Grow for it!
Tips and tricks for home gardeners this spring
Here are some helpful tips culled from our archives at Carolina Country.
Good bedding plants for bright sunny spots include portulaca, zinnia, marigold, salvia and celosia. Make massed plantings of zinnias, marigolds and petunias. These popular annuals contribute summer-long color accents.
Shady spots can contribute summer color from annuals. The following endure somewhat heavy shade: petunia, balsam, calliopsis, godetia, lobelia, cockscomb, flowering tobacco, periwinkle and impatiens.
Plant an evergreen vine such as English ivy or Carolina jasmine along with clematis vine. This provides green camouflage when clematis is bare in winter.
Garden vegetables and fruits
Vegetables can be used as part of the flower garden. Examples: carrots to edge a flowerbed (the foliage gives a fern-like edging); strawberries as a low-edging plant or groundcover; cabbages backed with zinnias, with petunias in front.
When setting tomato and green pepper plants, place collars around the bases to protect from cutworms. Plastic cups with bottoms removed make good collars.
Remove blooms from herbs to direct plant energy to produce foliage, not flowers.
Trees and shrubs
The first spring is a critical time for newly-planted shrubs and trees. Water them deeply once or twice a week during dry periods.
Most shrubs respond well to a general feeding of ¼ – to ½-pound balanced plant food per square yard of area covered by plant. Do not permit fertilizer to touch stems or leaves.
Dig and transplant small seedlings of nandinas that have grown up under established plants.
Apply lawn-weed prevention to keep crabgrass seeds from sprouting.
If large trees cast shade on the lawn and the shaded area is not planted with a groundcover, apply a complete fertilizer such as 6-12-12, 5-10-5, 8-8-8, or 12-6-6 at a rate of 30 to 35 pounds per 1,000 square feet. This relieves competition for nutrients.
Fertilize summer grasses such as Zoysia, Bermuda and Centipede. Don't fertilize fescue until fall.
Start groundcovers of liriope, Mondo grass and English ivy where grass refuses to grow.
Make cut flowers last
Put five tablespoons of bleach in a gallon of water, shake well, and keep a flower vase full of this solution. It helps prolong the life of cut flowers.