Clip of the Week: Enjoy Your Spring Bulbs Early

Happy Friday, everyone!  Want to enjoy your spring bulbs early this year?  This week’s clip shows you how to enjoy your bulbs indoors this season.

[blip.tv http://blip.tv/play/AYLSiiIC%5D

As always, our videos can be viewed on our blip.tv channel (link to the right) or downloaded for free from the iTunes Store (search for “ed hume”).

Have a wonderful weekend and we’ll see you on Monday.

Sincerely,

Ed

September 7, 2012 at 9:56 AM Leave a comment

From the Desk of Ed Hume: September Garden Projects

As fall approaches it is time to give some thought to getting the garden ready for the fall and winter months just ahead. As the cooler weather sets in, it will be an ideal time to begin getting plants ready for the winter, to plant spring bulbs, cultivate and harvest fruits and vegetables.

POINSETTIAS AND CHRISTMAS CACTUS – If you have put some of your houseplants outdoors during the summer, it is time to bring them back inside before there is any chance of the typically cooler fall evenings spoiling them. September is also the month to begin conditioning the Christmas Poinsettias and Christmas cactus to get them ready for the upcoming holiday season. Both of these plants should be put in a spot where they will receive fourteen hours of darkness and ten hours of bright light each day. The Poinsettia’s need a warm spot where temperatures range between 65 and 72 degrees, while the Christmas cactus needs a spot where the temperatures are a cooler 50 to 60 degrees. These temperatures and light exposure are what help induce the development of the buds, flowers and colored leaf bracts.

BULBS – Fall is the time to plant bulbs too! The bulbs of spring flowering tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and crocus are planted during the fall months of September, October and November. Select good firm, disease free bulbs. Plant the bulbs three times deeper than the greatest diameter of the bulb. For example, crocus bulbs that usually have about a one inch diameter should be planted three inches deep. Mix the correct amount of Bone meal or Bulb fertilizer into the planting hole, as you prepare the soil. Also, add a soil dust to protect the bulbs from soil borne insect and disease infestations. The bulbs will grow and flower best in well-drained soil.  See Also: Bulbs, Spring Flowering Bulbs

LAWNS – September is one of the best months of the entire year for seeding or sodding new lawns. It is also a good time to overseed an old lawn with new lawn seed to help fill-in the bare spots and crowd out weeds and mosses.  See Also: Lawn

If the lawn needs thatching, it can be done during the early fall. Be sure to fertilize after thatching. It is a good idea to also over-seed the entire lawn, so the lawn recovers more quickly. If thatch is not a problem you may want to apply a fall or winter type of lawn fertilizer in September, October or November. Fall feeding encourages good root development and helps green-up the grass. See Also: Fall Lawn Care

WEEDING – The warm weather has certainly encouraged weed growth this summer. So this would be a good time to pull or cultivate weeds before they have a chance to go to seed and flower again. Remember weeds are hosts to many insects and diseases so it is important to keep them under control.

COLOR SPOTS – If you want to add some color to the garden the winter pansies, flowering Kale and flowering Cabbage, plus fall mums are really nice plants to use. The pansies are particularity nice to plant when planting bulbs, because they reach their peak of beauty in the springtime, just about the same time the bulbs bloom.  See Also: Flowers Outdoors

FALL VEGETABLES – This is a critical time for harvesting fruits and vegetables. It is so easy to over-look the ripening time of some types. Corn is a good example, if you let it go too far past its peak the corn looses a lot of its flavor. The same goes for apples, pears and plums. So check the different fruits and vegetables to see if they are ready. There are three basic ways to do this. One is by appearance, another by feel, and the third by taste.  See Also: Harvesting and Storing Vegetables

SLUGS AND BUGS – Slugs are now laying their fall batch of eggs, so be on the look-out for slug eggs. They are usually in clusters of up to fifty eggs. Each egg is about the size of a bb. They usually appear almost translucent in color, and are usually found along the edge of the lawn, or under sticks and stones. See Also: Plants that Slugs Do Not Like, Pest Control

PLANTING – Perennials can be started from seed this month. Simply scatter the seeds in a row or in open beds. Then the young seedlings can be transplanted into a permanent spot next spring.

This is also a good time to select and plant trees and shrubs. Fall planting encourages good root development and gives the plants a chance to get established before the spring growing season, next year.

September 3, 2012 at 4:34 PM Leave a comment

From the Desk of Ed Hume: Summer and Fall Heather

Howdy, folks!  We apologize for our extensive downtime the past few weeks.  Summer can be busy with all of the family activities and gardening.  But that doesn’t mean we should stop provide advice for you, the reader!  Our article this week is on heather, and can be read below:

One of my favorite summer and autumn flowering shrubs are heather.  Covered with seasonal flowers, these evergreen shrubs provide a bright colorful spot in the garden at this time of year.  Heathers are easy to grow, take very little care, are evergreen, and while most flower for several weeks some flower up to a couple of months or more.

About the only care heather needs is pruning, and that is done after the plants have flowered.  In the case of the late summer and autumn flowering varieties, it is done in early spring before the new growth begins.  Pruning is simple; all one has to do is give the plants a light shearing and shaping.  The key is to simply remove the old spent flowers.  This type of shearing (pruning) encourages new multiple growth, making the plant bushier and encouraging even more flowers in subsequent years.

There are numerous varieties of heather, so one really should see them in bloom before choosing varieties for your own garden.  In addition, you might want to pay particular attention to foliage color, because you see the foliage all twelve months of the year.  Some varieties have wonderful golden foliage, others are gray, many are in various shades of green, and some have colorful brilliant new foliage growth.

I hesitate to mention varieties because there are so many really outstanding ones, and many nurseries feature a limited number of them.  However, here are a few of my favorites:

H. E. Beale: Four-to-six inch stems of double shell pink blossoms.  It blooms from August to October.

Beoley Gold: Bright gold foliage with attractive white flowers.  Does best in sun-part shade.  Blooms August and September.

Velvet Fascination: Noted for its blue gray foliage and white flowers.  It blooms in August and September.

Chase White: White flowers and bright green foliage.  It flowers in August and September.

Birch Glow: Dark green foliage and bright rose pink flowers.  It flowers from mid-August to early November most years.

Heathers are usually grown in 4” pots, gallon, or two-gallon containers.  They often have a very prolific root system, and if that is the case with your plant, the outer roots should be lightly combed so they will grow out of the original root ball after being planted.  Plant them so the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface.  They grow and flower best in a slightly acid soil.

If and when fertilizing is needed, use a rhododendron or evergreen type of plant food.  The best time to feed is in mid-February or mid-May.

Add a bright spot of color to your garden with the colorful late summer and autumn heathers.

August 27, 2012 at 12:42 PM Leave a comment

From the Desk of Ed Hume: Selecting and Planting Perennials

It’s a great time to start selecting and planting perennials!

Today there are so many new and unusual perennials on the market that you might want to take a little time to become familiar with some of them.  Many of them certainly merit a place in the garden.  For example, recently when I visited a local garden center I discovered the Chinese pagoda primrose with its unusual pyramidal pink and purple flowers.  It’s an ideal plant for the shady garden, because not only is it beautiful, but it flowers during the summer, so it extends the primrose flowering season.

New varieties of Heuchera, Echinacea, Coreopsis, Penstemon and so many other perennials are now being featured at garden outlets.  The new colors and color combinations are striking and make a great addition to the summer garden. In addition to their beauty in the garden, many make excellent cut flowers too!

Since these perennials are grown in containers, they can easily be transplanted into the garden.  Here are a few suggestions I recommend for successfully planting perennials from their nursery containers during warmer summer weather:

•First, prepare the planting soil by adding some organic compost, peat moss, or well-rotted manure, mixing it with your existing soil.

•Second, before you remove the perennial from its pot be certain to water it thoroughly.  In fact, I like to submerge it pot and all in a bucket of water for a few seconds, until the air bubbles quit making a sound.

•Third, carefully turn the plant, pot and all, upside-down.  Then tap the edge of the pot so the plant will gently slip out of the container. I cover the surface soil with one hand as I do this so the root ball does not break apart Hold the root ball securely in your hands as you turn the plant right side up again.  If the roots of the plant have grown to the edge of the root ball and have matted together, gently massage them so they can grow outward into the new planting soil.

•Fourth, now you are ready to set your new perennial into the prepared planting soil.  Set it so the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface.  Next you may want to make a shallow sauce of soil around the base of the plant to help hold some water near the roots the next time you water it.

•Fifth, water-in with a weak solution of a liquid plant-food.

Once you do this two or three times you’ll find it only takes a few minutes to properly plant any perennial.

For more information on specific perennials, log on to www.humeseeds.com.

August 1, 2012 at 12:09 PM Leave a comment

Clip of the Week: Planting a Fuchsia Basket

This week’s clip is another Summer project for your garden: the hanging fuchsia basket!  It’s a quick, easy project that really does make a significant visual impact in your garden, on your deck, or wherever else you choose to hang it.  Check it out below!

[blip.tv ?posts_id=3935989&dest=-1]

As always, our videos can be viewed on our blip.tv channel (link to the right) or downloaded for free from the iTunes Store (search for “ed hume”).

Have a great weekend, and we’ll see you Monday with a brand-new article!

Sincerely,

Ed

July 27, 2012 at 8:25 AM 2 comments

From the Desk of Ed Hume: What’s Going On in the Vegetable Garden?

I want to share with you a few things that may be going on (or have gone on) in vegetable gardens this year:

BUSH BEANS- It is not unusual for some varieties of bush beans to send tendrils up above the leaves.  Many home gardeners think this is an indication that they are pole beans.  No, they are bush beans, just ignore the tendrils.  Or if you want, just put in a few cut-off branches to help support the plants.

BEANS NOT PRODUCING- When bean flowers fall off, it is usually caused by cultivating when plants are in bloom or by over/under watering.  Beans also will not produce if temperatures drop below about 55 degrees or go above 90 degrees.

BEANS, PEAS OR CORN NOT GROWING- Usually it is because the birds have taken them.  When the seeds of beans, peas, or corn do not appear to be germinating, dig down and see what is happening to the seed.  The seeds of these three vegetables are large enough that you can find them in the soil. Often you will find they are gone. If that’s the case it was probably birds or voles.  If the seeds developed growth, but it has been cut (eaten) at ground level, usually it has been eaten by squirrels, voles, crows, slugs, or rabbits.  If the seeds are rotten, it may because hot manure or chemical fertilizer has burned them.  Soaking seeds too long or planting in soil that is too wet will also cause them to rot.  Poor quality seeds can also be the problem.

SMALL CORN PLANTS LYING ON THE GROUND- The culprit is almost always a crow.  They know just when to pull-up the plants and then they eat the seed, which is still attached to the roots.

RADISHES, SPINACH, LETTUCE, ETC.- When any of these crops go to seed right away without developing the edible portion of the plant, it’s called “bolting.”  It is a tough problem to determine, because too much fertilizer, dry soil, crowding, weather, or other forms of stress will cause the plants to bolt.

BITTER LEAF CROPS- Peter Chan the famous Chinese vegetable garden author always recommended that leaf crop vegetables be fed nitrogen fertilizer during their growth cycle to keep the leaves tender, crisp, and flavorful.

FEEDING CORN IN JULY- It is often recommended (in the Northwest) that corn be fertilized with nitrogen in July to give it a boost of growth before the ears form.

WATERING THE VEGETABLE GARDEN- If possible, the best time to water is in the morning.  Be thorough each time you water.  Shallow watering causes the soil to dry out quickly and encourages shallow rooting of your vegetable crops.

Do you have other vegetable questions?  You’ll probably find the answers on our web site www.humeseeds.com.

July 23, 2012 at 1:42 PM Leave a comment

From the Desk of Ed Hume: August Garden Projects

August is the month to enjoy the garden, but unfortunately if a few things are not done the garden will go to ruin in a matter of days, especially if the weather gets hot. Therefore, watering, grooming and weeding head the list of projects for this month.

WATERING – Watering can be the biggest task this month particularity if the weather gets hot. It is estimated that the lawn needs about one inch of watering once every five to seven days, in order to keep it green and looking nice. See Also: Proper Watering

Be sure to check the hanging baskets and containers every day during hot weather and about every second day on moderate summer days. Water them thoroughly each time you water, but, at the same time be careful not to over-water them.

The vegetable garden will also need regular watering attention. When possible water in the morning or early afternoon so the soil has a chance to warm-up before the cooler evening hours set-in. Again, be sure to water thoroughly, and deeply each time you water, then it is not necessary to water as often. In my own garden I let the sprinkler sit in one spot for about one hour, before moving it to another location.

GROOMING – Take out a few minutes to pick-off the old dead flowers on Marigolds, Zinnias, Snapdragons and other annuals. Spent flowers on perennials should also be removed. Just a little time spent on grooming the plants really makes a big difference in the appearance of the garden. Also, once a plant flowers and goes to seed, it will usually stop the development of additional flowers, so by removing the spent flowers the plants should continue to flower longer into the season.

WEEDING – As the weather gets warmer and the garden is watered more there is a likelihood that weed seeds will germinate faster. Take time to keep the weeds cultivated out of all parts of the garden. Since weeds are hosts to many insects and diseases it is important to keep them under control, so pests and diseases do not infest your other garden plants.

FALL VEGETABLES – Right now is the time to start fall and winter vegetables. Plant or seed them directly into the garden early this month. Green onions, carrots, beets, lettuce, spinach, radishes, and over-wintering cauliflower are the most popular vegetables to grow in the winter garden.

LAWNS – Watering is by far the most important lawn project this month. Experts say it only takes three days for the lawn to dry-out, but it takes close to thirty days to restore it to good green color again. Water during the cooler parts of the day so there will be less water lost to evaporation. See Also: Lawn

PERENNIALS AND BIENNIALS – These plants can be started from seed sown directly into the garden this month or next. The spring flowering perennials can be divided and transplanted this month or next. Be sure to do it during the coolest part of the day and water-in the plants thoroughly after transplanting.

POINSETTIAS AND CHRISTMAS CACTUS – Late this month these plants should be brought back indoors and you should begin preparing them for Christmas flowering. Indoors the plants need to be placed in a spot where they will get ten hours of bright light and fourteen hours of darkness. The Poinsettia needs warm temperatures of about 65 to 70 degrees, while the Christmas cactus needs cool temperatures of about 50 to 60 degrees. The application of 0-10-10 fertilizer this month and again next should help encourage the development of flower buds on these two plants.

PLANTING – This is the month to select and plant fall Crocus bulbs. Also, summer and fall flowering chrysanthemums will begin to bloom this month and container grown plants can be planted directly into the garden now. Likewise, container grown shrubs and trees can be planted this month. Whenever planting any of these plants, always take time to properly prepare the soil by mixing generous quantities of peat moss, compost (if available) and processed manure with your existing soil. See Also: Flowers Outdoors

SLUGS AND BUGS – Take time to examine the garden on a weekly basis to see if slugs or any kind of bugs are ruining the appearance of any of your flowers or shrubs. Your local Certified nursery-person or Master Gardener can help you determine what is causing the problem and recommend the appropriate steps to take to eliminate the culprits. See Also: Plants that Slugs Do Not Like Pest Control

July 18, 2012 at 1:35 PM Leave a comment

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