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Gardener's Corner

Join us for tips, helps, questions and answers about the gardening world. Monitored by a Certified Master Gardener but wisdom is shared by ALL.

Members: 42
Latest Activity: Aug 4

Gardener's Corner

GREETINGS MEMBERS, GUESTS AND VISITORS.
Chief Walks In Shadows is a Florida State Master Gardener.
He will post information that he feels will benefit everyone as a whole. But basically this will be a question and answer group.
IF A GROUP MEMBER KNOWS THE ANSWER TO ANY QUESTION PLEASE FEEL FREE TO ANSWER.
Chief Walks will answer all questions asked to him directly. He has over 40 years of experience. And a sizable personal research library.

We are here to meet ALL of your gardening questions and/or related subjects.

 

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Comment by Chief Walks on August 4, 2018 at 12:10pm
Comment by Chief Walks on July 28, 2018 at 6:59am
Comment by Chief Walks on July 25, 2018 at 8:28am

Watering Succulent Plants: How And When To Water A Succulent Plant

Watering succulent plants is likely the essential part of growing them, so we want to get it right. For the long-time gardener or those who regularly grow houseplants, water requirements for succulents are much different and require a change in watering habits. Keep in mind that overwatering is the most common cause of succulent death.

When to Water a Succulent
When learning how often to water succulents, remember that many of them originate in dry, arid climates where rainfall is rare. Succulent plants store water in their roots, leaves, and stems. Wrinkling leaves after an extended dry period are sometimes an indicator of when to water a succulent. Check the soil first to make sure it is completely dry before watering.

Water these plants infrequently, and water them at night, as succulents take in water during nighttime hours and their respiration happens at this time.

How Much Water Do Succulents Need?
When watering succulent plants, water thoroughly so that it comes out of the drainage holes. This encourages roots to grow downward as they should. Light watering with droppers or spoons sometimes causes roots to reach upward for water, not a healthy situation for your beloved succulent plant. Roots of these plants sometimes spread laterally.

Avoid getting the foliage damp; this can cause leaves of the succulent to disintegrate. If you accidentally get them wet, blot the water with a paper towel.

Short containers are more easily saturated and dry out more quickly. Using proper soil with good drainage components like sand, perlite, pumice, or coir helps dry out the soil more quickly as well. In short, don’t water often and keep your plants healthy and alive.

It is not ideal to plant your succulents in a container without drainage holes, but it is something most of us sometimes do. Watering succulents with no drainage holes is tricky, but many do it successfully. Use a limited amount of water; this is where the dropper or spoon comes in. Squirt water at the base of the plants, enough to reach down and wet the short root system. If you’ve put a plant into a container without holes and you know it has a bigger root system, water accordingly.

Check your soil for moisture with your finger, down to the second joint, before watering. If you detect any moisture, wait for a few days to a week and check again. Or use an electronic moisture meter, which is designed specifically for the task.

If your soil is soggy, or a new plant you’ve brought home is in wet soil, remove the plant from the pot, remove as much of the soggy soil from the roots as possible and let it dry out for a couple of days. Repot into dry soil and don’t water again for at least a week.

Comment by Chief Walks on July 19, 2018 at 11:12am
Comment by Chief Walks on July 5, 2018 at 10:30am
Comment by Chief Walks on June 29, 2018 at 6:11pm

Comment by Chief Walks on June 23, 2018 at 10:15am
Comment by Chief Walks on May 31, 2018 at 6:40am

Three Sisters Planting  

The first companion planting I tried was a Native American method called Three Sisters. The technique consists of corn, beans and squash planted close together in the same garden space. The corn is planted first to provide support for the beans, followed by squash which serves as a ground cover. Using this method, I was able to grow three vegetable varieties in the space that would have housed only one using traditional crop rows.  

To plant the Three Sisters, I used the mouth of a 5 gallon bucket to imprint a circle in the soil, leaving enough room in between circles to walk. Then I sowed corn seeds (Dorinny Sweet and Country Gentleman are my favorite) 6” apart in the outline of the circle. When sprouts appeared, I planted bean seeds on either side of each corn sprout. Any variety of climbing beans will work. I used a combination of lima beans and pole beans. Squash is planted last, after the beans have emerged. I sowed squash seeds in the middle of the circle so that the vines would extend out and provide ground cover. A vine type of squash works best.

Other Companion Planting Ideas

Many vegetables grow well together. Take into consideration what each plant has to offer the others, then plan the garden space accordingly. Taller crops such as tomatoes and peppers can serve as much needed shade for tender leaf lettuce varieties, which can in turn serve as a ground cover to deter weeds and retain moisture.

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Interplant vegetables within the same family, such as brassicas, to add variety and additional plantings. Instead of spacing rows for each variety, I plant cabbages, kale, and Brussels in a staggered pattern. The plants fill in the space completely, leaving just enough access room to harvest without wasting precious space. I have almost doubled my brassica planting by using this method.  

Root vegetables like carrots and radishes can share space with cabbages and broccoli. I like to sow Half Danvers and Early Scarlet radishes around my brassica seedlings at the time of transplant in early spring. Radishes will be mature and be harvested before the carrots, leaving plenty of room for the carrot roots to flourish.

Most herbs companion well with other vegetables, and some herbs may act as natural pest control for the plants they share space with. Flowering herbs will also add beauty while attracting pollinators. Dill, chives, bee balm, basil and parsley may be planted in corners and boarders around the garden. Edible flowers such as nasturtium and marigolds are beneficial to cucumbers and squash varieties by attracting bees. Nasturtium is also believed to be an effective deterrent for unwanted insects.   

Comment by Chief Walks on May 30, 2018 at 1:30pm
Comment by Chief Walks on May 25, 2018 at 8:21am

The Best Planting Tip I Never Shared!
I’ve used this tip for years but honestly never think about sharing.
This tip is SO SIMPLE: It is soaking root bound plants before planting. Very simple, but very important.
The big problem with container plants is that they get root bound. Roots naturally grow out and down (mostly out) away from the plant. When the roots of a plant in a pot reaches the wall of a pot, it has nowhere to go and will begin circling the perimeter of a pot over and over again. Almost any gardener who has brought home a new plant from a nursery has seen how a container plant can get root bound. It’s best to avoid plants in this condition, but often gardeners don’t have that option.
I had known how to direct the roots away from the plant using a root hook, or by scoring the sides of the roots with a sharp blade. However, what I did not realize was that root bound plants often become so dense, they will not absorb water. The density of tangled roots in a container plant can make the plant hydrophobic—it literally sheds water. Think about a dry sponge. When you first stick it under the faucet, water bounces off of it. So if you simply place that root bound plant in the ground and water it, water will more than likely run off the root ball and move toward the less dense soil around it. Even if you water it, the plant may not be getting the water.
How do you deal with this problem? The idea is to soak the plant for several minutes in water prior to planting. When you plant, fill up a large bucket with water, preferably rainwater since it does not have any of the chlorine or other chemicals of municipal water. Take the plant out of its pot and gently pull any encircled roots away from the plants. Then set the root ball in the bucket of water. Let it soak for anywhere from 30 seconds to three minutes, or until air bubbles stop coming out of it. This deep hydration actually reverses the plant’s hydrophobia. When you install a sopping wet root ball into the ground, the dry soil around it actually clings to the root ball by osmosis, creating a better soil to root contact. This technique is especially good for container trees. If the plant is that large, consider filling a wheel barrow full of water.
Want to really baby that plant? Here’s my own little spin on this trick: soak the root ball in a bucket of freshly brewed compost tea. Compost tea is essentially compost-brewed water that is aerated for 24 hours and mixed with a bit of molasses (or other sugar). Compost tea takes the beneficial bacteria and fungus present in compost increases them exponentially by aeration and sugars. These bacteria and fungus are critical in root establishment. Soaking your new plant in compost tea literally loads the root ball with beneficial soil microorganisms right before it gets planted.
Next time you plant, have a bucket of rainwater or compost tea by your side. I promise, you’ll notice a difference.

 
 
 

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