Of the Garden Variety | Julie Kuehl

Help! I’m confined to home and going crazy
We all are feeling like the world is in chaos. The kids are home when they should be at school. We can’t visit friends when we want to. We don’t want to get anyone we know sick, but we feel like we’re going crazy not being able to leave the house. Don’t panic. You can still get out and work in the yard. You can still start getting ready for gardening. Today I spoke with friends at Bergman’s in Clayton, Dragonfly in Amery and Abrahamson’s in Scandia and they all assured me that their greenhouses are full of beautiful seedlings just waiting for warm weather so that we can fill our planters and gardens with lovely flowers and veggies. They are still figuring how the logistics of sales will be handled, but all assured me they would do their best to find a way.
With this great news in mind, let’s think about getting ready to plant. As promised earlier, here are some thoughts about planting those containers. Can containers be both gorgeous and practical? The short answer is yes. If you either don’t have the space or don’t want the work involved in maintaining a large garden, why not try container gardening? Containers can be used for growing everything from the standard flowers to many vegetables.
Let’s start with the typical containers we are used to seeing, those with flowers. There are, of course, several methods that can be used to get those full, gorgeous containers you see in the garden centers. You can purchase them already done for you, but this will come at a higher cost. They will still require the same type of watering, deadheading and nipping back that flower containers you do yourself require. If you choose to create your own containers, you need to make sure your container has good drainage. Most plants do not like their feet to be constantly wet. Decide if you want a hanging container or one that will sit on the ground or in a stand. This year I am experimenting with stacking various size containers to make a pyramid. This is done by using three larger pots, each one a bit smaller than the first. This is one way to create a little design element to your containers. You must also decide if your container is being done for a sunny or shady area. This is necessary to determine the types of plants to use. Just as when we plant an in-ground garden we need to carefully read the tags to be sure our plants will play well together in our container.
I like to use Miracle-Gro with Soil Moist when I do containers. I’ve found that this seems to work well for me. Whatever type of potting soil you choose to use, make sure that your plants are kept fertilized throughout the season to keep them blooming profusely. I like to use Soil Moist in my potting soil to help with the amount of watering I need to do during the summer. Remember not to overfill your containers with the potting mix. Allow enough room to be able to water without the water running over the edge of the container.
I follow the ABCs of planting when doing my containers. “A” plants are taller and go in the center of the pot; “B” plants are medium height for the next area and to fill out the container’s center portion; and “C” plantings are the trailers for the overflow of the edges. Plants should be planted fairly close together to get that full look of the nursery planters. When planting your container you might consider planting a container for pollinators. Use any plants in the daisy or mint families or those which produce large quantities of flowers throughout summer. Don’t forget that you can grow many veggies – such as tomatoes, bush cucumbers, peppers and most herbs – in containers. You may want to try a combination of flowers and veggies or herbs.
Until next time, keep your hands washed, your distance from others and stay safe. We’re all in this together.
Are there topics you would like to hear about? Send me an email at [email protected]

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