East Tennessee's Mountain Views

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Vonore, TN 37885

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May in the Garden

Sunday, May 1st, 2016 | Uncategorized | No Comments

Yay for May! I think that it is my favorite month of the year. It is less of a temperature yo-yo than April but doesn’t have the heat of the later summer months. In other words, it is the perfect month to play in the garden!

Let’s start this month with a discussion of the birds and the bees. I am talking about the pollinators, guys, not that other thing! You may have seen some information about pollination programs such as the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge or Operation Pollination on the news or on your Facebook feed. Both of these programs (and many more) were designed to help counteract the dramatic decrease in our pollinators by providing them with food, water, cover, and places to raise their young. You can even turn your garden into a Certified Wildlife Habitat! More importantly, you have the opportunity to make a difference. Visit www.millionpollinatorgardens.org to find out more or to sign up.

So how can you make your garden pollinator friendly? Here are some ideas:
» Use plants that are a good source of pollen or nectar. It is also helpful if you have plants that will bloom throughout the seasons. This means you will need to plan for spring, summer, and fall blooms.
» Provide a water source. Birdbaths are good for birds, but a large dish filled with sand and water just to the top of the sand is what bees and butterflies need.
» Your pollinator garden should be in a mostly sunny spot that provides wind protection.
» Plant in groups of several native or pollinator plants. A grouping of at least three is more attractive to the pollinators than a single plant.
» Eliminate or reduce the impact of pesticides. Remember that an insecticide does not know a good bug from a bad bug. That task is up to you. Know what you are treating for, and use the least toxic product first.

Why are bees and other pollinators important? Because they are responsible for a large part of our food supply. A smaller population means a smaller, less quality food supply and higher prices. Nobody wants that!

While you are out planting your pollinator garden or whatever other garden you decide to plant, you need to take a good look around and check for problems. Our mild winter was nice for us, but it means that there was not a good kill on insects (the bad ones) or fungal spores. It is much easier on you and the environment if you treat insects and diseases when signs first start to appear instead of waiting until you have a full blown infestation. A soap product or organic product works well if applied correctly and does little harm to the environment.

Are you planting a vegetable garden this year? May is the month to plant veggies that like warm soil and warm temperatures such as beans, corn, cucumbers, peppers, squash, and tomatoes. Temperature sensitive herbs like basil and cilantro are also ready to go into the ground. You can still plant okra, sweet potatoes, and melons until the end of the month. Remember that all these plants will need a minimum of six hours of sun to produce well. If you don’t have a large enough area to plant a full-fledged garden, try a raised bed or even a container garden. And don’t despair if you do not get full sun. You can still plant leafy greens in a partially shady area.

May is also the month when it is time to plant all your heat loving annuals, such as lantana, vinca, zinnias, and begonias. Remember that floriferous plants (those that are prolific bloomers) tend to suck all the nutrients out of the soil quickly, so you need to establish a regular fertilizing schedule. Even if you planted in Miracle Gro soil or used a slow release fertilizer such as Osmocote, your plants will need to be supplemented with a water soluble fertilize at least every two weeks. Tropical plants such as hibiscus and mandavilla are also heavy feeders, as are ferns!

Container gardens especially need supplemental fertilize, since they have a limited amount of soil to pull nutrients from anyway. Weekly fertilizing will keep the plant blooming and strong. Please dilute the mixture to 1/4 to 1/2 strength to prevent salts from building up. It is also crucial to keep an eye on containers so you can trim and deadhead as needed. There are some plants that are “bullies” and will completely take over your planter (cough, sweet potato vine, cough).

That’s all for this month. I will encourage you to come see us frequently, because we are getting trucks in every day. As the season progresses, new plants will continue to become available. I also encourage you to buy any plant that you fall in love with when you see it, since some of the newer varieties have a limited supply!

Stop by and let us help you make your yard beautiful!

Meadow View Greenhouses & Garden Center
9885 Highway 11E
Lenoir City, TN 37772
(865) 986-7229
www.meadowviewgreenhouse.com

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East Tennessee's Mountain Views

P.O. Box 432

Vonore, TN 37885

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