Growing Tips

ANNUALS
 
On planting and spacing... Refer to the tag of your annual for spacing requirements, as each differs. But a general rule of thumb is to use the shorter size for a showier, fuller garden and the longer size for a wider carpet of blooms later in the season. For example, recommended spacing on a petunia may be 8 to 12 inches. Space around 8 inches apart for showier, taller gardens and around 12 inches for more of a carpet. You can use a ruler, your fist, or your trowel to measure out your spacings. After digging the hole, tease the roots at the base of the pot apart before planting. 
 
On watering... Annuals have the largest water requirement of most plants. Water two to three times per week after planting, making sure that the water soaks deeply into the soil surrounding the plant (you want to make sure those roots you teased out in the last step can get some water!). To maintain growth, make sure the plants continue to get water two to three times per week.
 
On feeding... We recommend and encourage feeding your plant every two weeks or so. A 20-20-20 fertilizer should be a good balance for your plants, and you can choose from traditional or organic so long as it is dissolved in water before applying. Applying compost directly to the soil can resulting in a chemical burn on the plant from the sudden shock of so many nutrients in the soil - We recommend turning in the compost with the soil in early spring, before you start planting the garden.
 
PERENNIALS
 
On planting and spacing... Consult the tag of your perennial for the 'mature size' and space accordingly. Leave yourself enough space so that you can divide the plant in a few years. A deep hole that covers the first 1/4-inch of the plant will be the most beneficial for encouraging growth. Planting in spring or fall is best for perennials, but summer is acceptable as well. Always defer to the 'care instructions' on the tag or call the farm for assistance.
 
On watering... Perennials need water to help them get established, but are more accustomed to drought conditions than their annual counterparts. Water two to three times per week at first to help the plant get established. Maintained the moisture content of the soil for prolific blooms all season, and by the second to third year the plant should be able to survive on natural rainfall. Mulching can help keep moisture in the soil around your new plantings, and it looks great too if you pick a complimenting color!
 
On feeding... Similar to annuals, we recommend and encourage feeding your plant every two weeks or so. A 20-20-20 fertilizer should be a good balance for your plants, and you can choose from traditional or organic. Unlike annuals, the fertilizer does not need to be one that is applied in a water solution: Time-release fertilizers can work very well for perennials since they add nutrients slowly over time. Applying compost directly to the soil can resulting in a chemical burn to new growth from the sudden shock of so many nutrients in the soil - We recommend applying compost carefully in the areas surrounding your perennial.
 
HANGING BASKETS
 
On location... Most of our hanging baskets have a "combination tag" that provides information about the plants that make up the combo in question. The tag will also provide you with sunlight requirements for your basket. We encourage you to roatet your baskets every 10 days or so: If they are under a porch one side is getting more sun than the other, and this can lead to the basket looking lopsided. Rotating front to back is also helpful to make sure all the baskets recieve an equal amount of sunlight. Be aware of the weather. Do not subject your plants to high winds or rains, which have the potential to ruin the blooms, or worse, crash the basket to the ground.
 
On watering... Hanging baskets are unique in that the airflow is all around the pot. This can lead to increased evaporation of the water within the soil, especially as the season goes on. Water your baskets every day, at least, but always feel them for weight - a basket weights about six pounds when properly hydrated. If it is cloudy for several days the plants won't be taking up as much water, and will feel heavier, which means you can skip that day.
 
On feeding... Similar to annuals, we recommend and encourage feeding your plant every two weeks or so. A 20-20-20 fertilizer should be a good balance for your plants, and you can choose from traditional or organic so long as it is dissolved in water before applying. Be sure the soil is moist before watering with fertilizer - dry soil will result in the nutrients simply running through. We do not recommend adding compost to baskets or container gardens. 
 
VEGETABLE PLANTS
 
On location... Most vegetables require a great deal of sunlight, so your vegetable garden should be located where it will receive a minimum of six hours of sunlight per day. Deer preferences for plants vary by area, but locate the garden aware from the forest line (both for more sun and to prevent easy access for critters). If wildlife is a proiminent feature in your location, also consider a fence. For deer, eight feet or more is encouraged to discourage leaping.
 
On watering... Because your vegetables are outdoors and way from any overhangs, they may receive more natural rain water than your flower gardens. The general recommendation for vegetables is about one inch of water per week, whether it be from your hose or from the sky. Because rain amounts can vary, a soaker hose is encouraged to make it easier for you to control the amount of water your garden is receiving. It also can release a slow drip, which can have a better ability to soak deeply to the root system of the plant than overhead watering. Watering in the morning can help reduce the spread of diseases.
 
On feeding... Too much fertilizer can result in lots of lush greenery but not a lot of fruit - something a vegetable grower wants to avoid. Incorporate a well-aged compost into the soil about three weeks before planting. Up to 20% of the soil volume can be added as compost. A natural compost that has been well-aged can also be a great source of earthworms, which aerate the soil and make it healthier.
 
On pests... There's no magic bullet, but plants such as garlic, chrysanthemums, and marigolds are a natural pest deterent. Plant them around the borders of your garden to help discourage pests and critters from munching on your plants.
 
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278 Town Street - East Haddam, CT

staehlys@att.net - (860) 873-9774

© 2019 by Staehly Tree Farm and Gardens