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Water, Water, Water!
If you've planted the right plants for your location and light requirements, water is the ingredient for the success or failure of your container. Here are a few tips…
Water in the Morning -- Pour yourself a coffee or tea, fill up your watering can and give your plants a good soaking as you start the day. Get underneath the leaves and flowers. If it is too hot and water drops sit on the leaves/flowers, it could burn the plant, too late in the day, and wet foliage can encourage fungus or mildew to develop on your plants.
Commit to watering more than once a day during certain conditions -- extreme heat, windy conditions, dry air can rob your containers of moisture. The type and size of your container also contributes to watering requirements. Clay pots and small pots dry out quickly...
Water Deeply -- this means water until the water comes out of the drainage hole.
Check Moisture Level -- Put your finger into the soil, about an inch. If it feels dry at your fingertip, time to water.
Plant Choice -- Know your plants and plant things with similar requirements together. Some plants like to dry out between watering, some plants like to be just a little dry between waterings, and some will drop their petals if they don't stay evenly moist. Check the plant tags when choosing material to fill your containers and you should do fine.
One last thing, rain… -- It just rained for 20 minutes, maybe more. Do you need to water? Chances are that you do. The leaves on your plants can act as an umbrella, blocking most of the water from being absorbed into the soil.
Maintaing your plants
Once planted, your container looks magazine ready but a week or two later, maybe not so much? A little pinch back here and there, trimming back something that is growing a little too vigorously, deadheading spent blooms -- these are all things that will help keep your design looking sharp, and to scale. Don't be afraid to cut things back -- especially mid-summer. A hard cut back will help in most cases. Petunias, for example are stunning at the beginning of the summer but can start to look a little worn out by mid-July. Cut them back, as much as 3/4 of the plant, and see what happens.
Garden Tool Maintenance
At the end of every growing season, take the time to clean your garden tools and oil as needed. Also, check with your local hardware store, as they will sharpen tools for a small fee.
Recycle those growers' pots!
Finished planting? Recycle those growers' pots by returning them to your point of purchase -- Chalet and Lurveys, Gethsemane -- they will take them back, for recycling or to be reused. At Muddy Gloves, we are committed to recycling those materials. It takes a bit of time, but all pots, plant tags, and flats are returned to our wholesale supplier.