May blooms a delight to the senses

A stunning array of colours marks the late Spring in Agassiz, Harrison area

Here in the Agassiz/Harrison area the May blooms never disappoint. The rich colours of rhododendrons and azaleas, the bright purples and white mounds of aubrietias and iberis, plus the fresh green leaves all combine to delight the senses.

May Chores

Check shrubs that were pruned in the fall or winter for more shaping if needed. Take off excess shoots for a more balanced look. Remove suckers at the base of trees, breaking them off at their point of origin.

Get ready for the dry summer that is predicted by placing soaker hoses around plants, especially those planted in the last two years. Use mulch to conserve moisture and keep weeds down.

Aphids and spittle bugs are in full swing. Both will distort the plant/flower of its intended beautiful growth. Insecticidal sprays can be used or hand removing depending on the number of plants. In my experience spraying water on aphids only gives them a free ride to the ground and chance for a hike back up the stem to carry on.

Stake perennials before they get too tall.

Acclimate greenhouse purchased annuals before setting them out.

Questions and Answers

How do I know which fertilizers to use on my plants?

When I started gardening it seemed a mystery to me, too. Of course, way back then there wasn’t the multiple selection there is now. To make it easier I use the mnemonic “shoots-roots-fruits” to explain the use of the three numbers on the fertilizer container, such as 15-30-15. The first number on the label refers to the nitrogen content that is needed for the upper vegetative growth of a plant. Deficiency symptoms are yellowing of leaves, slowing or stopping of growth. The second number refers to the phosphorus content which is needed for healthy roots, blooming and seed/fruit set. Signs of deficiency are dull green leaves, purplish stems and general poor health. The third number refers to the percentage of potassium or potash which is needed for flower and fruit production and the general health of the plant. The disease can be recognized when the blooms are sickly and small fruit produced. Potassium is also known to promote disease resistance. As an example in using the numbers, lettuce would use a higher first number, nitrogen, and carrots and beets a higher second number, phosphorous. This is a simplified description of the use of commercial fertilizers. There are also many fertilizers that are available that are organically sourced. Plant needs are much more complicated than this explanation, so more reading on the subject is advised. I do encourage home production and use of kitchen and garden compost which will add micronutrients along with some fertilization and friability of the soil.

Will soaking vegetable seeds produce a more robust plant?

No, it merely shortens the germination time. All seeds can be soaked, usually no more than 24 hours, and planted. Over soaking and planting in wet cool soil may result in rotted seeds.

Please keep the questions coming in. Email questions to news@ahobserver.com