Here are answers to a few common garden questions.
1. How often should I water my plants? If newly planted in the ground, 1” of slow watering once a week is adequate. For established ground plants, the roots are deeper allowing for moisture uptake, so water if no rain for over 2 weeks. For potted plants, do the finger test by placing finger into the soil and water if dry.
2. How often should I fertilize? Fertilizing is vital, especially for blooming plants. Cheryl says, “heavy
bloomer = heavy feeder,” meaning if the plant blooms continually, it will need more fertilizer. For garden beds, put down an organic time-release fertilizer in spring and late summer. For pots and baskets, fertilizing every two weeks is needed. Insider tip: Use a quality fertilizer like locally produced Monty’s Plant Food for best results. Many commercial fertilizers are harsh and can burn the plant. montysplantfood.com
3. Difference between a perennial and an annual? A perennial is a plant that regrows each spring, usually blooming for only one season each year. Annuals are plants that germinate, flower, set seed, and die all in one season.
4. What about weeds? Chemical sprays can be harsh for the environment so Cheryl recommends using Preen to
keep weeds from sprouting. Adding Preen to your decorative beds in winter, mid-summer, and fall with a layer of mulch over it should keep the weeds at bay.
5. Difference between compost and mulch? Compost is a soil enhancer used mostly in vegetable gardens. In addition to enhancing curb appeal, mulch is used in perennial beds to hold in moisture. Cheryl recommends using a non-dyed hardwood mulch, cedar mulch, or pine straw.
6. Why do my flowers look brown and unhealthy? Usually the cause is related to lack of water and fertilizer. Hanging baskets can dry out quickly so doing the finger test and fertilizing every two weeks can help keep them looking vibrant. Insider tip: To keep them looking fresh all summer, give them a haircut in mid-July by cutting off the hanging flowers to generate new growth.
Proven Winners plants and Cheryl’s favorite garden tools are available at the Secret Garden. secretgardenshop.com
By Lindsay McDonald
P.S. Check out more gardening secrets here.