a groundcover) under roses to conserve moisture and optimize plant performance.

Harvest time

If you were able to wait until now, Satsuma tangerines are wonderfully sweet and ready to harvest. Although tangelos taste pretty good now, a few more weeks will render them even sweeter. Grapefruit is still a bit too puckery, but Washington and Robertson navel oranges couldn’t be better. Harvest these gems as you need them, leaving the little green “star” on the fruit as you cut it off the tree with pruning clippers. Citrus stores best on the tree — because it stops ripening once picked — and holds longest after picking if the “star” stays on.

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