Proper Care and Feeding of Mums

With fall having just begun- even if you haven’t felt it yet- the urge to decorate for all the holidays grows strong!

The most popular plant for fall decorating is the Mum.  With the happy little faces in an array of colors, its easy to see why. 

Mums are easy to get- but not easy to keep looking beautiful.

Here are four things you can do to keep your pretty plants looking their best.

  1. Consistent water.  This can be tricky because the plants dry out so fast.  One reason for this is because there may be as many as four plants in one pot.  The nurseries will pot up multiple plants to get the pots full and big fast.  So, one way to help with this is to put a tray under the plant and water every day.  Also, many times the posts are in full sun on concrete or a porch.  Heat is reflected from these surfaces so the plants will use the water faster.  Water in the morning to avoid fungus.
  2. Fungus- by using a fungicide on the plants you will keep them healthy.  Follow the directions on the bottle.  Most fungicides are a liquid and are sprayed on the plants. Choose an organic fungicide. A homemade fungicide is 1 tsp baking soda mixed in 1 gallon of water.
  3. Feed the plants.  As I mentioned, there are serval plants competing for moisture and nutrients in the pot.  By using a liquid fertilizer weekly, you will get more growth and more blooms. Organic fertilizer like compost tea is best.
  4. Dead head the plants.  Dead heading a plant is to remove the spent blossoms. Mums are no different than other blooming flowers.  They are working to make seeds.  To get more blooms, pinch or cut off the faded blooms.  This will encourage new growth and more blooms.
Pretty Yellow Mums

If you follow these tips, your mums can easily last October through November- maybe longer.  Once the season is over, you can plant the mums in the garden.  They are perennials.

Our First Workshop

I love to teach classes on herbs, organic gardening, composting, and the like.  This summer we hosted our first workshops at the farm.  I sent out the emails, e-vites, posted on facebook, and hung up flyers.  I was so excited when Kathy, a sweet lady who heard me speak at the Greenville Farmer’s Market, emailed to sign up!  She also brought her sister, Judy, and we had a great time.

The first workshop was about making herbal oils and vinegar both for culinary and medicinal uses.  We took a tour of the herb garden and discussed the herbs at length.  When folks of a common mind get together time just flies by, we had so much to talk about and plenty to do.  At the end of the class both Kathy and Judy choose the oil they wanted to make, cut the herbs to make it and then put it together.  I hope they like the results in 10 days when the oils are finished steeping.

The following Saturday container gardens were the subject of the day and all manner of containers and soil were discussed.  Under the shade of the Sweet Gum trees we planted container gardens with herbs grown by us and chosen by Kathy and Judy.  After filling their basket with the planting medium the herbs were tucked in their new home, watered in with worm wine and went to their new homes.

I completely enjoyed myself and really like getting to know these sweet ladies.  More classes are scheduled and will be offered in the fall as well.  Some might be discouraged that only two attended, but I am not.  You gotta start somewhere and I couldn’t have asked for better folks with which to begin.  Now, when you see me with my own show just remember I started with two ladies at a workshop…

workshop

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Garden Boxes Rock- Again

For everyone who has thought of growing their own vegetables, flower gardening, or raising herbs, the garden box is a great way to go. With the garden box the soil is easy to amend, the plants are easy to care for and the beds are defined clearly.

There are several ways to build a garden box. My favorite way is to use 2X12 untreated lumber. Many publications say that if you use lumber it must be cedar or cypress. Although these two materials are extremely long-lived they are also very expensive. I simply used pine available at our local lumber yard. My first boxes were build 4 years ago and are still in great shape. I live in a very humid area with lots of insects including termites and those first boxes are showing very little decay.

Sizes of garden boxes depend much in part to the size of the area you have available. I did find that my five foot wide beds are just a little too wide to reach the middle without stepping in the beds. I really like my beds that are 2′ X 10′. These are a really great size and hold plenty of veggies. The width of the beds is the major consideration, the length is totally at your discretion simply based on your space available. The depth of 12 inches is a great depth. I grow carrots every spring and fall and those orange roots come out beautiful.

Now comes the filling. There are so many great options that your choice really depends on what is readily available in your area. I filled mine with aged horse manure that came from a friend’s stable. To this, I apply compost to the boxes every fall and spring. The results I am getting from this recipe are really great. By replenishing with compost twice a year keeps the boxes really fertile.

The ease of weeding, planting, and rotating crops have made me a total fan of the garden box. I will be using this boxes for the rest of my gardening days.

Garden Boxes Rock

For everyone who has thought of growing their own vegetables, flower gardening, or raising herbs, the garden box is a great way to go. With the garden box the soil is easy to amend, the plants are easy to care for and the beds are defined clearly.

There are several ways to build a garden box. My favorite way is to use 2X12 untreated lumber. Many publications say that if you use lumber it must be cedar or cypress. Although these two materials are extremely long-lived they are also very expensive. I simply used pine available at our local lumber yard. My first boxes were build 4 years ago and are still in great shape. I live in a very humid area with lots of insects including termites and those first boxes are showing very little decay.

Sizes of garden boxes depend much in part to the size of the area you have available. I did find that my five foot wide beds are just a little too wide to reach the middle without stepping in the beds. I really like my beds that are 2′ X 10′. These are a really great size and hold plenty of veggies. The width of the beds is the major consideration, the length is totally at your discretion simply based on your space available. The depth of 12 inches is a great depth. I grow carrots every spring and fall and those orange roots come out beautiful.

Now comes the filling. There are so many great options that your choice really depends on what is readily available in your area. I filled mine with aged horse manure that came from a friend’s stable. To this, I apply compost to the boxes every fall and spring. The results I am getting from this recipe are really great. By replenishing with compost twice a year keeps the boxes really fertile.

The ease of weeding, planting, and rotating crops have made me a total fan of the garden box. I will be using this boxes for the rest of my gardening days.