Monday, April 05, 2010

A Quick Game of Pick Up Around The Garden

I always seem to be picking up twigs, grass, leaves, etc., around the garden.  It does give me a chance to see what is going on and fertilize as I make my rounds.

As I spoke with one of my garden center gurus last week, he explained to me that the liquids are fine but they last only two weeks.  They are not as effective as a granular which goes into the soil over a much long period of time.  This made sense to me, so I am going to try a different approach this year, granular and a quick shot of liquid fertilizer mostly for my acid loving plants.  I have already done the granular around my Magnolia, Hydrangeas, Rhododendrums, Dogwood. and Yews.  I will also mix up a potion of the liquid acid fertilizer and give them a shot of this.  I hope I am not over medicating!

I think my soil is pretty good, being over 100 years old, I am still seeing old bulbs pop up every so often.  In fact I just saw a plant that I cannot identify.  My neighbor tells me that a real gardener used to live on this property.  I feel her presence when one of these unplanted specimens appears. 

I have a newer home that was built on this old property.  It's is kind of spooky isn't it?  Every so often I pull violets out of the front garden, but I don't think much about it since my old old house had thousands of violets.  My former neighbor and I would put out garbage cans of violets and actually sell them at a garage sale.  We were always surprised that people would buy something that would take over their life!


Anonymous said...

Dear Eileen, It is, I really believe, the constant round of small, insignificant chores which keeps one's garden looking good and the plants growing well. Judging from your pictures, yours certainly are.

I always worry about a granular feed possibly 'burning' the plant. I shall be interested to know how you get on.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Edith, I too am concerned about the granular. I am not so much worried about it burning as I am it not being absorbed by the root system. With the liquid, I know it is immediately taken up by the plant.

But, I have too many plants to be feeding every two weeks, so we'll try this system.


allanbecker-gardenguru said...

No need to be concerned about granular fertilizer burning plants. Here in North America, we are fortunate to live in a culture where some in the garden industry are so prescient that they are always one-step ahead of us, solving problems we didn’t even know we had.

Two years ago, I discovered a new product sold by Miracle-Gro called "Shake n’ Feed Slow Release Plant Food", a slow release granular fertilizer that does not burn plants. The slow-release technology modulates the amount of nutrients that the plants receive at any one time and the innovative snap-open pouring cap on the container is deliberately misshaped to prevent the gardener from overfeeding. Here is one product that is worth the higher price tag it carries.

In season, Costco offers the best value and it sells out quickly, so I stock up on several containers. The price differential for this product, between Costco and the big box garden centers, is shocking.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Thanks, Allan

I do see this at Costco each year, but I haven't tried it. I will try anything once to lessen the chores.


Hocking Hills Gardener said...

Hi Eileen. I use the Miracle Grown Slow Release Plant Food and then the liquid form that attaches to my water hose so I can give them another shot when I water sometimes. It must be interesting to have an occasional surprise plant come up from the previous gardener.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

That's what I am hearing - slow release is the way to go. I am been using an organic granular, but I am always willing to try something new.

I am an old house person in a new house, so I try very hard to make my home look vintage. It is only fitting that a previous life's plants keep appearing in my garden.


kahanley said...

Hi Eileen,
Your pictures are magnificent! I have some superbloom fertilizer left from last year. Would it still be appropriate for me to use it on all flowering plants? also, can i use it on my hydrangea bushes?

Gatsbys Gardens said...


You can only use the Super Bloom on annuals. You will need an acid fertilizer for the Hydrangeas and a general fertilizer for the rest of the garden and the boxwoods and clematis - like Espoma Plantone 5-3-3.b It is an organic and your are going to dig it in around your boxwoods and spread it like chicken feed around the garden.


Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

How neat that the "spirit" of a former gardener is there.
I think when we do the little cleanup jobs is when we tend to notice what's really going on in the garden. I always find an excuse to wander around pulling a weed here and there to see what's happening in the garden.

Bernie said...

I have used the slow-release granular fertilizer on garden beds and potted plants for years ... then I top up with a bit of the liquid fertiliser during our spring. It seems to work well here in the tropics.

Fertilizing during our hot and/or wet summer is not an option ... I learned that lesson many years ago.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Thank you Bernie, I am going to experiment with this method this year.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Catherine,

I did take a picture of one of the plants. I think it might be a Star of Bethlehem. I will leave this one and see if it multiplies.


Carolyn Gail said...

The first goal of any garden must be good soil before any fertilizer is added. Soil that has a lot of added organic material ( compost and manure ) allows necessary nutrients to reach the plants and less fertilizing is needed. If soil is hard and compacted no amount of fertilizer will improve it.

Each spring I cook up my own basic organic fertilizer recipe : 2 parts blood meal, 3 parts bonemeal, 6 parts rock phosphate and 1 part greensand and with dust mask, goggles and gloves I broadcast it all over my garden. This supplies the nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium needed by most plants.

Each Fall I broadcast cotton burr compost and alfalfa humate as a mulch to work down into the soil over the winter.

Before doing any fertilizing it's a good idea to do a soil test to see what nutrients are needed.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Great advice Carolyn,

I do not have room on my present property for a compost pile, so I have switched to a granular organic fertilizer. Where do you purchase the cotton burr compost?

I think my present soil must have had lots of good stuff in it because everything grows huge, as my neighbor says!


Carolyn Gail said...

The granular organics are great. Fortunately you can buy compost, Eileen, at most good garden stores. The cotton burr compost is carried by Chalet, Gethsemane and Pesche's. It even comes in an acidified version for your acid-loving plants. The brand name is Back to Nature. They also have a wonderful product called " Nature's finest " which has compost, manure and other good stuff in it.

If things are growing well in your soil it certainly means that they are getting what they need, but sometimes growing larger than necessary means over fertilizing which can actually weaken plants.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Thank you so much Carolyn for those brand names. I will look for them closer to home even though I have been to the places you named.

I think my plants just look giant to my neighbor as she doesn't do a lot of gardening.