Okay, Plant Now – Here Are A Few Tips

I think it is safe to plant your spring annuals now.

Mixing old soil and sand to revive planting mix for pots

I hope that we are passed the killing spring freezes. So, today I started planting my tender spring plants. Annuals and vegetable transplants should enjoy the warmth of the next few days. Here are some things I do to assure that my transplants get off to a good start.

Container Plantings – One of the biggest problems you can have is to put too many plants in a small pot. And while they might look great initially, as the season wears on the upkeep is difficult and they generally stress quickly. So you really have two choices, plant fewer plants in your pots, or use larger pots. For example, one marigold transplant is enough for a 6 inch pot and two is max. So if you want a mixed planter think one plant per every 6 inches. That is why you see those beautiful pots in commerical planting in very large deep pots. If you are like me and plant pots of vegetables and annuals every year, and do not want the expense of adding new potting mix every year, here is what I do. Empty the old soil that at one time was potting mix and add sand at 3 parts old soil to 1 part sand to give it more porosity. After two growing seasons, I dump the soil into the garden. If you buy new soil for your pots every year remember to purchase planting or potting mix not potting or garden soil. It will drain and is a designed growing medium. One thing to remember, if you are growing tomatoes in pots, remember the bigger the pot the better and always use new planting mix for best results. By the way I always water my plants 3 times when planting.

Landscape Plantings – Your success will most certainly depend on your bed preparation. Dig the bed at least 8 inches but 12 to 18 inches is best. If the soil is clay, add organic matter and sand, the more the better, and mix well with the native soil. If you have a tiller, till it well and deep. If the soil is sandy, add organic matter, again the more the better, till or mix well. Once the soil is prepared, I like to sprinkle 15-0-15 fertilizer lightly over the soil and mix again. Now you are ready to plant. Space according to label directions, and I like to mass colors and plant types for impact. I also water each plant three times at planting.

Remember, your soil preparation is the key to having great looking plants all growing season. So take the time and do it right.

John Floyd

John Floyd has been gardening--and learning about Birmingham area gardening--for more than 30 years. In addition to his day-to-day experience, John has degrees in horticulture from Auburn and Clemson Universities and was Editor-in-Chief of Southern Living.

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