Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Greenest of Thumbs

I know its August and a little late to be doing a post on gardening advice, but I just couldn't resist.  I have taken so many pictures of beautiful flowers this summer and have fallen so in love with flowers that I just had to do a post on them.  Ironically, even with the love I have for flowers, I have a pretty black thumb.  I manage to kill just about any plant that I have ever tried to grow.  I definitely did not get my grandmother's green thumb.

I figured all us brown/black thumbs out there could benefit from some expert advice from my sweet grandma who has years and years of beautiful garden under her belt.

Here are a few of her tips and tricks on planting and growing a beautiful garden:

"Well, I seem to have better results by buying little plants in the spring instead of planting seeds, but that is because the plants are already growing and I don't have to wait on seeds to sprout."

"Water is crucial to the life and growth, so keep the soil moist but don't swim them in water.  If the plants are outside where the rain can pour down on them, they seem to do lots better.  As far as the best time to water your plants, obviously I do it when I have the time or the plants look withered, but it is best to water in the late evening after sunset if the plants are outside.
If they are inside plants, anytime is good.  I give them a pretty good drink once a week, but don't let the water stand in the plant because that is too much water.  The best test is to just stick you finger down inside the pot and feel the soil to see if more moisture is needed.  Don't let them dry out because that damages the plants and it takes awhile for them to recover. As long as the stem looks green, even though the leaves have dropped off, usually you can revive the plant by watering."

"Sunshine is important also.  You don't want the very new young plants to get too much sun.  In fact, the morning sun is better (and no evening sun) until they really appear to be sturdy and growing (have sprouted some leaves)  In order to do this, you can plant them in containers and move them about as needed."

"I am not big on feeding plants.  If you have potted them in good potting soil which has plant food already in it, it would not be necessary to feed them at all.  Well, maybe after a couple of years you could feed them."

"My favorite flowers are just about all of them, ha.  Let's say: petunias, impatiens, and portulaca.  I always like to have the morning glory vine twining up a post somewhere like maybe the mail box post, or where I can see it in the mornings."

"Try to keep the weeds out of the flowers because they drink up the nutrients your flowers need.  If a plant appears to be getting too tall, pinch or cut it back in its early life before blooms appear.  My mother taught me to trim back my trees or shrubs in June before the days start to get shorter (after June 21) because the sap is down in the roots at that time and the plants won't bleed fro the cuts you make, and will not die from trimming.  So do your trimming in mid June."

"I use an old serving spoon to help me transplant or set out new plants besides a small spade (about 8 or 10 inches, I would say) and I really like a small tool which is shaped like an empty can with the handle across the top to make holes for planting, and it is especially useful to plant bulbs like tulips, crocuses and daffodils, etc.  You find these at the nursery or maybe Wal-Marts. (hehe yes, my grandma calls it Wal-Marts)  A small hoe is good to have and you know you will always need a couple of leaf rakes on hand."

"It is good to disturb the top layer of soil occasionally so the air can penetrate it.  Don't stir deep enough to disturb the roots, however."

"Just get your hands into the dirt and learn to love the feel of it.  Soil is a miracle and so is water and sunshine."- Grandma Wright

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