|Our potting bench ready for a new season.|
It's potting and re-potting time. If you have space a vegetable garden is a must or at least a few pots of tomatoes for a sunny deck. I'm not sure if it's the months of anticipation or taste of real home grown tomatoes that makes us throw health considerations to the four winds for a squishy white bread sandwich slathered with mayo and a thick slice of tomato. On mine so I can include the daily food groups I add iceberg lettuce and hand slice garlic baloney, while Nash tops his off with a large round of white onion. Good summer eating and well worth the wait.
That is food for the future, now is the time to ready your space for the bounty to come. Plants are arriving at various outlets and each forced specimen tempts us to fill our shopping carts with more than we can efficiently handle. Suppliers have carefully watered their offerings with various ready-grow products to push the season. Our advice is to take care and choose those whose blooms show a tad of color, but have unformed buds. Let them bud and flower in your garden, the wait is worth it for sturdier plants next summer.
The late Fred Wiche's Gardening Almanac has long had a place on my shelf of almanacs. He spent years on TV and radio answering thousands of questions from Kentucky gardeners. He knew our unique growing conditions and problems. The almanac was his first book. If you're a gardener and can find a copy, it's a keeper.
Ozzie Ovendecker is our gardening expert on the Ono Chronicle, he comments: "Carry home plants from the nursery and watch the chickweed grow." We haven't found a good solution for the problem other than pulling them out by hand and burning them. Some people bake their store bought potting soil at 250 degrees over night.
Once we get our treasures home, we let them harden off in light shade for several days. Pruning any flowers, dead or wilted leaves, trimming excess roots, and keeping the little pots damp.
Where you stabilize your plants takes planning and care. You want a place that is easy to clean, airy, and dry with sufficient tools for transplanting them to their future home. We use our backporch with a three tiered stand for storage of extra pots, watering cans, used kitty litter bucket with a tight seal for potting soils, mosquito repellent, a good whisk broom, and plenty of flat working space. Parts of the stand began life as a media sound system rack in the 1960s. Most of our tools came from relatives when we cleaned out estates or as gifts from friends. Recycling works.
A note on a spring problem, at a meeting the other day folks were complaining about trash thrown out on a ramp to the lake and wanted the county to post no litter signs. Nash is still laughing at the looks on their faces when my patience wore thin and I said, "Pick it Up." Now you tell me what is the difference between spending time at the gym touching your toes and bending over for a little spring trash pick up.