I always look forward to August. August means I don’t have to shop for birthday or anniversary gifts.
The only day I celebrate during the month is August 5th. It’s been 62 wonderful years since I passed my driving test. Yes, it was the first try, four days after getting my license.
August is also the summer heat wave. This usually means we are in for warmer days ahead.
And, August also means that some of you are fed up with your plants and are considering giving them the old life. Looking around the neighborhood, I can see a few reasons. They may have seen better days.
In the spring, you are all excited to buy hanging baskets to decorate your porch. Naturally, the very colorful and large petunia baskets appeal to you, and you make the purchase. The problem is that your porch faces north, which means it gets very little sun. Then you hang them from the eaves and they get less sun. Petunias take at least six to eight hours of direct full sun to grow properly. They won’t grow well in that kind of shade. A better choice would be impatiens or something similar, which will grow in low light conditions.
Another reason they don’t look good is that they are starving. Petunias are heavy feeders and should be fed after every third watering. Slow-release fertilizer is nice a few times per season, but you should still use water-soluble fertilizer at least once a week.
Should my neighbor throw away his baskets or try to save them? If they decide to save them, I will take the following steps.
The location of the baskets will need to be changed to the south side of the house, where they will get more sunlight. Cut the baskets by a third to stimulate new growth. With the right lighting, water, and fertilizer, they should be bouncing back in no time, and you’ll still have them for Halloween.
Back when I was a leader at Weingartner’s Greenhouse, we grew almost 100% of our baskets in 10-inch containers. We added four plants to the baskets, which made them affordable for customers. These days this size of container is called a torture chamber because they are not big enough for all the plants to grow properly. Greenhouses use larger sizes of 12 to 24 inches, which gives the roots more room and the plant does not dry out as quickly.
A problem I’ve noticed in the past that is happening now is that your soil pulls away from the sides of the pot. When you water, the water runs into the outdoor space instead of soaking the roots.
This is usually caused by letting the plant wilt between waterings. Wilting causes thinning of the plant’s veins and hardening of the plant’s arteries. Your cholesterol medicine will not work on plants.
Rebirth is desperately needed in the ground. To do this, water the soil well and rest for 30 minutes. Then repeat the process two more times. If anyone tries to interrupt you during this process, just tell them to leave you alone. You’re in the middle of a revival meeting.
A very reliable informant pointed me to a problem they are having with their peppers. I was there when a new gardener decided to put all his peppers in one pot. The trusted informant reported that the pepper plants looked good, but no peppers were in sight. I would suggest buying a few more pots for next year’s harvest.
Deadheading is another important gardening chore that you shouldn’t overlook. When you fail to remove the old flowers, they begin to produce a seed. The plant then sends all of its energy there, leaving the rest of the plant to have none. Remove the faded flower then tell the plant, “You failed to set a seed, better try again”, which it does and sends out a new flower.
As far as my upstairs neighbors are concerned, everything is in perfect condition there, because they work there daily. That’s what it takes to have beautiful flowers. The idea of planting and forgetting doesn’t work with gardening.
I was chatting with my grandson the other day about passing my driving test. He passed his a few months ago. My advice was that I was without a wife before I got my license. It only lasted four days, and I got my first call from a young woman on the street. When I say young, she was 14 years old. I just wanted him ready for the deluge of calls.
I also mentioned that it took a lot longer for the ladies to start showing up in my alley. He will have to ask his grandmother about it.
Make your space green.