HORTICULTURAL CHECKLIST: Week of February 3, 2022

The slow-germinating seeds of perennial herbs such as hyssop may begin this month. However, the resulting seedlings should not be transplanted into the garden until the end of May.

* Look for a light-colored bark on the surface of the soil or on the edge of a houseplant pot. This crusty material is salt that remains when water evaporates from the soil and the rim of the pot. The origin of this salt is usually a fertilizer and indicates long-term or excessive application of the fertilizer, which in turn can severely damage the roots of the plant. There are two ways to remedy this situation: plant it in fresh soil or leach out the accumulated salt. The latter can be achieved by adding a few liters of fresh, room-temperature water little by little to the vessel. Large containers may require a few liters of water. Be sure to pour out any water that has seeped through the ground. In addition, re-evaluate the amount of fertilizer applied to potted plants.

Fertilizer residues in the soil
A light bark on the surface of the soil or at the edge of the plant in which a plant grows is due to the accumulation of salts from the applied fertilizers. Rinse off excess salts several times with water or by planting the plant in fresh soil.

* Allow tap water to warm to room temperature before using it to irrigate houseplants. Most houseplants are of tropical origin and their roots are sensitive to cold water. I keep several gallons of containers filled with water so I always have room temperature water with me.

The water warmed to room temperature
Fill a gallon pot with water and allow to warm to room temperature before applying to houseplants.

* Do not leave houseplants in water after watering. Drain the drain from the pan tray.

* Add nasturtium to the core list. I can’t imagine a more versatile plant. Shrub types are great for container gardens or holiday gardens, while closing types can be used for hanging baskets; and the leaves and flowers are edible. The seeds germinate in about ten days and flowering begins about 45 days after sowing and continues during the growing season. What more could you want from a plant? Oh, it smells good too.

Nasturtium is in bloom
Add nasturtium to this year’s core list. It is the most versatile plant.

* Sow lavender, hyssop and other perennial herbs seeds indoors. Most of these hardy herbs don’t need really high temperatures for germination, so you don’t need a heating cable or other heat source. Be patient, as germination of seeds of perennial herbs can take up to 21 days. After germination, the seedlings are grown in a bright window or under LED lights. At the end of May, transplant the herbs to a permanent place in the garden.

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If gardening has become a bit routine, spice up your interest and enthusiasm by creating themed gardens. This includes plants that are related to each other through some common theme or function. For example, the theme could be color – a garden with only white flowers or red flowers or purple flowers. Or it could be a garden with several flowers of complementary colors: a sunset garden of red, orange, and yellow flowers; a cool garden of white and pale blue flowers and silver foliage plants; or a nasty garden with spicy pink and orange flowers (I just wanted to see if you were watching).

Topics can also be related to animal life. Create a garden with salvia, bee balm, coral, purple, penstemon, flox, snapdragon and other tubular flowering plants to attract hummingbirds. Shrubs such as buddleia, flowering quince, weigela, beauty bush and honeysuckle can also be listed here. Another option is the butterfly garden or the general bird garden.

Other themed gardens can be built around paintings, native plants, plants of historical significance or plants related to your national heritage. Have fun now researching and designing themed gardens.

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