Ask Our Master Gardener
Debbi Doty has joined our Shake and Grow team as a Master Gardener. Deb, and her husband John, have raised 7 children and have two granddaughter’s and one grandson. Debbi has always loved working in the yard and garden! She is frequently a featured writer in our Shake and Grow Newsletter, and is active in her community educating everyone on the latest tips for the Home Gardener. If you have any questions just ask our Master Gardner. Debbi is available to answer your gardening questions
Time to start the .MARCH Not the month of March but the march to a successful growing season. How long is your growing season? Here in the frozen north it is not as long as I would like it to be. Watermelons and pumpkins are just beginning to set beautiful mini fruits when the cold winds of autumn begin to blow. If you live in a cool zone or if you would like to raise a pumpkin of mammoth size, or if you would just like to enjoy the fruits of your labor early it is time to begin the growing season now. Get those seed packets out and check out the back. How long will it take till harvest? What conditions best encourage germination? What kind of soil is best for this variety? Once you know this you are ready to begin the march. Start with the soil. Seeds that are more difficult to germinate will benefit form a sterile, commercial, seed starter soil. Many companies make peat pellet pots that expand when you add water. Most seeds germinate better in a humid environment so small “greenhouse” type trays are helpful. You only need one because when the plants touch the top you will transplant to larger pots. Then, you can start another group with refill pellets. If you prefer to use bagged seed starter you can make your own pots from wrapping newspaper around a glass and folding up the bottom. Make a tray from a box lid or cut off box and line it with plastic. Cover with clear plastic if not using a commercial mini green house. Keep seeds moist till they germinate. Remember, some seeds need light to germinate so don’t cover them with soil. Place your mini greenhouse in a warm spot. Once the plants touch the cover transplant to peat pots or clean plastic pots with sterile soil mix. Remember, when your new seedlings have a true root system to begin using Shake and Grow. Apply 4 to 6 shakes every 3 to 4 weeks per 8” pot. for larger plants small trees or shrubs apply approximately 1 tsp per square foot of soil. Distribute evenly over soil surface and water immediately after application.