Gardening Plant Care : Strawberry Plant Care

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There’s nothing sweeter than homegrown strawberries. Learn all about strawberry plant care with gardening tips from a horticulturist in this free gardening video.

Expert:
Stan DeFreitas
Contact: www.mrgt.net
Bio: Stan DeFreitas, also known as “Mr. Green Thumb”, has experience as a urban horticulturist working for the Pinellas County Extension Service and has taught horticulture at the St. Petersburg College.
Filmmaker: Christopher Rokosz

Protect Your Garden Plants from Frost Damage

 

frost on grass
frost on grass (Photo credit: johnsam)

Quick ways to protect your garden plants from frost damage.

1. Drape tender plants, potted plants or fruits and vegetable plants loosely with old sheets and blankets, bulap, towels or large scraps of fabric. Secure with string, twine, rocks, bricks or stones. Heavy covers may need support to prevent crushing the plants. Support these heavy fabrics with stakes or sturdy branches. The next morning early remove all covers to prevent suffocation.

2. Water the soil up to 2 days before the expected frost. Damp soil holds heat better than dry soil will. Generously misiting the plants thoroughly the night before frost, just before the temperature begins to drop, protects your plants from frost damage. The water helps the plant hold in warmth.

3. Lightly cover plants with straw, leaves, pine needles the night before frost and be sure to uncover the next morning. Heavily mulching tightly around the base of the plants will, also, help to keep the plants warm during frost and freeze.

Look up your first and last frost and freeze dates by zip code.

 
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Spring Garden Maintenance to Start Your Garden Growing

A garden bed before spring cleanup
Image via Wikipedia

Follow these easy spring garden maintenance tips and you will be enjoying your yard. Even after one weekend of spring garden cleaning you can have leaves raked, trees and shrubs pruned and ground ready for planting new plants. A little spring garden maintenance means less yard work in summer.

Arm yourself with a rake, weed eater or heavy shears, a tool belt, apron with pockets, basket, or pail, filled with clippers, gardening scissors, gardening gloves, old cloths, trash bags and, if available, a small garden saw. Start on one side of your property or garden and work across the yard and then clockwise around your house and other out buildings beginning with the front/main entrance. The point is to be able to go over all areas of your landscape so that you don’t miss plants.

Always begin an area by tackling the larger growing plants, whether trees or shrubs. First cut or saw out all branches that are dead, broken, touching or crossing. Then, if necessary, trim for shape. From the larger trees and shrubs, move onto smaller growing plants, such as ornamental grasses (which you will be cutting to the ground with either the weed eater or heavy shears), roses, evergreen herbs, perennials, ground covers, etc. Remember, if you haven’t pulled out the annuals that were planted last year, it is time to remove them now.

Once all plants have been pruned, shaped and otherwise cleaned up in an area, rake the clippings into the trash bag and move onto the next. By cleaning up an area completely, if you have to stop that day before finishing, you can begin with a new area the next time and you don’t have to back track. I find it easier to make sandwiches the night before to lunch on so I don’t have to completely stop my gardening. This way I am only taking a break and don’t lose focus on what I’m doing.

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Protecting Banana Plants Over Winter

Musa basjoo
Image by Henryr10 via Flickr

Concerned about how to care for your Musa Basjoo (Cold Hardy Banana) plants for winter weather?

Visit Greenwood’s Musa Basjoo plant page for how to protect your ornamental banana plants during cold weather and frosts.

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Warm Winter Days Work

Some Pruning tools that can be used to maintai...
Image via Wikipedia

It’s that time of year again here in Tennessee! The time when Mother Nature gives us a little glimpse of spring in amidst the snow and freezing temps. I always try to take full advantage of these sunny days, as they are a nice reprieve from Jack Frost’s wintry mix. Taking care of any forgotten pruning and pulling up of any annuals that got missed the first time are two easy ways to quickly transform a winter backyard into a primed canvas ready for spring.

Pruning my Knockout Roses is at the top of my priority list. One of the best things about these beautiful flowering shrubs is how easy they are to care for. Knowing when and how to prune them will reward you with vigorous growth and gorgeous blooms from April to as late as November (here in zone 7). If your Knockouts are still in their first year after planting, there probably isn’t any need to heavily prune, but only to clip out any damaged or touching branches and then give them a little shape to guide them through this year’s new growth. Once they reach their mature height, in about 3 or 4 years, it is easy enough to shear them heavily in early spring for all new season growth.

Starting your pruning session with a well oiled and freshly sharpened pair of pruning shears makes it much easier on your hands as well as makes clean cuts on the plants. Start by cutting away any deadwood followed by the offshoot canes growing out from the base. When making a cut, look for an outward facing bud and cut just above it at a 45-degree angle to encourage growth and to not end up with dead stumps. Now as you begin to shape the rose shrub, keep in mind that since Knockout Roses are vigorous growers, trim it to approximately 18 to 24 inches below the desired height. Keeping your trimmings in a wheelbarrow or on a tarp as you prune these thorny shrubs will help make for easy disposal and if you’re like me, you like walking bare foot in the garden in warmer weather, so you’ll be glad you were careful.

After pruning and removing forgotten annuals, I like to give my hands a little rest and take a walk around my garden to plan out my next move. I keep a little notebook handy for jotting down my plant wish list and areas where I see more height is needed. Any required repairs to the garden are noted as well. As I look around my garden, I take in the late winter scenery.  It’s the dormant period that gives the renewing of spring. Just like in life, our rest or sleep period allows our bodies to regenerate.

Now, I refill my bird feeders, give my patio a quick sweep and reward myself with a nice cup of tea. Job well done!

Cydney Langford, guest blogger

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Drift Roses

New from the Knockout Rose Family, are the Drift Roses. Drift Roses are gorgeous compact growing groundcover-like roses with miniature roses that will bloom continually from early spring to frost. Like their Knockout Relatives, the Drift Roses are tough, disease resistant and cold hardy as far north as zone 5.

They are sure to become a favorite for any type border. Prune back to 4″ in early spring (after the last hard frost) for best performance. Regular deadheading encourages re-blooming and helps maintain a tidy appearance.

Currently, we are booking our Drift Roses for shipping this spring. Click here to book your Red Drift Roses and Apricot Drift Roses.

P. Allen Smith talks about Drift Roses in a recent newsletter. It’s a good short article on these new landscape plants. For more information visit P. Allen Smith on Drift Roses

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Planting Strawberry Plants

Here are a few tips that will get your strawberry plants off to the best possible start.

Strawberry plants grow best in well drained soil that has been amended with organic matter. Strawberries should not be planted in or near soil where eggplants, peppers, potatoes, raspberries, or tomatoes have grown over the past 3 to 5 years because strawberries are susceptible to verticillium wilt. It is also advisable to move strawberry beds whenever verticillium wilt appears. Soils with high lime content may be unsuitable for this plant. Strawberries need to be protected from freezing during the winter months. In addition to mulching them, planting strawberry plants at the top of a gentle slope helps minimize winter kill and frost damage to blossoms.

Plant strawberry plants in rows or hills in areas that receive at least 6 hours of sunlight per day. Plant the plants 15 to 18 inches apart in rows spaced about 2 feet apart. When planting bare root strawberries, be sure to trim the roots to six inches long. Dig holes deep enough to accommodate the roots. Inside the hole, mound enough dirt to be able to have the plant sit on the mound with the roots spread evenly around. The base of the crown should sit at the soil level. If the crown is set too high above the ground, the plant will dry out. Smooth and water to settle the soil. If the plants experience a drought immediately after planting, it may stunt the growth of the plants. Inspect after frost to see if any plants were lifted out of the soil. If they were, gently push them back into the soil and cover.

Once plants have begun to leaf out, fertilize can be applied. A balanced 10-10-10 blend can be added according to directions on the label. When the plant begins to form blooms until harvest is complete, is the time period that the plants will need the most water. One to two inches of supplemental watering a week may be necessary to keep the plants hydrated. Check the soil for dampness if in doubt.

Their first growing year in the ground, pinch off any blooms. This will force more growth into the plants size, creating larger plants with the potential for more blooms producing more fruit the next growing season.

Check out what we have available this season: Strawberry Plants. We’re here. Just let us know if you need any help.

Growing Muscadines

A fun fact about muscadines is that all varieties bloom at the same time even
though they may bear fruit at different times. So, when you see them noted
on their description pages as early or late season, that means the time of
growing season that their fruit will be ready for harvest. Typical harvest
times often begin as early as late August (for early) through October (for
late).

Muscadines are either female or self-fertile. Female vines must be planted
within 50 feet of a self-fertile muscadine vine to bear fruit. The more
pollinators you have nearby the more fruit the female plants will yield,
although one self-fertile muscadine vine will pollinated up to 3 female
vines.

Quick info on the muscadines is:

• Black Beauty-female-late season-black berry
• Darlene-female-early season-bronze berry
• Ison-self-fertile-early to mid season-black berry
• Tara-self-fertile-early to mid season-bronze berry
• Late Fry-self-fertile-late season-bronze berry

Regardless of which self-fertile pollinator you choose, it will not affect
the color or other characteristics of the fruit from the female plant.

Muscadines, as with most fruiting plants, require full sun and a pH level of
6.0 to 6.5. Space muscadines 15 ‘apart with 10’ rows for home gardens.
Muscadines will need to be grown on trellises. Sawdust, cottonseed mote or
peat moss will either slow down growth, damage or kill the plants. Do not
use manure of any kind around young muscadine plants.

Typical yields for female plants are 60 lbs. per vine with the self-fertile
varieties producing 80 lbs. per vine. Our plants should begin bearing fruit
in 2 to 3 years.
When reading the plant descriptions, you will see the term dry stem scar on
these plants. This refers to the plant varieties that are used in commercial
production. It means that the berries of these varieties do not tear or
separate easily from the cluster giving them excellent holding or storing
quality.

For complete growing instructions along with links to jelly, wine and other
recipes for muscadines, click here:

Planting and Growing Muscadines

Don’t forget to visit us at Greenwood Nursery and check out our Youtube videos Greenwood’s Videos

We’re here. Just let us know if you need any help.

Growing Blackberries and Raspberries

Our erect or upright blackberry plants are the Apache (which is probably the
sweetest in flavor), Arapaho and Ouachita
while our erect or upright
raspberry plants are Anne, Heritage (an ever bearing) and Nova Summer Red.
The Triple Crown and Cumberland are trailing varieties.

Without knowing which plant variety has been planted, it is often difficult
to tell raspberry and blackberry plants apart until harvest time. When ripe,
raspberries come off with the core remaining on the plant. This leaves a
hole in the top of the berry making it hollow and quite perishable. This is
why raspberries are pricey at the market.

Don’t plant raspberry, blackberry or strawberry plants where potatoes,
tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, or other berry plants (including other
strawberry, raspberry or blackberry) have grown in the past 3 years. Fungus
disease and insect pests may still be in the soil in those areas.

Here is a quick link to our planting and care information for blackberry and
raspberry plants as well as links to recipes for the fruits, including wines
and jellies:

Growing Blackberry and Raspberry Plants

Be sure to visit us at Greenwood Nursery. We’re here. Just let us know if you need any help.

Growing Knockout Roses

What can you plant in your landscape that will bloom beautifully from spring
through fall? Hands down, the longest blooming period goes to the Knockout
Roses! Here in zone 7, they start blooming around early April and
continue on to late fall. This past fall, my double reds continued with
blooms until Thanksgiving which was many weeks beyond hard frosts and
remained in leaf through early December.

Plant these gorgeous specimens in well drained, fertile soil in full sun.
With little attention, they will put on a spectacular show for months on
end. The Knockout Roses are smaller shrub plants maturing around 4 feet tall
with about a 3 foot width. They are easily maintained as an even smaller
size with regular shearing. Space the roses 3 to 4 feet apart for a dramatic
hedge. To keep maintenance to a minimum, prune them back anywhere from 6 to
12 inches above ground in late winter or early spring while dormant making
certain to prune out any broken or damaged branches. Mulch with organic
matter such as aged compost or aged manure mix. Spread the mulch at least 3
inches deep around the plant leaving a welled area at the immediate base of
the plant of around 3 to 4 inches wide so the mulch doesn’t touch the bark
of the plant. Apply an organic fertilizer designed for roses as directed on
the label.

As with other roses and plants with thorns, deer are not really drawn to the
Knockout Roses, so they do make dazzling color in areas where deer may be a
problem. The Knockout Rose Family has shown great resistance to the most
common problems of other roses such as black spot, mildew and rust.

Visit us for more plant selections: Greenwood Nursery We’re here. Just let us know if you need any help.

Check out our YouTube channel. You will learn the basics of planting
container grown plants and tips for planting lavender and other herbs.
Greenwood Nursery Youtube Videos
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